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Fresh Air

Best Of: Actor Richard E. Grant / Rockabilly Christmas With JD McPherson

12/14/2018
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Richard E. Grant co-stars as the alcoholic sidekick to Melissa McCarthy in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?', which tells the story of a broke writer who makes money by forging literary letters. Grant talks about growing up in Swaziland, witnessing his mother have an affair and narrowly escaping an attack by his own father. Book critic Maureen Corrigan shares her picks for the best books of the year. Songwriter JD McPherson pledged he'd never do an album of Christmas songs — but we're so glad...

Duration:00:50:31

Bruce Springsteen

12/14/2018
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"The Boss" spoke with Terry Gross at his New Jersey home studio in 2016, when his memoir came out, about masculinity, depression, and wishing he was his stage persona. His one-man show, 'Springsteen on Broadway,' will debut on Netflix Dec. 16. Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Moonlight' director Barry Jenkins' new film, 'If Beale Street Could Talk,' an adaptation of the 1974 novel by James Baldwin.

Duration:00:49:34

Actor Richard E. Grant

12/13/2018
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Grant co-stars with Melissa McCarthy in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' about Lee Israel, a broke writer who makes money by forging literary letters by famous writers, with the help of her friend Jack. Grant is nominated for a SAG award and a Golden Globe for his performance. He talks with Terry Gross about growing up in Swaziland and witnessing his mother have an affair, narrowly escaping an attack by his own father, and finding refuge in theater.

Duration:00:49:36

From Convict To Criminal Justice Reporter

12/12/2018
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Keri Blakinger is a criminal justice reporter for the 'Houston Chronicle,' but before she reported on prisons, she spent almost 2 years locked up on narcotics charges. Blakinger spoke with Terry Gross about surviving a suicide attempt, solitary confinement, and finishing her degree at Cornell before becoming a reporter. Her reporting has led to prison reform in Texas. "I was so lucky to come out of this and I've been so privileged in so many ways to end up with hope and second chances and a...

Duration:00:48:39

A Roots & Rockabilly Christmas Concert With JD McPherson

12/11/2018
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Songwriter JD McPherson pledged he'd never do an album of Christmas songs — but we're so glad he's broken that promise. He and his band perform live in-studio from their album 'Socks,' and McPherson talks about his upbringing on a cattle farm in rural Oklahoma.

Duration:00:50:44

How Driverless Cars Could Change Roads, Jobs & Daily Life

12/10/2018
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Autonomous vehicles could be the "most disruptive technology to hit society worldwide since the advent of the motor car," says former New York City traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz. We talk about what driverless cars could mean for traffic, infrastructure and pedestrians. His book is 'No One at the Wheel.' Critic Maureen Corrigan picks her top 10 books of 2018.

Duration:00:47:27

Best Of: Bradley Cooper / Samin Nosrat

12/7/2018
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Bradley Cooper talks about writing, directing and starring in his remake of 'A Star is Born.' He not only had to learn how to direct, he had to learn how to sing and play guitar for his role as musician Jackson Maine opposite Lady Gaga. Salt, fat, acid, heat – those are the four elements to mastering cooking, according to James Beard-winning cookbook author Samin Nosrat. She's adapted her bestselling cookbook, 'Salt Fat Acid Heat,' into a four-part Netflix docuseries. She spoke with...

Duration:00:49:43

The Bizarre World Of Industrial Musicals

12/7/2018
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Why would someone write a sentimental ballad about a bathroom? For the same reason someone would write a rousing song about air conditioners: So the song could be used in what's called an industrial musical. These musicals were like Broadway shows but they were written and performed for corporate sale meetings and conventions from the '50s to the '80s. Sheldon Harnick, John Russell and Steve Young discuss these musicals written and performed at the behest of corporations. (Originally...

Duration:00:48:22

Actor Lucas Hedges / Samin Nosrat Part 2

12/6/2018
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Hedges is best known for his roles in 'Manchester by the Sea' and 'Lady Bird,' and now stars in the movie 'Ben is Back' as a teenager in rehab for opioid addiction. He's also nominated for a Golden Globe for 'Boy Erased,' about a teenager subjected to gay conversion therapy by his conservative Baptist parents. Hedges talks about growing up obsessed with actors, his ADHD, and crying onscreen versus real life. Samin Nosrat, host of the Netflix docuseries 'Salt Fat Acid Heat,' says those are...

Duration:00:50:44

Rock Hudson's Double Life

12/5/2018
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Hudson lived a double life as a Hollywood heartthrob and a closeted gay man. Biographer Mark Griffin says Hudson's death from AIDS in 1985 was a turning point in public awareness of the epidemic. His book is 'All That Heaven Allows.' TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new season of Amazon's Emmy-winning series 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.'

Duration:00:48:40

'Remaking Journalism' In An Age Of Information Chaos

12/4/2018
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In 'Breaking News,' former Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger reflects on the blockbuster stories he helped publish over the course of his 20-year tenure running the British newspaper (including the Snowden and Assange leaks). "Journalism has to remake itself if it is to be the answer to the world of information chaos that we're in danger of living in," he says. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'The Space' by pianist Kenny Werner.

Duration:00:50:31

Bradley Cooper On 'A Star Is Born' / Samin Nosrat On 'Salt Fat Acid Heat'

12/3/2018
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Bradley Cooper talks about writing, directing and starring in his remake of 'A Star is Born.' He not only had to learn how to direct, he had to learn how to sing and play guitar for his role as musician Jackson Maine. Cooper talks about changing his voice for the film, what he learned from Clint Eastwood about directing, and casting his dog, Charlie. Salt, fat, acid, heat – those are the four elements to mastering cooking, according to James Beard-winning cookbook author Samin Nosrat. She's...

Duration:00:49:18

Best Of: Rami Malek On 'Bohemian Rhapsody' / The 'Profound' Power Of The Immune System

11/30/2018
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Rami Malek sang at the top of his lungs while playing Queen's iconic lead singer in the new biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Still, he says, "No one can sing like Freddie Mercury." Malek spoke with Terry Gross about learning to sing and move like Mercury, and wearing prosthetic teeth. Critic John Powers reviews 'Insurrecto' by Gina Apostol. The novel is about two women, a Filipina translator and an American filmmaker, on a road trip in the Philippines. Immunologist Daniel Davis says scientists...

Duration:00:49:48

Remembering Magician Ricky Jay

11/30/2018
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Ricky Jay, the magician, sleight-of-hand artist, actor, and writer died Saturday at the age of 72. "There are a number of effects in the panoply of magic where the method is really better than the effect," Jay told Terry Gross in 1998. "Something happens where what's happening behind the scenes is 20 times more interesting than what you're actually seeing, and you're dying to say to the audience, 'Boy, if you could just see!' and you really can't." Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews...

Duration:00:48:51

'Widower's Notebook' Draws A Portrait Of Grief And Guilt

11/29/2018
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Five years ago, Jonathan Santlofer's wife died suddenly, throwing him into a "fugue state" of grief. Sketching her portrait from old photographs has helped him stay close to her. His memoir is 'The Widower's Notebook.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Come With Me' by Helen Schulman, about regrets and risk-taking in the Internet age.

Duration:00:50:46

Trauma Surgeon Takes On The NRA

11/28/2018
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After the NRA tweeted that "self-important anti-gun doctors" should "stay in their lane," trauma surgeon Dr. Joseph Sakran started #ThisIsOurLane, mobilizing doctors around the issue of gun safety. Sakran became a surgeon after being shot in the throat when he was 17. Also, critic John Powers reviews 'Insurrecto' by Gina Apostol. The novel is about two women, a Filipina translator and an American filmmaker on a road trip in the Philippines.

Duration:00:47:24

Inside Nancy Pelosi's Bid For Speakership

11/27/2018
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Journalist Robert Draper talks about why Republicans love to attack Pelosi, the challenges she faces from within her own party, and her bid to be speaker of the House. Draper wrote a cover story about Pelosi for the 'New York Times Magazine.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Sophisticated Giant,' a new biography of the late saxophonist Dexter Gordon.

