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November 2010

 

Monday, November 1, 2010

The image of hard-drinking cowboys staying up all night for a poker game has given the card game an all-American reputation, but as writer and poker champion James McManus reveals in his book Cowboys Full: the Story of Poker, the game actually originated in Europe.  He charts the history of this gambler’s favorite from its origins through to its present day renaissance.  Then, in the first few days of Obama’s presidency, Sam Tanenhaus published an essay in The New Republic titled “Conservatism is Dead.”  The essay started a debate about the state of the GOP.  Drawing on 20 years of research, Tanenhaus has followed up with a longer study of the conservative movement in his book titled  The Death of Conservatism: A Movement and Its Consequences. It’s now out in paperback. Tanenhaus is the editor of the Book Review and the Week in Review sections of the New York Times.

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Elizabeth Alexander composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her latest collection Crave Radiance gathers both previous work and new poetry that includes the inaugural poem. 

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Writer Barbara Kingsolver is one of America’s most beloved and respected novelists.   She won the National Book Prize of South Africa in 1998 for The Poisonwood Bible and in 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Kingsolver the National Humanities Medal.  Her latest book, The Lacuna, is Kingsolver’s first novel in 9 years.  It’s now available in paperback. Then, historian Carol Berkin tells the story of three wives of notable Civil War figures whose marriages gave them unique perspectives into “The War Between the States.”  Berkin’s book is titled Civil War Wives: The Lives & Times of Angelina Grimké Weld, Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent Grant.  It’s now out in paperback.

 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garry Wills has written about Jack Ruby and John Wayne; Saint Augustine, Saint Paul and Jesus; James Madison and Abraham Lincoln. Now he writes about himself. His autobiography is titled Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer. 

 

Friday, November 5, 2010

It’s been forty years since many Americans were shipped to and died in the jungles of Vietnam. Today we revisit a tribute to our service men and women: Stories from Third Med: Surviving a Jungle ER. Bob Edwards Show producer Ariana Pekary recorded stories from 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.

 

Saturday/Sunday, November 6-7, 2010

 

Elizabeth Alexander composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her latest collection titled Crave Radiance gathers both previous work and new poetry that includes the inaugural poem.

 

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Joe Laycock.  He is a Harvard-trained school teacher in an overcrowded city district. Laycock studies religion and martial arts to find the emotional strength to withstand 10-hour days of teaching, a blizzard of standardized tests, and an unresponsive bureaucratic system.

 

Salon.com book critic Laura Miller discusses fall books and what titles are worth your time as the days grow shorter.

 

What do British novelist Nick Hornby and American musician Ben Folds have in common? A new CD calledLonely Avenue, 11 songs featuring Hornby’s lyrics and Folds’ music and voice. They join Bob at the piano in our performance studio to discuss how their long-distance mutual admiration turned into an album of playful yet often soul-stirring songs.

 

 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Private Felix Longoria volunteered for service during World War II and was killed by a Japanese sniper seven months later. When his body was finally returned to the United Stated in 1949, the only funeral parlor in his hometown refused to hold a wake for him. The Longoria family was told they’d have to find somewhere else because he was “Mexican” and “the whites would not like it.” The incident led to a sequence of political maneuvers now referred to as The Longoria Affair. That’s also the name of a documentary premiering on the PBS program Independent Lens on November 9th. Bob talks with the director of the film, John Valadez.  Then, Amy Ray and Emily Sailers met in elementary school and began playing music together in high school, first as the B-Band, then as Sailers and Ray and now as the Indigo Girls. The folk rock duo released their first full-length album in 1987 and more than a dozen have followed.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bob talks with public radio space reporter Pat Duggins about NASA’s next giant leap. His new book is titled Trailblazing Mars and Duggins will update us on the future of the space program under the Obama administration and beyond.  Then, Blogger Michael Redman and former nurse Lisa Epstein are two very unlikely people to take on the big banks of Wall Street.  But the two ordinary citizens advocated so persistently for the last two years, that many institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, temporarily stopped their foreclosures.  Redman and Epstein will describe how they got involved, what they learned, and what problems they still foresee for homeowners nationwide.

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bob goes to Baltimore to talk with former journalist turned filmmaker David Simon. He’s the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire and now he’s busy preparing for the second season of Treme. Simon’s latest HBO series is based in New Orleans and tells the city’s story in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina. David Simon recently received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant for his body of work.  Then, Davis McAlary played by actor Steve Zahn is one of the main characters on Treme. During our last trip to New Orleans, we visited with “The Real Davis” and talked about how his life overlaps with the character. Davis Rogan is a local musician, a former DJ and a consultant for the HBO series. He welcomed us into his Treme home, poured Bob a bourbon and they talked about the show, Rogan’s music and his city.

 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today, “Surviving the Fallen: Dignified Transfers to Military Families.”  As the United States rounds out nine years at war, the remains of fallen service men and women return to American soil at a rate now of more than one per day.  Each body lands at the Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware and is honored in a quiet event called a “dignified transfer.”  In this Veteran’s Day feature, The Bob Edwards Show chronicles the process of receiving America’s men and women killed overseas, from the moment they land at Dover until the family lays them to rest.  In “Surviving the Fallen,” military staff, a Dover photographer, and family members describe the procedural, emotional, and spiritual experience of paying respect to our war fallen. 

