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September 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012
Bob talks with New York Times science writer John Tierney about his book titled Willpower: The Science Behind Decision Making and Self Control.  It has just been released in paperback.  Then, Bob talks with James Green about an important moment in the history of the labor movement.  Green wrote Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America.  Finally, Bob talks with scholar Lauren Coodley about Upton Sinclair’s life and how he brought about reform that benefited both workers and consumers. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For the past few weeks, the Obama and Romney campaigns have been debating about the appropriate intersection between government and business, prompted by President Obama making this statement during a campaign speech:  “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  Well, if you own a big box store specializing in fishing and hunting supplies, you most definitely didn’t build that. So argues Scott Reeder in a new article on the Atlantic Cities website. Reeder led an exhaustive investigation for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and found that Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have together received or were promised more than $2.2 billion from American taxpayers over the past 15 years.  Then, after the sudden death of her husband, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, award-winning journalist Kati Marton fled to Paris, the site of so many milestones in her life, to write, Paris: A Love Story.  Marton writes about her life with Holbrooke, with whom she found lasting love and her second husband, journalist Peter Jennings, the man to whom she was married for fifteen years.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Author and journalist Christopher Hitchens died in December 2011 at the age of 62 following a year and a half “struggle” with cancer.  Hitchens wrote about his battle with cancer in his final book, Mortality. His widow Carol Blue sits with Bob to discuss those final months of Hitchens’s life.  Then, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is a sociologist and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For her new book, Exit, Lawrence-Lightfoot interviewed people in states of major change: a Catholic priest leaving the church, a gay man who recently came out, an Iranian teenager forced to leave his country. In their stories, she explores how endings and exits affect us.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

When he was last on The Bob Edwards Show, W.D. Wetherell discussed his book about an autumn of fishing in Yellowstone National Park.  This time he brings us a novel titled The Writing On the Wall. It tells the story of Vera Savino, who, after stripping the wallpaper from her sister’s home, finds two previous female residents have shared their most intimate secrets in narratives written on the bare walls.  It turns out that Vera has secrets of her own and adds her story to the wall of a third room. Then, we recall a previous conversation with Wetherell conversation about his 2009 book, Yellowstone Autumn: A Season of Discovery in a Wondrous Land.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, “America’s National Park for the Performing Arts” is tucked into the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.  Each year, Wolf Trap presents more than 270 performances and concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music. Bob visits the Vienna, Virginia office of Terrence (Terre) Jones, the outgoing President and CEO of the Wolf Trap Foundation. After a lifetime in the performing arts and more than 16 years of leading Wolf Trap, Jones has decided to step down in December. Jones has also visited more than half of America’s 390 National Parks and has a new book of photography about his travels titled Road Trip. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Chris Huntington.  Not all parents welcome their babies in hospital delivery rooms.  Some see their new children for the first time in orphanages and foster homes, or in photographs sent overseas.  Huntington and his wife desperately wanted a baby, but biology conspired against their desire.  They decided to adopt a child, and Huntington says he now believe that becoming a parent is a gift you make to the universe and that the universe makes to you.


Monday, September 10, 2012

In June of this year, a Gallup poll found that 1 in 5 Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon president.  Documentary director Trevor Hill explored why in his documentary The Religious Test.  Then, when Pastor Robert Jeffress called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints a cult on national television, Mormons and even some non-Mormons took offence.  But the incident proved that although the LDS church continues to grow in numbers, there are still many people who don’t understand who or what they are.  With Mormon Republican nominee Mitt Romney campaigning fiercely for the presidency, Matthew Bowman’s book The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith, now out in paperback, offers context and explanation for this sometimes mysterious religion.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kristina Rizga is an education writer and her latest piece for Mother Jones Magazine describes that “Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong.”  After spending a year in San Francisco’s Mission High, one of the nation’s most diverse public schools, she says attendance is up, dropout rates are falling and college acceptance is “through the roof.”  Yet, it’s labeled a “low performing school.”  Then, as the name suggests, “Carbon Nation” is more movement than movie. Documentarian Peter Byck unveiled his progressive solutions for climate change in 2011 when the film was released.  However, he and the Carbon Nation crew are still gaining media attention for their initiative, appearing recently on Real Time With Bill Maher. Byck and Bob talk carbon, our nation, and the movement.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Journalist Joan Walsh caused quite a ruckus with an article she wrote for called “What’s The Matter With White People”.  Naturally, it became a book:  White People: Why We Long For A Golden Age That Never Was. Walsh is a political analyst for MSNBC, and an editor-at-large for  Then, scholar, literary critic and best-selling writer Stephen Greenblatt’s book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, examines the ancient Roman document that inspired the Renaissance.  The Swerve won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and is now out in paperback.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last year, the Herblock Foundation released their Report on Editorial Cartooning, stating that:  “At the start of the 20th century, there were approximately 2,000 editorial cartoonists employed by newspapers in the United States.  Today there are fewer than 20 staff cartoonists, and that number continues to shrink.”   Bob talks with Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonists Ann Telneas (Washington Post) and Matt Wuerker (Politico) about the state of political cartoons and their importance in an election year. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).


