Monday, March 3, 2014
Bob talks to Mary Willingham, a former academic advisor to athletes at the University of North Carolina, and UNC history professor Jay Smith, about the continuing controversy around the university’s big money sports program. Willingham says that some of the football and basketball players at Carolina she tutored or evaluated were reading between a 4th grade and 8th grade level, and a that a handful were functionally illiterate. She said one of the Tar Heels’ basketball players she tutored couldn’t read at all. UNC officials have accused her of making this up, and demoted her. She’s also received death threats from fans. Willingham and professor Jay Smith are writing a book about the scandal, and the university’s reaction. Then, comedian/performance artist Mark Malkoff talks about going for a week without his smartphone. He had to find creative, low-tech substitutes for daily activities like texting, status updates on Facebook, and posting silly pictures of his cat on Instagram. Malkoff’s previous stunts have included racing a NY city bus on a kids’ Big Wheel tricycle (the Big Wheel won,) visiting all 171 Starbucks in New York city within 24 hours, and consuming something at each one; and living for a week in an IKEA while his apartment was being fumigated.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Margaret Fuller was one of the literary elite of 19th Century New England, along with Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. But many of the details of her remarkable life have been eclipsed by her tragic death, in a shipwreck off the coast of Fire Island. A new biography, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, by Megan Marshall, tells her story from youth in New England to adulthood in New York and Europe. Fuller was a literary editor, a columnist crusading on behalf of the poor and a war correspondent. Marshall is the author of The Peabody Sisters, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic and the New York Times Book Review.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Zelda Sayre was the wife and literary muse of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Together they were the living symbols of The Jazz Age, the Roaring 20’s and the Lost Generation. But Zelda was also a writer, dancer, painter and so much more. In her novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, written from Zelda’s point of view, Therese Anne Fowler gives Zelda her due. Then, Bob talks with brothers Jonathan and Tad Richards about their book titled Nick & Jake. In the epistolary novel, the two famous literary characters, Nick Carraway and Jake Barnes, refugees from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, strike up a correspondence and then friendship. The story charts their romp through 1950s America with a bizarre cast of fictional characters and actual historical figures. Their book has just been released in paperback.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Bob talks about the political turmoil in Ukraine with Miroslava Gongadze, an anchor and reporter at Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service, and Mychailo Wynnyckyi, a professor of sociology at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, in Kiev. It all started three months ago when a small group of students met on Kiev’s Independence Square to mark the anniversary of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. It quickly morphed into a massive popular uprising, bloody clashes between protesters and police that left about 100 people dead, the sudden departure of President Viktor Yanukovych, and then Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send in troops to the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Now Ukraine is an international crisis. Then, 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 Economist data editor Kenneth Cukier joins Bob to discuss the book. It’s now out in paperback.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, following World War II, the United States secretly brought over a number of former Nazi scientists, notwithstanding their crimes against humanity. Best-selling author Annie Jacobsen details this covert plan in her new book Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Bob talks to Dave Zirin, host of SiriusXM’s weekly show “Edge of Sports” about scandals in college sports. The most recent controversy involves the University of North Carolina. A former academic advisor to athletes named Mary Willingham went public and said that some of football and basketball players at the university read between a 4th grade and 8th grade level, and a handful were functionally illiterate. She said one of the Tar Heels’ basketball players she tutored couldn’t read at all. Then, Bob talks with NPR correspondent Margot Adler about her book Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Bob talks to Columbia University professor Hisham D. Aidi about his latest book Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture. Then, in her book, The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss argues that martyrdom, or “the Age of Martyrs” was mostly fictitious, conceived by the church to recruit and expand. This image of Christian-as-victim is still very much with us today, and Moss explains the implications for modern society. Moss is a religion professor at Notre Dame and an expert on early Christianity. Her book is now available in paperback.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
As the 19th century came to a close, America’s big cities worked out how to move people quickly and efficiently. Author Doug Most tells the story of mass transit in his book The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America’s First Subway. Then, Bob talks to author Nicole Mones about black musicians in the Chinese jazz age and her latest novel, Night In Shanghai.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Bob talks with sports writer John Feinstein about his book Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball. Then, in their song “All Together Now,” The Beatles sang the lyrics: “pink, brown, yellow, orange and blue, I love you…” and who doesn’t love bright beautiful colors? The lads from Liverpool are far from the only artists to pen odes to the hues of our world, and Folklorists Steve Winick & Nancy Groce join us with some of their favorite examples from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, filmmaker Rachel Boynton’s new documentary, Big Men, takes viewers to the oil fields of Ghana and Nigeria, where violence, corruption, and greed deny local citizens the proceeds that come from their resource rich country. Big Men opens March 14th. Then, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.