After being our guest four times, southern musician and storyteller Paul Thorn is a friend of the show and a fan favorite. He was most influenced by his father, a Pentacostal preacher – and by his uncle – a pimp who also trained Thorn to be a professional boxer. When he first appeared on this program in 2008, Thorn was promoting his CD called A Long Way from Tupelo. Now he’s headlining a music cruise in the Caribbean – which we will also discuss.
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, singer-songwriter Paul Thorn’s latest album is called What the Hell is Goin’ On? It’s a collection of songs by other writers that Thorn admires but who tell the same kind of straight-up, down-home stories that the always-entertaining Tupelo native is known for.
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Then, Bob talks with musician Paul Thorn about the dual influence his father and uncle had on him. Thorn’s father was a fire and brimstone preacher and his uncle was a working pimp. Appropriately, Thorn’s latest CD is called Pimps and Preachers.
Bob talks with John Robbins, food activist and author of No Happy Cows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Food Revolution. Robbins, the heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream fortune, is also the author of 1987’s Diet For A New America, which advocated a plant-based diet and warned of the dangers to health, environment and the economy of overconsumption of meat. He blogs for the Huffington Post.
Bob talks with Michael Lewis about his book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. It’s a look at the mortgage crisis and the few visionaries who saw it coming and made a fortune. His book is now available in paperback.
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, “If you smoked Colombian weed in the 1970s and 1980s,” writes NBC News writer Tony Dokoupil, “you paid for my swim lessons, bought me my first baseball glove and kept me in the best private school in south Florida, alongside President George H.W. Bush’s grandkids, at least for a little while.” Dokoupil’s “old man” smuggled tons of marijuana into the country before his eventual self-destruction.
More than twenty years after his debut novel, The Commitments, Roddy Doyle returns to the band of working class Irish youths who brought soul music to Dublin in the 1980s. In The Guts, front man Jimmy Rabbitte is now forty-seven, married with four children, and has bowel cancer.
We get back to appreciating teachers today. Bob talks with Jason Kamras about being named the National Teacher of the Year in 2005 and updates us on what he's been doing over the past decade. Kamras has left the classroom to become "Chief of Human Capital" for the DC Public School System.
Diana Henriques has written the definitive book on Bernie Madoff, based on unprecedented access and interviews with more than one hundred people at all levels of the crime, The Wizard of Lives: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.
Iranian graphic novelist and director Marjane Satrapi rose to fame following the release of her 2007 autobiographical film Persepolis. Persepolis won the Jury Prize at Cannes and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature that year. Satrapi’s new film is Chicken With Plums, a French-language film about love, music and life. It opens this weekend.
Bob talks with writer Malcolm Gladwell about rapid cognition, the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. Gladwell's book Blink examines how we think about thinking. He's also the author of other bestsellers like The Tipping Point and Outliers.
Blues guitar great Buddy Guy celebrates his 79th birthday today. His father bought him his first guitar, a "worn-in instrument with two strings", for $4.35. Since then, Guy says life "ain't never been the same". Bob talks to Guy about his music and journey from Lettsworth, Louisiana to Chicago and beyond. Buddy Guy wrote about it all in his memoir.
Psychologist Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the rational model of judgment and decision making. He has just written Thinking, Fast and Slow and he talks with Bob about the two systems that drive the way we think: the fast, emotional system and the slower, logical system.
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.
In 1940, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany and few Americans believed the U.S. should intervene. There were some notable exceptions. In Citizens of London, Lynn Olson details the roles played by three Americans who helped Winston Churchill's government obtain help from Washington before and after America finally entered the war at the end of 1941.
Best-selling author and master storyteller Ben Macintyre (Operation Mincemeat) focuses his most recent book on Britain’s, and possibly the world’s, most notorious spy. Charming and brilliant, MI6 agent Kim Philby rose to the top of Britain’s counterintelligence agency all the while passing information on to Russia. Macintyre’s book is A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Greatest Betrayal.
Today would have been Studs Terkel’s 100th Birthday. We bring back Bob’s interview with Terkel to honor his centenary. Bob reminisces with Terkel about his career as a writer, broadcaster, oral historian and story teller.
Today we'll talk about some trips that are a little closer to home. First, Bob talks with travel writer Rick Steves. Throughout his career, Steves has advocated for thoughtful and informed traveling in his PBS series, his radio show, and of course his best-selling travel guide books. In his book, Travel As a Political Act, Steves writes about why we travel and how being a good traveler creates positive ties with the citizens of other nations.
First, Bob speaks with author and activist Wendell Berry about his recent protest in Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s office over coal industry regulation. Then, KFC is as an iconic American company, but Colonel Sanders generates more revenue from the Chinese than Americans. And because of their collective buying power, the chicken-eating decisions those Chinese consumers make influences the menu at the KFC on Main Street, USA. Karl Gerth is an Oxford historian who studies the implications of Chinese consumerism.
Even though writer Carl Hiaasen is a best-selling novelist, he has never given up his day job as a columnist for the Miami Herald. His new book, Dance of the Reptiles, is a compilation of some of his best pieces, on topics ranging from the serious to the ridiculous. Then, Bob speaks with Rosanne Cash about her first new album in four years, The River & The Thread. The record was inspired by her trips to Dyess, Arkansas about two years ago to participate in the restoration of her father’s boyhood home.