Table of Contents       





programs recorded prior to 2007 may be found in the Index

2008 2008

Frank Delaney
Stories Create Realities


It is easy for Americans to feel benighted: eight years of arrogant incompetence in the White House, an economy in free fall, joblessness accelerating, foreclosures rising along with the tides, an illusory healthcare system, bottomless debt ... . Reviewing the centuries long occupation, colonization and oppression of Ireland by the English adds perspective to our sense of doom. And hope.


For humans, it is stories which create reality. And the Irish, says Frank Delaney, have for centuries been master storytellers.

Frank Delaney is a novelist and former BBC journalist. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Mr. Delaney has written a novel bearing the name of his hometown, building further on his best-seller Ireland in providing fictional entré into the rich culture, history and current realities of the Emerald Isle. Among his 20 books, he debuted his non-fiction in the U.S. with Simple Courage. In addition to having gained fame in the U.K. during his broadcasting career, he is a judge for the Booker Prize, and writes frequently for American and British publications. He has made the U.S. his home since 2002.

[December 29 January 5]

James Carse
Religions vs Belief


Saying that "belief" and "religion" are separable would surprise many people. Religious scholar James Carse goes further, much further. He argues that they are basically antithetical.
Scholar and author James Carse is the author most recently of The Religious Case Against Belief. The book continues Professor Carse’s public engagement with pressing current issues, as he did for many years on CBS-TV in New York City. His widely admired book, Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, has been continuously in print since first published in 1968. His other books include The Silence of God, Breakfast at the Victory and The Gospel of the Beloved Disciple. A retired Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion, Dr. Carse directed New York University’s Religious Studies Program for 30 years. He lives in New York City and Massachusetts’ Berkshires.

[December 22 — December 29]

Sy Montgomery


The gift of giving is often lost this time of year. Here's a refresher course: how could a very large hog, AKA Christopher Hogwood, give "great souls" the opportunity to connect? Find out next week from Sy Montgomery.
Sy Montgomery is a naturalist, explorer and writer. Her best-seller, The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, focuses on the importance of family and home as Ms. Montgomery continues in her quest to give humans a better understanding of our deep connections to all life. Her books for adults include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger and Search for the Golden Moon Bear; for children the award-winning The Snake Scientist, The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans, The Tarantula Scientist and Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. Also a newspaper columnist, documentary scriptwriter and radio commentator, she and her husband, writer Howard Mansfield, make their home in New Hampshire.

[December 16 December 22]

Daniel Levitin
Musical Minds


During the last century, we have learned much about the universe we inhabit. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin argues that the next major frontier may be the human mind.  His view of the mind focuses on the role of music and some of his conclusion may be quite startling including the notion that music may be at the root of consciousness.
Daniel Levitin is a musician. neuroscientist and bestselling author. Prior to his academic career which comes to life in This Is Your Brain on Music, Professor Levitin worked as a session musician, sound engineer, and record producer with artists including Stevie Wonder and Blue Oyster Cult. Now Dr. Levitin runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the James McGill Chair and the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication. His extensive publications appear in scientific journals and music magazines including Gram
my and Billboard. He lives in Montreal.

[December 8 — December 16]

Harold Holzer
Dangerous Transitions


History tends to regard President-elect Abraham Lincoln as being strangely passive as the nation split apart during the four months between his election and his inauguration. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer argues that Lincoln achieved a great deal during those four months, both by what he did and did not do. As Americans face another presidential transition in the face of a now global crisis with a weak and ineffective sitting President, Lincoln's example provides important and relevant insights.
Author of Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861, Harold Holzer is also co-chairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is author or coauthor of thirty books on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, won a Lincoln Prize for Lincoln at Cooper Union, four Barondess Awards, a Nevins-Freeman Award, and received three achievement awards from the Lincoln Group of New York. He is senior vice president of external affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

[November 30 December 8 ]

Lawrence Hill
Someone Remembers


The first "back to Africa" movement occurred shortly after America's succcessful revolt against British colonial government. Despite British promises, African refugees, almost all former slaves, were ill-served and ill-treated in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Offered the chance to return to Africa, most did.  Incredibly some of those former slaves were returning to their birthplace. In a remarkable summary using fiction, Lawrence Hill has dramatically recreated the terror, trauma and heroism of the early African experience of America and the Atlantic slave trade.


The experiences of African-Canadians feature broadly in Lawrence Hill’s non-fiction as well as his fiction. His latest novel, Someone Knows My Name (published in Canada as The Book of Negroes) won the prestigous Commonwealth Award. The son of former Americans, Mr. Hill also has a film to his credit, Seeking Salvation: A History of the Black Church in Canada. He lives in Ontario, Canada with his family.

[November 23 — November 30 ]

Tony Hillerman
Story Teller


Tony Hillerman was born in 1925. He served his country in World War II with valor and at great personal cost. After teaching journalism at the University of New Mexico, he turned to writing novels. His fame and fortune came principally from his mystery novels about Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. In addition to being jolly good reads, his stories introduced millions of people to the cultures of southwestern Native Americans. Reaching the end of these novels, one was left satisfied-though-craving-more and with a sense of knowing a little more about the richness of the worlds we inhabit. In a different vein, his Fly on the Wall is a cautionary view of reporters and reporting, of the dangers of reporters getting too close to their sources and subjects. Mr. Hillerman died last month at the age of 83. We will miss him and treasure the stories.

