Profiles

Legal journalist Elie Mystal says the Supreme Court is our least transparent branch of government and people are very uninformed about it. That’s where WNYC’s Radiolab is stepping in. They’ve created their first spin-off series and it’s focused on the court and what its rulings mean for “we the people.” Mystal is legal editor of More Perfect, and Monday, he and host Jad Abumrad join Doug to talk about getting past the wonkiness and bringing the stories of our highest court to life.

The Immortal Irishman

Jun 17, 2016

Friday, journalist Timothy Egan joins us to tell the story of Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher. Egan first encountered Meagher as a statue on the Montana Capitol grounds, but tracing his life took Egan from the brutal occupation of Ireland and the famine which killed a million people, to the fields of America’s civil war and to the American frontier. We’ll talk about Meagher’s transformation from romantic to rebel to leader, and what it revels about the journey of the Irish people. (Rebroadcast)

L-R, Matthew Brady, U.S. House of Representatives, Library of Congress

  When suffragist Victoria Woodhull set her sights on the White House in 1872, women didn’t have the right to vote. She was the first woman to run for America’s highest office, but of course she wasn’t the last. Tuesday, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick joins us to discuss the presidential bids of Woodhull, Republican Margaret Chase Smith in 1964, and Democrat Shirley Chisholm in 1972. We’ll talk about the opposition they faced and how they paved the way for women like Hillary Clinton today.

Thursday, we’re talking about the controversial career of Mormon historian Leonard Arrington. Arrington was the first professional head of LDS Church History, but his academic rigor and candor didn’t sit well with everyone in the hierarchy. Within a decade, he was removed from office and a number of scholars would eventually face Church discipline. Biographer Greg Prince joins Doug to explain how Arrington changed our understanding of Mormonism and how his legacy is felt in LDS scholarship today.

We Refused to Die

May 30, 2016

In 1942 the Japanese army forced about 70,000 US and Philippine prisoners of war to march some 80 miles across the Bataan Peninsula on the way to a prison camp. More than 10,000 died or were summarily executed along the way. Among the survivors was Gene Jacobsen, who published a book about the ordeal. Jacobsen died in 2007 at the age of 85. Monday, we're rebroadcasting his story of three and a half years as a prisoner of war. [Rebroadcast]

Thursday, we’re telling stories of legendary Utah Symphony conductor Maurice Abravanel. The Maestro led the symphony for 32 years with the philosophy that good music should be available to everyone. He created a pioneering education program and built the orchestra into an internationally renowned recording powerhouse with some 120 albums. Former associate conductor Ardean Watts and retired cellist Carolee Baron will join us to talk about the life and musical passions of Maestro Maurice Abravanel.

Elephant Company

May 20, 2016

When author Vicki Constantine Croke saw an illustration of an elephant and rider on a precarious cliff ledge from 1943, she wanted to know more. It was of “Elephant Bill” Williams, an Englishman who was a gifted trainer and champion of elephants in Burma. His work made headlines though when the Japanese invaded, and his “Elephant Company” managed a daring escape over treacherous mountain terrain. Croke joins us to tell the story of Williams, the animals he loved and the lessons they taught him about courage and trust. (Rebroadcast)

Mein Kampf

May 6, 2016

 

Mein Kampf was Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, a kind of campaign biography. He wrote the first draft of it while in prison for leading a failed coup, and historian Peter Ross Range says the book crystallized Hitler’s “faith in himself as Germany’s coming redeemer.” Mein Kampf was recently republished in Germany for the first time since WWII. Range joins us Friday to talk about the notorious book’s history, influence, and future. [Rebroadcast]

Custer's Trials

Apr 28, 2016

Even in his lifetime, George Armstrong Custer was controversial. He was ambitious and flamboyant as well as courageous and talented. Though largely remembered for his death at the Little Bighorn, T.J. Stiles' paints a fuller picture of Custer's colorful and complicated life. Stiles says Custer lived at a “frontier in time.” He helped usher in the modern American era, but couldn't quite adapt to the modernity he helped create. Stiles joins us Thursday to talk about his new book "Custer's Trials." (Rebroadcast)

Monday, 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.

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