Taking the concept from Brian Lamb's long running Booknotes TV program, the podcast offers listeners more books and authors. Booknotes+ features a mix of new interviews with authors and historians, along with some old favorites from the archives. The platform may be different, but the goal is the same – give listeners the opportunity to learn something new.


United States




Taking the concept from Brian Lamb's long running Booknotes TV program, the podcast offers listeners more books and authors. Booknotes+ features a mix of new interviews with authors and historians, along with some old favorites from the archives. The platform may be different, but the goal is the same – give listeners the opportunity to learn something new.




Ep. 116 Marcela Gaviria, Documentary Filmmaker

"How did the U.S. lose the war in Afghanistan? Who bears responsibility? What has been the human cost?" These are the questions asked on Frontline's website advertising the 3-part documentary series "America and the Taliban." These hour-long documentaries, which are available for streaming online, were produced and directed by Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria. Because of his on-screen appearances, Mr. Smith is better known by the public. From the other side of the duo, here's a conversation with Marcela Gaviria, who has produced over 40 hours of programming with Frontline. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 115 Richard Norton Smith, "An Ordinary Man"

When a historian writes a book, there are at least two ways to read it, two different parts. One is the narrative, the story, usually told in chronological order. The second part includes epigraphs, footnotes, source notes, photography, and the acknowledgements. Richard Norton Smith spent over 6 years writing and researching his new book, "An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford." Susan Swain interviewed Mr. Smith on the first part, the narrative, which is available on C-SPAN's video archives. Now comes that second part, the process, the research, and the extras. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 114 Timothy Egan, "A Fever in the Heartland"

Seattle-based author Timothy Egan has written 10 books. His newest is called "A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them." The description of Mr. Egan's book on the dust jacket reads: "The Roaring Twenties – the Jazz Age – has been characterized as a time of Gatsby frivolity. But it was also the height of the uniquely American hate group, the Ku Klux Klan….They hated Blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants in equal measure, and took radical steps to keep these people from the American promise." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 113 Philipos Melaku-Bello, Peace Activist

For the millions of visitors who come to Washington, DC, one of the most popular destinations is Lafayette Park, across from the White House. There's no longer vehicle traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the President's house, but you can often find a crowd on the street, most having fun or taking pictures. Since 1981 there has also been a peace vigil on the spot, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. You can't miss it. To find out how it all works, we talked with a veteran of the anti-war, anti-nuclear protests – a man who has been there for close to 40 years – Philipos Melaku-Bello. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 112 Ahmed White, "Under the Iron Heel"

The Wobblies is a nickname for an early 20th century union called the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW. Book author Ahmed White writes: "Like the Christian martyrs to whom they have been likened, the Wobblies were left to find confirmation and redemption mainly in their own destruction." Yale Law School graduate Ahmed White has a book titled "Under the Iron Heel," a takeoff from a novel written by author Jack London. Prof. White is currently teaching labor and criminal law at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 111 Historian Edna Greene Medford on African American History, U.S. Presidents, the Civil War & Reconstruction

Dr. Edna Greene Medford is a well-known historian and expert on Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. She spent 8 years as chair of the history department at Howard University in Washington, DC. She recently appeared before an audience at Purdue University in connection with the C-SPAN Center for Scholarship and Engagement to talk about African American History, U.S. Presidents, the Civil War and Reconstruction. Over the past 20 years, she has also served as a member of C-SPAN's advisory team for the network's periodic surveys ranking U.S. presidents. Those participating in the questioning included students majoring in political science and communications. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 110 James B. Stewart, "Unscripted"

Two public corporations, CBS and Viacom, used to be controlled by the same man, Sumner Redstone. This is the subject of a book called "Unscripted." Our guest is reporter James B. Stewart of the New York Times. He along with his co-author Rachel Abrams write in the preface of the book that: "The drama that unfolded may have occurred at Viacom and CBS, but the recent drumbeat of greed, backstabbing, plotting, and betrayal at the upper level of American business and society has hardly been confined to one or two companies, or one wealthy family and its hangers-on." Viacom and CBS merged in late 2019. The new company is called Paramount Global. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 109 Derek Leebaert, "Unlikely Heroes"

Derek Leebaert says, in the introduction to his newest book, that "Only four people served at the top echelon of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, from the frightening early months of Spring 1933 until he died in April of 1945 and, in their different ways, they were as wounded as he." The book is titled "Unlikely Heroes" and Mr. Leebaert puts the spotlight on people who served FDR for his entire presidency: Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickes, Frances Perkins, and Henry Wallace. They all had a major role in creating and running what is known in history as the New Deal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 108 Edward Achorn, "The Lincoln Miracle"

Edward Achorn has been a life-long reader of Abraham Lincoln. In 2020 he published his first book on the 16th president called "Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln." In his second book on Lincoln, just published, Mr. Achorn dropped back to the beginning of Lincoln's national political career. That year was 1860. The subject matter: inside the Republican convention held in Chicago. This time the book is titled "The Lincoln Miracle." Edward Achorn is the former editorial page editor of the Providence Journal and lives in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 107 Oath Keepers Trial Juror

Since January 6, 2021, more than 1,000 defendants have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Those arrested have been charged with a long list of felonies and misdemeanors, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees of the U.S. Capitol. Over 518 individuals have already pled guilty to a number of offenses. Over 60 people have been found guilty at contested trials. A just completed Oath Keepers trial found defendants guilty of both felonies and misdemeanors. To try and understand more about the judicial trial process, we asked a juror on this recent trial to tell us her observations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 106 Nathan Masters, "Crooked"

100 years ago, these names were in American newspapers on many days: Harry Daugherty, Jess Smith, Roxie Stinson, Burton Wheeler, and Gaston Means. Today those names can be found in a new book, "Crooked: The Roaring '20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal." Nathan Masters is the author and it's his first book. For the past 7 years, Masters has hosted a television series known as "Lost L.A." He works at the University of Southern California Libraries in Los Angeles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 105 Richard White, "Who Killed Jane Stanford?"

