Monday, February 8, 2010
Almost 60 years ago, doctors took cells from a cancer patient in Baltimore. She died soon afterward, forgotten to everyone except her family. But her cells became immortal and famous – known as HeLa. HeLa cells were the first to grow reliably in a laboratory, and they’re still the most widely used today. They’re responsible for everything from the Polio vaccine to gene mapping. They’ve ridden into space and into oblivion on atomic weapons. In a new book, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of the woman from whom HeLa cells were taken without permission, and what happened to her family after she died. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is part biography and part investigation into racial politics and medical ethics.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Writer Ralph Ellison is best known for his book Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953 and is considered one of the most important books of the 20th century. When Ellison passed away in 1994 he left behind thousands of pages of a second, unfinished novel. Editors and Ellison scholars John Callahan and Adam Bradley have compiled and edited Ellison’s work into the book Three Days Before the Shooting, published by Modern Library.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In novelist Sarah Blake’s book The Postmistress, American radio reporter Frankie Bard is the first woman to broadcast from the Blitz in London during World War II. Her reports from 1940 bring war into the living rooms of millions of Americans, including two women from a small Cape Cod town who soon find their lives caught up in this foreign conflict. Then, photographer Jennifer Greenburg spent the past 8 years traveling the U.S. documenting the Rockabillies, a small subculture celebrating the style and sound of post-war 1950s America. Her book, The Rockabillies, is published by The University of Chicago Press.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
David Rose is the advertising director of Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland: More Personal Ads from the London Review of Books, the second compilation of personal ads from the LRB. He edited 2006’s They Call Me Naughty Lola and is an editor for the London Review of Books. Then, Suzi Ragsdale has sung background vocals on more than 60 albums including Whisper My Name by Randy Travis, but recording her own music has been a slower process. But this year, the songwriter, vocalist and pianist is releasing two albums. The first, titled Best Regards, is a eclectic set of her recent tunes and Less of the Same, is a hand-picked mix of songs written over the course of her career.
Friday, February 12, 2010
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday we bring back Bob’s 2005 interview with scholar Ronald White about his book, The Eloquent President: Lincoln and His Speeches. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Harry S. Truman. He was the 33rd President of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. Born and raised in Missouri, Truman was a farmer, businessman, World War I veteran and U. S. senator. As President, his order to drop atomic bombs on Japan helped end World War II.