From a Distance

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

We’ll look at why Americans have fought “wars of choice” in the 20th century. Then, Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat talks about creating art while your homeland is in crisis. Also, Cynthia Ozick discusses her latest novel, Foreign Bodies, which was inspired by Henry James’ classic The Ambassadors. Plus our latest Backstory segments look at the history of PTSD, going all the way back to the civil war, and at what we can expect to come out of this week’s G20 summit.

Why Americans Choose War

From the American Revolution to the end of World War II, the United States spent 19 years at war against other nations. But since 1950, it has spent 22 years and counting. Noted scholar Richard E. Rubenstein explores the rhetoric that sells war to the American public and the underlying cultural and social factors that make it so effective. In Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War, he offers new ways to think about issues of war and peace.

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Edwidge Danticat on Art and Exile

Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, and discusses what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Her book Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work combines memoir and essay to tell the stories of artists, including herself, who create, despite—or because of—the suffering, violence, poverty, and oppression that drove them from their homelands, and continues to haunt them.


Cynthia Ozick on her Novel Foreign Bodies

Cynthia Ozick discusses her sixth novel, Foreign Bodies. She retells the story of Henry James’s The Ambassadors—the work he considered his best—but while the story’s plot is the same, the meaning is reversed. It tells the story of Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold since her brief marriage, and who becomes entangled in the lives of her brother’s family and her ex-husband.

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Backstory: The History of PTSD

It’s Veteran’s Day, and on today’s first Backstory segment: Jon Alpert and Matt O’Neill, two of the producers of new documentary Wartorn: 1861-2010, discuss history of post traumatic stress disorder. Wartorn debuts on HBO tonight at 9:00 pm.

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Backstory: This Week's G-20 in Seoul

As the meeting of the world’s 20 richest economies gets under way in Seoul, Gillian Tett, the U.S. managing editor and an assistant editor for the Financial Times, describes what leaders hope to accomplish at the G-20 summit. Plus, a look at the global reaction to last week’s announcement that the Federal Reserve would buy $600 billion in Treasury Bonds.

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Guest Picks: Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat stopped by The Leonard Lopate Show to share some of her favorite picks, and more.

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Guest Picks: Cynthia Ozick

Find out what Cynthia Ozick's favorite comfort food is!


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