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The Modern World and the Ancient World

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Chris Hedges of The Nation Institute explains why he thinks the liberal establishment—from labor unions to the Democratic Party—have sold out. Then we take a look at American company towns and the role they’ve played in building American capitalism. Also, Brian Leung talks about his novel “Take Me Home.” And Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff discusses Cleopatra.

Chris Hedges on the Death of the Liberal Class

Senior fellow at The Nation Institute Chris Hedges examines the failure of the liberal class to confront the rise of the corporate state. In The Death of the Liberal Class he argues that the five pillars of the liberal establishment – the press, liberal religious institutions, labor unions, universities, and the Democratic Party— have become more concerned with status and privilege than justice and progress.

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Company Towns

Business journalist Hardy Green talks about how company towns have shaped the American economy. In The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy he looks at company towns from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, to the R&D labs of Corning, New York; from coal mines to corporate campuses of today’s major tech companies, and explores the different strands of capitalism that company towns represent.

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Brian Leung on his Novel, Take Me Home

Brian Leung discusses his novel Take Me Home, a story about friendship and love set against the backdrop of 1880s Wyoming, about a woman who goes against society’s rules and develops a close connection with a Chinese man.

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Dirt, Microbes, and the Immune System

Dr. Joel Weinstock, chief of gastroenterology/heptology at Tufts University Medical Center in Boston, explains how microbes and dirt help to improve our immune systems. He discusses his research into how exposure to certain microbes may help us develop resistance to allergies and autoimmune disorders like Type 1 diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.

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Stacy Schiff on Cleopatra

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff discusses one of the most intriguing women in world history: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Cleopatra: A Life is an original reconstruction of a dazzling life that reshaped the ancient world. It talks about her marriages, conflicts, and her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

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Guest Picks: Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff's favorite comfort food is risotto. Find out what else she revealed to us after her recent appearance on The Leonard Lopate Show.

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Norris Church Mailer

Norris Church Mailer just died at the age of 61. Norris Church Mailer was originally a small-town girl from Arkansas whose life changed dramatically when she met and fell in love with Norman Mailer one night. She would be his wife for over thirty years. 

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