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THE BOB EDWARDS SHOW HIGHLIGHTS – July 25-29, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011:  Five foreigners, including an American, were pardoned by the Somali government recently after being arrested in May for bringing millions of dollars into the country to pay a ransom to Somali pirates. The UN estimates more than $110 million has been paid just in the past twelve months. Jay Bahadur spent a year in Somalia infiltrating the remote pirate havens of the war-ravaged country. His book, The Pirates of Somalia, is a first ever, close-up look into the lives of these men ­— how they live, how they spend the ransom money, how they treat the hostages, and the forces that created piracy in Somalia.  Then, “Only after covering it for years did I understand that the war on terror never really existed.”  So says journalist Megan Stack in the prologue to Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War.  In her book, Stack chronicles her experience covering Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon for the Los Angeles Times. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011:  In Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, journalist Juan Williams uses his very public firing at NPR as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America—from the halls of Congress and the health care town halls to the talk shows and print media-is stifled. Bob talks with Williams about his new book, his departure from NPR and his expanded role at Fox News.  Then, Ben Sollee is a “folk-pop” cellist from Lexington, Kentucky who’s played with Bela Fleck, My Morning Jacket and Justin Townes Earle. Sollee chats with Bob about his second album Inclusions, bicycling cross-country (with cello attached), and his passion to end mountain top removal coal mining.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011:  Author Erik Larson always wondered what it would have been like for an outsider to have witnessed firsthand the rise of Hitler’s rule — what Berlin looked like, felt like, smelled like, and why it took so long to recognize the danger posed by Hitler and his regime.  Larson’s newest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, is a portrait of the Nazi capital told largely though the experience of an American family which was there during Hitler’s first full year as chancellor.  Then, Sharks! The word inspires fear in some, awe in others and whole weeks of programming for some cable networks. In her new book Demon Fish, Juliet Eilperin travels around the globe investigating how people and cultures relate to the ocean’s top predator. Eilperin is the environmental reporter for the Washington Post.

Thursday, July 28, 2011:   Songwriter Josh Ritter can now add “prose” to the list of his cultural accomplishments.  Bright’s Passage started as a song and evolved into a novel about a recently widowed World War I veteran, Henry Bright, who must navigate a new and lonely world with his infant son.  Ritter talks about his literary inspiration and writing without a beat.  Then, most of us assume that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is an obviously fictional tale that came from the imagination of the Bard.  But first time novelist Anne Fortier discovered that the tale of the star-crossed lovers was actually based on a historical event from 14th century Sienna, Italy and not fair Verona.  Her novel Juliet mixes the historical details with her fictional tale of a young woman in contemporary times.

Friday, July 29, 2011:  Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, if the American people collectively will suffer when independent journalism disappears, should Federal money be spent to save it?  John Nichols of The Nation magazine and media critic Robert McChesney lay out their multi-billion dollar plan to resuscitate the American press in their book The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Nancy Pieters Mayfield.  She says there’s nothing as satisfying as a job well done. In college, she spent her summers cleaning rooms at a luxury hotel. At first, she did the bare minimum, until the career maids scolded her and showed her how to take pride in her work. Mayfield’s strong work ethic carried over into her career as a journalist.