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The Bob Edwards Show

May 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The dialogue in Glengarry, Glen Ross is classic David Mamet - fast, cynical, sharp. Mamet won the Pulitzer for the play in 1984, and he made his directorial debut three years later with a movie he also wrote called House of Games. That film, and two of his others, The Spanish Prisoner and Heist, are about con artists. Mamet's newest, Redbelt, is an action movie about a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Then, magician, actor, and writer Ricky Jay is believed to be one of the greatest sleight of hand masters in the US. He talks with Bob about his passion for cards and magic, as well as his recent work with director David Mamet.


Friday, May 2, 2008

China's famed Terra Cotta Army was one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century and beginning this May, the Terry Cotta Army will be on display in various American museums for almost two years. John Man's new book The Terra Cotta Army: China's First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation weaves together the stories of the Army's history.  Then, if you’re a fan of horse racing, you already know that the first Saturday in May is when twenty thoroughbreds race for the sport’s holy grail, the Kentucky Derby. The First Saturday In May is the title of a new film about six horses and their hopeful trainers, on the road to the starting gate of the 2006 Derby. Bob talks to the directors, brothers John and Brad Hennegan.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, Amy Goodman anchors the foremost progressive daily news program in the country, Democracy Now!  Goodman along with her brother, investigative reporter David Goodman, recently published Standing Up to the Madness, stories of courageous citizens who challenge government policies.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Arianna Huffington stops in to talk about the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic contests, the news according to The Huffington Post, and her new book Right is Wrong. Then, Bob and Ray started their legendary radio career at WHDH in Boston, Massachusetts and have been admired for their timeless humor and satire ever since.  Bob Elliott talks about that 40 year career in celebration of 85th this year.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bob talks with Quil Lawrence, a correspondent for the BBC and The World, about the history of Iraqi Kurds, a group that bore the brunt of Saddam Hussein's violence. Lawrence has spent almost 10 years reporting on Kurdistan, and his new book is Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East.  Then, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talks politics with Bob.  Reid's new biography is called The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Photographer Vivian Cherry starting shooting pictures of her native New York City as a young woman in the 1950s.  Although she followed various career paths, Cherry continued to take pictures of the "city that never sleeps."  Now 90 years old, many of Cherry's photographs are published for the first time in Helluva Town: New York City in the 1940s and '50s. Then, "Pride of New Orleans" jazz pianist Henry Butler is a virtuoso of styles and technique. Although Butler was blinded by glaucoma at birth, he performs and records all over the world, and, somewhat surprisingly, is also a noted photographer.

Friday, May 9 2008

Movie reviewer David Kipen comes in to preview the weekend cinema options. Then, Dr. Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz and his wife Juliette raised their nine children in a single camper, living anywhere the surfing was good. The documentary "Surfwise" documents the results of the Paskowitz’s extraordinary upbringing, and Bob talks with director Doug Pray, as well as the Doc himself about their experiences.  Finally, Kathy Mattea's coal mining roots run deep: both her parents grew up in coal camps, both her grandfathers were miners, and her mother worked for the local miners' union. But she says that the songs on her new album, "Coal," are more than just mining songs; she calls them her "re-education" in singing.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post . Then, folksinger John McCutcheon has made over thirty albums and been dubbed "the Bruce Springsteen of folk music.” On his newest CD, Sermon on the Mound , McCutcheon sings about baseball.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lobbyist and writer Gene Baur founded the animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary in 1986. They advocate for policies that keep diseased animals off menus and care for abused animals from farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses across the country. Then, New York Times bestselling author, Augusten Burroughs talks about his intimate, raw and most profound memoir yet. A Wolf at the Table is about his father.


Wednesday , May 14, 2008

As a proud member of Generation X, writer Jeff Gordinier sets out to prove that the "slacker generation" has changed important aspects of our culture. According to his new book X Saves the World, the generation that has given us Google, Pulp Fiction, and “The Daily Show” are the real movers and shakers in U.S. culture. Then, Evelyn Nesbit was America's first "It" girl. She was the most photographed woman of the early 1900s, but Nesbit went from famous to infamous when she became the center of a well-publicized murder scandal. Bob talks with historian Paula Uruburu about her book American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reporter Matt Taibbi attended John Hagee’s “Encounter Weekend," where he witnessed exorcisms, spiritual and political indoctrination, and speaking in tongues. Taibbi writes about that experience and others in his book The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire. Then, before John McCain took over in 1987, the Arizona Senate seat belonged to Barry Goldwater, who is largely credited for the rise of conservatism in the 1960s. His son, Barry Goldwater, Jr. and John Dean, former White House counsel to Richard Nixon reveal some of the logic behind the influential politician who was both a friend to John F. Kennedy and supporter of Joseph McCarthy. Their book, Pure Goldwater, is based on the late Senator's personal journal and, of course, their own experiences.

