Monday's Show

Public domain

The Life and Legacy of Richard Nixon

“Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” writes John Farrell in a new biography of President Richard Nixon. Nixon was an idealistic dreamer when he returned from World War II, and he quickly scaled the political ladder. After winning the presidency in 1969, he and his staff pursued progressive reforms and opened relations with China. But Nixon, says Farrell, had another, darker legacy: a divided and polarized America. Farrell joins us Monday to discuss Richard Nixon and the world he made.

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Literary loves, like romantic ones, can be both joyous and painful. The critic Laura Miller was quite young when she met her first love - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But the relationship grew troubled when as a skeptical teen she began to learn about CS Lewis' Christian themes. How do you reconcile feelings of literary betrayal when the book was one that shaped who you are? Miller joins Doug to talk about the power of Narnia and the man who created it. (Rebroadcast)

<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/a_sorense/3489209778/">Andrew Sorensen</a>/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

The “Star-Spangled Banner” is a song about war and resolve that began life as a drinking tune. We sing it all the time, but often struggle to sing it correctly.  Even professional musicians sometimes butcher our anthem. In a time of uncertainty about national unity, the anthem is one of the few things that can get thousands of Americans to stand up as one.  Guest host Matthew LaPlante looks at the song's complicated history and how it stacks up against other national anthems.

Thursday, We're talking about the life and career of Robert Redford. Biographer Michael Feeney Callan says he became interested in Redford because the actor is more than just a pop icon. As much as he's recognized for his legendary film roles, he is also known for his environmental activism and his impact on filmmaking through The Sundance Institute. But for all that, Redford has remained an enigmatic figure. Callan joins us to talk about the man he came to know in 15 years of writing "Robert Redford." (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday, Doug talks to the scholar Nadja Durbach about the age of the freak show. She's written a book that examines the era when so called "freaks of nature" were marketed and displayed for paying customers - figures like The Elephant Man and Laloo the "Double-Bodied Hindoo Boy." Durbach's interest goes beyond the questions of taste and exploitation. She found that these displays revealed something deeper about body differences and the idea of otherness. (Rebroadcast)

Among the Truthers

Sep 12, 2011

Journalist Jonathan Kay says that a vast conspiracist subculture is spreading like wildfire through North America. Kay spent two years trying to understand the people who adhere to incredible theories on everything from 9/11 and Barack Obama's birth to vaccines. Monday, he joins Doug to explain what he's learned about these "truthers," and why they may be doing real damage to the unity and health of our society. (Rebroadcast)

Endgame

Sep 9, 2011

Friday on RadioWest we're talking about the eccentric chess genius Bobby Fischer. Frank Brady is our guest; he knew Fischer and has written a biography that explores his life. In 1972 at the height of the cold war, Bobby Fischer became the world chess champion by defeating the Soviet Boris Spassky. His success created a phenomenon. He became a superstar. but then he practically disappeared. His life came to be dominated by paranoia and fanatacism. The book is called "Endgame". (Rebroadcast)

Beethoven's Ninth

Sep 8, 2011

This Friday and Saturday, the Utah Symphony will perform an Beethoven Ninth Symphony under the direction of Maestro Thierry Fischer. We're taking the opportunity to rebroadcast our conversation on the story behind the most famous piece of classical music in Western culture. Our guest is the Harvard professor Thomas Forrest Kelly - who says that to appreciate the Ninth Symphony, you have to hear it the way audiences did when it was first performed in Vienna, in 1824.  (Rebroadcast)

Packing for Mars

Sep 7, 2011
<i>Image by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dotpolka/86705778/">dotpolka</a>/<a href=" http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a> via flickr</i>

Popular science writer Mary Roach says that when planning a space mission, everything that's taken for granted on Earth has to be "rethought, relearned and rehearsed." After all, flying a flag with no wind or managing to urinate in zero gravity is no easy feat. Roach's latest book is called "Packing for Mars," and she joins Doug for a look at space exploration and what it teaches us about being human. (Rebroadcast)

Tuesday on RadioWest the historian Will Bagley is with us to talk about his epic quest to chronicle the westward migration of American settlers. Bagley's book tells the story of the Overland Trails that brought more than half a million Americans to the far West of Oregon and California. It's the story of families and fortune hunters and the effect that all of it had the native people who for centuries had already been calling the West home. (Rebroadcast)

Farm City

Sep 5, 2011

Monday, we're talking about urban farming with the writer Novella Carpenter. Carpenter sometimes hears from people that they're moving to the country to farm. She said the problem is you get great food, but you don't have anyone to share it with. Carpenter wanted to farm and stay in her community - a very urban neighborhood in Oakland, California. Novella Carpenter joins Doug to talk about her book "Farm City." (Rebroadcast)

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Tuesday's Show

Josh Ewing, Utah Dine Bikeyah

Native Americans and Bears Ears

A coalition of five sovereign Native American tribes was instrumental in last year’s declaration of Bears Ears National Monument. Those tribes all lived in the region long before white settlers, and tribal members say they depend on the Bears Ears for food, shelter, healing, and spiritual sustenance. For them, the landscape is alive. It has a heartbeat. It’s a valued member of the family. Tuesday, we'll talk about how Native Americans think about and relate to Bears Ears.

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