Ed Dolnick – The Grand Canyon, 1869

Down the Great Unknown, John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon

John Wesley Powell, a one-armed civil war veteran and passionate geologist, is a mostly unknown early explorer of the Grand Canyon. In 1869, he led a group of nine men on a 99 day adventure over 1,000 miles and almost 500 difficult rapids to a the vast chasm of the Grand Canyon. Edward Dolnick is the author of “Down the Great Unknown, John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon.” Dolnick based his book on the journals that Powell and other members of his crew kept as they made their journey.

Ed Dolnick recommends “Endurance,” by Alfred Lansing.

Originally Broadcast: December 18, 2001

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Saul Diskin – Identical Twins

The End of the Twins, a Memoir of Losing a Brother

Ever wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin—how alike would you be to that person? How much of an individual would you be? Saul Diskin and his identical twin brother Marty grew up together in New York City where Saul and Marty were inseparable. As adults, they began to live separate lives, Saul in Phoenix and Marty near Boston. In 1991, Marty, who had suffered from leukemia for 20 years, needed a bone marrow transplant, which he received from Saul. In his extraordinarily intimate book, “The End of the Twins, a Memoir of Losing a Brother,” Saul Diskin chronicles the rich relationship beginning with their early childhood and ending well past Marty’s death in 1997, shortly before their 63rd birthday.

Saul Diskin recommends “Entwined Lives,” by Nancy Segal and “Cosmology and Creation: The Spiritual Significance of Contemporary Cosmology” by Paul Brockelman.

Originally Broadcast: September 22, 2001

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Gordon Chang – How Will China Survive?

The Coming Collapse of China

Approximately 20% of the world’s population lives in the People’s Republic of China. According to Chinese-American lawyer Gordon G. Chang, China appears from the outside to be politically stable and economically strong. Chang, however, argues that China is in social, cultural, economic and political turmoil. He claims that China’s pending entry into the World Trade Organization will trigger social and political collapse. Gordon Chang has lived and worked in China for almost 20 years, most recently in Shanghai. He is the author of a new book entitled “The Coming Collapse of China.”

Gordon Chang recommends “The Tipping Point,” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Originally Broadcast: September 11, 2001

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Ted Conover – A Prison Guard’s Story

New Jack: Guarding Sing-Sing

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work inside a prison? Well, Ted Conover, a non-fiction writer did, so he went to the New York Department of Corrections to ask if he could shadow a recruit at the New York State Corrections Academy. His request was quickly turned down. So, he decided to apply for a job as a prison officer, was accepted and attended the New York State Corrections Academy. As a result of his training, and working at Sing Sing prison in New York, he wrote “Newjack: Guarding at Sing Sing,” a book describing his experiences. This two-part program with Ted Conover was recorded in late June and early July 2001.

Ted Conover recommends “Crime and Punishment,” by by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and “Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond,” by Dennis Johnson.

Originally Broadcast: June 26, 2001 and July 3, 2001

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Dr. Jane M. Healy – Children Versus Television

Endangered Minds & Failure to Connect

It used to be that children would play with objects, be told or read stories, or perhaps listen to the radio during a significant portion of their early years. With the advent of television, videos and computers, that tactile and oral world is often left behind. Children who are frequently exposed to television, videos and computer games in the first seven years of life have been found to develop pathways in the brain that later are significantly deficient in reading, studying and socialization skills. Dr. Jane M Healy is an educational psychologist with expertise in developmental psychology, and specialist in the brain development of young children. Her recent books, “Endangered Minds,” and “Failure to Connect,” discuss how television, videos and computers affect the minds of children.

Dr. Jane M. Healy recommends “The Goddess in Older Women,” by Jean Bolden.

Originally Broadcast: May 9, 2001

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Victoria Bruce – Beware of Volcanos

No Apparent Danger

Volcanic eruptions are far more predictable than earthquakes. Scientific equipment is available to forecast an eruption with about as much accuracy as there is to predict a hurricane. These predictions can tell when it is time to evacuate areas surrounding an active volcano. Unfortunately, the information available from these predictions is not always heeded. That’s what happened in the South American nation of Columbia, in 1985, and later, in 1993. Victoria Bruce is the author of a book entitled “No Apparent Danger,” which tells the stories of these two volcanic eruptions and the deaths that followed.

Victoria Bruce recommends “Measure of a Mountain,” by Bruce Barcot.

Originally Broadcast: April 14, 2001

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Paul R. Griffin – Sowing the Seeds of Racism

Seeds of Racism in the Soul of America

Racism, as a part of the American religious culture, can be traced to the religious concepts of some of the earliest European settlers in North America. Professor Paul R. Griffin explores these roots in his book, “Seeds of Racism in the Soul of America,” linking the concepts in the Puritan belief system to long lasting racist effects. He argues that racism is itself a religion in the United States and is closely related to America Christianity. He claims that efforts to erase racism have failed because they have concentrated on its visible manifestations rather than its ideological character.

Paul R. Griffin recommends “The Rage of the Privileged Class,” by Ellis Cose.

Originally Broadcast: March 1, 2001

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Shari Holman – Not Even the Clothes on Her Back

The Dress Lodger

In England, in the 1830s, at the time of a major cholera epidemic, a young girl, the orphaned daughter of a prostitute, finds that working in a pottery factory does not earn her enough money for herself and her child. She must work at night like her mother, as a prostitute. Having virtually no money, she rents her dress, and is followed while she walks the streets so that she will not run off with her outfit. She is called a dress lodger. Shari Holman, a native of rural Virginia, and later a resident of Brooklyn, New York, has researched the lives of girls who were dress lodgers in England in the 1830s. She is the author of a book of historical fiction about Gustine, a 15-year-old dress lodger who lived and worked in Sunderland, England in 1831, entitled “The Dress Lodger.”

Shari Holman recommends “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,” by Anne Fadiman.

Originally Broadcast: February 6, 2001

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Annie Barnes – Racism in America

Everyday Racism: A Book For All Americans

Racism has too long been a part of the American experience. The Civil War and the Constitutional amendments that followed, the Supreme Court decisions ordering the desegregation of schools, and the Civil Rights movements did not end racism in America. Annie S. Barnes, holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Virginia and is a retired Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Norfolk State University in Virginia. She is the author of “Everyday Racism, A Book for All Americans,” a book based on the racist experiences suffered by 146 black college students. Professor Barnes describes effects of racism on black people and what black people and white people can do to combat it.

Annie Barnes recommends “Driving While Black,” by Kenneth Meeks.

Originally Broadcast: February 27, 2001

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Patrick McGrath – Moving to America in 1774

Martha Peake

Imagine leaving home and travelling by yourself to a new land where you don’t know the customs or the politics, on a trip that will take weeks to complete in what would now be considered a very small ship, on turbulent waters. Imagine making this voyage, never to return to your homeland, when you are 15 years old, and pregnant. Soon after you arrive a war begins that changes the face of the country and set a new type of government in motion. Imagine researching this story and then writing it. That is the work of Patrick McGrath, the author of “Martha Peake,” a book about a plucky young woman who came to American in 1774. I spoke with Patrick McGrath by phone in 2001 to talk about “Martha Peake,” how he researched and prepared to write it, and what British students are taught about the American Revolution.

Patrick McGrath recommends “The First American,” by H.W. Brown.

Originally Broadcast: January 16, 2001

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