Past president of the Mystery Writers of America, Mr. Hillerman has received its Edgar and Grand Master Awards. The Wailing Wind is Mr. Hillerman's 18th Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee mystery. He is a former journalist and English professor who also writes non-fiction. His honors include The Center for the American Indian Ambassador Award, the Silver Spur Award for the best novel set in the West and the Navajo Tribe's Special Friend Award. Mr. Hillerman called his memoir Seldom Disappointed.

[November 16 November 23 ]

Doris Kearns Goodwin
the Sovereign People


One hundred and forty-eight (seven score and eight) years ago, another man was elected to fill the office of President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln could look forward to taking office on March 4, 1861. The nation was deeply divided. The continued existence of the American experiment in democratic govenment was gravely threatened. Doris Kearns Goodwin tells the story of how Lincoln's character and political skills enabled him to save the nation from its lesser instincts.


Narrative historian Doris Kearns Goodwin won of the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time focused on Franklin Delano Roosevelt during Word War II. Ms. Goodwin adds the remarkable Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln to her bestseller Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She has for many years brought her historical perspective and analyses to television audiences and now serves as an NBC-TV news analyst. In addition, she lectures around the world.

[November 9 — November 16 ]

Jeffrey Toobin
the Final Word


We are not final because we are infallible; we are infallible because we are final.
                                                                                                                    — Justice Robert Jackson, 1953


Those are the words that Jeffrey Toobin uses to summarize the role of the Supreme Court in American society. "Someone in America has to have the last word, and, in our society, in our government, it's the Supreme Court," Mr. Toobin says. Unelected, appointed for life, removable only by impeachment, these nine individuals routinely make decisions with profound implications for Americans' rights and responsibilities as citizens. Frequently those decisions are rendered based on a one vote majority.


Jeffery Toobin is an attorney, author and reporter. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court is Mr. Toobin's in-depth report on the current Supreme Court and how it came to be as it is. He is also author of best sellers Too Close to Call, A Vast Conspiracy and The Run of His Life. He is a CNN senior legal analyst and before becoming a New Yorker magazine staff writer in 1993, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn and as an associate counsel in the office of independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh investigating the Reagan Administration Iran-Contra scandal. Mr. Toobin graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude and lives in New York City with his family.

[November 2 November 9 ]

John Dean
a Very Different Country


That's how Robert A.G. Monks defines "corpocracy." This corporatization of politics is one of many problems underlying the global economic maelstrom.  Fortunately, says Mr. Monks, in the United States laws and institutions are already in place to correct some of the most egregious failings of this corporatist system.  All that is required is an administration willing to enforce existing rules.

John Dean is an attorney, author and key witness during the "Watergate" scandal. Mr. Dean's Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, and Conservatives Without Conscience, form a trilogy based on 40 years inside his "former tribe", the Republican Party. Once White House legal counsel to President Richard Nixon, Mr. Dean’s Blind Ambition, published in 1976, was followed by a number of other books. He had also served as chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice. Following a successful career as a corporate attorney, he is now a columnist for and with his wife, Maureen, lives in California.

[October 26 — November 2 ]

Robert Monks
Corpocracy:  Failures of Trust


That's how Robert A.G. Monks defines "corpocracy." This corporatization of politics is one of many problems underlying the global economic maelstrom.  Fortunately, says Mr. Monks, in the United States laws and institutions are already in place to correct some of the most egregious failings of this corporatist system.  All that is required is an administration willing to enforce existing rules.


Robert Monks is a venture capitalist, shareholder activist, lawyer, and author most recently of Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World's Greatest Wealth Machine -- And How to Get It Back. He’s founded a number of investment funds and asset management companies, started Institutional Shareholder Services, the environmental research company Trucost, and The Corporate Library. He’s served on the board of a dozen publicly-held companies; headed Boston Trust; and held several influential government positions in the Reagan Administration. In addition to Corpocracy, Mr. Monks  has also written The Emperor’s Nightingale, Reel and Rout, coauthored Watching the Watchers and Power and Accountability with Nell Minow.

[October 19 October 26]

Kevin Phillips
Money, Empire and Collapse


In the Enlightenment tradition, Kevin Phillips has always chosen to base his analysis on evidence rather than magical thinking. Data and historical precedents inform his work. Familiarity with Mr. Phillips' work over the years has proven good preparation for understanding the current economic and political mess in which Americans now find ourselves. Financialization of the economy, conversion of capital markets from investment to speculation and the nominal free-market fundamentalism of recent administrations have combined in a witches' brew now toxifying our lives and affecting the global economy. This result was not only predictable, Mr. Phillips predicted it; and he was not alone*.
Kevin Phillips is a political and economic analyst, and prolific author. Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism joins Mr. Phillips’ other bestsellers: American Theocracy, American Dynasty, The Politics of Rich and Poor, Wealth and Democracy, and The Cousins Wars. A former Republican strategist, he first became known for The Emerging Republican Majority in the late ‘60s, and has subsequently written more than a dozen highly regarded books. Mr. Phillips writes for the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine and Time.

