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Monday, July 02, 2012

This week we're re-airing some of our favorite interviews from recent months. Rachel Maddow discusses the current state of the American media to changes in U.S. military policy and her winding path to hosting her own show. Robert Kanigel talks about On an Irish Island, his book about the country’s great literary traditions and the vanishing Irish language. We kick off a weeklong series, American History XX, profiles of American women who, in many cases, have been written out of the history books. Today’s installment is about Jane Franklin Mecom—Ben Franklin’s sister. We’ll speak to Alex Gilvarry about his debut novel, From the Memoirs of a Non-enemy Combatant. Plus, comic actor Stephen Fry on his life and career!

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow, host the Emmy Award–winning "Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, talks about the rise of executive authority and the gradual outsourcing of war to private contractors, and argues that this distances the American people from the human and financial costs of war. In Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, she makes the case that the priorities of the national security state have been allowed to overpower our political discourse. She'll also talk about the upcoming election, politics, and her show.

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On an Irish Island

Robert Kanigel tells the story of Great Blasket, an island off the west coast of Ireland renowned during the early 20th century for the rich communal life of its residents and the unadulterated Irish they spoke. With the Irish language vanishing all through the rest of Ireland, the Great Blasket became a magnet for scholars and writers drawn there during the Gaelic renaissance. On an Irish Island is a love letter to a vanished way of life.

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American History XX: Jane Franklin Mecom

To celebrate the Independence Day we’re profiling forgotten, underappreciated, or just plain interesting American women who, in many cases, have been written out of the history books. For today’s installment of that series, American History XX, The New Yorker’s Jill Lepore fills us in on the life of Jane Franklin Mecom, Ben Franklin’s sister whom he corresponded with often, but eventually wrote out of his own autobiography.

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Alex Gilvarry's From the Memoirs of a Non-enemy Combatant

Alex Gilvarry discusses his debut novel, From the Memoirs of a Non-enemy Combatant, a story in which high fashion and homeland security clash. A flamboyant fashion designer named Boyet unexpectedly winds up in Gitmo, locked away indefinitely on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist plot.

Alex Gilvarry's Novel <em>From the Memoirs of a Non-enemy Combatant</em>

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Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry tells about arriving at Cambridge University as a convicted fraudster and thief, an addict, liar, fantasist, and failed suicide, convinced he would be sent away. Instead, he befriended bright young things like Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie, and emerged as one of the most promising comic talents in the world. The Fry Chronicles  is his story of his journey to stardom.

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