Profiles

We Steal Secrets

Jun 10, 2013

Army Private Bradley Manning recently went on trial in military court for turning over thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. It was the largest security breach in US history. The filmmaker Alex Gibney profiles Manning and Wikileaks’ enigmatic founder Julian Assange in a new documentary, We Steal Secrets. It explores the peculiar nature of whistleblowers and also that of the Internet: a free-information machine for the public, but a spying machine for governments. Gibney joins us Tuesday.

Bunker Hill

Jun 7, 2013

Monday, Doug is joined by author and historian Nathaniel Philbrick for a grassroots look at the American Revolution. His new book takes to the streets of Boston during the British occupation of 1775 and follows the merchants, farmers, artisans and sailors – the vigilantes and the sober citizens on their march towards rebellion. The tension climaxed in June with the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was the bloodiest engagement of the war and the moment, Philbrick says, that set the course for Revolution.

Wednesday, Doug is joined by biographer Neal Thompson for a look at the strange and brilliant life of Robert "Believe It Or Not!" Ripley. Thompson says the message from Ripley's body of work – cartoons, books, radio programs, lectures and museums – is that he loved the underdog.  Ripley himself had been an awkward and outcast kid, but he was also curious and adventurous. We'll talk to Thompson about how Ripley built a media empire while feeding the public's hunger for the bizarre.

Constitution USA

May 27, 2013

Tuesday, PBS wraps up its series "Constitution USA," with NPR's own Peter Sagal. Of course, you wouldn't expect a stodgy documentary from the host of the irreverent news quiz "Wait, Wait … Don't Tell Me." Sagal traveled around the country on a very red, white and blue Harley to learn stories of how our founding document affects peoples' lives. He joins Doug to talk about how the Constitution doesn't answer all our political questions, but it is the framework for having disputes without killing each other.

We Refused to Die

May 24, 2013

In 1942 the Japanese army forced about 70,000 US and Philippino 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. Today, we're rebroadcasting his story of three and a half years as a prisoner of war. (Rebroadcast)

The First Muslim

May 16, 2013

The journalist Lesley Hazleton says that early sources on the prophet Muhammad are infuriatingly vague. He’s described as “neither tall nor short,” “neither dark nor fair,” and “neither thin nor stout.” Hazleton, a longtime Middle East reporter and an agnostic Jew, wanted to understand the man whose legacy continues to shape our world. Her biography is called “The First Muslim,” and she joins Doug to explain how a man from humble beginnings rose to be the voice and leader of his people. (Rebroadcast)

Josh Hanagarne stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and can bend horseshoes with his bare hands. He has Tourette’s syndrome and is given to noisy verbal tics. It may seem unlikely, but Hanagarne is also a librarian at Salt Lake City’s Main Library. The job fuels his inner bookworm. It also compels him to consistently maintain silence and self-control. Hanagarne has written a memoir about his struggles with the physical and mental challenges of Tourette’s, and he joins us on Thursday to talk about it.

Tuesday, we're talking to the writer Cheryl Strayed about her memoir Wild. Strayed was 22 years old when her mother died of cancer, and she says the loss brought her to a "most savage self." Her marriage was falling apart, she was sleeping with other men and was using heroin. She needed healing, and she found it on a grueling, 1100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed joins Doug to talk about facing her demons and finding her way back. (Rebroadcast)

Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was recently released after serving a two-year prison term for an infamous act of civil disobedience. DeChristopher says that during his sentence he read and exercised a lot. He also missed the rise and decline of the Occupy protests. “The biggest social movement of lifetime happened and I missed it,” DeChristopher has said. A free man now, he plans to attend Harvard Divinity School in the fall. DeChristopher joins us Monday to discuss his evolution as an activist and how it connects to his spiritual path.

Photo credit Katherine Bouton

Monday on RadioWest, Ira Flatow, host of NPR's Science Friday, will be our guest. Flatow was an influential and pioneering reporter back when NPR was the new kid on the block. He came to radio with a conversational and approachable reporting style that made dense scientific subjects understandable and interesting, even fun. Science Friday is coming to Salt Lake City this week, and that gives us a chance to talk with Flatow about his career, his influences and innovations, and about why he thinks science is sexy. Science Friday correspondent Flora Lichtman will also join us.

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