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Forthcoming on The Bob Edwards Show (Jan 27-31, 2014)

The Bob Edwards Show, January 27-31, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014:  Bob talks to novelist Chang-Rae Lee about his newest book, On Such a Full Sea.  Lee teaches writing at Princeton University.  His earlier novel, The Surrendered was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Then, Patty Larkin joins Bob in the performance studio to play songs from her new album Still Green.  Her 13th recording, much of the album was written in a primitive shack on the remote dunes of Cape Cod.   You can hear Larkin playing no less than seven instruments on the album —- acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, bass, slide, keyboards and kalimba.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014:  When mathematics PhD candidate Anjan Sundaram decided to leave Yale University for the Congo and journalism, it didn’t seem the best career move.  But a stringer gig from the Associated Press gave him a job and the opportunity to immerse himself in this often overlooked society.  Sundaram’s debut book is Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo.  Then, John Wood left his job as an executive at Microsoft to start Room to Read, a nonprofit that builds libraries and schools in the developing world.  The program is run on a business model as opposed to a traditional not-for-profit, and Wood joins Bob to explain why it works.  Wood is the author of Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy and it’s now available in paperback.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014:  Bob remembers legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, who died Monday at the age of 94.  Seeger wrote or co-wrote many of our most iconic folk songs which include, “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and popularized the anthem of the civil rights movement, “We Shall Overcome.”  They spoke in 2008 when Seeger was the subject of a documentary on PBS.

Thursday, January 30, 2014:  Dennis Rodman called his controversial trip to North Korea “basketball diplomacy,” harkening back to the “ping pong diplomacy” that helped thaw relations between the US and China in the 1970s. But is it an apt comparison? We’ll ask Nicholas Griffin, author of the new book, Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World.  Then, of the 28 Japanese men prosecuted as “Class A” war criminals in the aftermath of World War II, only one was set free.  Shumei Okawa, the lone civilian, was ruled mentally insane and escaped prosecution.  The man who made that ruling was Major Daniel Jaffe, a U.S. Army psychiatrist stationed in occupied Japan.  More than 60 years later, Jaffe’s grandson, Eric Jaffe, takes a second look at the evidence and explores the story in a new book, A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist, a Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery from World War II.

Friday, January 31, 2014:  Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Then, journalist and historian Nick Turse spent 10 years researching Pentagon archives and interviewing Vietnam War veterans and survivors for his book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Turse’s book is now out in paperback.


Ishmael Beah and "Radiance of Tomorrow"

by Dan Bloom, producer

Ishamel Beah cannot change the past, but can write his future. In his breakout debut book “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” Beah told the true story of his family’s devastation and his own recruitment into Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war as a child soldier. At the end of the book, Beah escapes Sierra Leone and makes his way to New York via an illegal transit through Guinea.

Beah has since graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and settled with his wife in New York. Now, with his second book “Radiance of Tomorrow,” Beah returns to the subject of Sierra Leone’s violent past, but this time through the lens of fiction. Beah says that the change in storytelling style allowed him a key tool in living peacefully with this painful subject matter: control. As a child, Ishmael Beah could not control the awful fortune that befell him, but the characters in his book and their fictionalized town of Imperi are his own creations, and their destinies lie in the fertile imagination of this skilled wordsmith.

Discontent to simply pore over and profit from a difficult childhood in Sierra Leone, Beah began working with UNICEF in 2007 to advocate for children affected by war. He also founded the Ishmael Beah foundation which provides scholarships and other support for children in Sierra Leone who lack opportunities due to a dearth of support.

Beah is an inspiring figure whose accomplishments show that with gratitude, positivity and dedication to art, even the bleakest of circumstances can be put into the background of one’s life and harnessed as a force for good.

Visit the Ishmael Beah Foundation’s website, here.


This Weekend's Program (Jan 18-19, 2014)

Bob Edwards Weekend, January 18-19, 2014


Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Bill Ayers was dubbed a “domestic terrorist” and his relationship with candidate Barack Obama was extensively studied under the right-wing talk show microscope.  In his new memoir, the co-founder of the Weather Underground presents himself as an activist committed to social justice and education. His book is titled Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident.

Then, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Bob talks to Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim about her newest documentary, The Square.  It’s about the Egyptian revolution that began with the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak in January of 2011, through the military coup against the country’s first elected President, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, last June.  Noujaim and her crew survived arrests, multiple beatings by police and the army to make the film.  It’s told from the perspective of several protesters who became friends, including a young, unemployed college graduate, the Egyptian-Scottish actor who starred in the Kite Runner, and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Square has been shortlisted for an Oscar, and will premiere on Netflix January 19th.

