Profiles


Henry David Thoreau famously went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” But as the scholar Laura Dassow Walls shows in a new biography, there was much more to Thoreau’s life and work than his brief experiment at Spartan living in the woods. He was an inventor, a manual laborer, a gifted naturalist, a writer of great originality, and an uncompromising abolitionist. Walls joins us Monday to explore Thoreau’s profound, complex, and influential life. (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, we’re talking about Martin Luther. In the 16th century, he ignited a movement to rethink the traditions and beliefs of Christianity. He came to be seen as a heretic or revolutionary, but the historian Craig Harline said Luther never set out to be either of those things. He began as a cranky friar who obsessed about the fate of his soul. He went looking for answers, and when he found them, refused to keep his mouth shut. Harline has just written a new book called A World Ablaze.

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Years ago, Tom Christofferson asked to be excommunicated from the LDS Church. He says he couldn’t figure out how to be Mormon and gay, so, he aimed at being happy and gay. And he was. He had a man he loved, and his family - including Mormon apostle D. Todd Christofferson - made them both welcome. But he still wasn’t fulfilled. So Tom Christofferson left his partner and returned to his church. He’s written a memoir and joins us Tuesday to talk about reconciling his sexuality with his faith.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr (http://bit.ly/2yCgh4N), CC-BY-SA 2.0 (http://bit.ly/1dsePQq)

When he speaks at universities across the country, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro draws fierce opposition for his strongly held opinions. He despises identity politics, opposes the ideas of safe spaces and microaggressions, and rejects the concept of white male privilege. He relishes attacking liberals, but has himself been targeted by the alt-right. Shapiro is speaking at the University of Utah this week, and he joins us Tuesday to discuss his thinking on society and politics.

For more than four decades, one of America's most astonishing whodunits has gone unsolved. "D.B. Cooper" was on a flight from Portland to Seattle when he handed over a bomb threat. The airline gave him $200,000 and the hijacker parachuted from the plane, never to be seen again. Cooper evaded one of the most extensive manhunts of the 20th century and has become the stuff of legend. Investigative journalist Geoffrey Gray joins Doug to separate myth from fact in the case of D.B. Cooper. (Rebroadcast)

Kelsie Moore / KUER

Tuesday, Utah reporter Rod Decker is our guest. Decker just retired after 37 years at Utah CBS affiliate KUTV Channel 2, and he’s got a lot of stories to tell. Decker is known for his unique delivery and for jumping head-long into a story, whether it meant antics to get the viewers’ attention or blunt questions to get a politician’s answer. We’ll discuss his observations on Utah politics and culture, how serving in Vietnam made him skeptical of liberals, and the fact he doesn’t watch TV.

Memory's Last Breath

Sep 5, 2017

In 2010, Gerda Saunders learned that she has dementia. She was 61 years old at the time, and soon had to leave her post teaching at the University of Utah. So, Gerda started writing what she calls her field notes on dementia. She said she wanted to be like an anthropologist documenting a tribe. The result is a memoir. It’s called Memory’s Last Breath, and in it Saunders examines what losing her memory is doing her identity. Tuesday, we're rebroadcasting an interview with Saunders about her book and her life. (Rebroadcast)

Defying the Nazis

Aug 31, 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)

Friday, biographer Kate Clifford Larson is with us to talk about the life of Rosemary Kennedy. She was a sister of John F. Kennedy, a vivacious beauty, and also intellectually challenged. As the Kennedy family’s power grew, her parents were anxious to keep her from the public eye. So at 23, she was lobotomized and institutionalized. Larson joins us to explain what Rosemary’s story reveals about the way we once dealt with disabilities, and how her life eventually inspired the Kennedys’ activism. (Rebroadcast)

 

Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich grew up in Sugar City, Idaho, and in the late Fifties, 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, and joins Doug on Thursday. (Rebroadcast)

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