 

Friday, November 12, 2010

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornsteinare scholars on government; Mann at the Brookings Institution and Ornstein at the American Enterprise Institute.  They talk with Bob about the issues confronting the coming, divided Congress.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jessica Mercer Zerr.  She teaches composition and introductory linguistics at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.  She and her husband Ryan have been married for more than eight years, and she writes about their devotion to each other — shown in the dozens of small favors and kindnesses they share each day. They have two young sons, but they still find time for each other in their hectic schedules.

 

Saturday/Sunday, November 13-14, 2010

Today, “Surviving the Fallen: Dignified Transfers to Military Families.”  The remains of fallen service men and women return to American soil at a rate now of more than one per day.  Each body lands at the Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware and is honored in a quiet event called a “dignified transfer.”  The Bob Edwards Show chronicles the process of receiving America’s men and women killed overseas, from the moment they land at Dover until the family lays them to rest.  In “Surviving the Fallen,” military staff, a Dover photographer, and family members describe the procedural, emotional, and spiritual experience of paying respect to our fallen warriors.

 

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jessica Mercer Zerr.  She teaches composition and introductory linguistics at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.  She and her husband Ryan have been married for more than eight years, and she writes about their devotion to each other — shown in the dozens of small favors and kindnesses they share each day. They have two young sons, but they still find time for each other in their hectic schedules.

 

Bob talks with public radio space reporter Pat Duggins about NASA’s next giant leap. His new book is titled Trailblazing Mars and Duggins will update us on the future of the space program under the Obama administration and beyond.

 

Garry Wills has written about Jack Ruby and John Wayne; Saint Augustine, Saint Paul and Jesus; James Madison and Abraham Lincoln. Now he writes about himself. His autobiography is titled Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer.

 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eliot Spitzer was New York’s powerful Attorney General, known as “The Sherriff of Wall Street.” Then in 2006, Spitzer was overwhelmingly elected as the Governor of New York. The Democrat was on his way to political super-stardom and maybe someday the White House. But it turns out he had the secret habit of employing very high-priced escorts. Spitzer was known to the prostitution ring as “Client 9” and that’s the title of Alex Gibney’s latest documentary. Gibney joins Bob to discuss the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer is currently the co-host of CNN’s Parker Spitzer.  Then, entertainment critic David Kipen joins Bob to talk about the importance of libraries and about his new venture, a lending library in LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood.

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010   

Jane Addams was a social justice activist at a time when women were supposed to be homemakers and nothing more.  In 1889, when Addams was twenty-nine years old, she moved into a newly industrialized, working class neighborhood in Chicago and founded Hull House, the nation’s first settlement house. Addams went on to advise eight presidents on social policy, and she was the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize.  Bob speaks with Addams newest biographer, Louise Knight. Knight’s book is titled Jane Addams: Spirit in Action. Then, we’ll revisit a conversation with Michael Quinion, editor of the website www.WorldWideWords.org.

 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010  

Alabama’s Donaldson Correctional Facility is the last stop for hundreds of men facing life sentences in the overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison. And it’s a very unlikely setting for Vipassana, an intense, silent meditation program lasting ten days.  The documentary film The Dhamma Brothers tells the story of a group of inmates going through the course. Jenny Phillips produced and directed the film. She is a practicing psychotherapist in Massachusetts and it was through her initiative that this unique prison program began in Alabama. The documentary was just released on DVD.  Then, singer-song writer Elvis Costello is a master of reinvention.  This musical chameleon has kept fans on their toes for the past 30 years, and his latest album, National Ransom, follows suit, as guests Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, and other musical luminaries join Costello for an inventive take on the American roots sound.

 

Thursday, November 18, 2010 

Historian Simon Winchester has made a career unearthing the fascinating stories of things many of us take for granted, most notably in The Professor and the Madman (1998) about the creation of Oxford English Dictionary.  His latest book tells the stories of the Earth’s second largest body of water inAtlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories.  Then, Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith reviews two new biopics about the life of legendary musician John Lennon, released for what would have been Lennon’s 70th year.  In theaters now, Nowhere Boy follows young John Lennon’s life in Liverpool, while Masterpiece Contemporary’s new film Lennon Naked, airing Sunday, November 21st on PBS, looks at Lennon’s final years with The Beatles.  Goldsmith is the author of The Beatles Come to America. 

 

Friday, November 19, 2010  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, what do British novelist Nick Hornby and American piano player Ben Folds have in common? A new CD called Lonely Avenue, 11 songs featuring Hornby’s lyrics and Folds’ music and voice. They both join Bob at the piano in our performance studio to discuss how their long-distance mutual admiration turned into an album of playful yet often soul-stirring songs.   Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of James Johnson.  He has been a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts for the past 35 years. But he grew up in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” of Louisiana, where he spent many hours duck hunting with his father. Johnson says the lessons he learned in the duckblind made him the person he is today.

