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Biography

The Leonard Lopate Show

Saul Steinberg: A Biography

Monday, January 14, 2013

National Book Award winner Deidre Bair discusses the life and work of Saul Steinberg, one of The New Yorker's most iconic artists. Saul Steinberg: A Biography reveals one of the most fascinating lives and influential artists of the 20th century.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life of Grand Prix Driver Phil Hill

Friday, January 11, 2013

Michael Cannell tells the story of Phil Hill-a lowly California mechanic who became the first American-born driver to win the Grand Prix. The Limit  charts Hill’s journey from acing midget cars in dusty California lots to Grand Prix tracks across Europe.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Charles Dickens in Love

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Robert Garnett discusses the author Charles Dickens and the women he loved. When Charles Dickens died in 1870, the first person named in his will turned out to be an unknown woman named Ellen Ternan, whose conspicuous presence in his will was a mystery. She was not the first woman who had fired his imagination. In Charles Dickens in Love, Garnett narrates the story of the most intense romances of Dickens’s life, and shows how his novels reveal his affections and serve as memorials to the young women he loved all too well, if not always wisely.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Sweet Treats

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On today’s show: James Beard Award-winning food writer Melissa Clark will speak with some of the winning contributors to our Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap! We’ll hear about the musical adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” on Broadway. Robert Garnett talks about the love life of Charles Dickens, and looks at how it influenced his fiction. Plus, the revival of Clifford Odets’ classic “Golden Boy” has received rave reviews, and we’ll speak with director Bartlett Sher and two of its stars: Tony Shaloub and Seth Numrich.

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted

Monday, December 17, 2012

Justin Martin argues that Frederick Law Olmsted is probably the most important historical figure that the average American knows the least about. Best remembered for his landscape architecture, from New York's Central Park to Boston's Emerald Necklace to Stanford University's campus, Olmsted was also an influential journalist, early voice for the environment, and abolitionist credited with helping dissuade England from joining the South in the Civil War. Martin discusses Olmstead’s life and work in Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

A Man of Misconceptions

Monday, December 10, 2012

John Glassie tells the unconventional story of Athanasius Kircher, the legendary 17th-century priest-scientist whose interests ranged from optics to music to magnetism to medicine. His inventions and theories for everything made him famous across Europe. Glassie’s book A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change traces Kircher's rise, success, and eventual fall as he attempted to come to terms with a changing world.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Remarkable and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Monday, December 10, 2012

Celebrated historian David Nasaw discusses his new biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the 20th century's most famous political dynasty. Nasaw was granted unrestricted access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and in The Patriarch: The Remarkable and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy he tracks Kennedy's rise from East Boston outsider to supreme Washington insider.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Fair Game

Thursday, December 06, 2012

New York Times Social Q’s columnist Philip Galanes gives advice on how to survive the holidays—from regifting to navigating boozy office parties. Susannah Cahalan describes her month of madness, caused by a mysterious illness that affected her brain. Colin Bailey, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Frick Collection, talks about the exhibition Mantegna to Matisse. Plus we’ll look at why the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act, which was supposed to help integrate cities, has gone largely unenforced.

The Takeaway

Winston Churchill, 'The Last Lion'

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winston Churchill, British war hero, brilliant military tactician, and prime minister, was a towering figure, an icon of the twentieth century. Historian and author William Manchester set out to publish a three-part biography of Winston Churchill. He wrote the first two in the 1980s, but William Manchester died in 2004. Before his death, Manchester enlisted journalist Paul Reid to finish his lifelong work. The result is "The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm 1940-1965."

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Native Americans Captured on Film

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Timothy Egan tells the story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history—and the driven, brilliant man who made them, Edward Curtis. In Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher is a portrait of the photographer and his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared. Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film, creating a definitive archive of the American Indian.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jon Meacham on Thomas Jefferson

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham discusses the complex Thomas Jefferson, who he calls the most successful political leader of the early republic, and perhaps in all of American history. In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Meacham shows that Jefferson’s understanding of power and human nature enabled him to move men, learn from his mistakes, and prevail.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Richest Woman in America

Friday, October 05, 2012

Janet Wallach tells the story of America's first female tycoon, Hetty Green. Her biography, The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age, revives a rarely mentioned queen of American finance, who, at the time of her death in 1916, was worth at least 100 million dollars, equal to more than 2 billion dollars today.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Black Count

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tom Reiss tells the true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo. The Black Count tells the story of General Alex Dumas, who was the son of a black slave in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), and rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Henry James and His American Masterpiece

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Literary critic Michael Gorra discusses his biography of Henry James told through the lens of his greatest novel, Portrait of a Lady. In Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece tells how Portrait of a Lady—the scandalous story of the expatriate American heiress Isabel Archer—came to be written in the first place, sheds new light on James’s family, the European literary circles in which he made his name.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room"

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Diana Serra Cary, who is believed to be the last remaining major film star from Hollywood’s silent era and is the subject of the documentary “Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room,” joins us along with the film’s director, Vera Iwerebor. Peggy-Jean Montgomery was a hugely popular Hollywood star, earning $1,500,000 a year by the age of 6. But by the age of 11 her money had been stolen and squandered by her family. Six decades later, she reinvented herself as Diana Serra Cary, a film historian and advocate for laws protecting child performers. "Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room" is screening at MOMA September 5-9.

 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bob Spitz tells about the life and times of Julia Child, the warble-voiced doyenne of television cookery who became an iconic figure and joyous rule-breaker who touched off the food revolution in America more than fifty years ago. Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child is Spitz’s affectionate biography of an influential woman.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cynthia Carr talks about the controversial artist David Wojnarowicz, whose artwork made headlines in 2010 when the National Portrait Gallery in Washington responded to responded to protests from the Catholic League and censored an excerpt of his short film, “A Fire in My Belly.” Carr’s biography Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz is a close look at the man who became one of the most important voices of his generation, from his unhappy childhood to his formative role in the time in New York's East Village to his death from AIDS in 1992 at the age of 37.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Challenging Lillian Hellman

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Columbia University historian Alice Kessler-Harris describes the life and times of Lillian Hellman, a groundbreaking figure as one of the most successful female playwrights on Broadway. Today she's often remembered more as a bitter survivor and literary fabulist, the woman of whom Mary McCarthy said, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" Kessler-Harris tackles Hellman's legacy in A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

"Deconstructing Dad"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Stan Warnow discusses his documentary "Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott," which explores the life and work of American composer, bandleader, inventor, and electronic music pioneer, Raymond Scott. Though not well remembered today, Scott was one of the most prolific and central figures in 20th-century music. “Deconstructing Dad” opens July 13 at the Quad.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Mitch Winehouse Remembers Amy Winehouse

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mitch Winehouse talks about the life and untimely death of his daughter, the singer Amy Winehouse. Amy, My Daughter, is an intimate account of Amy's life as she lived it—from her musical coming-of-age to her distinctive sound and look to her substance abuse problems and the swirl of tabloid-fueled rumors about her.

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