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March 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Jim and Jamie Dutcher have lived among wolves, studying and documenting their behavior, for more than 20 years. A new National Geographic book, The Hidden Lives of Wolves, documents the couple’s work as they’ve tried to dispel the myths about wolves and explain why they are so important to the health of ecosystems. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

 

Monday, March 4, 2013

There is no shortage of food in the United States, yet every day 49 million Americans – including one in four children – go hungry.  A new documentary – A Place at the Table – examines the issue of first world hunger through the lens of three people: Rose, a second-grader in Colorado who often relies on friends and neighbors to feed her; Tremonica, a fifth-grader in Mississippi whose health is compromised by her empty calorie diet; and Barbie, a single mom in Philadelphia trying to make ends meet for her two kids.  Filmmakers Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson, along with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, talk with Bob about the film, the accompanying book of essays of the same name, and efforts to end hunger in the richest country in the world.  Then, every momentous turn in human history is tied to a place — Italy during the Renaissance, France during the Enlightenment and England during the Industrial Revolution. David Talbot is the founder and CEO of the online magazineSalon, and he tells the story of San Francisco during the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s in his book, Season of the Witch. Talbot’s narrative encompasses everyone from Harvey Milk to Jerry Garcia, Charles Manson to Jim Jones, and the events and movements they came to represent – all building blocks in what has come to be known as “San Francisco values.”  It’s available in paperback tomorrow.

 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Most people are aware that the U.S. has a poet laureate, but its far less known that we also have a national children’s poet laureate.  Currently, that position is held by J. Patrick Lewis, whose latest collection is an illustrated book of poems titled When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders.  Then, Bob talks with religion scholar Elaine Pagels about her book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, & Politics in the Book of Revelation.  It’s now out in paperback.

 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peter Ames Carlin has written well-regarded and exhaustively researched biographies on Paul McCartney and The Beach Boys. Now he’s turned his journalistic eye to Bruce Springsteen with his newest title, Bruce. He joins Bob to talk about rock-n-roll’s working class hero.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

James Bennet is editor in chief of The Atlantic magazine.  He was Adweek’s 2012 “Editor of the Year” and is overseeing a cover-to-cover redesign of the 155-year-old magazine.  Bob asks Bennet about the state of print publications and the quickly changing media landscape.  Then, some political partnerships are like love at first sight. Others are simply arrangements between two strangers, looking to bolster each other’s weaknesses. One of the most famous of the latter group is the relationship of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. In the book, Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political MarriageJeffrey Frank tells the shared history of the four star general and the Red-hunting politician.

 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, math is hard.  And most of us have very little interest in it after graduation. But Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy has managed to make a film about complex mathematical concepts that was voted “Best of the Year: Documentary” by BBC World News viewers in 2009.  He joins Bob to explain why we should be in awe of math instead of fear it.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

 

Monday, March 11, 2013

George Saunders is a bestselling writer of short fiction, essays, novellas and children’s books.  The New York Times Magazine called his newest collection, Tenth of December, “The best book you’ll read this year.” Bob talks to Saunders about that book and his writing process.
 
 
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jody Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on banning landmines, is founding chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and, according to Forbes magazine in 2004, “one of the hundred most powerful women in the world.”  She joins Bob to discuss her work as chronicled in My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize. Then, Bob talks with the 2013 Caldecott Medal winner Jon Klassen, author and illustrator of This Is Not My Hat and 2011’s I Want My Hat Back
 
 
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
 
Inspired by the real-life story of Clark Rockefeller, the German con man who posed as a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, writer Amity Gaige’s novel Schroder is a story about parenthood, love, and deception.  Then, Bob talks to composer, drummer, and three-time Grammy Award winner Antonio Sanchez about his latest album New Life.
 
 
Thursday, March 14, 2013
 
The “Freedom of Information Act” was passed when Lyndon Johnson was president. But LBJ had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the signing ceremony. He wasn’t keen on the idea of journalists meddling in the government’s business. Now this “right to know” is considered one fundamental rights of a democracy.  We’ll look back on the history of FOIA with Miriam Nisbet, the Director of the Office of Information Services, the department that serves as the FOIA Ombudsman. Even good people have biases according to psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People is their collaborative research into the “unconscious and automatic origins” of biases that affect many parts of American culture.  Bob talks to Banaji about her research methods and discoveries.
 
Friday, March 15, 2013
 
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, approval ratings for Congress are at record lows. Voters look at their Senators and Representatives and see wealthy adults who squabble like children over partisan issues without seeming to get much work done. It wasn’t always this way. Not so long ago, the Senate was full of dedicated, hard-working people who put service to the nation ahead of loyalty to party bosses and campaign contributors. Ira Shapiro writes about the end of that era in his book, The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis.  It’s now available in paperback.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

 

Monday, March 18, 2013 

Fire and Forget is a collection of stories written by front line soldiers, staff officers and a military spouse.  Roy Scranton was an artilleryman in the Army and is an editor of the new book along with Matt Gallagher, a former Army captain and a Senior Fellow at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  Contributor Phil Klay will join Scranton and Gallagher to discuss their stories and the value of writing after combat.

