Friday, June 03, 2011
Liz Garbus talks about her documentary “Bobby Fischer Against the World,” which chronicles the chess master’s meteoric rise, culminating in the historic 1972 match against Boris Spassky in Iceland, and looks at his withdrawal from competitions and the public eye, and the paranoia that derailed his life. “Bobby Fischer Against the World” will be shown on HBO Monday, June 6, at 9:00 pm.
Monday, May 09, 2011
Bob Riesman tells the life story of Big Bill Broonzy, a major figure in American blues and folk music. Reisman’s groundbreaking biography I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy, traces Big Bill’s career—from his rise as a nationally prominent blues star, to his influential role in the post-World War II folk revival, to his overseas tours in the 1950s, which ignited the British blues-rock explosion of the 1960s.
Friday, May 06, 2011
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and this week, during which all eyes are on the accomplishments of the president, we look at his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. A teenage mother, she married and divorced twice, had two children, and eventually went on to earn a PhD and work in international development. New York Times writer Janny Scott has written a new, comprehensive biography of Dunham called “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother.”
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Award-winning reporter Janny Scott talks about Stanley Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s mother. To write A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, Scott interviewed nearly 200 of Dunham's friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this independent woman's inspiring and nontraditional life. Scott shows how Dunham shaped the man Obama is today.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Meryle Secrest discusses the life and work Amadeo Modigliani. Her biography, Modigliani: A Life, is a fully realized portrait of one of the 20th century’s master painters and sculptors. She also paints a portrait of the Paris that Modigliani lived in, a dynamic city in where art was still a noble cause, and takes a look at how Modigliani became part of the city's art world in the midst of a transforming revolution.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Before Julia Child was a famous cookbook author, before she became television’s first iconic television chef, and long before she was played by Meryl Streep in the Nora Ephron film “Julie and Julia,” Julia Child worked for the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. The OSS was a spy organization formed during World War II and was a predecessor to the CIA. Julia met Paul Child while they both served in the OSS in the 1940s.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Art historian Gail Levin talks about the life and art of Lee Krasner and her marriage to Jackson Pollock. Lee Krasner: A Biography examines how she struggled with poverty and her husband's alcoholism and extramarital affairs while encouraging his art, which she skillfully managed to market. Levin also looks at how Lee Krasner’s life influenced her own work as an artist.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Donald Bogle discusses singer and actress Ethel Waters, and sheds a new light on her tumultuous seven-decade career, which began in Black vaudeville and reached its pinnacle in the nightclubs of 1920s Harlem. Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters traces her rise in show business, singing the hit songs "Am I Blue?," "Stormy Weather," and "Heat Wave"; her success as an actress, her feuds with famous women, and her tangled relationships with famous men.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Jay R. Tunney tells about the unlikely friendship between champion boxer Gene Tunney and celebrated writer George Bernard Shaw. The Prizefighter and the Playwright: Gene Tunney and George Bernard Shaw chronicles the relationship between this odd couple who came from very different worlds.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Frank Brady traces the meteoric ascent—and confounding descent—of enigmatic genius Bobby Fischer, who was only 13 when he became the youngest chess master in U.S. history. When he defeated Soviet champion Boris Spassky in 1972, at the historic Cold War showdown in Reykjavik, Iceland, he was greeted as an American hero. Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall - from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness draws from Fischer family archives, recently released FBI files, and Bobby’s own e-mails to tell the story of Fischer’s entire life—from his impoverished childhood, to making the covers of Time, Life and Newsweek, to becoming a notorious recluse.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Kenneth Slawenski talks about J. D. Salinger, one of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, who eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. His new biography, J. D. Salinger: A Life includes new information and revelations—garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records—to give an account of Salinger’s life: from his privileged youth to his World War II service, to the stunning success of The Catcher in the Rye, to his retreat to New Hampshire.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
James Miller talks about the lives of twelve famous philosophers and the answers they offered to the most fundamental questions about who we are and what makes for a life worth living. Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche looks at the lives and beliefs of philosophers from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to Kant, Emerson, and Nietzsche—and explores questions about what it means to live a good life.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Jay Kirk talks about Carl Akeley, the explorer and taxidermist who altered the way Americans viewed the conservation of the natural world. Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man's Quest to Preserve the World's Great Animals follows the adventures of Carl Akeley, who revolutionized taxidermy and created the famed African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History, and set out to preserve Africa's great beasts in the early 20th century.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Karen Abbott tells the story of America’s coming-of-age through the life of vaudeville performer, Gypsy Rose Lee. Her latest book, American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, delves into Gypsy’s world, including her dramatic triangle relationship with her sister, actress June Havoc, and their formidable mother, Rose.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Louise W. Knight talks about America's most admired and most hated woman: Jane Addams, a leading statesperson in an era when it was rare for women to have that role. Jane Addams: Spirit in Action shows Addams's boldness, creativity, and tenacity as she sought ways to put democratic ideals into action.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Lauren Redniss discusses the life and work of Marie Curie—a story of science and love. Her illustrated book Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout tells the story of 24-year-old Marie Sklodowska, who moved to Paris and found work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, whom she soon fell in love with. Together, they discovered two new elements, radium and polonium, recognized radioactivity as an atomic property, and won the Nobel Prize.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Edmund Morris discusses the final book of his trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt, which recounts the last decade of perhaps one of the most fascinating individuals in American history. Colonel Roosevelt recounts his personal life as well as his political life, covering Roosevelt’s safari in East Africa, his nature writing, his famous “New Nationalism” speech, and his role as the guiding spirit of the Progressive movement.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Phoebe Hoban discusses the artist Alice Neel, who was unconventional both in her life and her work. The biography Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty tells the story of Neel’s life and the portraits she painted, which portray a universe of powerful personalities and document an age—she painted through the Depression, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights Movement, the sexual revolution, feminism, and the 1980s.