Duration:00:50:23

The 'Profound' Power Of The Immune System

11/26/2018
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Immunologist Daniel Davis says scientists are harnessing the power of the immune system to create new medications to fight cancer, auto-immune conditions and other diseases. He also talks about how the immune system is affected by stress, sleep, and age. Davis' book is 'The Beautiful Cure.' Also, rock critic Ken Tucker shares an appreciation of country artist Lefty Frizzell. The new box set, 'An Article From Life,' spans his career.

Duration:00:48:40

Best Of: The Coen Brothers / Free Climbing Yosemite's 'Dawn Wall'

11/23/2018
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Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen ('Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,' 'No Country for Old Men') pay homage to old Westerns with their new film, 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.' The movie is a collection of six stories that often subvert the expectations of the genre. Rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson talk about scaling the 3,000 foot sheer vertical face of Yosemite's El Capitan that was long thought impossible to ascend. The documentary about their historic climb is 'The Dawn Wall.'

Duration:00:50:19

Jazz Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant

11/23/2018
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McLorin Salvant grew up in Miami as the child of a Haitian father and a French mother. She first studied classical voice, but turned to jazz because it offered her more range. "I never wanted to sound clean and pretty," she told Terry Gross in 2015. "In jazz, I felt I could sing these deep, husky lows if I want, and then these really tiny, laser highs if I want, as well." Her new record is 'The Window,' which critic Kevin Whitehead says is "riveting."

Duration:00:49:40

Musicians Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis

11/22/2018
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Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music — her brother is Jerry Lee Lewis. The duo performed for Terry Gross in the 'Fresh Air' studio in September, sharing stories and songs from their new album, 'Wild! Wild! Wild!'

Duration:00:49:34

Actor Rami Malek On Becoming Freddie Mercury

11/21/2018
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Malek sang at the top of his lungs while playing Queen's iconic lead singer in the new biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Still, he says, "No one can sing like Freddie Mercury." Malek spoke with Terry Gross about recreating the 1985 Live Aid concert, learning to move like Mercury, and wearing prosthetic teeth. He also talks about playing a withdrawn and socially anxious hacker in the thriller series 'Mr.Robot,' and how he got started in acting.

Duration:00:49:31

Free Climbing Yosemite's 'Dawn Wall'

11/20/2018
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Rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson talk about scaling the 3,000 foot sheer vertical face of Yosemite's El Capitan that was long thought impossible to ascend. The duo discuss sleeping in portaledges — tents suspended more than a thousand feet in the air — and the personal risks and rewards of rock climbing. The new documentary about their historic climb is 'The Dawn Wall.' John Powers reviews two new crime dramas based on true stories — the Showtime series 'Escape at Dannemora,'...

Duration:00:49:08

Filmmakers Joel & Ethan Coen

11/19/2018
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The Coen brothers ('Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,' 'No Country for Old Men') pay homage to old Westerns with their new film, 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.' The movie is a collection of six stories that often subvert the expectations of the genre.

Duration:00:48:38

Best Of: 'Never Home Alone' With Bugs & Bacteria / 'Burning' Star Steven Yeun

11/16/2018
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"Every surface, every bit of air, every bit of water in your home is alive," says scientist Rob Dunn. His new book, 'Never Home Alone,' examines the bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and insects we live with — from armpit bacteria to black mold in our walls. Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg chooses 'nationalist' as his word of 2018. In 'Burning,' Steven Yeun plays a mysterious South Korean playboy who may or may not be murdering his girlfriends. "To this day, I'm the only one who knows who...

Duration:00:50:39

40 Years Later, What We Learned From Jonestown

11/16/2018
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On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it. Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in the book 'The Road to Jonestown.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews...

Duration:00:48:11

The Russian Disinformation Playbook: Exploit Tension, Sow Chaos

11/15/2018
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A new video series by 'New York Times' reporter Adam Ellick explores Russia's role in spreading fake news, dating back to the '80s conspiracy theory that the AIDS virus was created by the U.S. military. Ellick also talks about the impact of Russian disinformation in the U.S. "This country is so split and divided that we're now using this Soviet disinformation playbook on ourselves." Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the heist thriller 'Widows,' starring Viola Davis and directed by...

Duration:00:48:28

'Shirkers' Dir. Sandi Tan / 'Burning' Star Steven Yeun

11/14/2018
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Sandi Tan was 19 when she wrote and starred in a film directed by her 40-year old mentor. But then her mentor disappeared and took the film's footage with him. 20 years later, Tan got the footage back. She revisits the mystery of her mentor's disappearance and the film that was never made in a new Netflix documentary 'Shirkers.' In 'Burning,' Steven Yeun plays a mysterious South Korean playboy who may or may not be murdering his girlfriends. "To this day, I'm the only one who knows who Ben...

Duration:00:49:22

Remembering Stan Lee / 'Seduction' In Old Hollywood

11/13/2018
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Karina Longworth's new book, 'Seduction,' focuses on 10 women that had relationships with Howard Hughes and the exploitation of actresses in Old Hollywood. She also reflects on the #MeToo movement and women coming forward against Harvey Weinstein: "The thing that I've come to understand from studying the 20th century of Hollywood is that these things have always happened, and they were never talked about publicly," she says. "So just the fact that we're having a conversation is completely...

Duration:00:49:17

With Bugs & Bacteria Living In Your Home, You're 'Never Home Alone'

11/12/2018
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"Every surface, every bit of air, every bit of water in your home is alive," says scientist Rob Dunn. His new book, 'Never Home Alone,' examines the bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and insects we live with — from armpit bacteria to black mold in our walls. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'A Ladder to the Sky' by John Boyne. She calls it "maliciously witty, erudite and ingeniously constructed."

Duration:00:48:26

Best Of: 'How Hearts Can Heal' After Tragedy / Chef José Andrés

11/9/2018
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Religion scholar Elaine Pagels lost her young son to terminal illness and her husband a year later in an accident. Her new book, 'Why Religion?' combines memoir and biblical scholarship and reflects on loss and faith. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Interstate Gospel' from the country trio Pistol Annies, comprised of Ashley Monroe, Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley. Chef José Andrés talks about why "vegetables are sexy," reinventing the Philly Cheesesteak and growing up in...

Duration:00:49:28

Queen Guitarist Brian May

11/9/2018
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Terry Gross spoke with Queen lead guitarist Brian May in 2010 about recording the many vocals in 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' writing the anthem 'We Will Rock You' and getting a PhD in astrophysics. The new biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' about Freddie Mercury and the meteoric rise of Queen, is now in theaters. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the Coen Brothers' new film, 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,' coming to Netflix Nov. 16.

Duration:00:47:43

The Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen

11/8/2018
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In 2015, Saudi Arabia initiated a bombing campaign against Yemen that contributed to what is now the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Today, 14 million people in Yemen face starvation. Journalist Robert Worth says the country is "no longer a functioning state" — and that Americans share some of the blame, since the Obama administration backed the Saudis. "We gave a green light for it in 2015, and then we stood by and let it continue as it got worse and worse," he says.

Duration:00:47:35

Did Law Enforcement Overlook The Threat Of Far-Right Extremism?

11/7/2018
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'New York Times Magazine' journalist Janet Reitman says domestic counter-terrorism strategists ignored the rising danger of far-right extremism — which enabled the movement to grow and become more dangerous. Juan Gabriel Vásquez's novel, 'The Shape Of The Ruins,' centers on the 1948 assassination of Colombian political leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the years of violence that followed and the conspiracy theories concerning his death. Vásquez spoke with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. Also...

Duration:00:48:53

The Fugitive Slave Act & The 'Struggle For America's Soul'

11/6/2018
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Author Andrew Delbanco says the 1850 law paved the way for the Civil War by endangering the lives of both escaped slaves and free black men and women in the North. His book is 'The War Before The War.' Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the psychological thriller 'Burning.'