 

Saturday/Sunday, November 20-21, 2010

 Eliot Spitzer was New York’s powerful Attorney General, known as “The Sherriff of Wall Street.” Then in 2006, Spitzer was overwhelmingly elected as the Governor of New York. The Democrat was on his way to political super-stardom and maybe someday the White House. But it turns out he had the secret habit of employing very high-priced escorts. Spitzer was known to the prostitution ring as “Client 9” and that’s the title of Alex Gibney’s latest documentary. Gibney joins Bob to discuss the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer.

 

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of James Johnson.  He has been a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts for the past 35 years. But he grew up in the “Sportsman’s Paradise” of Louisiana, where he spent many hours duck hunting with his father. Johnson says the lessons he learned in the duckblind made him the person he is today. 

 

HOUR TWO

 

Historian Simon Winchester has made a career unearthing the fascinating stories of things many of us take for granted, most notably writing about creation of Oxford English Dictionary in The Professor and the Madman.  Winchester’s latest book is a biography of Earth’s second largest body of water. It’s titledAtlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories.

 

Sirius XM Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith reviews two new biopics about the life of legendary musician John Lennon, released for what would have been Lennon’s 70th year.  In theaters now, Nowhere Boy follows young John Lennon’s life in Liverpool, while Masterpiece Contemporary’s new film Lennon Naked, airing Sunday, November 21st on PBS, looks at Lennon’s final years with The Beatles.  Goldsmith is the author of The Beatles Come to America.

 

Monday, November 22, 2010

We kick of our new series called Music City Mondays with an overview of Nashville from mayor Karl Dean.  He takes Bob on a driving tour of downtown to discuss the devastating flood the city suffered this past spring. Mayor Dean also shows off some of his Green initiatives, the bustling construction site for Nashville’s new convention center and he takes us backstage at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Then we’ll give you a sneak preview of the rest of the series, including interviews with musicians Guy Clark, Jim Lauderdale, Marshall Chapman and Marty Stuart.

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010   

Matt Taibbi’s writing makes the powerful squirm. In one of his Rolling Stone articles he compared Goldman Sachs to a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” In his new book,Griftopia, Taibbi argues it’s the grifter class that is creating a redistribution of wealth in this country —— taking it out of the hands of the working class and putting it into the coffers of the super rich. Then, serious mythology surrounds Cleopatra but the truth is just as exciting: Married twice, each time to a brother, the Queen of Egypt slept with neither. Instead, she waged a civil war against one and poisoned the other. She had sex with only two men: Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was the richest and most powerful woman in the world for a time, and all this before her death in her late 30s. Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff reconstructs one of history’s most famous lives in her new book, Cleopatra.

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010  

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp recorded his latest album, No Better Than This, in Savannah’s First African Baptist Church, Sun Studio in Memphis, and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio (site of blues master Robert Johnson’s historic 1936 recordings).  The album recently enjoyed a number 10 spot on the Billboard 200, making this the 10th Top 10 album of Mellencamp’s career. Then, A good chunk of the collection in the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center comes from recording field trips taken by Alan Lomax and others starting in the 1930s. Our resident folklorists, Stephen Winick and Nancy Groce, talk more about those field trips and share some of the lesser known recordings made during them, including some from Haiti.

 

Thursday, November 25, 2010 

On this Thanksgiving Day we dip into our archives. First it’s Bob’s interview with Nantucket residentNathaniel Philbrick about his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War.  Then, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva have been producing some of the best stuff on radio since 1979.   They are the creators of two Peabody Award winning NPR series Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project. Bob talks to The Kitchen Sisters about their project, an audio book based on their radio series Hidden Kitchens: Stories and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters.

 

Friday, November 26, 2010  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, when England’s King Edward VIII abdicated to marry an American, his younger brother George suddenly found himself not only king of England, but the symbolic head of a nation on the brink of World War II.  The King’s Speech, directed byTom Hooper, follows George’s (Colin Firth) personal battle as he struggles to overcome his stutter and connect with his people.  Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush costar.   Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Shannon Lee Denney.  She is an attorney in Milwaukee, but her first love is cooking. The kitchen is the most important room in her house. Denney began learning to cook at her mother’s side when she was a child, and she is teaching her daughters to cook the same way, passing along treasured family recipes.

 

 Monday, November 29, 2010

We continue our Nashville series Music City Mondays with a trip to Guy Clark’s house to discuss his career, his music and his handmade instruments. Bob talks with Clark in a basement room that performs double duty as a guitar building workshop and a song writing room. Then we meet with singer-songwriters Shawn Camp and Billy Burnette to talk about their Nashville careers and the craft and business of songwriting. They’ve each had their songs recorded by stars and turned into hits.

 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010   

In 1962, eleven-year-old Carlos Eire and his older brother Tony boarded an airplane in Cuba and left their parents and country behind, becoming not only refugees but also orphans. The brothers were two of 14,000 children airlifted out of “Castroland” in a mass exodus known as Operation Pedro Pan.  Carlos Eire is now a professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He won a National Book Award for his memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana. He picks up where that book left off, the moment he first set foot in Miami, with Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.