Profiles

Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich grew up in Sugar City, Idaho, and in the late 50s, she figured she would just “get married and have children.” So it may surprise you to hear that she coined the phrase “well-behaved women seldom make history.” Ulrich is a Mormon, a feminist, a Harvard professor, and a Pulitzer Prize-winner. She’s dedicated her career to telling the stories of early American women and helping modern women find their voices. She’s in Utah, and joins Doug on Monday.

Defying the Nazis

Jan 6, 2017
Andover Harvard Theological Library

In January 1939, Unitarian minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha received a call: would they travel to Europe to help Jewish dissidents and refugees under threat of Nazi persecution? While few Americans were paying attention to Hitler’s growing power, the Sharps agreed to the dangerous mission. Their grandson, the filmmaker Artemis Joukowsky, created a documentary that explores their incredible work. He joined us to talk about how the Sharp’s actions saved hundreds and altered the course of their own lives. (Rebroadcast)

Public domain

If you’ve ever seen paintings by the Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, such as The Garden of Earthly Delights, you’ve probably wondered what they mean and what kind of person could have imagined such fanciful scenes. Problem is, we know very little about Bosch’s personal story. That leaves the paintings, which present their own puzzles. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, and Tuesday, art historian Gary Schwartz joins us to discuss the fearless artist’s life and his inventive art. (Rebroadcast)

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

When it set sail from New York on May 1, 1915, the Lusitania bore a full manifest of passengers and the ingenuity and hubris of its era. It was immense and luxurious, the fastest civilian ship in service. It was also under threat. The Germans declared that British ships sailed “at their own risk,” a risk the Lusitania’s operators perilously defied. They claimed theirs was the safest ship at sea. Wednesday, the writer Erik Larson joins us to recount the disastrous tale of the Lusitania’s last crossing. (Rebroadcast)

Courtesty of the Sierra Club, special thanks to Ellen Byrne

David Brower is widely regarded as the father of the modern environmentalism movement. He served two decades as executive director of the Sierra Club and fought fiercely to defend wilderness and rivers in the American West. Supporters admired his passion, vision, and unyielding efforts, while his opponents found him polarizing and reckless. In his book, the journalist Robert Wyss explores Brower’s complicated personal life and his fearless stewardship of the environmental movement. (Rebroadcast)

Eleanor and Hick

Dec 13, 2016

Tuesday, we’re telling the story of the unconventional relationship that deeply influenced Eleanor Roosevelt. When FDR entered the White House in 1932, Eleanor feared her independent life would take a back seat to the ceremonial role of first lady. But on the campaign trail she had met Lorena Hickok, a feisty reporter who would become her advisor, confidante, and lover. Biographer Susan Quinn joins Doug to explain how Eleanor and “Hick” used their bond to better depression-ravaged America.

 

Niccolò Machiavelli lived hundreds of years ago, and though he was a gifted political strategist, he knew nothing about democratic republics. So the scholar Maurizio Viroli recognizes that it’s a bit extravagant to consult a 15th-century Florentine for electoral advice in 21st-century America. But Machiavelli, Viroli says, remains the most competent, honest and disinterested political counselor we could ask for. Viroli joins us to examine what Machiavelli can teach us about choosing leaders. (Rebroadcast)

Leah Hogsten | Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake City resident Pierre-Richard Prosper is the son of Haitian immigrants, a former district attorney in Los Angeles at the height of the gang violence there, and he was the lead prosecutor in the first trial for genocide and rape as war crimes. Those are just a few of his stories, but in many ways they’ve shaped his view of the world. Prosper believes deeply in the law’s ability to right wrongs that we could have prevented in the first place. He joins us Thursday to talk about his fascinating life.

Casanova

Nov 30, 2016
Courtesy of personal collection / Bridgeman Images

The name Casanova is synonymous with seduction and sexuality. And while biographer Laurence Bergreen says that Giacomo Casanova’s favorite place was a brothel, it might surprise you that his second favorite was a library. The 18th century Venetian was born in poverty. He was intent on working up the social ladder though and saw sex as both pleasure and a “weapon of class destruction.” Thursday, Bergreen joins Doug to talk about Casanova’s writing and philosophy … as well as his 120+ lovers.

American Heiress

Nov 29, 2016

Tuesday, our guest is author Jeffrey Toobin, who’s written a book about the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Hearst was 19 and heir to her family’s fortune when the “Symbionese Liberation Army” took her, and it soon seemed that she had adopted their incoherent, revolutionary cause. We’ll explore the controversy over Hearst’s involvement in their crimes, the atmosphere that gave birth to the SLA, and why Toobin says the story sheds light on a time when America was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. (Rebroadcast)

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