Duration:00:48:21

'Why Religion?' Asks 'How Hearts Can Heal' After Tragedy

11/5/2018
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Religion scholar Elaine Pagels lost her young son to terminal illness and her husband a year later in an accident. Her new book combines memoir and biblical scholarship and reflects on loss and faith. Also, Lloyd Schwartz visits two art exhibitions — the Met's big Delacroix retrospective and the Morgan Library's Pontormo collection.

Duration:00:49:10

Best Of: Jonah Hill / How Newt Gingrich 'Broke Politics'

11/2/2018
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Jonah Hill always wanted to be a writer and director, but an unexpected complement in an acting class shifted him towards performing instead. He co-starred in 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Superbad,' and 'Moneyball.' Now he's written and directed his first movie, 'Mid90s,' about a group of young skateboarders. He talks about toxic masculinity, self-acceptance, and his experience directing for the first time. Maureen Corrigan reviews 'If You Ask Me,' a book of advice columns by Eleanor...

Duration:00:49:08

Comic Hasan Minhaj

11/2/2018
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"I'm an Indian-American-Muslim kid, but am I more Indian or am I more American?" Minhaj asks. The former 'Daily Show' correspondent has a new weekly political comedy series on Neflix called 'Patriot Act.' Minhaj spoke with Terry Gross in 2017 when his comedy special 'Homecoming King' was released and he had just done the White House Correspondents' dinner. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Homecoming' on Amazon Prime Video. The series stars Julia Roberts as a therapist who's working...

Duration:00:49:15

How Newt Gingrich 'Broke Politics'

11/1/2018
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'Atlantic' journalist McKay Coppins says that by the time the former speaker of the house left Congress in 1999, he had enshrined a "combative, tribal, angry attitude in politics that would infect our national discourse in Washington and Congress for decades to come." Coppins explains how Gingrich set the stage for President Trump's rise, and how Democrats are now using some of his tactics. Coppins' new article is 'The Man Who Broke Politics.' Also, critic David Edelstein reviews the Orson...

Duration:00:48:27

Is SCOTUS Too Powerful?

10/31/2018
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Author David A. Kaplan warns that the Supreme Court is becoming increasingly polarized — and influential: "Why should nine unelected, unaccountable judges dictate so much policy in the country?" We'll also talk about what Trump's two appointees – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – mean for the future of the court. Kaplan's book is 'The Most Dangerous Branch.' Also, Ken Tucker reviews Kurt Vile's new album, 'Bottle It In.'

Duration:00:48:34

Jonah Hill

10/30/2018
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Hill always wanted to be a writer and director, but an unexpected complement in an acting class shifted him towards performing instead. He co-starred in 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Superbad,' and 'Moneyball.' Now he's written and directed his first movie, 'Mid90s,' about a group of young skateboarders. He talks about toxic masculinity, self-acceptance, and his experience directing for the first time. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Let The People See,' the story of Emmett Till.

Duration:00:48:40

White Nationalism And The Synagogue Massacre

10/29/2018
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Journalist Eli Saslow says white nationalism inspired the man who killed 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue: "In the horrific hierarchy of white nationalist beliefs, they really consider Jews their primary enemy." Saslow spoke with Terry Gross Monday morning about the tragedy and its "straight line" to the white nationalist movement. Also, we'll listen back to an excerpt of the interview with Saslow and former white nationalist Derek Black from September. Saslow's book, 'Rising Out of Hatred,'...

Duration:00:48:30

Best Of: Melissa McCarthy / Paul Dano

10/26/2018
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McCarthy is not interested in playing pleasant characters. "Who wants to watch that?" she says. "There's nothing to sink your teeth into. ... The people I love and like are filled with quirks and eccentricities." McCarthy spoke with Terry Gross about playing Sean Spicer on 'SNL' and her role as literary forger Lee Israel in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissued album, from 1981, featuring diverse musicians playing songs that Nino Rota composed for...

Duration:00:50:10

Lou Reed: A Life

10/26/2018
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Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor for 'Rolling Stone,' says he sought to write the biography that Lou Reed "deserved." DeCurtis didn't shy away from writing about the darker side of Reed's life, including addiction and domestic abuse. "It wasn't like I had to go looking for the drugs and the sex," he says. "Lou wrote about it ... so I felt it was fair game." 'Lou Reed: A Life' is now out in paperback. DeCurtis spoke with Terry Gross in 2017.

Duration:00:50:38

Corruption, Scandal & The Big Business Of College Basketball

10/25/2018
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A federal jury on Wednesday convicted three men of conspiring to use cash payments to recruit players to top basketball programs. Writer Michael Sokolove says the case exposes the sordid competition for young athletes, involving apparel companies, scouts, coaches, parents and so-called street agents, or runners, who seek out players as young as 12. "They're exploitative, they're dealers in human, athletic flesh, and they're trying to get their hooks into kids, and get their hooks into...

Duration:00:48:52

Actor Paul Dano On Anxiety, Directing, And 'Wildlife'

10/24/2018
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The 'Love & Mercy' and 'Little Miss Sunshine' actor steps behind the camera for 'Wildlife,' an adaptation of Richard Ford's novel about a boy whose parents are separating. The film was informed by Dano's own parents' relationship. "I think someone else would have wanted to make a film about a kid who rebels; for me, I remember being in the middle, feeling the ground shake and not wanting to tip," he says. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissued album, from 1981, featuring...

Duration:00:49:06

How Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Are Targeting Minorities

10/23/2018
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Twenty-four states have implemented new voting restrictions disproportionately affecting minorities — ranging from requiring voter IDs to closing polling places. We talk with 'Mother Jones' reporter Ari Berman about voter suppression and the ongoing fight for voter rights. "The 2018 election could go in two different ways," he says. "It could be tainted by voter suppression, or it could be remembered as an election in which voting rights were expanded for millions of people."

Duration:00:49:22

Melissa McCarthy

10/22/2018
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McCarthy is not interested in playing pleasant characters. Flawless women with perfect clothes and relationships? Nope, not for her. "Who wants to watch that?" she says. "There's nothing to sink your teeth into. ... The people I love and like are filled with quirks and eccentricities." McCarthy spoke with Terry Gross about 'Bridesmaids,' playing Sean Spicer on 'SNL,' and her role as literary forger Lee Israel in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Also, John Powers reviews the BBC drama 'Bodyguard,'...

Duration:00:49:30

Best Of: 'BoJack Horseman' Creator / 'Hey, Kiddo' Author

10/19/2018
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Raphael Bob-Waksberg's animated comedy series for Netflix, 'BoJack Horseman,' satirizes Hollywood using a mix of human and animal characters. "Part of the original pitch was like, 'What's Mr. Ed like behind the scenes?'" BoJack (a horse) is a depressed, alcoholic, sexist former sitcom star in the #MeToo era. Justin Chang reviews 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' starring Melissa McCarthy as a con artist who forges letters from famous authors. Jarrett J. Krosoczka's National Book Award-nominated...

Duration:00:50:39

A Father & Son's Story Of Addiction And Recovery

10/19/2018
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David Sheff and his son Nic both wrote memoirs about the family's experience with Nic's addition. Their stories are now the basis of the film, 'Beautiful Boy,' starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. They spoke with Terry Gross in 2008 and 2013. 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' stars Melissa McCarthy as a misanthropic con artist who forges letters from famous authors. Critic Justin Chang feels like McCarthy's entire career has been working toward this role.

Duration:00:49:59

Trump's Tax Schemes, Explained

10/18/2018
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Investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow say the president received today's equivalent of $413 million from his father's real estate empire, with the help of schemes to avoid paying taxes, including fraud. Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Desperate Man' by Eric Church.

Duration:00:48:06

'BoJack Horseman' Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg

10/17/2018
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Raphael Bob-Waksberg's animated comedy series for Netflix satirizes Hollywood using a mix of human and animal characters. "Part of the original pitch was like, 'What's Mr. Ed like behind the scenes?'" BoJack (a horse) is a depressed, alcoholic, sexist former sitcom star in the #MeToo era.