Who killed Jane Stanford? She died in 1905. She was the wife of Leland Stanford, a former railroad magnet, governor of California and U.S. senator. Their son Leland Stanford Jr. died at age 15 in 1884 of typhoid. In his honor, Stanford University was born in 1891. But why all these years later is there a book about who killed the doyenne of Stanford's family? Our guest, Emeritus Stanford University professor Richard White, has been chasing this mystery for several years. His book on the subject is subtitled "A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits, and the Birth of a University." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 104 Kidada Williams, "I Saw Death Coming"

Kidada Williams is an associate professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit. In her research work, she has focused on African Americans' accounts of lynching and the impact of terrorist night riders on the lives of enslaved people. Williams, who received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2005, has just published her latest book, "I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War against Reconstruction." Prof. Williams stated her goal is to transport readers "into the daily existence of formerly enslaved people building hope-filled new lives." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 103 Denise Kiernan & Joseph D'Agnese on the Signers of the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution

The United States of America was originally built on two important documents. The first, the Declaration of Independence, was signed by 56 men in the middle of 1776. The second, the Constitution, was signed by 39 men in September 1787. Six of those men put their John Hancock on both documents. To find out more, we talked with authors Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese who have written short background stories about the signers in two books: "Signing Their Lives Away," for the Declaration of Independence, and "Signing Their Rights Away," for the Constitution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 102 Titus Herman, CEO of Southeastern Guide Dogs

In its 41 years of existence, the Southeastern Guide Dogs organization in Palmetto, Florida, has created over 3,000 human-guide dog pairs. In 2006 they launched their program to help military veterans. One of the first things you learn if you take a tour of their facilities is: "We rely 100% on private donations. No government money is involved." Titus Herman, CEO of Southeastern Guide Dogs, has led the organization since 2008. We asked him to tell us their story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 101 Robert Kagan, "The Ghost at the Feast"

Historian Robert Kagan has been writing about foreign affairs for most of his 64 years. The first book in his planned trilogy on American foreign policy was published in 2006 and focused on U.S. history before the founding up to the Spanish-American War. Mr. Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has just completed the second book in the trilogy titled "The Ghost at the Feast: America and the Collapse of World Order, 1900-1941." He, in conclusion, writes: "Americans have complex attitudes toward power and morality. They have a sense of distinctiveness and remoteness in a tumultuous and highly contested political system." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 100 Southern Poverty Law Center's Megan Squire on Researching Extremist Groups

In our most recent podcast, Roger Parloff gave us an inside look at the Proud Boys trial which has been underway in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia since January 12th. In this follow-up to Mr. Parloff, we asked Dr. Megan Squire, a computer scientist, how she applies data science techniques to track and expose what she calls "networks of hate and extremism" online. She has studied the Proud Boys since 2017. Dr. Squire recently joined the Southern Poverty Law Center to continue her research. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 99 Lawfare's Roger Parloff on the Proud Boys Trial

In the two years since January 6, 2021, close to 1000 people have been charged with federal crimes relating to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The legal process used by the federal justice system to deal with these cases is complicated and often out of sight to the American people. Attorney and journalist Roger Parloff, senior editor at Lawfare, has been live tweeting the trials of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys over the past several weeks. We asked him to explain to us, in some detail, how it all works. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 98 Dorian Lynskey, "The Ministry of Truth"

The language of 2023: "threat to democracy," "Antifa," "Stop the Steal," "fascism," "Proud Boys," "Brexit," "artificial intelligence," "BleachBit." Who understands all this? Where does the language come from? We asked British author Dorian Lynskey, our guest this week, to help us. His latest book is titled "The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell's 1984." In the introduction, Lynskey writes that "The phrases and concepts that Orwell minted have become essential fixtures of political language, still potent after decades of use and misuse: newspeak, Big Brother, the thought police, Room 101,…doublethink, unperson, memory hole" and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Ep. 97 Beverly Gage, "G-Man"

In Yale history professor Beverly Gage's 837-page cradle-to-grave biography of J. Edgar Hoover, she writes, "I do not count myself among Hoover's admirers." However, in the introduction, she says her book "G-Man" is less about judging him than about understanding him. Hoover ran the FBI for 48 years until he died at age 77 in 1972. Prof. Gage, who did her undergraduate work at Yale and received her Ph.D. from Columbia, writes that "Hoover emerged as one of history's great villains. Perhaps the most universally reviled American political figure of the 20th century." She joins us to talk about her new book and the complicated life and career of J. Edgar Hoover. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit