Shipping: The 'Invisible Industry' That Clothes And Feeds You (Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 0am)
Talent Or Skill?: Homing In On The Elusive 'Sports Gene' (Monday, August 5, 2013 at 0am)
We've all had the experience of watching a great athletic performance — from gymnast Mary Lou Retton defying gravity to Michael Jordan sinking a mind-blowing turnaround jumper — and wondered: Were they born with that talent or can you get there with hard work and practice?
Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein
says scientists are learning a lot more about the role of genetics in athletic performance. In his new book, The Sports Gene, he looks at whether big league hitters have naturally faster reflexes, whether some people are born with speed and that delicate question of whether African-Americans are better athletes than whites. Epstein says that science now has answers, or at least insights, into all those questions. He joins Fresh Air's Dave Davies to talk about the secret to hitting a fastball and why slow dogs win the Iditarod. (Shortride)… (more)
'America's Test Kitchen' On Grilling Peaches, Tofu And Burgers (Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 0am)
When Bridget Lancaster
and Jack Bishop
talk about preparing food on the public TV series America's Test Kitchen, they're really good at explaining why the recipe works. Bishop is the editorial director of the show, and Lancaster is the lead instructor of its cooking school. They've both contributed to the new America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook. They join Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about preparing summer foods, and to answer some cooking questions from the Fresh Air staff. (Shortride)… (more)
Pioneering 'Masters Of Sex' Brought Science To The Bedroom (Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 0am)
William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous in the 1960s for their groundbreaking and controversial research into the physiology of human sexuality. Instead of just asking people about their sex lives, Masters and Johnson actually observed volunteers engaging in self-stimulation and sexual intercourse. Changes throughout their bodies during arousal were measured with medical equipment.
A new Showtime series premiering in September tells their story. It's called Masters of Sex, and it's based on the book by Thomas Maier, who is also a consultant for the series. Until Maier's book, Masters and Johnson's research techniques remained shrouded in secrecy. Maier was able to uncover information through interviews with their friends, family and former colleagues, as well as extensive interviews with Johnson, who on July 24 at the age of 88.
Masters of Sex was first published in 2009, but a new paperback edition of the book has just come out. Maier is also the author of books about the Kennedys and the famous pediatrician Benjamin Spock. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss Masters and Johnson's discovery of multiple and fake orgasms, as well as Masters' use of prostitutes and sex surrogates. (Shortride)… (more)
A Metro 'Revolution': Cities, Suburbs Do What Washington Can't (Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 0am)
When Detroit last week, news accounts were filled with troubling stories of urban decay in the city: vast areas of vacant lots and abandoned houses, shuttered parks, nonworking streetlights and police response times close to an hour.
But Bruce Katz
, vice president of the Brookings Institution, says that many American cities show promising signs of renewal. He's written a book with Brookings Fellow Jennifer Bradley called The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy. The book argues that metro areas — or, cities and suburbs together — are powerful economic engines with considerable political influence, and that local leaders are more likely to take on the nation's big challenges than politicians in Washington. (Shortride)… (more)
After WWII, Europe Was A 'Savage Continent' Of Devastation (Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 0am)
In the introduction to his book, Savage Continent
, Keith Lowe writes:
Imagine a world without institutions. No governments. No school or universities. No access to any information. No banks. Money no longer has any worth. There are no shops, because no one has anything to sell. Law and order are virtually non-existent because there is no police force and no judiciary. Men with weapons roam the streets taking what they want. Women of all classes and ages prostitute themselves for food and protection.
This is not the beginning to a futuristic thriller, but a history of Europe in the years directly following World War II, when many European cities were in ruins, millions of people were displaced, and vengeance killings were common, as was rape.
The book has just won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History from the English branch of PEN, and its narrative flies in the face of what we are used to hearing about that period. This is precisely what interested Lowe.
"I was used to seeing these wonderful, cozy myths about the way the war ended," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "and everybody celebrating and sailors grabbing hold of nurses in New York's Times Square and kissing them and all of these sort of things. And I was aware that it hadn't quite ended like that." (Shortride)… (more)
A Reclusive Novelist Reckons With His Legacy '& Sons' (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 0am)
At the center of David Gilbert
's new novel & Sons is a famous and famously reclusive writer in the J.D. Salinger model. It's a book about the writer as author of books, and as the father of sons — sons who don't feel nearly as warmly toward him as readers do. When & Sons begins, the writer, Andrew Newbold Dyer — or A.N. Dyer as he's known to his readers — is nearing 80.