Duration:00:49:26

Graphic Memoirist Grapples With Family Addiction In 'Hey, Kiddo'

10/16/2018
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Jarrett J. Krosoczka's National Book Award-nominated graphic memoir 'Hey, Kiddo' is about growing up with a mother addicted to heroin. Krosoczka initially didn't want to write about his childhood because he felt it was too dark. "It took it took a long time for me to gain that courage to make this book," he says. "I share that for those young readers out there who are dealing with heavy issues at home. ... I feel like I owe it to these readers to put myself out there."

Duration:00:47:34

Comic Phoebe Robinson

10/15/2018
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Robinson is the co-host of '2 Dope Queens,' a live comedy show and podcast showcasing comedians from a variety of different backgrounds. The show is now a series of four HBO specials, with more in the works. She also hosts the podcast 'Sooo Many White Guys.' Her new book of personal essays is 'Everything's Trash, But It's Okay.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the new novel 'Washington Black' about a runaway slave. And 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger interviews the book's author Esi Edugyan.

Duration:00:49:08

Best Of: 'First Man' Dir. Damien Chazelle / Leonard Cohen's Legacy

10/12/2018
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The Oscar-winning director ('La La Land') talks about his new film, 'First Man,' which stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in the 10 years leading up to the moon landing. Chazelle wanted to show how loud, rickety, and nauseating space travel was at the time. He used full-scale replicas that spun and shook violently — with the actors and cameras inside. "The sweat you see on screen will be real. The shaking will be real. Even some of the terror will be real. The nausea will be real. And, by...

Duration:00:50:56

John Waters, The "Pope Of Trash"

10/12/2018
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The 'Pink Flamingos' filmmaker made a name for himself by setting new lows in bad taste. Now, a new retrospective of his work is at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Originally broadcast 2004 and 2010. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews Amazon's 'The Romanoffs,' a new anthology series by 'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner.

Duration:00:49:18

'Rethinking Sex, Power, And Consent On Campus'

10/11/2018
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Journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, author of 'Blurred Lines,' says one of the challenges when it comes to handling sexual assault cases on college campuses is that there isn't a universally agreed-upon definition of what sexual assault is. She spent three years reporting on college campuses for the book. Grigoriadis talks about the Kavanaugh hearings, rape culture, and how she sees the national conversation about sexual assault shifting. Also, Ken Tucker reviews an album by bluegrass musicians...

Duration:00:49:45

'First Man' Director Damien Chazelle

10/10/2018
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The Oscar-winning director ('La La Land') talks about his new film, 'First Man,' which stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in the 10 years leading up to the moon landing. Chazelle wanted to show how loud, rickety, and nauseating space travel was at the time. He used full-scale replicas that spun and shook violently — with the actors and cameras inside. "The sweat you see on screen will be real. The shaking will be real. Even some of the terror will be real. The nausea will be real. And, by...

Duration:00:48:41

'The Weaponization Of Social Media'

10/9/2018
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P.W. Singer and Emerson Brooking say social media has been manipulated to fuel popular uprisings and affect the course of military and political campaigns. Their new book is 'LikeWar.' The story of the 2011 terror attack on a Norwegian summer camp is the subject of a new movie by Paul Greengrass, the British filmmaker best known for such acclaimed docudramas as 'United 93,' and 'Captain Phillips.' John Powers reviews '22 July,' streaming on Netflix.

Duration:00:48:56

Leonard Cohen The Poet, Writer, And Father

10/8/2018
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Leonard Cohen died in 2016, leaving behind many unpublished poems and lyrics. His son Adam Cohen discusses 'The Flame,' a collection of some of Leonard's final works. Adam remembers when his father was composing his best known song, Hallelujah. "It took him 12 years. It started when I was very, very young. I'd hear verses, I think there are 84 verses to that song," Adam says.

Duration:00:50:04

Best Of: Infertility And 'Private Life' / What Does Mark Zuckerberg Believe In?

10/5/2018
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Filmmaker Tamara Jenkins drew on her own "by-any-means-necessary" effort to have a child for her new film 'Private Life.' It stars Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti as a couple in their 40s who are struggling with IVF. Critic David Edelstein reviews 'A Star is Born.' 'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos talks how Facebook became vulnerable to spreading disinformation, how Zuckerberg is attempting to combat fake news, and the inherent problems in monitoring political content without violating...

Duration:00:49:51

Ballet Dancer Wendy Whelan

10/5/2018
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Whelan danced for the New York City Ballet for three decades. The documentary 'Restless Creature,' available on Netflix, chronicles Whelan's recovery from hip surgery and her final performance with the New York City Ballet in 2014. "It was terrifying to lose that mode of expression that I was so in touch with, that I so loved, that I so cultivated for my whole entire life," she says. (Originally broadcast July 2017). Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares an appreciation of Jimmy Blanton on...

Duration:00:48:48

'Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?'

10/4/2018
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'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos talks how Facebook became vulnerable to spreading disinformation, how Zuckerberg is attempting to combat fake news, and the inherent problems in monitoring political content without violating users' free speech. "Over and over again Mark Zuckerberg believed that being at odds with the public was not a sign that you were doing something wrong; it was a sign that you were doing something innovative," Osnos says.

Duration:00:50:13

A Couple Struggles With Infertility In 'Private Life'

10/3/2018
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Filmmaker Tamara Jenkins drew on her own "by-any-means-necessary" effort to have a child for her new film 'Private Life.' It stars Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti as a couple in their 40s who are struggling with IVF. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Heartland' by Sarah Smarsh, a memoir of growing up working class — and below the poverty line.

Duration:00:48:46

Michael Lewis On 'The Fifth Risk'

10/2/2018
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Lewis, author of 'Moneyball' and 'The Big Short,' examines the energy, agriculture and commerce departments under President Trump. Lewis warns that half of the top 700 positions in the administration remain unfilled, and some of the people who have been appointed have conflicts of interest, or are unqualified, making them unprepared to deal with risks. "Many of them are potentially catastrophic risks — the risk of a pandemic, or the risk of a nuclear accident, or the risk of a terrorist...

Duration:00:49:01

The Challenges Of Reporting In The Trump Era

10/1/2018
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Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Washington Post' reporter Greg Miller talks about breaking news, anonymous sourcing, and "lies" versus "falsehoods." His book is 'The Apprentice: Trump, Russia And The Subversion Of American Democracy.' TV critic David Bianculli considers how '60 Minutes' and 'SNL' responded to the Kavanaugh hearings.

Duration:00:47:43

Best Of: Jon Batiste / Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis

9/28/2018
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Jon Batiste, the musical director for 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,' sits at the piano and demonstrates his "everything in the pot" style of playing. He tells Terry Gross about his influences — from Thelonious Monk to Bach. Batiste's new album is 'Hollywood Africans.' Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music — her brother is Jerry Lee Lewis. They share stories and songs from their new album, 'Wild! Wild! Wild!'

Duration:00:51:06

Robert Redford

9/28/2018
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Redford has announced that he's retiring from acting, and that his role in the new film 'The Old Man and the Gun,' will be his last. In 2013, he spoke with Terry Gross about being a heartthrob, his love of nature, and how he was almost not cast in 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.' Critic Justin Chang reviews 'Monsters and Men,' Reinaldo Marcus Green's haunting new film about three Brooklyn men whose lives are impacted by the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in...

Duration:00:49:39

'Is Democracy Dying?'

9/27/2018
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'Atlantic' journalist Anne Applebaum says the changes taking place in Poland — including a rise of conspiracy theories and attacks on the free press — mirror similar shifts happening in the U.S. TV critic David Bianculli reviews the return of 'Murphy Brown.'

Duration:00:49:10

Jon Batiste, Band Leader For Colbert's 'Late Show'

9/26/2018
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Batiste, the music director for 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,' sits at the piano and demonstrates his "everything in the pot" style of playing. He tells Terry Gross about his influences — from Thelonious Monk to Bach. Batiste's new album is 'Hollywood Africans.'

Duration:00:48:39

Musicians Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis

9/25/2018
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Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis come from different generations, but both play the old style of country music — her brother is Jerry Lee Lewis. They share stories and songs from their new album, 'Wild! Wild! Wild!' They performed for Terry Gross in the 'Fresh Air' studio.

