Tag: history

Amanda Vaill (BSS #549)

Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway headed to Spain to help the Loyalists during the Civil War. Gellhorn was to transform into one of the 20th century’s best war correspondents. Hemingway needed to have his romanticism crushed to write a masterpiece. They are two figures in Amanda Vaill’s HOTEL FLORIDA. This conversation examines how the Civil War changed not only the trajectory of Spain, but the future of world culture.
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Diane Johnson (BSS #533)

Diane Johnson is best known for her comic novels centered around France: LE MARIAGE and LE DIVORCE. But before all this, many years before, she wrote a darker novel called THE SHADOW KNOWS that attracted Stanley Kubrick’s notice. Johnson has published a new memoir, FLYOVER LIVES, that details her thoughts on her ancestors, growing up in the Midwest, her life, and her work. Our vivacious and variegated chat gets into the current state of Franco-American relations, forgotten writers, the Methodist practice of being frightened into being good, America’s migratory impulse, the demise of the American rail system, foodies, California history, and the considerable references and ideas that Johnson and Kubrick consulted for their work on THE SHINING. Read More

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Simon Winchester II (BSS #527)

In 2007, we aired an infamous program with Simon Winchester, in which he argued with us over the finer points of local history. His new book, THE MEN WHO UNITED THE STATES, shifts the action to a bigger stage, taking on the entire United States. With greater historical stakes, the affable Englishman returns for a conversational rematch six years later. This program features an affably argumentative and cheerfully divergent chat between two wildly energized men united by the common belief that history is always worth returning to. Read More

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Wendy Lower (BSS #526)

More than seven decades after World War II, we’re still deeply uncomfortable about the idea that women under the Nazi regime committed barbaric acts. We talk with Holocaust scholar (and National Book Award finalist) Wendy Lower about the realities she confronts in her new book, HITLER’S FURIES. How much are the women who were socialized under Nazi policies to blame? Why did the postwar courts allow these women, some of whom massacred children, to return to society without consequence? Read More

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Samira Kawash (BSS #522)

This is the second of two shows devoted to Halloween. Did you know that there was once a chocolate bar called the Chicken Dinner? That cigarette companies once considered candy to be a threat to discretionary spending? Or that candy was used by the military for safety purposes? We didn’t either, until we read Samira Kawash’s CANDY: A CENTURY OF PANIC AND PLEASURE. We discuss the serpentine history of candy with the Candy Professor herself! Read More

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Guns, Part One (FYE #1)

Aurora, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech. We’re shocked by the massacres and the loss of life, but how did we get to this? This is the first of a two part program examining guns at length. Edge of the South Bronx On the edge of the South Bronx, everybody we talk with has an opinion about Read More

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Roger Corman (BSS #416)

In addition to directing some of the most memorable and entertaining drive-in movies of the 20th century (among many other accomplishments), Roger Corman is most recently the subject of a new documentary called Corman’s World, which is now playing film festivals and is set for release on December 16. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Not of Read More

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Susan Orlean (BSS #415)

Susan Orlean is most recently the author of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Pondering an alternative timeline with the golden retriever rising as the heroic dog of choice. Author: Susan Orlean Subjects Discussed: Rin Tin Tin references in Finnegans Wake, Rinty’s indefinable charm, Jack London, dogs in World Read More

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Adam Hochschild (BSS #396)

Adam Hochschild is most recently the author of To End All Wars. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Conscientiously objecting and objectifying consciousness. Author: Adam Hochschild Subjects Discussed: What is considered morally permissible in war, mustard gas, deadly military technology, Ray Bradbury’s “The Flying Machine,” the women’s suffrage movement and World War I, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Read More

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Holly Tucker (BSS #388)

Holly Tucker is most recently the author of Blood Work. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Wondering why his bank statements come back bloody. Author: Holly Tucker Subjects Discussed: Early philosophical notions of blood, ill humors, whether science without the scientific method can be adequately called science, the Royal Society, William Harvey and the discovery of circulation, Read More

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Michael Crummey (BSS #387)

Michael Crummey is most recently the author of Galore. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Wondering if you can rent a motel room in the whale of a belly. Author: Michael Crummey Subjects Discussed: Childbearing in poor families, grisly deaths and irresponsible life decisions, infant mortality in the early 20th century, the relationship between historical investigation and Read More

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Isabel Wilkerson (BSS #366)

Isabel Wilkerson is most recently the author of The Warmth of Other Suns. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Warming up to fascinating history. Author: Isabel Wilkerson Subjects Discussed: [List forthcoming] EXCERPT FROM SHOW: Correspondent: I wanted to ask about one of the key pieces of conflict relating to the Great Migration that fascinated me. You pointed Read More

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