 
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
 
When Michael Hainey was a small boy, his father died suddenly, leaving a stunned and broken family. There was never any talk in the household about Hainey’s father or how he died, a hole that Hainey filled with obsessive imaginings. When Hainey grew older than his father had been at the time of his death, he decided to investigate the circumstances, and the result is the memoir, After Visiting Friends.  Then, within a generation, more households will be supported by women than by men. In The Richer SexLiza Mundy takes us to the exciting frontier of this new economic order.  Her book has just been released in paperback.
  
 
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
 
When Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients was published in England, it prompted government investigations into the pharmaceutical companies’ withholding of clinical trial data.  Now the book is being published in the United States with a focus on this country’s medical industry. Goldacre began his career as a doctor but left the profession to devote himself to exposing the corruption in the health care system.  Then, we hear a new commentary from children’s book writer and illustrator Daniel Pinkwater.
 
 
Thursday, March 21, 2013
 
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think is Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s book on “datafication”- an emerging science that tracks the movements of people, inventory, …and can even predict the spread of disease.  Co-author and Economistdata editor Kenneth Cukier joins Bob to discuss the book.  Then, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter has a knack for creating beautiful stream-of-conscious lyrics whether it be a single bittersweet memory about “Kathleen” or a heartfelt plea for women veterans as voiced in “Girl in the War.”  His latest album, The Beast in Its Tracks, was written after his heartbreaking divorce, but it’s not as dire as you might think.  Josh sits with Bob to explain why, and how he got to “Hopeful.”
 
 
Friday, March 22, 2013
 
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, in response to rising sea levels and national security concerns, the US Navy is leading the way on clean and alternate energy. Dr. David W. Titley is a retired naval officer who rose to rank of Rear Admiral and led the US Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. Julia Whitty is an environmental correspondent for Mother Jones and her story on this topic appears in latest issue of the magazine. They’ll discuss the progress made thus far and cultural and technological challenges still ahead. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Two years ago, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan joined forces to create the band named The Milk Carton Kids.  Described as “Gillian Welch and David Rawlings-meets-Simon and Garfunkel with a splash of the Everly Brothers,” Pattengale and Ryan sit with Bob to talk about their music, unusual business model (their first two albums are available for free on their web site) and intriguing name.

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is a senior correspondent and associate editor ofThe Washington Post where he has been since 1994.  His two books are Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone and Little America: the War Inside the War for Afghanistan.  He’ll discuss the promises and perils within those two warzones and the remarkably slow progress of the F-35 fighter jet. Then, in 1948, 70,000 books were either “collected” or “stolen” from Palestinian homes by Israeli soldiers. Documentarian Benny Brunner investigates and challenges the sequence of events in his film The Great Book Robbery.

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

First-time director Wayne Blair based his film, The Sapphires, on the true story of a 1960s girl group from Australia who were unexpectedly hired to entertain U.S. troops serving in Vietnam.  The Sapphires premiered at Cannes last year and at this year’s AACTA, the Australian equivalent of the Academy Awards, won 11 awards, including Best Film.  Then, Bob talks with former NPR colleagues Gwen Thompkins and Sean Collins about their new public radio show called Music Inside Out.  Thompkins hosts the program from New Orleans and Collins produces it in St. Louis.

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Everyone knows that the Bible is the top best-selling book in history. In part, that status is achieved through a shotgun spread of disparate versions, translations and adaptations for all walks of life - and at least two dozen retellings for children, some with superheroes.  Most of those versions are not based on new scholarship, but that was the genesis of “A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts.” Bob talks with the editor, Hal Taussig, a pastor and professor who teaches at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  Then, Gene Weingarten is so good at what he does that he’s won a Pulitzer…  twice. As a feature writer for the Washington Post, Weingarten muses about whatever strikes his fancy. One of his most well-known pieces was about a stunt he set up with the violin virtuoso, Joshua Bell. Weingarten stationed Bell outside of a busy metro stop to see if anyone noticed. Hardly anyone did.  Weingarten talks with Bob about that and many of his other memorable stories from a new collection titled The Fiddler in the Subway.

 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, 19 years after they worked together on Muriel’s Wedding(1994)director PJ Hogan (My Best Friend’s Wedding) and actress Toni Collett are reunited for Hogan’s new film Mental.  Loosely based on Hogan’s own up-bringing, Mental is about a husband who commits his wife to a mental institute and hires a hitchhiker (Collett) to care for his 5 daughters.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.