Duration:00:48:57

'The Awakening Of A Former White Nationalist'

9/24/2018
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Derek Black once promoted a racist agenda by making speeches, hosting a radio show and starting a website. His father was a former grand wizard of the KKK. Derek's change of heart is the subject of a new book, 'Rising Out of Hatred,' written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eli Saslow. They speak with Terry Gross about the white nationalist movement — and what led Black to leave it behind.

Duration:00:48:28

The 'Radical' Life Of Muhammad Ali

9/24/2018
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Jonathan Eig's biography of Ali draws on hundreds of interviews and previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department files. "I don't think we do Ali any good by treating him as a saint," Eig says. "He was a human being, and he was deeply flawed, but ... he had the spirit of a rebel." 'Ali' is out in paperback. (Originally broadcast Oct. 2017)Also, John Powers reviews the HBO documentary 'Jane Fonda in Five Acts,' and film critic Justin Chang reviews 'The Sisters Brothers,' starring John C....

Duration:00:49:24

Best Of: Maggie Gyllenhaal / Breaking Free From The Evangelical Purity Movement

9/21/2018
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Gyllenhaal stars in the HBO series 'The Deuce' as Candy, a sex worker who becomes a porn actress and then a porn director in 1970s New York City. She says the series is about the "imbalance of power between men and women — in terms of sex, in terms of art, in terms of business." Film Critic Justin Chang reviews 'The Sisters Brothers,' starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix. In her book 'Pure,' Linda Kay Klein reflects on the "deep, long-lasting shame" caused by churches that claim...

Duration:00:49:27

Maggie Gyllenhaal

9/20/2018
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Gyllenhaal stars in the HBO series 'The Deuce' as Candy, a sex worker who becomes a porn actress and then porn director in 1970s New York City. She says the series is about the "imbalance of power between men and women — in terms of sex, in terms of art, in terms of business." Gyllenhaal talks to Terry Gross about why she insisted on being a producer for the show, the #MeToo movement, and how she and her colleagues addressed the allegations against co-star James Franco. Also, TV critic...

Duration:00:47:31

What Paul Manafort's Guilty Plea Reveals

9/19/2018
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'New York Times' reporter Ken Vogel says that Paul Manafort engaged in illegal tactics in his campaign to burnish the image of Russian-backed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Vogel explains how Manafort pioneered a new kind of lobbying in Washington, and how Manafort's plea deal might affect the next phase of the Mueller investigation. Also, Ken Tucker reviews Aaron Lee Tasjan's album 'Karma For Cheap.'

Duration:00:48:29

Breaking Free From The Evangelical Purity Movement

9/18/2018
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In her book 'Pure,' Linda Kay Klein reflects on the "deep, long-lasting shame" caused by churches that claim women and girls are responsible for the sexual desires of men. "It was all about how [a woman] needed to be a good Christian by protecting [men] from the threat that is you — the threat that is your body. The threat that is your sexuality." Klein left the evangelical church in her 20s and is the founder of Break Free Together, an organization that tries to help people escape the...

Duration:00:47:41

Neil DeGrasse Tyson On Astrophysics & The Military

9/17/2018
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In his new book, 'Accessory to War,' the astrophysicist argues that people who work in his field are often complicit to military development — despite being overwhelmingly liberal and anti-war. Tyson also talks about President Trump's "Space Force." Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Wayne Shorter's 'Emanon' and Maureen Corrigan reviews Sarah Weinman's non-fiction book 'The Real Lolita,' about a kidnapping that may have inspired Nabokov's classic novel.

Duration:00:48:38

Best Of: Colin Jost & Michael Che / Chef José Andrés

9/14/2018
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Jost and Che are the co-head writers and 'Weekend Update' anchors for 'Saturday Night Live.' They talk about doing the show in the Trump era, why they hate Twitter, and hosting the Emmys Monday, Sept. 17. When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, chef José Andrés and his team sprung into action. "After a hurricane, you see a lot of chaos, and people go hungry and people go thirsty. But what [chefs] are very good at is understanding the problem and adapting," Andrés says....

Duration:00:49:39

Novelist John Green On OCD

9/14/2018
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Green is the author of popular young adult novels including 'The Fault in Our Stars,' which was adapted into a film, and 'Turtles All the Way Down,' about a teenage girl with OCD — which John also has. He says it "starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have." Green and his brother Hank have a popular video blog called Vlogbrothers; their followers call themselves "nerdfighters." The brothers go on tour this month. (Originally...

Duration:00:48:35

SNL's Colin Jost & Michael Che

9/13/2018
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The co-head writers talk with Terry Gross about doing 'Saturday Night Live' in the Trump era, Twitter, and hosting the 2018 Emmys. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new Hulu series 'The First,' about a mission to Mars set in the near future, starring Sean Penn.

Duration:00:47:26

Biographer Claire Tomalin On 'A Life Of My Own'

9/12/2018
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After writing biographies of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mary Wollstonecraft, Claire Tomalin turned to memoir. Her new work tells of her conflicting desires to have children and to lead a meaningful working life, her first husband's infidelity, and how long it took to find herself professionally.

Duration:00:48:16

Journalist Bob Woodward

9/11/2018
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Woodward has written books on every U.S. president since Richard Nixon — nine in total. But in all his years covering politics, he says he's never encountered a president like President Trump. Woodward's sources describe situations that reveal the president as uninformed and unaware of the possible consequences of his actions. "We are at a pivot point in history," Woodward says. His new book is 'Fear: Trump in the White House.'

Duration:00:48:41

Chef José Andrés On His 'Crazy Dream' To Feed Puerto Rico

9/10/2018
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When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, Andrés and his team sprung into action. "After a hurricane, you see a lot of chaos, and people go hungry and people go thirsty. But what [chefs] are very good at is understanding the problem and adapting," Andrés says. "And so a problem becomes an opportunity." His new memoir is 'We Fed an Island.' Andrés also talks about feeding people in his award-winning restaurants, where he likes to experiment with imaginative approaches to food.

Duration:00:47:05

Best Of: Women's Rights Activist Khalida Brohi / John Kerry

9/7/2018
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Growing up in tribal Pakistan, Khalida Brohi knew of several honor killings of women in her village. Her cousin's death motivated Brohi to become an activist. Brohi's new memoir is 'I Should Have Honor.' Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Blaze,' directed by Ethan Hawke. And during the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry's opponents used falsehoods to attack his military record. The former secretary of state reflects on that campaign — and on the current state of American politics...

Duration:00:50:32

A Trucker's Stories From The Road / Remembering Burt Reynolds

9/7/2018
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Finn Murphy has logged over a million miles hauling people's belongings across the country. His memoir, 'The Long Haul,' is filled with insights about life on the road, and the subculture of truckers. Also, we remember Burt Reynolds, who died on Thursday. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1994. And Geoff Nunberg shares a defense of the word "falsehood," which he argues isn't just a decorous synonym for "lie."

Duration:00:48:28

Obama's Former Ethics Czar

9/6/2018
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Norm Eisen's new book, 'The Last Palace,' is about his years as America's ambassador to the Czech Republic and the spread of illiberalism in Europe — a trend, he says, that's now crossed the Atlantic. He talks about President Trump, the Mueller investigation, and Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews 'Blaze,' directed by Ethan Hawke.

Duration:00:47:12

John Kerry

9/5/2018
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During the 2004 presidential election, opponents used falsehoods to attack Kerry's military record. The former secretary of state reflects on that campaign — and on the current state of American politics — in his memoir, 'Every Day is Extra.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Steve Coleman's new album, 'Live At The Village Vanguard.'

Duration:00:48:39

Activist Khalida Brohi On Honor Killings In Tribal Pakistan

9/4/2018
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Growing up in tribal Pakistan, Khalida Brohi knew of several honor killings of women in her village. When she was just 14 years old, Brohi's cousin Khadija was murdered by their uncle because she fell in love with a man who was not her betrothed. Her death motivated Brohi to become a women's rights activist. Brohi's new memoir is 'I Should Have Honor.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Lake Success' by novelist Gary Shteyngart.

