July 09, 2012

Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick

We’ll explore the life and times of one of baseball’s most eccentric personalities, Bill Veeck. Many will remember him for all of the wacky things he did to get people to the ball park. But this one-time owner of the Chicago White Sox had a serious impact on the game, introducing innovations we now take for granted. He was also an early advocate for the inclusion of black players. Our guest will be Paul Dickson, author of the new biography "Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick."

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, May 11, 2012, 10 am

July 06, 2012

To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure

A plane crashes, a bridge collapses, and our first impulse is to blame design. Henry Petroski has been studying catastrophic failure for a long time and he says there is always a human element to be considered. The Duke University professor of Engineering will discuss his new book To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure which looks at the ways that people and machines come together in ways designers never anticipated until it was too late.

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 09, 2012, 11 am

July 06, 2012

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Why are some nations rich and others poor? Many explanations have been offered: culture, geography, even weather. But MIT economist Daron Acemoglu says what matters most are the political and economic institutions made by people. We’ll hear more about the root causes behind success and failure and talk about what might be done to build widespread prosperity.

This is a repeat broadcast from Thursday, May 10, 2012, 10 am

July 05, 2012

The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter

Northwestern University Sociologist Gary Alan Fine has been studying rumors for over 35 years. He began by looking at the ways rumors affected race relations and made it so difficult for blacks and whites to get together. In his more recent work, he has looked at rumors that deal with international politics. He says rumors provide access to what people believe and the beliefs they keep hidden. Fine will share some ideas from his book "The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration and Trade Matter."

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, May 04, 2012, 10 am

July 04, 2012

BackStory with the American History Guys

Independence Daze: A History of July 4th

In the early days of our nation, July Fourth wasn’t an official holiday at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1938 that it became a paid day-off. So how did the Fourth become the holiest day on our secular calendar? Historian Pauline Maier offers some answers, and explains how radically the meaning of the Declaration has changed since 1776. James Heintze chronicles early Independence Day Bacchanalia. And historian David Blight reflects on Frederick Douglass arresting 1852 Independence Day speech.

July 03, 2012

The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story

The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most powerful symbols, yet when it arrived in crates, no one could have imagined just how powerful it would become. We’ll get the story of the small group of French intellectuals who decided to offer a tribute to American liberty and of the uphill fight for American support. Our guest will be historian Edward Berenson, author of the new book "The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story."

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, June 29, 2012, 11 am

June 21, 2012

Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Ph.D., Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Host: David Inge

Saying goodbye is an unavoidable part of life. Some goodbyes are small, but sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot says the small goodbyes teach us how to handle the major transitions. But, she says, there are few lessons in our culture, our schooling or our socialization in how to gracefully take our leave. Sara Lawrence Lightfoot will be our guest and we’ll talk about making the movement away from the old, a step forward, even when it feels like a retreat. That’s the subject of her book,  "Exit: The Endings that Set Us Free."

June 19, 2012

The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes

Scott Wallace, Journalist; Photographer; Speaker; Producer

Host: David Inge

The Arrow People live deep in the Amazon rainforest. They are one of the very last uncontacted tribes on the planet. Sydney Possuelo works for the government of Brazil. He is dedicated to protecting the Arrow People but in order to do that, he must enter their world, risking his life to defend their right to be left alone. Journalist Scott Wallace will tell us about the man and his mission, both profiled in the new book "The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes."

June 12, 2012

Satisfaction Not Guaranteed: Dilemmas of Progress in Modern Society

Peter N. Stearns, Provost and University Professor, George Mason University; Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Social History

Host: David Inge

In the affluent, industrial societies of the world today, life is good.  Most people live long lives, without fear of plague, famine or war.  So why is there depression, anxiety, unfulfilled longing? In short, why has abundance not led to greater happiness? That’s the question we’ll take up with our guest, historian Peter Stearns. We’ll talk about some of the ideas in his book "Satisfaction Not Guaranteed." The book looks at the ways people in the past thought about progress, and asks whether we can be truly happy in the modern world.

June 11, 2012

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

Florence Williams, contributing editor at Outside Magazine and a freelance writer for New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Slate, Mother Jones, High Country News, O-Oprah, W., Bicycling and numerous other publications

Host: David Inge
Florence Williams

Science writer Florence Williams says that to have breasts is to be human. We are the only animals who have breasts continuously from puberty on. And, she says, they are in need of protection. Because they store fat, they also store toxic, fat-loving chemicals. She says they are indicators for the changing health of people. We’ll explore the origins and meaning of this distinctly human feature as we talk with Florence Williams about her new book "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History."

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