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Patterns of Influence

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Although economic growth in much of the world is slow, the developing world is booming. On today’s show: Nobel Prize-winning economist Michael Spence explains what will happen to international politics and the environment if current trends continue. Then, we’ll look into Vladimir Nabokov’s vision of what happiness is. William Deresiewicz offers an examination of the life lessons in the work of Jane Austen. Plus, Civil War scholar David Goldfield explains why he thinks the conflict was America’s greatest failure.

The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World

Michael Spence, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, discusses the economic growth that led to enormous gaps in wealth and living standards between the industrialized West and the rest of the world. In The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World, looks at how this pattern shifted after World War II, and how that trend will reshape the world.

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Nabokov and Happiness

Lila Azam Zangenah discusses Vladimir Nabokov's vision of happiness. The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness examines Speak, Memory; Ada, or Ardor; and Lolita, focuses on the Nabokovian experience of time, memory, sexual passion, nature, loss, love in all its forms, and language in all its allusions.

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A Jane Austen Education

Austen scholar William Deresiewicz reveals the remarkable life lessons hidden within Jane Austen's work. In A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, he tells how Austen's devotion to the everyday, and her belief in the value of ordinary lives, can teach us important lessons about friendship and feeling, staying young and being good, and, of course, love.

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America Aflame

University of North Carolina history professor David Goldfield, discusses the Civil War, the "fiery trial" that transformed the country. While others have viewed the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America's greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. In America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, he outlines the price of that failure and shows how the war accomplished what statesmen could not: It made the United States one nation and eliminated slavery as a divisive force in the Union.

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Update on "Burma Soldier"

On Friday, Leonard spoke to filmmaker Annie Sundberg and democratic protestor Myo Myint Cho, who is the subject of Ms. Sundberg's film "Burma Soldier." The film premieres in the United States this Wednesday on HBO 2, but in Burma it's been shown in less conventional ways. The filmmakers, working with the Democratic Voice of Burma, made a Burmese language version of the film that has been pirated via satellite transmissions and other means into Burma. The filmmakers are encouraging people, says Sundberg, to "watch, duplicate and share the film in any way possible, from free DVD copies left in internet cafes to downloading and forwarding links to the film via email, with the goal of reaching as many Burmese as possible."

The film seeks to help Burmese better understand the 60-year civil war still unfolding in their country. Few Burmese have access to a non-government-approved version of their country's violent history.

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