Duration:00:48:39

Issa Rae / Peter Morgan / Trevor Noah

9/3/2018
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We conclude our Emmys series with three more interviews with nominees: Issa Rae, co-creator and star of the HBO series 'Insecure,' spoke with Terry Gross in 2016 about "black humor" and "white humor," and what made her want to write for television. Rae is nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Also, Peter Morgan, creator of the Netflix series 'The Crown,' talked about how he sees the royal family as "just a regular family." 'The Crown' is nominated for Outstanding Drama...

Duration:00:49:42

Best Of: John Oliver / Allison Janney / Neil Simon

8/31/2018
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John Oliver, host of HBO's 'Last Week Tonight,' spoke with Terry Gross in in March about covering the news "no one in their right mind wants to hear about," like the Italian parliamentary elections, NRATV, and tax-exempt religious organizations. 'Last Week Tonight' is nominated for four Emmys, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series. Allison Janney is nominated for an Emmy for her role on CBS' 'Mom.' She told Terry Gross in 2014 that her relationship with her brother, who was an addict,...

Duration:00:50:35

Alec Baldwin / Brian Tyree Henry / Remembering Paul Taylor

8/31/2018
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Our week of interviews with 2018 Emmy nominees continues. Alec Baldwin is nominated for an Emmy for playing the president on 'SNL.' In 2017, he told Terry Gross that his impression is "kind of the Macy's Day Parade [version] of Trump." Brian Tyree Henry is nominated for an Emmy for his role as Alfred, aka the rapper "Paper Boi," on the FX series 'Atlanta.' Also, we remember choreographer Paul Taylor, who died this week. He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1987.

Duration:00:49:20

Jake Tapper / W. Kamau Bell / Stephen Colbert

8/30/2018
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Our week of interviews with 2018 Emmy nominees continues. CNN anchor Jake Tapper is nominated for his live interview with Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. He talked to Terry Gross about the difficulty of knowing how and when to cut off guests, and the 'SNL' spoof of him and Conway. Also, we'll hear from comic W. Kamau Bell, who is nominated for his CNN series 'United Shades of America,' and CBS 'Late Show' host Stephen Colbert, who spoke to Gross in 2016, when he was figuring out his...

Duration:00:49:49

'Godless' Creator Scott Frank / Allison Janney

8/29/2018
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Our Emmys-themed series continues: Scott Frank packed his Netflix miniseries 'Godless' with train robberies and shootouts — but challenged Western norms by putting women in charge of the town. 'Godless' has 12 nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series. Allison Janney has been nominated for an Emmy for her role on CBS's 'Mom.' She told Terry Gross in 2014 that her relationship with her brother, who was an addict, helped inform her character. She also talks about playing C.J. Cregg on...

Duration:00:49:24

John Oliver / Neil Simon

8/28/2018
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All this week we're replaying selected interviews with 2018 Emmy nominees. John Oliver, host of HBO's 'Last Week Tonight,' spoke with Terry Gross in in March about covering the news "no one in their right mind wants to hear about," like the Italian parliamentary elections, NRATV, and tax-exempt religious organizations. 'Last Week Tonight' is nominated for four Emmys, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series. Also, we listen back to a 1996 interview with playwright and screenwriter Neil...

Duration:00:49:31

Remembering Sen. John McCain

8/27/2018
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The former prisoner of war, who died Saturday, told Terry Gross: "My experiences have made me so appreciative of the opportunities that I've been given." He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 2000 and 2005. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews a tribute album to Roger Miller.

Duration:00:49:51

Best Of: Actor André Holland / 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan

8/24/2018
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A previous version of this podcast had the incorrect audio. This has been fixed. The 'Moonlight' actor now stars as a death row lawyer on the Hulu series 'Castle Rock.' He's also played a surgeon facing racial discrimination in 'The Knick,' and civil rights leader Andrew Young in 'Selma.' He says many of the characters he plays are wrestling with "that question of identity and where they fit." Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Andy Biskin's 'Songs From The Alan Lomax Collection.' Kevin...

Duration:00:50:36

A Wounded Cowboy Gets Back On The Horse In 'The Rider'

8/24/2018
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Following a rodeo accident, Brady Jandreau refused to quit riding and training wild horses — even it if meant risking his life. He plays a version of himself in director Chloe Zhao's slightly fictionalized retelling of his story. The director and star talk about the accident, recovery and making of 'The Rider.' (Originally broadcast April 2018) Also, TV critic David Bianculli shares an appreciation of Paul McCartney's 'Carpool Karaoke' appearance with James Corden.

Duration:00:48:31

How Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Reporting Became The TV Series 'Fauda'

8/23/2018
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After years as a reporter, Avi Issacharoff co-created an action series about an elite unit of the Israeli military whose members work undercover in the West Bank. 'Fauda' is now streaming on Netflix. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Searching,' starring John Cho.

Duration:00:49:42

Actor André Holland

8/22/2018
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The 'Moonlight' actor now stars as a death row lawyer on the Hulu series 'Castle Rock.' He's also played a surgeon facing racial discrimination in 'The Knick,' and civil rights leader Andrew Young in 'Selma.' He says many of the characters he plays are wrestling with "that question of identity and where they fit."

Duration:00:49:39

Dispatches From A 'Dopesick' America

8/21/2018
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Author Beth Macy's book, 'Dopesick,' takes an intimate look at cops, judges, drug dealers, young heroin users and their long-suffering parents, doctors and health activists struggling to fight the opioid epidemic. Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Severance' by Ling Ma.

Duration:00:48:57

'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan

8/20/2018
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Kwan thought the screen adaptation of his bestselling novel might be a small independent film — instead it's been hailed as a groundbreaking moment for Hollywood casting. He tells Terry Gross about his upbringing in Singapore and how it inspired the book. Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews 'Wild! Wild! Wild!' an album by Linda Gail Lewis and Robbie Fulks, and John Powers reviews Olga Tokarczuk's Man Booker-winning novel 'Flights.'

Duration:00:49:01

Best Of: Aretha Franklin / Growing Up On A Secret Missile Range

8/17/2018
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Aretha Franklin died Thursday at 76. When she spoke with Terry Gross in 1999, she told stories behind some of her greatest recordings, like "Respect." The "Queen of Soul" also talked about her formative years, singing gospel music in the Baptist church where her father Rev. C. L. Franklin preached. Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Crazy Rich Asians.' When Karen Piper was six her family moved to the Mojave Desert to a secretive missile testing facility. In 'A Girl's Guide To Missiles' she...

Duration:00:50:13

Novelist And Former Spy John Le Carré

8/17/2018
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Le Carré worked for MI5 and MI6 early in his career. "I felt I had to suppress my humanity," he said of those years. His novel 'A Legacy of Spies' came out in 2017. Rock critic Ken Tucker shares an appreciation of the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, who died this week.

Duration:00:48:56

Remembering Aretha Franklin

8/16/2018
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Franklin died today at 76. When she spoke with Terry Gross in 1999, she told stories behind some of her greatest recordings, like "Respect." The "Queen of Soul" also talked about her formative years, singing gospel music in the Baptist church where her father Rev. C. L. Franklin preached.

Duration:00:49:02

The Consequences Of Climate Change

8/15/2018
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2018 is shaping up to be the fourth hottest year on record. Somini Sengupta, international climate reporter for 'The New York Times,' discusses the dire consequences of rising temperatures, such as drought, famine, disease, war and increased migration. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Crazy Rich Asians,' and rock critic Ken Tucker reviews SOPHIE's album 'OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES.'

Duration:00:49:26

Growing Up On A Secret Missile Range

8/14/2018
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When Karen Piper was six her family moved to the Mojave Desert to a secretive missile testing facility. In 'A Girl's Guide To Missiles' she describes how her parents designed weapons, but she didn't understand how it all connected to war. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Andy Biskin's 'Songs From The Alan Lomax Collection.'

