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Society And Culture

The Leonard Lopate Show

Azar Nafisi on Why Fiction Matters in America

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran discusses her favorite American novels and why she believes literature and reading are vital to American culture.

Comments [3]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Long-Term Consequences of Short-Term Gratification

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The pursuit of short-term self-gratification, once seen as a sign of personal weakness, has become the default principle not only for individuals, but for many sectors of our society.

Comments [7]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Jazz Age Manhattan and the Making of Modern America

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New York was transformed by the tremendous energy of the 1920s, making Manhattan the social, cultural, and commercial capital of the country.

Comments [3]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Writer Edmund White's Fifteen Years in Paris

Friday, May 23, 2014

He moved from New York City to Paris in 1983, in the midst of the AIDS crisis, without knowing French.

Comments [1]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Genes, Race, and Human History

Thursday, May 08, 2014

New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade discusses how the mapping of the genome is shaping new ideas about race and its role in the human story.

Comments [18]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the first installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty, and Chris Wimer, researcher at Columbia Universty's Population Research Center, discuss how poverty is defined, and how that definition has changed—or remained stagnant—over time. They’ll also talk about what living in poverty means for individuals, families, and children, the ways of addressing poverty, and the successes and failures of the war on poverty in the 50 years since it was launched.

Comments [7]

The Leonard Lopate Show

On the Father of the Sandy Hook Killer; Life in a Cape Town Township; Poverty in America; How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

Monday, March 17, 2014

On today’s show: New Yorker contributor Andrew Solomon talks about his conversations with Peter Lanza, father of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Harper’s contributor Justine van der Leun tells us about spending two years getting to know the people living in a township outside Cape Town, South Africa. For our new series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Sasha Abramsky and Chris Wimer talk about about how we have defined poverty over time. And Mohsin Hamid discusses his novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

The Leonard Lopate Show

A Portrait of a South African Township

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gugulethu, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, is an apartheid-era invention, established in the early 1960s to absorb the overflow of migration to the city from other parts of the country. Now it contains almost 100,000 residents, almost all of them black. Justine van der Leun spent more than two years in Gugulethu, and she gives us a vivid portrait of daily life there, as well as a window into the politics and vulnerabilities of South Africa. Van der Leun is a Harper’s magazine contributor, and her article “A Portrait of a Township” is in the March issue.

Comments [9]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Invention of the Teenager

Friday, March 14, 2014

 As the cultural landscape around the world shifted during the industrial revolution, and with a growing gap between adults and youth, the concept of a new generation took shape: teenagers. Director Matt Wolf discusses his documentary “Teenage,” a rumination of the creation of youth culture from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th, adapted from Jon Savage's bestselling 2007 book of the same name. “Teenage” opens March 14 at the Lanmark Sunshine Cinema.

Comments [1]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Fifteen Years in Paris

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

When Edmund White moved to Paris in 1983, leaving New York City in the midst of the AIDS crisis, he was 43 years old, couldn’t speak French, and only knew two people in the entire city. When he left 15 years later he was fluent in French, was a working journalist, and had made the acquaintance of everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Catherine Deneuve to Michel Foucault. Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris is his memoir about his experiences.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Slow Reading in a Hurried Age

Monday, December 23, 2013

In the age of computers and smartphones we skim and glance at whatever catches our eye and then move on. David Mikics talks about the importance and joy of really reading, of giving your full attention to writing and good books. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is a practical guide for anyone who yearns for a more meaningful and satisfying reading experience.

Comments [2]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Why Are there So Many More Angry White Men?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Sociologist Michael Kimmel examines the demise of the white American male voter as a dominant force in the political landscape. In his book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era, Kimmel locates this increase in anger in the economic, social and political shifts that have transformed the country.

Comments [43]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Private World of Gore Vidal

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tim Teeman talks about Gore Vidal’s private life. He interviewed many of Vidal’s closest family and friends, including Claire Bloom and Susan Sarandon, and surveyed Vidal’s own personal archive in his book In Bed with Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master.

Comments [8]

The Leonard Lopate Show

German Words for the Human Condition

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ben Schott explains the German language and discusses his book Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, a dictionary of newly coined words that explore the idiosyncrasies of life as only the German language can. German allows you to construct specific words for a secret love of bad foods, the inability to remember jokes, Sunday-afternoon depression, the urge to yawn, the glee of gossip, reassuring your hairdresser, delight at the changing of the seasons, the urge to hoard, or the ineffable pleasure of a cold pillow.

Comments [7]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Barnard President Debora Spar on Women, Power, and Perfection

Monday, September 23, 2013

In Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, Power draws on her own personal experience as one of the youngest female professors to be tenured at Harvard Business School and as a mother of three.

Comments [18]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Conspiracy theories don’t just exist on the fringes of society—they’ve has always been part of our national identity, argues Jesse Walker. He presents a history of conspiracy theories in American culture and politics, from the colonial era to the War on Terror.

Comments [27]

The Leonard Lopate Show

How America’s Obsessives Built a Nation

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Some of the country’s greatest thinkers had obsessive natures, and many of their greatest achievements—from the Declaration of Independence to the invention of the iPhone—have roots in the disappointments and frustrations of early childhood. Joshua Kendall looks at the arc of American history through the lens of compulsive behavior. In his book the America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy that Built a Nation he presents portraits of American icons such as Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, Thomas Jefferson, condiment kingpin H. J. Heinz, slugger Ted Williams, and Estee Lauder, and looks at how they shaped our culture and country.

Comments [7]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Astronaut Wives Club

Monday, July 29, 2013

As America's Mercury Seven astronauts went into space, the media focused on their brave young wives, and overnight they were transformed from military spouses into American royalty.

Comments [1]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean

Monday, July 22, 2013

Philip Caputo talks about his journey across America, from the nation’s southernmost point to the northernmost point reachable by road, with an Airstream in tow. Along the way he asked Americans what unites and divides a country. In The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean, he looks at how the United States, peopled by every race on earth, remain united despite all the conflicts that could cause us to pull apart.

Comments [2]

The Leonard Lopate Show

The Joy of Only Children

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lauren Sandler, an only child and the mother of one, makes a humorous and honest case for being and having an only child. She talks to Leonard Lopate about her book, In One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child and the Joy of Being One.

Comments [44]