[October 12October 19]

Thomas Frank
Hostages to Vandalism


When we elect to our government people who do not believe in government, small wonder that government stops working. Idealogues, who effectively believe in a night watchman state, think the government should serve only to protect us from thieves, murderers and foreigners. They believe that individual initiative and market forces take care of everything else and that undermining the government with incompetence, lies, theft and massive indebtedness is appropriate behavior ... until, of course, those market forces (crony capitalism, actually) drive the economy off a cliff. If this distopian view seems familiar, Thomas Frank says it's what Republican theorists publicly announced they intended and, in the administration of George W. Bush, are well on the road to achieving. We will be decades digging ourselves out.


Historian and political observer Thomas Frank is the author most recently of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule. In it he documents decades of Republicans serving the interests of Big Business at the expense of the American people. Mr. Frank, a former Young Republican, also wrote What’s the Matter with Kansas? and One Market Under God, contrasting everyday cultural conservatives with predatory acts of free-market fundamentalists and right wingers committed to destroying government. He was founding editor of The Baffler, is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, received the Lannon Award and is a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

[October 5 October 12]

Susan Faludi
Myths, Lies and 9/11

Myths are the stories that help us organize and understand the worlds in which we live. In that sense, they are neither true nor false. Regardless of their veracity, they determine how we act. False myths lead to inappropriate and often dangerous actions. The intersection of a bad myth with a terrorist attack has had grave consequences for America.


Susan Faludi is a cultural observer and journalist. Author of The Terror Dream, an analysis of the roots of and antidotes for fear and fantasy in post-9/11 America, Ms. Faludi won the Pulitzer Prize for her Wall Street Journal reporting showing the human costs of high finance. Both her Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics circle Award for Nonfiction, and Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man were best-sellers. Other publications for which Ms. Faludi has written include The New Yorker and The Nation magazines, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

[September 28 — October 5]

Jonathan Mahler
United States v. Habeas Corpus


What is habeas corpus and why does it matter? A U.S. Navy commander and a law professor challenged the President of the United States over this issue. And won.


Jonathan Mahler, journalist. Author of The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power, Mr. Mahler captures the drama that culminated in this crucial test of presidential power and the rule of law. He also wrote the highly regarded Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning, in which baseball brings 1977 New York City into sharp focus. He is a writer for The New York Times Magazine and lives in Brooklyn.

[September 21 September 28 ]

Edward J. Larson
Enduring Struggles

In the midst of a presidential election, we tend to focus only on the latest headline and the most recent attacks. That habit might work if, as was the case with America's "Founding Fathers", we don't expect the nation to last more than 50 years. Historical perspective helps us separate substance from fluff, chatter and punditry ... what truly matters from what does not. As Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked "Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?" He responded:

A Republic, if you can keep it.

Can people govern themselves? That was a central issue in the American Presidential election of 1800 between founding "brothers" John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and it is an issue in the election of 2008. The High Federalist of 1800, lead by Alexander Hamilton, look very much like today's Republicans says historian and legal scholar Edward Larson.


Dr. Larson’s ongoing interest in America’s tension between science and religion continues in A Magnificent Catastrophe. He puts history to work examining the 1800 presidential election, showing striking similarities to the election of 2008. Thomas Jefferson, democracy, and science barely defeated the Federalists, elitists and state religion. Dr. Larson won the Pulitzer with Summer for the Gods about the Scopes trial; his Evolution is a Modern Library book. A professor of history and law at Pepperdine University, his articles have appeared in dozens of journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Nature and Scientific American.

[September 14 — September 21]

Charles Raison & Stuart Kauffman
Life and Reductionism


Biology, says Stuart Kauffman, is "not like physics ... because there isn't a deep theoretical biology and I say that (laughing) as a theoretical biologist." Rather than try to make biology more like physics, Dr. Kauffman looks the other way back, arguing that the dominant reductionist view of science is incomplete. It fails, among other things, to account for evolution. Psychiatrist Charles Raison uses the tools of reductionist science to study Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques, trying to "cast some light into how people generate intense positive emotions," and to save lives. The two have much to say to one another and to learn.


Stuart Kauffman and Charles Raison both explore life. Dr. Kauffman, renowned for his studies in complexity, is founding Director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, and an author whose books include Reinventing the Sacred and At Home in the Universe. Among Dr. Kauffman’s many accomplishments and awards, he was a founding faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute where he is an adjunct professor, and an early MacArthur Fellow.


Dr. Charles Raison served as Director of Emergency Services and Associate Director of Consultation Evaluation Services at UCLA. In 1999, he joined Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and is Director of the Behavioral Immunology Clinic. Lecturing internationally, he is also co-principle investigator both studying the immune system relative to depression and fatigue, and the effects of Buddhist compassion meditation. He’s deeply involved in Emory University and Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Science Education Project for Tibetan Buddhist Monks.

[September 8 — September 14 ]

Kevin Phillips
American Trinity: Religion/Oil/Debt

As America faces another Presidential election, Kevin Phillips points to a set of deep and systemic problems facing the nation. America's "empire" is threated by the continuing influence of religious fundamentalists, by dependence on oil and by growing and unsustainable debt.