Duration:00:47:38

Sire Records' Seymour Stein / 'Lodge 49' Creator Jim Gavin

8/13/2018
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In his autobiography, 'Siren Song,' Seymour Stein writes about how he started out in the music business as a teen before going on to sign groundbreaking artists like Talking Heads, The Ramones, Madonna, and Ice-T. Jim Gavin, creator of the AMC comedy series 'Lodge 49,' talks about strip mall culture, why he likes to write characters who are fools, and explains why he defines success as "just sticking around." Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine,' a book of...

Duration:00:48:19

Best Of: Creator Of HBO's 'The Tale' / Reducing Mass Incarceration

8/10/2018
More
In 1973, Jennifer Fox wrote a story for her 8th grade English class called 'The Tale,' which alluded to an intimate relationship between a 13-year-old girl and her running and riding coaches. Her teacher thought it was fiction. It wasn't. "I wrote at 13 with no concept of abuse at all," she says. "It was a love story." Decades later, Fox's mother found the story, forcing her to confront her past trauma and see it with new eyes. Fox wrote and directed the new HBO film 'The Tale,' starring...

Duration:00:47:58

David Sedaris Revisits His Diaries

8/10/2018
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Sedaris pulls from his decades-old diaries in 'Theft by Finding.' In it, he revisits major turning points, such as the death of his mother, as well as more prosaic, everyday moments. Sedaris talks with Terry Gross about how his writing has changed, leaving Raleigh for the Art Institute of Chicago, and why he stopped drinking. (Originally broadcast May 2017) Film critic Justin Chang reviews Spike Lee's new film 'BlacKkKlansman.'

Duration:00:47:05

'How ICE Went Rogue'

8/9/2018
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Journalist Franklin Foer says President Trump has "radicalized" Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), opening the door for the agency to deport any undocumented immigrant. "Never before have we had such a large, dedicated police force whose mission is to remove undocumented immigrants from the communities in which they're rooted." Foer's cover story in 'The Atlantic' explores how the Trump administration's immigration policy relies upon cultivating fear. Linguist Geoff Nunberg examines...

Duration:00:47:25

Filmmaker Reckons With Childhood Sexual Abuse In 'The Tale'

8/8/2018
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In 1973, Jennifer Fox wrote a story for her 8th grade English class called 'The Tale,' which alluded to an intimate relationship between a 13-year-old girl and her running and riding coaches. Her teacher thought it was fiction. It wasn't. "I wrote at 13 with no concept of abuse at all," she says. "It was a love story." Decades later, Fox's mother found the story, forcing her to confront her past trauma and see it with new eyes. Fox wrote and directed the new HBO film 'The Tale,' starring...

Duration:00:45:55

How The U.S. Undermined Democracy In Egypt

8/7/2018
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David Kirkpatrick, author of Into the Hands of the Soldiers, says the Obama White House watched Arab democracy fall and now the Trump administration is embracing Egypt's autocratic president. Kirkpatrick was the New York Times Cairo Bureau Chief from 2011-15. During the coup, he was in Rabaa Square when soldiers massacred protesters, killing as many as 1,000 people.

Duration:00:46:19

How Can America Reduce Mass Incarceration?

8/6/2018
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Julian Adler, co-author of 'Start Here,' and Judge Victoria Pratt discuss alternatives to jail, including community service, social services and even personal essays. Adler and his co-author Greg Berman write, jails "are accelerants of human misery. If you are poor or mentally ill or struggling to keep your family together when you enter, the chances are that all of these conditions will be markedly worse when you come out." Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Hive Mind' by the band...

Duration:00:47:06

Best Of: Tony Shalhoub / Journalist Recalls 2.5 Years Kidnapped By Pirates

8/3/2018
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After being kidnapped in Somalia, journalist Michael Scott Moore was desperate to escape. But jumping off the deck of a boat didn't work. "They found me eventually with the search lights," he says. He tells 'Fresh Air' about how he was beaten and considered suicide before eventually being released for ransom. Moore's book is 'The Desert and the Sea.' TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Better Call Saul' season 4, which begins Monday, Aug. 6. Former 'Monk' star Tony Shalhoub recently won a...

Duration:00:50:50

'Better Call Saul' Interviews: A Compilation

8/3/2018
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We mark the return of the 'Breaking Bad' spinoff by listening to archival interviews with star Bob Odenkirk, series co-creator Peter Gould and actors Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks. Season 4 begins Monday, Aug. 6.

Duration:00:48:32

'Documenting Hate' In America

8/2/2018
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Journalist A.C. Thompson warns that white power groups in the U.S. increasingly view themselves as paramilitary organizations. His reporting is featured in a new 'Frontline' and 'ProPublica' investigation. Film critic David Edelstein reviews a documentary about the "pimp of Hollywood," Scotty Bowers.

Duration:00:48:32

What Scientists Have Learned From 'Spying On Whales'

8/1/2018
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Smithsonian paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says about 40 to 50 million years ago whales had four legs and walked on land. Pyenson notes that the largest whales alive today are the biggest that have ever existed: "They are absolutely the largest vertebrate animals to have ever evolved in the history of life on Earth. No dinosaur was heavier." He'll explain how echolocation works, how they hold their breath for hours, and why we're in the "golden age" of whale science. Pyenson's new book is...

Duration:00:48:19

Tony Shalhoub

7/31/2018
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The former 'Monk' star recently won a Tony for his role in 'The Band's Visit' and is up for an Emmy for 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.' Despite his success, he still feels like each role could be his last. Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a new release from Soprano Bethany Beardslee.

Duration:00:46:33

Journalist Recalls 2.5 Years Kidnapped By Pirates

7/30/2018
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After being kidnapped in Somalia, Journalist Michael Scott Moore was desperate to escape. But jumping off the deck of a boat didn't work. "They found me eventually with the search lights," he says. He tells 'Fresh Air' about how he was beaten, considered suicide, before eventually being released for ransom. Moore's book is 'The Desert and the Sea.' Last year, Tufts University hosted a symposium on Art, Race and Politics, which included a panel discussion (and later a concert) with musicians...

Duration:00:47:17

Best Of: 'Cameron Post' Creators / Writer Michael Arceneaux

7/27/2018
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'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' is a new film about a high school girl who's sent to a Christian gay conversion therapy center after she's caught kissing another girl. We talk with filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan, and Emily Danforth who wrote the novel that the film's based on. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews Lori McKenna's album 'The Tree.' Michael Arceneaux's new book, 'I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race And Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé,' is a collection of essays...

Duration:00:50:03

Stephen King

7/27/2018
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The new Hulu horror series 'Castle Rock' is based on Stephen King's fictional town in Maine. King spoke to Terry Gross in 1992, 2000 and 2013 about his career writing horror, getting hit by a van, and his fear of losing his mind. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Mission: Impossible –Fallout.'

Duration:00:48:36

Russian Maria Butina's Story Reveals Pro-Putin Views In The U.S.

7/26/2018
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'Washington Post' investigative reporter Rosalind Helderman says Maria Butina was welcomed by members of the Christian right and the NRA who had "become intrigued with Putin's Russia." Helderman tells us about Butina's political connections, relationship to the NRA, and possible involvement in the 2016 election. Also, critic John Powers reviews the documentary about Mr. Rogers, 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' and Hannah Gadsby's Netflix comedy special, 'Nanette.'

Duration:00:47:59

'Cameron Post' Creators Take Aim At Gay Conversion Therapy

7/25/2018
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'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' is a new film about a high school girl who's sent to a Christian gay conversion therapy center after she's caught kissing another girl. We talk with filmmaker, Desiree Akhavan, and Emily Danforth who wrote the novel that the film's based on. Akhavan is bisexual, and her parents are Iranian immigrants. "I didn't even hear of one Iranian homosexual my whole life," she tells Terry Gross. "And when I came out, it was like coming out as a leprechaun or a...

Duration:00:47:35

Food Writer Becomes A Butcher To Learn The Value Of Meat

7/24/2018
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Is it possible to slaughter animals and eat meat in an an ethical way? That's the question Camas Davis set out to answer when she moved to the southwest of France to apprentice as a butcher on a small, family-run farm and slaughterhouse. She then founded the Portland Meat Collective to teach people about conscientious farming, slaughtering, and eating. Her new book is 'Killing It.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'Give Me Your Hand' by Megan Abbott, and rock critic Ken...