Friday, September 14, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, the story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger reads like a film. A notorious gangster turned-FBI informant, Bulger fled his native Massachusetts in 1994 after he was tipped off to a forthcoming indictment. Tom Foley was a State Police Colonel and a key investigator on Bulger’s case. In a new book, Foley reveals that in addition to routinely turning a blind eye to his crimes, the FBI also actively shielded him from Foley’s investigation for over a decade. Bulger was finally captured in Santa Monica, California in June, 2011. Tom Foley is the author of Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Amelia Baxter-Stoltzfus.  As children grow into adults, they try on different roles for themselves, looking for the person they will become.  Sometimes parents and siblings find this process jarring, wondering what happened to the person they used to know.  Baxter-Stoltzfus used semi-permanent hair dye to create a slightly different personality for just a little while – “the kind that lets you be whoever you want without letting go of how you got there.” 


Monday, September 17, 2012

In Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America, Nancy Cohen tells the story of a little known shadow movement that has fueled America’s political wars for forty years. She traces our current political crisis back to the rise of a well organized, ideologically driven opposition movement to turn back the sexual revolution, feminism, and gay rights. This sexual counterrevolution, Cohen shows, has played a leading role in shattering both political parties, dividing Americans into irreconcilable warring camps, and polarizing the nation.”  Cohen’s book has just been released in paperback.  Then, actor, director, and writer Josh Radnor’s second feature film opened over the weekend.   Written and directed by Radnor, Liberal Arts is about a 35-year old who returns to his university and find an unexpected romance.  Radnor is best-known as Ted Mosby on the Emmy award-winning TV show How I Met Your Mother.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Viagra Bill (Ohio state Senate Bill 307) shows “men as much love in the reproductive health arena as they have shown [women] over the years,” according to its author Ohio state Senator Nina Turner.  Bob talks to Sen. Turner about the bill and her provocative motivations. Then, Henry Sapoznik is an award winning Klezmer musician and Yiddish expert whose collection of 1920s-60s Yiddish radio programs are being archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vagina: A New Biography is the latest work from best-selling author Naomi Wolf. In it, Wolf draws from evolutionary biology and neurobiological research to describe a critical and creative relationship between a woman’s vagina and her brain. Wolf’s first book The Beauty Myth was called one of the most important books of the twentieth century by the New York Times. Then, after writing an award-winning cookbook about Vietnamese cuisine and creating a series of guidebooks on Southeast Asia, it makes sense that writer Kim Fay’s first novel is about the region she loves and knows best.  Set in Cambodia in the 1920s, The Map of Lost Memories follows a museum curator named Irene Blum on her search for the truth of the lost civilization of Angkor Wat.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Earlier this year, financial writer Michael Lewis spent 6 months hanging out with President Barack Obama at the White House and on Air Force One gathering material for “Obama’s Way” in the October issue of Vanity Fair.  Lewis talks with Bob about our 44th president in this election year and the man he got to know during their time together.  Lewis’ book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World is out in paperback.  Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).


Friday, September 21, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Bob speaks with Paul Bonesteel, director of the film The Day Carl Sandburg Died which tells the life story of the populist poet. Sandburg was known for bringing Chicago, “the city of the big shoulders,” to life in his writings and for his close associations with socialism. The documentary premieres Monday on PBS’ American Masters series. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Edward Glaeser.  Every media outlet in the country tells us that we are a divided nation.  Politics and religion, once avoided in polite conversation, now drive extreme and inflexible opinions.  Glaeser is no stranger to these feelings.  He tries every day to use a presumption of decency as a beacon to counteract the tendency to let hatred befuddle his capacity for reason. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Sadakat Kadri writes about the history of Islamic law is his book, Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari’a Law From the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World.  Then, How to Survive a Plague is a film that captures the plight of ailing activists who fought to save their own lives and six million others through the worst of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.  Filmmaker David France and advocate Peter Staley discuss the historical relevance of how HIV-positive patients forced government officials and health organizations to take up their cause and unite to tame the deadly virus.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Author Paul Tough believes that character is the most important factor in early childhood development.  In fact, Tough argues, that skills such as perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control are more important than intelligence in determining success.  Tough’s latest book is titled How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character.  Then, Sonia Manzano was the only Maria on Sesame Street in the 1970’s. She’s racked up 15 Emmy Awards since then, and now Manzano has published her first novel. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is a young girl’s coming-of-age tale set in Spanish Harlem circa 1970 as young Evelyn struggles with adolescence… and ancestry. Bob talks to Manzano about her book and her life.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

After 30 years reporting for the Wall Street Journal, Roger Thurow left his job to focus exclusively on the issues of hunger, food supply and agriculture as a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. His first book, published in 2009, was the critically acclaimed, Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Era of Plenty.  For his newest book, Thurow followed 4 small farmers in Kenya through one full year of farming.  It’s titled The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change. Then, German physicists devoted to Nazi ideology rejected Albert Einstein’s work and derided it as ‘Jewish science.’ In his latest book, author and professor Steven Gimbel takes a closer look at this claim, examining Einstein’s contributions to physics through the lens of his cultural and religious background. Gimbel’s book is titled, Einstein’s Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

English writer and satirist Craig Brown chronicles the 20th century’s most bizarre celebrity meetings in his book Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings.  Each chapter focuses on one of the odd pairs he uncovered, from Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot to Martha Graham and Madonna.  Next, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).  Then, every year since 1934, the U.S. postal service has released the duck stamp. The image that adorns the stamp comes from an annual art contest, the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government. Mary Smith takes readers inside the peculiar world of competitive duck painting in his new book, The Wild Duck Chase: Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Lee Gutkind started the nation’s first MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh and is the founder of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction.  His new book is You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything In Between. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Kevin Kelley.  He lives his life through the kindness of strangers.  Whether hitch hiking or traveling through foreign countries alone, Kelly has found that if you give people an opportunity, someone will always be good to you.