Kevin Phillips is a political and economic analyst. In American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Mr. Phillips articulates America's current volatile circumstances with devastating comparisons to prior economic empires. A former Republican strategist, Mr. Phillips first became known for The Emerging Republican Majority in the late '60s. He has subsequently written more than a dozen highly regarded books, including bestsellers American Dynasty, The Politics of Rich and Poor and Wealth and Democracy. He writes for the Los Angeles Times, Harper's Magazine and Time.

[August 31 — September 8]

Thomas Lux & Bruce McEver
Word Magic

"Poetry became something that people weren't just quite smart enough to understand anymore and a critic had to stand between them, the reader, and the writer to explain to the poor dumb reader just how brilliant this writer was," says Thomas Lux.  That condition turned generations away from poetry.  According to Bruce McEver "Really great poetry is accessible."

Bruce McEver is Chairman of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, which he founded in 1983. He is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with an MBA from Harvard Business School. His book of poetry, Full Horizon, joins poems he has published in Ploughshares, Westview, The Berkshire Review, The Cortland Review, The Connecticut River Review, The Chattahoochee Review and The Atlanta Review. He starting writing in workshops in New York City, has taken writing seminars at Sarah Lawrence College and a summer residency at Warren Wilson College.

Thomas Lux, acclaimed poet and teacher of poetry, is director of Poetry at Tech, where he holds the Margaret and Henry Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Tech and where he also is responsible for the McEver Chair in Poetry, which brings poets to campus and the larger community throughout the year.  His latest book of poetry is God Particles.  In addition to administering the Chair in Poetry which Mr. McEver has funded, he is one of Bruce McEver's teachers.

[August 24 — August 31]

Edward Lengel
Arrogance of War

Weapons change; humans resist. "It’s a shame and ironic and tragic, the arrogance with which the American commanders in particular came into that war. You can draw modern parallels with this as well, that there was this unwillingness to listen, to learn, to find out what the Europeans had gone through, what the Europeans had suffered and what they had learned." Edward Lengel is talking about the First World War ("the war to end all wars"), but the lessons remain.

In To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918, Dr. Lengel honors the bloodiest battle in American history, remembered if at all for Carey Grant’s movie portrayal of Sergeant Alvin C. York, Dr. Lengel’s cousin. Other military history books Dr. Lengel has written include General George Washington: A Military Life. Dr. Lengel, in conjunction with the Papers of George Washington documentary editing project, received the National Humanities Medal. He makes frequent appearances on television documentaries and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.

[August 17 — August 24]

Anthony Lewis
Why Speech Must Be Free

A core problem facing the framers of America's Constitution: "How can we get the citizens of the Republic ... to be the ultimate sovereigns of the country?" says Anthony Lewis. The answer? "They have to know what's going on, they have to be free to criticize their leaders; that's the First Amendment."

The Pulitzer Prize has twice been awarded to Mr. Lewis over his long and distinguished journalistic career. Author of Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment and Gideon’s Trumpet, in print for over 40 years, Mr. Lewis was columnist for the New York Times op-ed page from 1969 through 2001 and for many years the paper’s London correspondent. He has also been a lecturer at Harvard’s Law School, a visiting professor at the Universities of California, Illinois, Oregon, and Arizona, and since 1983, the James Madison Visiting Professor at Columbia University. He and his wife, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, live in Cambridge.

[August 10 — August 17]

Richard Ben Cramer

Much of what we think we know about the Middle East is "just plain wrong" says Richard Ben Cramer. "We get a version of Middle East news that is so truncated and so comic book simple that it's very hard to engage people in any reality." We share his reality, next week.

Having won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Middle East in the 1979, Mr. Cramer returns to the subject in How Israel Lost. His writing has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire and Rolling Stone. Mr. Cramer’s book, What It Takes: The Way to the White House is considered a classic of modern American politics, his Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life was a bestseller.

[August 3 — August 10]

Tim Weiner
Democracies Betrayed

A nation with pretensions of greatness needs an effective intelligence service. Tim Weiner says that the CIA has failed that assignment for more than half a century. Causes include an unwillingness to say "I don't know" to the President and a fundamental disregard for democracy.
Tim Weiner is award winning reporter and author. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, winner of the coveted National Book Award, is Mr. Weiner’s third book. Afghanistan is among the nations he has traveled investigating CIA covert operations. He has focused on the United States’ intelligence establishment for more than 20 years, earning a Pulitzer Prize for his work on secret national security programs. A reporter for The New York Times, Mr. Weiner’s forthcoming books report on the FBI and the United States’ Department of Defense.

[July 27— August 3]

Evan Levine

Americans spend over a trillion and a half dollars each year on health care. Almost 50 million of us lack any health insurance. The people of other nations spend less and get more.* What's going on? "Follow the money," says Evan Levine, cardiologist and critic.

Evan Levine is a practicing cardiologist and internist in New York City. Dr. Levine is affiliated with the Montefiore Medical Center where he is a clinical assistant professor of medicine. He was a summa cum laude graduate of a program associated with the City College of New York and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He has offices in the Bronx and Yonkers. Dr. Levine is author of What Your Doctor Won’t (Or Can’t) Tell You: Doctors, hospitals, drugs, and insurance -- what you need to know to take charge of your own health care.