LeVar Burton is back. The beloved host of Reading Rainbow, the children’s program that made books friendly for television audiences, has produced the Reading Rainbow app for kids of the digital age.  Within 36 hours of its release, Reading Rainbow was the #1 educational app in the country.  Burton will also discuss his pre-Reading Rainbow television career, starring in iconic roles on Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Bob Edwards Weekend airs on Sirius XM Public Radio (XM 121, Sirius 205) Saturdays from 8-10 AM ET.

Visit Bob Edwards Weekend on PRI’s website to find local stations that air the program.


Forthcoming on The Bob Edwards Show (Jan 20-24, 2014)

The Bob Edwards Show, January 20-24, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014:  In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday we bring back Bob’s conversation with several Memphis residents who knew King and were active during the civil rights struggle of the 1960’s.  All three guests touch on the city’s sanitation workers’ strike which brought Dr. King to Memphis.  Maxine Smith led the city’s chapter of the NAACP from 1962 until 1996, Frank McRae was a local white minister who supported the sanitation workers marching for their rights and dignity and Benjamin Hooks was a close friend of King’s and went on to serve as executive director of the NAACP.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014:  Dave Eggers calls Ishmael Beah “arguably the most read African writer in contemporary literature.”  Beah’s 2007 best-selling memoir, A Long Way Gone, was an account of his life as a boy soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone.  Now he’s written a novel that explores the war’s aftermath and the world he left behind.  The core story in Radiance of Tomorrow revolves around two friends, Benjamin and Bockarie, who encounter a heap of obstacles as they try to retake their posts as teachers in their hometown after a devastating civil war.   Then, best-selling crime writer and MWA Grand Master Sara Paretsky’s latest book has her famous private investigator, V.I. Warshaski, doing a favor for her closest friend.  Critical Mass is Paretsky’s 17th book to feature Warshawski, a character Kirkus Review called, “a kind of grownup Nancy Drew—smart, gutsy, and able to balance thinking with acting.”

Wednesday, January 22, 2014:  Daniel Menaker has been the fiction editor for The New Yorker long enough to have a book’s worth of stories to tell about the job. My Mistake is his tell-all, behind-the-scenes account of the goings-on at the fabled magazine. But more than gossip, it’s also a very personal account of Menaker’s battle with cancer and the deaths of people close to him.  Then, Bob talks to best-selling novelist Gary Shteyngart about his new memoir, Little Failure.  Shteyngart was born in the Soviet Union in l971, and emigrated with his parents to the U.S. when he was seven. He says it was like going from a monochromatic world to blinding Technicolor.  And it wasn’t an easy transition.  Shteyngart says he was the second most hated kid at his American elementary school, and earned the nickname “the red hamster.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014:  John Wooden was by far the most successful college basketball coach ever. “The Wizard of Westwood” led his UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA Basketball Division 1 championships, more than twice as many as any other coach. In addition to his unquestionable on-court success, he also imbued his players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, with indelible life lessons for success.  Seth Davis, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and analyst for CBS Sports, is the author of Wooden: A Coach’s Life. Then, we hear a new commentary from children’s book writer and illustrator Daniel Pinkwater.

Friday, January 24, 2014:  Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, the first time Sue Monk Kidd heard about Sarah Grimke she was intrigued.  In an act of rebellion against her wealthy, slave-owning family, Sarah traveled the country speaking out against slavery in the years before the Civil War.  A fictionalized Sarah is at the heart of Kidd’s new novel, The Invention of Wings.  Her first-person narrative is weaved together with that of Hetty “Handful” Grimke’, an enslaved girl given to Sarah for her 11th birthday.  This is Susan Monk Kidd’s third book. Her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, was a huge best-seller and, like this new one, an Oprah Book Club pick.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


LeVar Burton and "Reading Rainbow"

by Dan Bloom, producer
LeVar Burton never intended to have a career in television. A theater major at the University of Southern California, the stage was Burton’s goal until he was cast in one of the greatest miniseries in the history of television, an adaptation of Alex Haley’s “Roots.” He went on to portray Geordi La Forge, chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” but his most lasting impact came through his involvement with the show “Reading Rainbow.”
After 26 years on the air, PBS took “Reading Rainbow” off the air, and unwilling to let his beloved program fade away, Burton and his business partner Mark Wolfe acquired the rights to the brand and developed a mobile application that launched Reading Rainbow into the 21st Century. On the app, users can read children’s literature, interact with content in a virtual world, and go on video field trips to places like the National Archives, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the US Mint.
LeVar Burton is a fine actor to be sure, but he truly endeared himself to the public by transmitting a love of reading to generations of children. His mother, an English teacher by trade, taught him the power of books, and Burton has certainly done her proud by introducing so many young people to the world of literature.
Find more information about the Reading Rainbow app at their website:
The Reading Rainbow app is a free download on iTunes
Hear our promo: