Profiles

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.

Thursday, we continue our Through the Lens film series with a documentary about pioneering writer Alice Walker. She made history as the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple. Director Pratibha Pamar’s film tells the dramatic story of Walker’s life and reveals the inspiration for many of her works. It also explores Walker’s refusal to submit to gender stereotypes or compromise her artistic search for beauty and truth.

Unitarianism and Utah

Apr 11, 2016

  In 1895, Rev. Stanley M. Hunter delivered a sermon entitled “What Shall Unitarianism Stand for in Salt Lake City?” Utah’s congregation was 4 years old, and Hunter believed there was a need for liberal religion that “stood for free thought and free speech.” This year is the 125th anniversary of the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake, so Monday, we’re exploring the roots of Unitarianism, its history in America and Utah, and asking about the role of progressive religion in today’s public arena.

H is for Hawk

Apr 6, 2016

  Helen Macdonald has always been obsessed with birds of prey. As a child, she even tried to sleep with her arms tucked behind her back like wings. In her critically acclaimed memoir, Macdonald recounts her attempts to cope with the sudden death of her father by fully embracing her love of raptors and training a ferocious hawk. So, it’s nature writing, but also a tale of grief. Macdonald is in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, and she joins us to explain how a bird gave her new perspective on life. 

Salt Lake Tribune, April 8, 1968

  The poet Katharine Coles considers herself a typical Utahn, though maybe a different “typical” than what might spring to mind. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City, and her parents gave the family a life of adventure in the red rock desert and the mountains. They were also intellectuals and social activists, so Coles was encouraged to explore and to make her voice heard. Monday, Katharine Coles joins Doug to talk about Utah and other lenses that shape her poetic view of the world.

Author Jim Harrison

Apr 1, 2016

Jim Harrison was a literary legend. In his bountiful works of fiction, essays, and poetry he displayed an insatiable zest for life and unending passion for the natural world. He passed away last weekend at age 78. Friday, we’re rebroadcasting a conversation he had with independent radio producer Scott Carrier back in 2007. Harrison was in Salt Lake City, and he spoke with Carrier about art, writing, the pleasures of life, and the nature of death. (Rebroadcast)

Saving Alex

Mar 31, 2016

Alex Cooper was 15 when she told her Mormon parents she was gay. She knew that it would be difficult, but she couldn’t have expected what happened next. They sent her stay with a couple in St. George who promised to “save” Alex from homosexuality. What the “treatment program” relied on though was verbal, psychological and physical abuse. Thursday, our guest is scholar Joanna Brooks. She co-authored Alex’s memoir, and joins us to talk about how this happened and what it really took to save Alex.

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