[July 20 — July 27]

Thomas Cahill
Creating Our Modern World

Look too closely at the details and you'll lose the whole suggests Thomas Cahill. He believes that you can find modern western perspectives and behavior in innovative thinkers and actors of the Middle Ages, including Eleanor of Aquitaine, St. Francis, Giotto and Dante. Lest one think such things are long past, America still struggles with concepts embodied in Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215. As William Faulkner said "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."

Furthering his “hinges of history” series, Thomas Cahill’s Mysteries of the Middle Ages explores what he sees as the early stirrings of the “modern.” His earlier explorations include How the Irsih saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, Desire of the Everlasting Hills and Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. Once prominent in the business of publishing, Mr. Cahill now devotes full time to his writing, dividing his time between Europe and New York City.

[July 13 — July 20]

Bill McKibben
Let's Try This Another Way

Organic sytems cannot grow forever. They are constrained by physics and the resource constraints of the environments of which they are part. Humans and our "econosphere" are similarly constrained. How are we to cope with limits to growth? And how do we cope with having passed into the danger zone of atmospheric carbon dioxide? Bill McKibben suggests that we must find "another way."

In Mr. McKibben's 1989 book, The End of Nature, this widely acclaimed writer and environmentalist raised global climate change in mainstream consciousness. Between then and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, he has become one of the world’s most respected voices championing a livable future on earth. He has written a series of influential books, is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, appears in all kinds of publications, is regularly in the mass media representing solutions and responsibilities to environmental crises, organizes grassroots efforts urging political action on global climate change and draws attention to its crisis proportions at the website:

[July 6 — July 13]

Alexandra Fuller
Killing Wyoming

"War on ourselves" and "war on our environment" is how Alexandra Fuller describes what's happening in Wyoming. The Legend of Colton H. Bryant is a gripping story about the new American West. The Economist calls it "a modern western" that "hangs so faultlessly on its high-altitude, big-sky, oil-drilling bones that it seems not so much to have been written as uncovered by the wind and weather of the American north-west."

Alexandra Fuller won the international Ulysses Prize for literary reportage in 2005. Ms. Fuller’s book The Legend of Colton H. Bryant takes place in the gas and oil fields of Wyoming, USA, where she lives. Born in the U.K., she grew up in Africa in the midst of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe’s civil war, then in Malawi and Zambia. She explores those years and their aftermath in her best-seller Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and Scribbling the Cat. In addition to writing books, Ms. Fuller is published widely in newspapers including The New York Times and magazines including The New Yorker and National Geographic.

[June 29 — July 6]

Danny Coulson
Terrorism is a Crime ... a Cautionary Story

Almost a decade ago, we produced what for us was an unlikely program. Though we frequently view the FBI in a less than favorable light, former FBI Deputy Director Danny Coulson helped adjust our perspectives on a number of things. He argued that terrorist are criminals and should be treated as criminals, NOT be turned into martyrs. He also made a compelling case that it is a serious, fundamental and dangerous mistake to confuse the roles of soldiers (to kill people) with the role of police (to protect people). Join us for an expedition into the benefits of learning from history and experience.

Danny Coulson is a retired FBI agent, the Founder and first commander of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. A Texan, Mr. Coulson began his 31 year FBI career as an idealistic young lawyer in 1966. While serving in a wide variety of FBI field and administrative positions, he learned that when people die, there are No Heroes (the title of his book). His experience with domestic terrorist activities reached from black separatist murders in the 1960's through the Iran-Contra scandal to leading the arrest of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

[June 22 — June 29]

Garry Wills
Faith and Enlightenment

America has "had three outbreaks of evangelical opposition to science and reason and enlightenment," says Garry Wills.  Additionally "we've had enlightened religion that respects the laws of nature. ... Luckily that was ascendant at the time of the foundation of our government." America's constitutional foundation in enlightenment principles continues to generate controversy and political strife. Timing is very important.

Garry Wills is a scholar. historian, classicist and author. Professor Wills’ many bestselling books include What Jesus Meant, What Paul Meant and What the Gospels Meant. His Lincoln at Gettysburg won the Pulitzer Prize, his two dozen other books are also widely read and admired. As one of nation’s leading public intellectuals, he appears often in leading periodicals. Professor Wills took his doctorate in the classics after studying for the priesthood, a tradition with which he continues to identify and to critique. Many years a teacher of ancient and New Testament Greek at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Wills is now professor of history emeritus at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston, IL.

[June 15 — June 22]

Nick Bryant
Political Considerations

Barak Obama is frequently compared to John F. Kennedy.  In at least one way we had best hope for more.  Nick Bryant says that Kennedy's fear of arch-segregationist Sen. Richard B. Russell led him to actions which substatially delayed and prolonged the struggle for civil rights in America.

BBC reporter & author Nick Bryant is the author of The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality. Mr. Bryant currently covers South Asia for the BBC. He holds a M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. Mr. Bryant is based in New Delhi, India, and Sydney, Australia.

[June 8— June 15]

Kevin Phillips
Money, Empire & Collapse

"The financial sector, without much attention, has taken over the economy while still pretending that there's another real economy and it (finance) is only minor," says Kevin Phillips. It matters, he continues, because that takeover is a prescription for disaster, a view he documents in Bad Money.

