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The Struggle: Covert War, Minimum Wage, Isolation and Exile

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Monday, May 05, 2014

On today’s show: We’ll look into the history of covert operations, stretching all the way back to the Truman Administration. George Prochnik traces the life of Stefan Zweig, and tells us why this major literary star of the 1930s killed himself in 1942. Our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America series continues with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on the economics of being poor and whether raising the minimum wage can actually help workers get out of poverty. And Mona Simpson talks about her latest novel, Casebook.

America’s Shadow Wars

Deniable covert operations are not new—they’ve been ordered by every president and every administration since the World War II. In many instances covert operations have relied on surrogates, with American personnel involved only at a distance, insulated by layers of deniability. Larry Hancock and Stuart Wexler trace the evolution of these covert operations from the Truman era through the Obama Administration. Their book Shadow Warfare: The History of America’s Undeclared Wars also explores relationship between the CIA and the military.

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Writer Stefan Zweig in Exile

By the 1930s, Stefan Zweig had become the most widely translated living author in the world, but after Hitler rose to power, Zweig became an increasingly isolated exile, and in 1942, he killed himself. Biographer George Prochnik tells his story.

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Minimum Wage and the Economics of Poverty

For our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Robert Reich discusses the economics of poverty, the debate over raising the minimum wage, and how the recession has affected the poorest Americans. He’ll also talk about how growing income inequality is connected to poverty, and a recent report that the American middle class is no longer the wealthiest middle class in the world and what that change means. Professor Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies and was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. He has written 13 books—his latest is Beyond Outrage—and the film "Inequality for All."

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Casebook, a Novel by Mona Simpson

Mona Simpson talks about her new novel, Casebook, about a young boy’s quest to uncover the mysteries of his unraveling family. What he discovers turns out to be what he least wants to know: the inner workings of his parents’ lives.

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Guest Picks: Mona Simpson

Writer Mona Simpson was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about her novel, Casebook. She also told us about what she's listening to -- on the radio, in the car, at home. 

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