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Monday, August 15, 2011

Investigative journalist Eliza Griswold looks at the geographical and ideological lines where Christianity and Islam collide. Linda Leaming talks about her travels in South Asia. We’ll hear about Blanche, Augustine, and Geneviève, three young women labeled hysterics who shaped our early notions of psychology. Plus, Charles Mann discusses his new book 1493, about the Columbian Exchange, which he calls one of the most momentous biological events since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Tenth Parallel

Award-winning investigative journalist Eliza Griswold talks about the tenth parallel—the line of latitude 700 miles north of the equator—the geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. In The Tenth Parallel Griswold looks at Nigeria, the Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines—places where religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and where local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas.

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Married to Bhutan

Linda Leaming talks about traveling though South Asia and finding an unexpected path to happiness and enlightenment. In her memoir Married to Bhutan: How One Woman Got Lost, Said “I Do,” and Found Bliss, she offers a rare glimpse into the quirky mountain kingdom, which is so different from the super-efficient, striving Western world.

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Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Asti Hustvedt tells about the three young female hysterics who shaped our early notions of psychology. Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris  tells the story of the lives of Blanche, Augustine, and Geneviève, patients in the hysteria ward of the Salpetrière Hospital in 1870s Paris. Hustvedt also investigates what exactly they were suffering from.

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1493 and the New World Columbus Created

Charles Mann explains how Christopher Columbus changed the world when he set foot in the Americas, setting off a series of vast ecological changes as European vessels carried thousands of species across the oceans. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, is a new history of the Columbian Exchange, the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand, and explains how earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; and rats were moved across the globe, changing lives and landscapes.

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