The Long Lens

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The struggle for Vietnam had its roots in the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. On today’s show we’ll find out how 40 years of diplomatic missteps led to war and the defeat of two world powers: France and the United States. Jane Barnes describes how working on a documentary about Mormonism almost led her to convert to the religion. Paul Lieberman tells the dramatic true story of the Los Angeles Police Department’s secret war with gangsters after World War II. Plus, White House videographer Arun Chaudhary describes his experience of capturing the Obama Administration on film.

The Making of America’s Vietnam

Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two the United States and France to lose their way in Vietnam. Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam opens in 1919 at the Versailles Peace Conference and concludes in 1959, with a Viet Cong ambush on an outpost outside Saigon and the deaths of two American officers. In between come years of political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering and miscalculation, as leaders on all sides turn an avoidable struggle into a bloody reality.

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Falling in Love with Joseph Smith

Jane Barnes tells how, when she was working on the PBS Frontline/American Experience special series "The Mormons," she found herself passionately drawn to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. In Falling in Love with Joseph Smith: My Search for the Real Prophet Barnes describes moving from secular curiosity to the brink of conversion to Mormonism. She explains coming to respect the innovative American spirit that lies at the heart of Mormonism.

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LA's Gangster Squad

Journalist Paul Lieberman chronicles the true story of the secretive police unit that waged war to drive Mickey Cohen and other gangsters from Los Angeles after WWII. Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles tells the story of the LAPD’s real-life Gangster Squad—eight men who met covertly to combat what city fathers saw as an “invasion of undesirables.”

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First Cameraman

Arun Chaudhary, the first official White House videographer, talks about his experience capturing behind-the-scenes moments of the president and his administration. First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time gives a unique view of the government and the president in these historic and challenging times.

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