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Biography

The Leonard Lopate Show

A New Biography of Michelle Obama: From Chicago's South Side to the White House

Monday, May 04, 2015

Peter Slevin's biography of the first lady follows Mrs. Obama from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side to the White House.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Life in Public and Lives Forgotten

Monday, May 04, 2015

A new biography of Michelle Obama. The forgotten master caricaturists. Atticus Lish's debut novel. A new documentary on why Ebola spread so quickly, and widely. 

The Leonard Lopate Show

Cesar Chavez, Crusader and Activist

Monday, March 30, 2015

Biographer Miriam Pawel discusses the life and political career of the activist leader who founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation.

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To the Best of Our Knowledge

Literary Genius After 60

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Penelope Fitzgerald is considered one of the great British novelists of the last half-century. Remarkably, she didn't begin writing until she was nearly 60 - and that's partly what attracted biographer Hermione Lee.

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The Sopranos with Debbie Voigt

Divas Who Dish

Saturday, November 29, 2014

While working on her autobiography "Call Me Debbie," Debbie Voigt was curious about how other singers dealt with telling their stories. This week, Voigt shares what she learned.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A New Biography Reveals A Hidden Story In the Life of Napoleon

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A new biography of Napoleon Bonaparte is the first to take advantage of Napoleon's thirty-three thousand letters.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Nelson Rockefeller: Iconic New York Governor, Face of Liberal Republicanism

Friday, November 14, 2014

A look at Nelson Rockefeller's improbable journey to the New York governor’s mansion, and how his personal life affected his political life.

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Soundcheck

The Strange Dream World Of Singer Peggy Lee

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An evil stepmother, her own Prince Charming, and monstrous ambition came together in jazz singer Peggy Lee's own true life Cinderella story. 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Václav Havel: Playwright Turned Political Dissident Turned President

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Michael Zantovsky, Havel’s former press secretary, advisor, and longtime friend, discusses the life and work of Havel, one of the most important figures of the 20th century.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Why the Spy Who Might Have Forged Peace in the Middle East was Assassinated

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird talks about the life and death CIA operative Robert Ames, who was the most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Masks, Accents and Bugs: Things That Inspired Marlon Brando

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brando — “a man who could’ve been an icon but chose to be a character,” in the words of biographer Susan L. Mizruchi — collected four thousand books, promoted Indian and Civil Rights, and refused an Oscar. He also kept acting until he could barely breathe.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Abigail Adams and Her Sisters

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The story of the Abigail Adams’ relationship with her two sisters, which unfolds against the backdrop of America in its transformative colonial years.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Gandhi Before India

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mohandas Gandhi is one of the most influential—and controversial—men in modern history. Ramachandra Guha discusses the first volume of his biography of Gandhi, Gandhi Before India, which gives vivid portraits of the man and the world he lived in—from India to Victorian England to South Africa. It explores the ways Gandhi inspired the devotion of thousands of followers in South Africa as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

John Updike's Life and Writing

Monday, April 14, 2014

John Updike is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature. Adam Begley talks about his biography of the Updike—a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work. Updike explores how Updike’s fiction was shaped by his tumultuous personal life—including his enduring religious faith, his two marriages, and his first-hand experience of the “adulterous society” he was credited with exposing in the bestselling Couples.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life and Legacy of Poet E. E. Cummings

Thursday, March 06, 2014

E. E. Cummings was a novelist, painter, and playwright who is considered to be one of America’s preeminent 20th-century poets. Susan Cheever talks about his life and work and her new biography E. E. Cummings: A Life. She discusses his childhood, and explores where his rebellion against conventional authority and the critical establishment came from, and talks about his friendships, influences, and the impact of his work.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Victoria Wilson discusses her biography A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel True 1907-1940. Stanwyck's astonishing career in movies (88 in all) spanned four decades beginning with the coming of sound, and lasted in television from its infancy in the 1950s through the 1980s. The book that delves deeply into her rich, complex life and explores her extraordinary range of motion pictures, many of them iconic.

Film Forum's 4-week Stanwyck festival (December 6-31) celebrates the actress by screening 40 Stanwyck features, including "Stella Dallas," "Double Indemnity," "The Lady Eve," "Baby Face," "Meet John Doe"; "Sorry, Wrong Number," "Ball of Fire," and the original "Titanic."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Journalist Marie Colvin's Life and Work; Friends with Johnny Carson; Jo Baker's Novel; Bill Richardson on the Art of Negotiation

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reporter Marie Colvin was killed in a rocket attack while she was covering the civil war in Syria in 2012. Her sister Cat Colvin and her colleague Paul Conroy discuss her life and work. Henry Bushkin talks about being Johnny Carson’s lawyer, fixer and confidant for 18 years. Jo Baker describes reimagining Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for her novel Longbourn. And former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson shares his hard-won secrets to negotiating with Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, and the Taliban.

The Leonard Lopate Show

Working with Johnny Carson

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Henry Bushkin talks about his years working with the King of Late Night, Johnny Carson. In his biography Johnny Carson, Bushkin writes of being hired by Carson as his lawyer in 1970 and becoming Carson’s wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Mob Boss

Friday, October 04, 2013

Former boss "Little Al" D'Arco was the highest-ranking mobster to become a government informant. His life story is told by Tom Robbins in his new book Mob Boss: The Life of Little Al D’Arco, The Man Who Brought Down the Mafia. Robbins is an investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY School of Journalism and former longtime columnist at the Village Voice. Jerry Capeci, who writes a weekly column on organized crime at GangLandNews.com and has covered the mafia as a journalist for decades, co-authored the new book.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark

Monday, September 23, 2013

Journalist Bill Dedman tells the story of a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune describes the battle over her $300 million inheritance.

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