Kevin Phillips is political & economic analyst, historian and author. Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism joins Mr. Phillips’ other bestsellers: American Theocracy, American Dynasty, The Politics of Rich and Poor, Wealth and Democracy and The Cousins Wars. A former Republican strategist, he first became known for The Emerging Republican Majority in the late ‘60s, and has subsequently written more than a dozen highly regarded books. Mr. Phillips writes for the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine and Time. Mr. Phillips told us that he had hoped to go back to writing about history, a subject in which he takes great pleasure, and avoid any kind of engagement with the current American political campaign. Alas, the crisis in which he sees America increasingly enmeshed compelled him to choose responsibility over enjoyment.

[May 31 — June 8]

John Hope Franklin
Hope for the Future

Losing hope in the face of adversity is what one's adversaries want.  "One never gives up hope," says John Hope Franklin.  "But you can't just sit around and hope; you have to do something about it.  You have to be prepared, you have to be determined, ... keeping in mind you can overcome whatever the difficulties are."

Among the United States’ preeminent historians, John Hope Franklin is an American historian and scholar. Also a life-long activist, Dr. Franklin was awarded America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his enduring commitment to civil rights. His autobiography, Mirror to America, written at age 90 combines his experience as an African-American with his professional assessment of America’s 20th century fight for civil rights. Earning his PhD at Harvard in 1941, Dr. Franklin is now Duke University's James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History. He served his profession as President of all three of its major historical associations, has countless awards from around the world and chaired the advisory board to President Clinton's Initiative on Race.

[May 19 — May 31]

Stuart Kauffman
Creating a Science of the Unknowable

"Agency comes with life, not with molecular reproduction," says Stuart Kauffman.  "I'm convinced that a bacterium swimming up a glucose gradient is an agent. Are we stretching it? Sure, I don't want to attribute consciousness to the bacterium but I don't want to not either." Stretching is second nature to Dr. Kauffman.  Now he's reaching for new descriptions of life, of science, and of God. The direction of evolution cannot be predicted, hence life's directions cannot be predicted.  With agency comes the possibility of creativity and responsibility.

Theoretical biologist, complexity scientist and author, Stuart Kauffman's new book is Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion. It joins At Home In The Universe and other books intended both for a general audience and for his colleagues at the forefront of emerging science. An early MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Kauffman is one of the world’s leaders in the study of complexity and the Founding Director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Among the original participants in the Santa Fe Institute, Dr. Kauffman is once again on its external faculty. He lectures around the world.

[May 11 — May 19]

Paul Hawken
Suicide Interventions

"All fundamentalisms share a common attribute and that is that a few people think they understand what is best for a lot of people. And whether that is sincere or disingenuous is beside the point ...." These "fundamentalisms" are making life difficult for millions of people, sometimes impossible, says Paul Hawken.

A pioneering environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author, Mr. Hawken is one of the world’s foremost environmental leaders, having spent his life putting his commitment to justice into action. Starting his activism in Selma, AL, when he was 19 years old, he has founded multiple businesses including Smith & Hawken and now heads the Natural Capital Institute. He is an widely sought speaker internationally, has contributed to and appeared in countless media outlets, has written international classics include The Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism (with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins), and Growing a Business, which Mr. Hawken also took to television. His latest book is Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement is the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. He calls California home.

[May 4 — May 11]

Sy Montgomery

"There are so many great souls out there," say Sy Montgomery. "Thank God you understand what family really is," say her readers. Much of that family walks on four legs.

Sy Montgomery is a naturalist, explorer and writer. The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, a best-seller, focuses on the importance of family and home as Ms. Montgomery continues in her quest to give humans a better understanding of our deep connections to all life. Her books for adults include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger and Search for the Golden Moon Bear; for children the award-winning The Snake Scientist, The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans, The Tarantula Scientist and Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. Also a newspaper columnist, documentary scriptwriter and radio commentator, she and her husband, writer Howard Mansfield, make their home in New Hampshire.

[April 27 — May 4]

Frederick Ferré
Living and Life

"The way in which philosophy really counts,"  says Frederick Ferré, "is when it infiltrates the culture to the extent that it's what people think without remembering that they're thinking."  Dr. Ferré's philosophy goes far beyond reductionism to a constructive view of the universe and our role in it.

Frederick Ferré is the world’s leading Constructive Post-Modern philosopher, which is not nearly as off-putting as it sounds.  Dr. Ferré is Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, The University of Georgia, and
Associate Fellow at Dickinson College where he also taught for many years. His extensive body of work includes his crowning trilogy of books – Being and Value, Knowing and Value, and Living and Value – in which he addresses all of Western philosophy and articulates his own inspiring invention, “kalogenesis,” the creation of beauty. His Philosophy of Technology is a lucid and comprehensive view of our ongoing relationship with technology ... for good and for ill.  Professor Ferré and his wife Barbara, a linguist, divide their time between the United States and Germany.

[April 20 — April 27]

Haynes Johnson
McCarthyism, Terrorism & Fear

McCarthyism and today's Republican Party are directly connected.  "There's a long continuation of the uses of fear, to exploit fear, for political purposes," says Haynes Johnson.  "America's much better than that."