Gilbert says that as he was writing the book, his own father was growing elderly and more vulnerable at the same time Gilbert's son was entering his teen years. The dynamic of fathers and sons was one that he was in the midst of and thus wanted to explore, "in all of its myriad details, and ways, and emotions." (Shortride)… (more)
'Fairyland': A Girl Grows Up In San Francisco's Gay Community (Monday, June 3, 2013 at 0am)
While these days it's not uncommon to meet children with gay parents, in the 1970s it was. Alysia Abbott
was one of those kids. When her parents met, her father — Steve Abbott — told her mother he was bisexual. But when Alysia was a toddler, her mother died in a car accident and Steve came out as gay. He moved with his daughter to San Francisco, just as the gay liberation movement was gaining strength...
In San Francisco, as Abbott describes in her new memoir, Fairyland, her father immersed himself in the city's gay arts scene, becoming a leading literary figure. His daughter also became a part of that community, but as she grew older, Abbott found herself struggling to parse where she fit in. (Shortride)… (more)
How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt' (Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 0am)
Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier
began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering"... Meier's new e-book, A World of Hurt: Fixing Pain Medicine's Biggest Mistake, is published by The New York Times Co. and explores opiate painkillers and the consequences of long-term use. He focuses in particular on OxyContin — how it came to be prescribed for chronic pain, what the consequences have been, and how it became a street drug. (Shortride)… (more)
In 'Passage,' Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles (Monday, May 13, 2013 at 0am)
For the past 37 years, Robert A. Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.
There was the Johnson who grew up poor in the Texas hill country; the Johnson who blackmailed a fellow student to win a college election; and the Johnson who, as a congressman, humiliated loyal aides for fun and brazenly stole votes to get into the Senate. And yet there was the Johnson who worked long hours teaching poor Mexican-American children in South Texas, and who believed passionately in government's obligation to help people.
The fourth — and latest — volume in The Years of Lyndon Johnson is The Passage of Power, winner of the 2012 National Book and National Book Critics Circle awards. Now out in paperback, it covers the years 1958-1964. During this time, Johnson goes from powerful Senate majority leader to powerless vice president mocked by the Kennedy brothers, to again being handed the reins of power when he assumes the presidency following John F. Kennedy's assassination. (Shortride)… (more)
Marc Maron: A Life Fueled By 'Panic And Dread' (Monday, April 29, 2013 at 0am)
has parlayed the success of his podcast into Maron, a television show based on his life; it debuts May 3 on the IFC Channel. And he has a memoir, Attempting Normal
, in which he says he wishes his imagination was fueled by something other than panic and dread — though he says not to worry too much about that observation. (Shortride)
'Let's Explore': David Sedaris On His Public Private Life (Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 0am)
writes personal stories, funny tales about his life growing up in a Greek family outside of Raleigh, N.C., about in Santa's workshop at Christmastime, and about living abroad with his longtime partner, Hugh. The stories have appeared on This American Life and in The New Yorker, and have now filled seven essay collections, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and now — his latest collection — Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls. (Shortride)… (more)
'The Last Refuge': Yemen, Al-Qaida And The U.S. (Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 0am)
In his new book, The Last Refuge
, journalist Gregory Johnsen
charts the rise of Yemen as a haven for al-Qaida and explores the recent history of radical Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The death of Osama bin Laden, he says, had more of an effect on the U.S. psyche than it did on people in Yemen. (Shortride)
A Model Career: 'Grace' Goes From Runway To 'Vogue' (Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 7pm)
In a new memoir, Grace Coddington
explains how she grew up on a remote island off the coast of Wales, started modeling as a young woman and ended up as creative director at Vogue magazine. Coddington speaks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about her life in the fashion industry. (Shortride)
Jacob Weisberg, Chronicling 'The Bush Tragedy' (Monday, November 19, 2012 at 0am)
Slate magazine editor Jacob Weisberg has a few things to say about the presidency of George W. Bush. He's assembled his thoughts in a book called The Bush Tragedy
, which Time magazine political columnist Joe Klein calls a "scorching, powerful and entirely plausible account" of an administration whose "epic collapse" Klein has lately been writing about. (Shortride)
Interview: MacArthur 'Genius' Junot Diaz (Friday, October 5, 2012 at 0am)
Looking To The 'Stars' For A Reason To Live (Monday, August 13, 2012 at 0am)
Not A Feminist? Caitlin Moran Asks, Why Not? (Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 0am)
Facing The Fiscal Cliff: Congress' Next Showdown (Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 0am)
Christopher Beha, On Faith And Its Discontents (Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 0am)
'The Twilight War' Between The U.S. And Iran (Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 0am)
Unraveling The Genetic Code That Makes Us Human (Monday, July 23, 2012 at 0am)
'The Life That Follows' Disarming IEDs In Iraq (Monday, July 9, 2012 at 0am)
Joan Rivers Hates You, Herself And Everyone Else (Monday, June 11, 2012 at 0am)
A 'Zone' Full Of Zombies In Lower Manhattan (Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 0am)