Friday, May 16 2008

Victor Wooten is perhaps the most important bassist of his generation. He’s from a musical family and best known for his work as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but Wooten has also released six albums of his own, including the latest Palmystery. Victor Wooten is also an author. His first book, The Music Lesson, a Spiritual Search for Growth through Music , prompts readers to re-consider traditional notions of music, instruments and knowledge.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Next, a new documentary called The Zen of Bobby V. tells the story of former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. His current job is managing one of Japan's best baseball teams. Directors Andrew Jenks and Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew were given unprecedented access to Valentine and his team and their film shows how big a celebrity Valentine is in Japan and explores the Japanese obsession with baseball. Then, Bob talks with XM's 50's on 5 DJ Matt the Cat about the May 19, 1960 arrest of DJ Alan Freed on Payola charges.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau includes words by those you'd expect: Thoreau, Whitman, Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold. But also included in the collection are Lyndon Johnson, John Steinbeck, science fiction writer Phillip Dick . . . and Marvin Gaye. Bob talks with the editor of the collection, noted environmental author, activist and scholar Bill McKibben. Then, New York-based jazz singer Lainie Cooke has recorded her second CD titled It’s Always You. The album presents a program of songs revolving around the theme of finding – and then losing love.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Since the death penalty was re-instated in 1976, only 11 women have been executed. Mary Atwell is a professor of criminal justice at Radford University. In her book, Wretched Sisters: Examining Gender and Capital Punishment, Atwell examines the stories of the 11 condemned women and what they reveal about how the death penalty is applied in this country. Then, for fifteen years, Carroll Pickett served as the death house chaplain for the prison in Huntsville, Texas. Over that time, Pickett witnessed 95 executions, staying with the condemned inmate from cell block to grave. After each execution, Pickett made an audio tape recording his trip to the death chamber. Pickett's story is told in a new documentary called At the Death House Door. Bob talks with Pickett and with the film’s directors Steve James and Peter Gilbert.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey stars as Ron Klain, former chief of staff for vice president Al Gore in the upcoming HBO movie Recount, about the contested 2000 U.S. presidential election. Spacey talks about that role and the many others he’s portrayed over his acting career . Then, Andrew Blechman was shocked when his older New England neighbors put their house up for sale. He was even more surprised when he learned they were moving to The Villages in central Florida. It's the world's largest gated retirement community, takes up more space than Manhattan and includes a golf course for every day of the month. Blechman explores this rapidly growing trend in his new book titled Leisureville: Adventures in America's Retirement Utopias.


Friday, May 23, 2008 

It’s been forty years since many Americans were shipped to and died in the jungles of Vietnam. For this Memorial Day weekend, we pay tribute to our service men and women with stories of the Navy’s Third Medical Battalion, which served alongside the Third Marine Division. They were based near the DMZ, closest to the enemy in North Vietnam. Four decades later, the doctors and medics recount the horror (and humor) they can never forget, and reflect on the forces that drive men to war in the first place.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On this Memorial Day we dip into our archives. First it’s Bob’s conversation with E.O. Wilson.  He has been called the intellectual heir to Charles Darwin.  The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner attempted to bridge the divide between science and Evangelical Christianity with his book, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Next, Bob talks about eugenics with Harry Brunius.  His book is titled: Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity.   Finally, commentator Tom Bodett chips in with some levity, explaining the subtle differences within the debate over Intelligent Design and evolution.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bob revisits two interviews from our archives- first, Steven Watts talks about his book, The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century. Then, political activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader talks about his first non-political book. The Seventeen Traditions is a memoir about Nader's childhood, which he spent in the Connecticut countryside as the son of Lebanese immigrants.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

Today we replay two interviews from our archives. First, it’s been called the most important war in American history that nobody really knows about: The deceptively named "French & Indian War."  Historian David Dixon wrote dispatches from the war as a fictional embedded journalist.  The program is online at Then, Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins talks about her book, The Real All-Americans, which tells the story of the Carlisle Indian School.  The school was best known for its football team, once led by coach “Pop” Warner and player Jim Thorpe. The book also has a lot to say about the treatment of American Indians by the United States government.

 Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bob’s out of the office for the rest of the week so we’re visiting our archives yet again. Bob talks with Paul Dickson and Thomas Allen, authors of The Bonus Army: An American Epic. It tells the story of 50,000 World War One veterans who descended on Washington, DC in the long hot summer of 1932 to demand payment of a cash bonus promised to them years earlier. For two months the veterans camped out on the National Mall until Douglas MacArthur sent in tanks to clear them away.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bob’s away today so we revisit his interview with Marc Fisher.  He’s the author of: Something in the Air: Radio, Rock and the Revolution that Shaped a Generation. It tells the story of how radio survived the rise of television by focusing on "pop culture" and how it became the bonding agent for a generation.