The Bob Edwards Show, 9/14-9/18

Monday, September 14, 2009:

In her new book, Bethany Moreton shows how a Christian service ethos helped create a giant multi-national company in the middle of what was once one of the most economically depressed areas in the US – the Ozarks.  Not a biography of Wal-Mart as much as a study of the roots of the service economy, the book is titled To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise. Then, “Coal Country” is a documentary film about the environmentally disastrous process of mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia.   And while the mining industry’s views are also included in the film, mining companies have sent protesters to disrupt every public screening.   Executive producer Mari-Lynn Evans discusses her film and the reaction to it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009:  

Over five generations, the Bacardi family built a rum distillery that became a worldwide brand.  The family’s history runs as a parallel to 150 years of Cuban history. The Bacardi clan has held fast to its Cuban identity, even in exile from the country for whose freedom they once fought. In a new book, NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten offers a microcosmic look at Cuba through the life and times of the Bacardi rum dynasty. It’s called Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause. Then, Reid Genauer formed his band Assembly of Dust while he was in the MBA program at Cornell. The band’s new album, “Some Assembly Required” uses a huge number of guest musicians including Richie Havens, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Phish’s Mike Gordon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009:   

Are we an educated society? What does it mean to be smart?  What is unique about education in a democracy? Why do so many fail in school? Why do we send all children to school in the first place? These are some of the questions Mike Rose takes on in his tidy, new book simply titled, Why School? Drawing on forty years of teaching and research, Rose presents a case for reclaiming education for everyone.  Then, as a city councilman, Cory Booker moved into a tent pitched in front of one of Newark’s most notorious housing projects, Brick Towers.  He was trying to draw attention to an open-air drug market thriving there.  Booker is now the Mayor of Newark and his name pops up on all the “rising political star” lists.  He’s also the subject of a new five-part documentary series on the Sundance Channel called Brick City, produced by Oscar-award winner Forest Whitaker. Bob talks with the Mayor about trying to reinvent a city saddled with a 50+ year history of violence, corruption and poverty —— and now with movie cameras on him nearly round the clock.

Thursday, September 17, 2009:

Best known for his role as the Sicilian Vizzini in film The Princess Bride, Wallace Shawn has a duel career as both a character actor and a well-respected playwright.  For years, Shawn has also been penning essays for himself and close friends on topics from war, politics, and of course, theater.  Collected and published for the first time, Shawn’s book is simply called Essays. Then, a look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen.

Friday, September 18, 2009:  

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, Director Jane Campion’s new film Bright Star tells the story of the final three years of English Romantic poet John Keats’ life.  Keats had a secret love affair with his neighbor Fanny Brawne which, in keeping with the Romantic Age’s sensibilities, ended tragically.  Campion directed 1993’s The Piano, winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay, and she was the second woman in Oscar history to secure a nomination for Best Director.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Will Thomas.  He was born in Kansas City and worked as a newspaper writer, editor and prizefighter. Thomas eventually settled in Vermont with his wife and three children. His book, “The Seeking,” details the family’s integration to the all-white community of Westford.