Haynes Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize winning political journalist. The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism is his 11th book, including a number of best-sellers. He has covered every president since Eisenhower and practically every significant national and international story for more than 4 decades. Joining the Washington Post in 1969 as reporter, then editor and columnist, he is also a widely admired television commentator. With a Masters degree in American History, Mr. Johnson is a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, was a professor at Princeton, lecturer at U.C.-Berkeley and scholar at the Brookings Institution. His father also won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting.

[April 12 — April 20]

Susan Jacoby
Democracy and Reason

There is no mention of "God" in the United States Constitution, a subject of very heated debate during the ratification process. "It was the freethinkers who won out when the Constitution was written," says Susan Jacoby; though that victory is still being disputed.

Independent scholar and reporter Susan Jacoby is the author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, Ms. Jacoby’s six previous books include Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Ms. Jacoby is Director of the Center For Inquiry/Metro NY and a contributor to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Harper’s, Vogue and The New Republic.

[April 6 — April 12]

Cornel West
Democracy and Empire

Presidential elections are treated as the main event in American democracy, but there's a lot more going on. Cornel West has a commitment to democracy.  He says that the American variant has the opportunity to grow into an improved democratic form based on the ancient Greek tradition of democratic dialogue, the Hebrew commitment of justice and the African-American experience of tragi-comic hope.

Public intellectual Cornel West is widely acclaimed for his public role in addressing vital subjects. Dr. West is University Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism joins his classic Race Matters in his long list of books, articles, general audience and scholarly publications. Recipient of the American Book Award and more than 20 honorary degrees, he has held positions at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. His rap group, “4BMWMB” -- Four Black Men Who Mean Business -- reaches out to the HipHop generation.

[March 29 — April 6]

Thomas Laird
a History of Tibet

Unsurprisingly, the current conflict in Tibet has its roots in history and in geography.
The Mongol Empire was the largest ever.  China claims to be the legitimate successor to that empire.

The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama is the result of 60 hours of intense conversation between veteran journalist Thomas Laird and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. The remarkable Mr. Laird was based in Katmandu for thirty years, was Nepal correspondent for Asiaweek for a decade and a regular contributor to Time and Newsweek. The author of three additional books, Mr. Laird’s photography has appeared in two books and more than fifty magazines. He now divides his time between Kathmandu and New Orleans.

[March 22 — March 29]

Neal Gabler
Living a Movie

"Entertainment changes everything," says Neal Gabler. It is more powerful than "politics, or religion, or economics." He views Walt Disney as probably "the colossus of American popular culture; so, understand him, understand us."

Mr. Gabler is a cultural observer with a commanding grasp of the heart and soul of America's entertainment culture. A widely respected biographer and essayist, he is author of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, Life: The Movie, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, and Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center for the Study of Entertainment & Society at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications.

[March 15 — March 22]

Gay Talese
"attention must be paid"

We understand ourselves and our times by the stories we tell.  If those stories include ordinary people, we have a more complete, a more accute view.  Gay Talese has invested his entire career finding and telling stories of the not-famous.

Among America’s premier reporters, Gay Talese is, in his own words, a “fastidious exponent of nonfiction.” His remarkably inventive memoir, A Writer’s Life, brings his books to almost a dozen covering much of the American experience, including Honor Thy Father, Thy Neighbor’s Wife and The Kingdom and the Power about the New York Times for which Mr. Talese wrote for a decade. He describes himself as a storyteller, declining the “new journalism” role attributed to him by others. Mr. Talese has also written for Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s and other national magazines. He lives in New York with his wife Nan.

[March 8 — March 15]

E.L. Doctorow
Transgressive Impulses

A painter in the field makes a rendering of reality. Reality becomes art and then, says E.L. Doctorow, the artist must rely on people to tell the artist what she or he has done.

Published in more than 30 languages, Mr. Doctorow’s fiction includes Ragtime, City of God and The Book of Daniel. The March brings Mr. Doctorow’s extraordinary novels to a full dozen. It won Mr. Doctorow a nomination for his second National Book Award and earned him also his third National Book Critics Circle award for fiction. A playwright and essayist as well as novelist, Mr. Doctorow’s other honors include the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

[March 1 — March 8]

Edward P. Jones
States of Freedom

We know our world through stories.  And those stories needn't be "true" in the sense of "factual."  Literary fiction helps us explore the world in ways otherwise inaccessible.

Edward P. Jones is widely heralded for his literary novel The Known World, for which he won the 2004 Pulizer Prize in fiction. It is a story of Black American slaveholders and the institution of slavery which shaped the lives of all in that world. He won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a National Book Award finalist for his prior book of short stories, Lost in the City. Washington, D.C. is his home.

[February 23 — March 1]

David McCullough
The Power of History

Polling and focus groups won't lead to bravery. Only one-third of Americans actually supported the American revolt against British rule, according to David McCullough. The leaders of that revolution faced a fair chance of being executed for their efforts.

Historian and journalist David McCullough is the author of the widely heralded bestseller, John Adams. Mr. McCullough won the Pulitzer Prize for his national bestseller, Truman. Twice Mr. McCullough has won the National Book Award and has five additional historical works to his credit. He makes his home in New England.

