Monday, March 16, 2015: Two weeks after Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was brutally murdered in 1964, the New York Times published a detailed account of what happened: For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead. Five decades later, Kevin Cook takes a closer look at the details of the case in a book titled Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America. It’s just come out in paperback. Then, Bob talks with director Alex Gibney about his documentary called The Human Behavior Experiments which explores persistent questions about why we commit deeply unethical acts under certain social conditions. Gibney features the Genovese murder in his documentary as well.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015: Washington Post editor Steven Levingston’s new paperback, Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris, tells the largely forgotten story of young Gabrielle Bompard. Accused of murdering a wealthy Frenchman, Bompard claimed that she was under hypnosis. Her trial was one of the most hotly debated cases in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Then, a little something to mark St. Patrick’s Day. In 1962, musician Paddy Moloney founded a traditional Irish music group called The Chieftains. Now, this Grammy-winning ensemble has produced 40 albums and is responsible for sharing Irish music with the world. Moloney talked with Bob three years ago, when The Chieftains marked their 50th anniversary with the release of a CD titled Voice of Ages, a collaboration with Bon Iver, The Decemberists, the Punch Brothers and many other contemporary musicians.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015: Mary Louise Kelly has spent the last two decades as a producer, host and correspondent for NPR and the BBC. In 2004, she launched NPR’s intelligence beat, which covered wars and terrorism, and included reporting trips to The Pentagon, CIA headquarters and warzones. Now she has drawn on all of that real-world knowledge to become a novelist. Her brand new book is a thriller and a medical mystery story titled The Bullet. Bob also talked with Kelly in 2013 about her debut novel…Anonymous Sources.
Thursday, March 19, 2015: Bob talks with Philip Roth who claims that his two closest friends are “sheer playfulness” and “deadly seriousness.” Both are routinely found in his writing from his first novella,Goodbye, Columbus (1959), to his best-known work Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), to his more recent ‘American Trilogy’ which includes the books American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain. In 2008, Roth was here to discuss his career and his 29th book titled Indignation. It’s set during the second year of the Korean War and the narrator is Marcus Messner, a 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher. Today is Roth’s 82 birthday. It’s also the anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq – that war started on March 19, 2003 – with shock and awe broadcast live on television around the world.
Friday, March 20, 2015: We go way back in the archives today for Bob’s conversation with comedy legend Carl Reiner. He created, wrote, and produced The Dick Van Dyke Show and collaborated with Mel Brooks on The 2000 Year old Man. Reiner is not quite that old, but today is his 93rd birthday. He discussed his life and career and his book titled NNNNN: A Novel. Today is also Spike Lee’s birthday. He has made feature films and documentaries about race relations, urban crime, poverty and political issues. And he doesn’t just let his movies speak for themselves. Bob talks with the New York Knicks superfan about his film career, from She’s Gotta Have It to Do the Right Thing to When the Levees Broke. Lee was here in 2008 to discuss his World War Two drama titled Miracle at St. Anna.