Monday, July 6, 2009

Michela Wrong is a writer and expert on modern African affairs. Her book In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz won the PEN James Stern Silver Pen Award, and paints a vivid picture of Congolese president Mobutu Sese Seko’s corruption. Her most recent book is It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower, about John Githongo, Kenya’s anti-corruption czar who was ousted from his country by the very administration that appointed him. Wrong writes about Africa from an African perspective, giving Westerners an important insight into this conflicted land. Then, after Melody Gardot was seriously injured in a bike accident at age nineteen, she took up music therapy as a way to rebuild her cognitive skills. Though permanently disabled, her therapy resulted in critical acclaim as a jazz and blues artist. Now on her fourth album, My One and Only Thrill,  Gardot describes how she writes and performs despite the physical pain she endures daily.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bob talks with environmental scientist James Lovelock about his latest book The Vanishing Face of Gaia. Lovelock argues that it’s already far too late to stop global warming, and that we should be committing our resources to surviving in the new hotter world to come instead of trying to stop it. Then, Rock journalist and memoirist Jancee Dunn explores the dichotomy of being a grown, successful professional, who, when she gets around her parents, immediately reverts back to her teenage self. Why Is My Mother Getting A Tattoo And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had To Ask asks if we ever really grow up, and chronicles Dunn’s attempt to come to grips with getting older.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The harmonies of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash have earned the musicians a trusty following since they joined forces back in 1969. Their friendship has endured decades and solo recordings. Now they’re going back to the early days by releasing a collection of previously unheard demos. The trio discusses Crosby, Stills & Nash Demos and reminisces their forty year history. Then, Sirius XM Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith joins Bob to honor heavyweight classical composer Gustav Mahler’s 149thbirthday this week.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

On July 15th, 1979, President Jimmy Carter addressed the country on live television. It is now remembered as the “malaise” speech though the President never said the word. What President Carter did say was that the country’s dependence on foreign oil “threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.” He also said it was an act of patriotism to conserve energy, to turn down the thermostat, to carpool. Historian Kevin Mattson’s new book, ‘What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?’ argues that the speech should have changed the country. Instead, it led to Carter’s downfall and the rise of conservatism. Next, when the United States entered World War II, advertising agencies on Madison Avenue stopped selling toothpaste and Lucky Strikes and started selling patriotism, duty and sacrifice. Some ads promoted Victory Gardens, others reminded Americans that loose lips sink ships, and the majority encouraged good citizens to buy War Bonds.  John Bush Jones examines how advertisements helped sell the war in his new book, All-Out for Victory.


Friday, July 10, 2009

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, The Academy Award-winning documentary When We Were Kings chronicled the 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire, giving only supporting mention of the epic 12-hour, three-night concert show-casing prominent African-American musicians of the day. Now, director Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, who edited When We Were Kings, has released 35-year old footage of this concert, featuring Celia Cruz, James Brown, BB King, and Bill Withers, among other artists. Soul Power documents this concert and the effects of this mile-stone event. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Jackie Robinson. In 1947, Robinson pioneered the integration of American professional athletics by becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. During his 10 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he played on six World Series teams and was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1949.