Duration:00:47:02

Michael Arceneaux On Growing Up Black, Gay & Catholic In Texas

7/23/2018
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Arceneaux's new book, 'I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race And Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé,' is a collection of essays about his early years. Beyoncé, he says, taught him a valuable lesson: "Just be yourself and be very good at what you do." Also, we remember late radio DJ Adrian Cronauer who inspired the film 'Good Morning Vietnam,' starring Robin Williams.

Duration:00:45:57

Best Of: 'Eighth Grade' Dir. Bo Burnham / Punk Pioneer Viv Albertine

7/20/2018
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Bo Burnham, a former YouTube star, explores coming of age online in his new film 'Eighth Grade.' "This awful D-list celebrity pressure I had experienced onstage has now been democratized," Burnham says. Ken Tucker reviews Gorillaz's album 'The Now Now.' Viv Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She talks about her career-long fight against the patriarchy. Her new memoir is 'To Throw Away Unopened.'

Duration:00:48:26

'Why We Sleep'

7/20/2018
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Sleep scientist Matthew Walker says sleep deficiency is associated with problems with concentration, memory and the immune system — as well as with shorter lifespans. Walker discusses the effects of caffeine, alcohol and sleeping pills, and also offers some tips to help you sleep better. His book, 'Why We Sleep,' is now out in paperback. (Originally broadcast October 2017) Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Sorry to Bother You' and 'Blindspotting.'

Duration:00:48:16

The Links Between Russia, Trump And Brexit

7/19/2018
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Carole Cadwalladr's investigation into Cambridge Analytica's role in Brexit led her to Russian connections and the Trump campaign. She says British investigators are working "closely with the FBI." Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel 'The Last Cruise' by Kate Christensen.

Duration:00:48:23

Comic Bo Burnham On 'Eighth Grade,' Social Media & Anxiety

7/18/2018
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The former YouTube star explores coming of age online in his new film 'Eighth Grade.' "This awful D-list celebrity pressure I had experienced onstage has now been democratized," Burnham says. He talks about living with anxiety, being embarrassed by some of his early material, and why he wrote a film about a 13-year-old girl.

Duration:00:49:33

The Political Battle For Wisconsin

7/17/2018
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Dan Kaufman, author of 'The Fall of Wisconsin,' says the state has experienced a conservative transformation in recent years — despite a tradition of progressive politics dating back to the 19th century. Ken Tucker reviews Gorillaz's album 'The Now Now.' Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg examines the tug-of-war over the English language between the British and Americans.

Duration:00:48:50

Punk Pioneer & Slits Guitarist Viv Albertine

7/16/2018
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Albertine was the guitarist and lyricist for The Slits, one of the first all-women British punk bands. She talks about her early days onstage, finding her mother's diaries, and why she's done with dating and relationships. Her new memoir is 'To Throw Away Unopened.' Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new HBO documentary 'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.'

Duration:00:50:00

Best Of: Trump & Fox News / The Science Of Fish Oil Supplements

7/13/2018
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'Vanity Fair' reporter Gabriel Sherman talks about former Fox News co-president Bill Shine's new role as deputy chief of staff, the president's relationship with Sean Hannity, and the ways in which Trump acts as an "executive producer" of the cable news network. Also, critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary 'Three Identical Strangers' about triplets separated at birth and then reunited. Author Paul Greenberg talks efficacy of fish oil supplements. His new book is 'The Omega Principle.'

Duration:00:49:44

Cartoonist John Callahan / Remembering Actor Tab Hunter

7/13/2018
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Cartoonist John Callahan was a paraplegic and recovered alcoholic who poked fun at people like himself. He died in 2010; the film 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot,' starring Joaquin Phoenix is based his life. He spoke with Terry Gross in '89 and '91. Also, we remember 1950's Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, who died Sunday. He made more than 50 films, including 'Damn Yankees,' 'Battle Cry' and 'That Kind of Woman,' before coming out as gay later in life. He spoke to 'Fresh Air' in...

Duration:00:48:33

The Ties Between Fox News & The Trump White House

7/12/2018
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'Vanity Fair' reporter Gabriel Sherman says the president is in regular contact with Fox News host Sean Hannity: "They speak almost daily, after Hannity's show, sometimes before, and sometimes for up to an hour a day." Sherman talks about former Fox News co-president Bill Shine's new role as deputy chief of staff, and the ways in which the president acts as an "executive producer" of the cable news network.

Duration:00:45:21

Once Militantly Anti-Abortion, Evangelical Minister Lives 'With Regret'

7/11/2018
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After decades in the militant anti-abortion movement, Rev. Rob Schenck had a change of heart; he now sees abortion as an issue that should be resolved by "an individual and his or her conscience." His new memoir about his conversions over the years is 'Costly Grace.'

Duration:00:45:33

'America's Criminal Treatment Of Mental Illness'

7/10/2018
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While visiting jails across the country, journalist Alisa Roth witnessed mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement, wearing restrictive jumpsuits and receiving very limited therapy. Roth estimates nearly 50 percent of inmates are mentally ill. Her book is 'Insane.' Also, critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation,' a novel by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Duration:00:47:12

The Science, Business & Health Effects Of Fish Oil Supplements

7/9/2018
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Author Paul Greenberg says the harvesting of tiny fish for omega-3 supplements is having a ripple effect, leading to less healthy and bountiful oceans. His new book is 'The Omega Principle.' Also, critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary 'Three Identical Strangers' about triplets separated at birth and then reunited when they were in college.

Duration:00:45:40

Best Of: Filmmaker Boots Riley / Flint Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

7/6/2018
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Riley's new film 'Sorry To Bother You' is a social and political satire inspired by his time as a telemarketer. Riley is the son of grassroots activists and the frontman for the hip-hop band The Coup, a self-described "revolutionary music collective." Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews​ the HBO limited series 'Sharp Objects​,​​'​ starring Amy Adams.​ ​ ​After warning of elevated lead levels in her patients' blood in Flint, Mich., Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha faced a backlash. Her new book,...

Duration:00:49:05

How The Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized Breakfast

7/6/2018
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A century ago, two brothers took the world by storm with their mass-produced boxed cereal. Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles their contentious relationship, their prescient concepts of wellness, and their troubling ideas about eugenics and masturbation. (Originally broadcast August 2017.) TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO limited series 'Sharp Objects,' and Ken Tucker reviews the Drake album 'Scorpion.'

Duration:00:46:45

The State Of The Supreme Court

7/5/2018
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'New York Times' journalist Adam Liptak says the court's conservative justices have increasingly based their decisions on the foundation of free speech —including a case that dealt a blow to unions. "The politics of the First Amendment have completely flipped," Liptak says.

Duration:00:47:15

Traditional Music Legend Doc Watson

7/4/2018
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On this Fourth of July, we're going deep into our archive for some great American music. Watson, who died in 2012, was a pioneering bluegrass, country and folk guitarist and singer who changed the way people thought about mountain music. This show features parts of an interview that first aired in 1988, and a performance from 1989. Also, Ken Tucker reviews some newly released music that he likes to listen to with the volume way up.

Duration:00:48:51

'The Inside Story Of Russia And America'

7/3/2018
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Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Obama, talks with Terry Gross about the upcoming Trump-Putin summit. He says Putin "doesn't meet just for the sake of a meeting; he seeks to advance Russian interests." McFaul's new memoir is 'From Cold War to Hot Peace.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Deborah Levy's new memoir about divorce at age 50.

Duration:00:47:52

Filmmaker And Rapper Boots Riley

7/2/2018
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Riley's new film 'Sorry To Bother You' is a social and political satire inspired by his time as a telemarketer. It stars Lakeith Stanfield, the co-star of 'Get Out' and the television series 'Atlanta.' Riley is the son of grassroots activists. He's also the frontman for the hip-hop band 'The Coup,' a self-described "revolutionary music collective." And Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album of previously lost John Coltrane recordings.

Duration:00:48:45