[February 16 — February 23]

Terry Parssinen
Killing Hitler

Contrary to common belief, high ranking officials in the German government and military actively sought to prevent German armed invasions which lead to World War II and the Holocaust. How? By killing Adolf Hitler.

With The Oster Conspiracy of 1938, historian Terry Parssinen both enriches our understanding of the never-ending need to resist tyranny and spotlights unsung heroes intent on overthrowing the Nazis and killing Hitler to avert World War Two. A European historian with degrees from Grinnell College and Brandeis University, Dr. Parssinen is Professor of History at the University of Tampa. He has written extensively about the international drug trade.

[February 9 — February 16]

Edward Larson
Enduring Struggles

Can people govern themselves?  That was a central issue in the American Presidential election of 1800 between founding "brothers" John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and it is an issue in the election of 2008. The High Federalist of 1800, lead by Alexander Hamilton, look very much like today's Republicans says historian and legal scholar Edward Larson.

Dr. Larson’s ongoing interest in America’s tension between science and religion continues in A Magnificent Catastrophe. He puts history to work examining the 1800 presidential election, showing striking similarities to the election of  2008. Thomas Jefferson, democracy, and science barely defeated the Federalists, elitists and state religion.   Dr. Larson won the Pulitzer with Summer for the Gods about the Scopes trial; his Evolution is a Modern Library book. A professor of history and law at Pepperdine University, his articles have appeared in dozens of journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Nature and Scientific American.

[February 2 — February 9]

Joseph Ellis
Founding Stories

The problem with challenging myths, says Joseph Ellis, is that the myths are undermined ... we're forced to grow up. George Washington is much more interesting, and important, that the childish myths surrounding him.

Historian Joseph Ellis' book Founding Brothers won the Pulitzer Prize, his American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson won the National Book Award. With His Excellency: George Washington, Dr. Ellis continues to make early American history and the people who made it relevant to the present and future. With a Ph.D. from Yale, this former Virginian went to the College of William & Mary, has been on the faculty of Mt. Holyoke and a resident of Massachusetts for many years.

[January 26 — February 2]

"Muslim Girl": the Politics of Beauty

Beauty is much more than "skin deep." Beauty, or its appearance, is the focus of a multi-billion dollar industry. It affects our self-image, how others see and treat us and we them. Iman has been publicly immersed in the politics and economics of beauty for more than 30 years.

Former supermodel Iman is now the CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Fragrances & Skincare. Author of The Beauty of Color and I am Iman, her meteoric rise to the top echelon of the fashion world began in 1975 when she left university in Nairobi for New York City. There she began her remarkable 14 year modeling career. In 1994, she launched her business, the IMAN brand now sold around the world. Actively involved in Children's Defense Fund, For All Kids Foundation and Action Against Hunger, she has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work. Somalian by birth, Iman is the mother of two and married to musician David Bowie.

[January 19 — January 26]

David Nasaw
Crony Capitalist and Peace Monger

At one time perhaps the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie owed his wealth and his presence in America to tariffs.  In his biography of Carnergie, David Nasaw shows how America's "robber-barons" used tariffs, the Republican Party and the U.S. Government to enrich themselves ... and how Carnegie both succeeded and failed in applying his wealth to a variety of causes.

Historian and biographer David Nasaw is a best-selling author of biographies. Professor Nasaw is also Distinguished Professor of History and Director for the Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate Center. His Andrew Carnegie joins The Chief, Professor Nasaw's best-selling biography of William Randolph Hearst, winner of the Bancroft Prize for History and more. Professor Nasaw writes for The New Yorker, The Nation, Condé Nast Traveler, the London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and others.

[January 12 — January 19]

David Cannadine

Money, Mellon and America

It was said that three Presidents served under Andrew Mellon while he was Secretary of the Treasury. David Cannadine explores the energy and excess of captialism manifested in Mellon's life. Unbridled capitalism like unchecked power is dangerous and destructive, he concludes.

Historian and biographer David Cannadine is author of Mellon, An American Life, the prize-winning Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy and many other acclaimed and important books. He has taught at Cambridge and Columbia universities and now is "The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Professor of British History" at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Born in Birmingham, England, he was educated at Cambridge, Oxford and Princeton.

[January 5— January 12]

Greg Mortenson  

Tea and Empathy: the Art of Listening

In much of the world at this time of year, there is abundant talk of "peace" and "goodwill." The talk is not always accompanied by action. Greg Mortenson found that when he asked women in remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan what they most wanted, and listened, they led him to act, to help educate young girls. Mr. Mortenson describes a Pakistan you won't be reading about or seeing on TV. His experiences with Sharia Law are equally unexpected.

Greg Mortenson is an educator, nurse and humanitarian. The kindness of Pakistani villagers who cared for Mr. Mortenson after his failed 1993 attempt to summit K2 inspired him to create The Central Asia Institute. He now works with local people across Pakistan and Afghanistan, building almost 60 schools where girls as well as boys are educated. Mr. Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, tells his powerful story of building peace, one school at a time, in some of the most remote places on earth. When not in Central Asia, Mr. Mortenson and his family live in Montana.

[December 29 — January 5]

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