Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 5:31 am
This Veterans Day, NPR Books went into the archives to find stories of combat and coping. A mother describes the emotional minefield of having a child at war, a Marine writes a memoir of a mortuary, and a photojournalist pays tribute to two centuries of Native-Americans in the military.
Four U.S. soldiers, runners for the 315th Infantry, pose in France in November 1918. The troops reportedly carried official orders to Lt. Col. Bunt near Etraye, France, shortly before noon, Nov. 11, 1918, announcing that the armistice had been signed, thereby ending World War I.
Credit Sherril Schell / Getty Images
English poet Rupert Chawner Brooke died of dysentery aboard a troop ship headed for Gallipoli in April 1915. His poem "The Soldier" is one of the most famous poems written during World War I.
Veterans Day — originally Armistice Day — was renamed in 1954 to include veterans who had fought in all wars. But the day of remembrance has its roots in World War I — Nov. 11, 1918 was the day the guns fell silent at the end of the Great War. On this Veterans Day, we celebrate the poetry of World War I, one of the legacies of that conflict.
The story of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has captured the imagination of authors and film directors.
Just this year, the mission carried out by Navy SEAL Team Six has already been re-told in three books, including one written by a former Navy SEAL. Acclaimed film director Katherine Bigelow, who directed the film The Hurt Locker, is getting ready to release her treatment of the bin Laden raid in December.
On Sunday night, the National Geographic Channel will air its film about the raid, SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden.
Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 3:43 pm
With plenty of election ennui going around, NPR Books dug into the archives for new ways to look at the election story. Here you'll find accounts of past campaigns gone wrong, an examination of the science and art of prediction and an idea of what happens when the pre-presidential storyline gets a dose of sci fi, fantasy and puberty, respectively.
Credit Jacqueline Semrau / Courtesy of St. Martin's Press
Christopher Golden's novels include The Myth Hunters, WildwoodRoad, The Boys Are Back in Town and The Ferryman. He previously collaborated with Mike Mignola on the illustrated novel Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 7:23 am
Mike Mignola's occult adventure comics B.P.R.D. (that's short for Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) and Hellboy (about a demon who fights for the side of Good) combine furious action set pieces on a literally biblical scale with a wry and nuanced understanding of very human emotions. The novelist Christopher Golden has written many popular works of dark fantasy.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:10 pm
What is the point of the best-seller list? Depends who you are. If you're a reader, it's a guide to what's popular — what's new, what your neighbors are buying, and what you might like to read next. If you're a publisher, it's a source of feedback and a sales tool: It tells you how your books compete, and gives you triumphs to crow about on paperback covers.
As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:56 pm
No one has a crystal ball, but Nate Silver has perfected the art of prediction. In 2008, he accurately predicted the presidential winner of 49 of the 50 states, and the winners of all 35 Senate races. Before he focused on elections, Silver developed a sophisticated system for analyzing baseball players' potential and became a skilled poker player — which is how he made his living for a while.
Stephen Colbert has no idea how other news pundits find time to write books. But he felt certain that his character on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, needed to have another one.
"My character is based on news punditry, the masters of opinion in cable news, and they all have books," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We don't have time to write a book and feed and wash ourselves, so something has to go out the window. And [for me] it was family, friends and hygiene for the past year."
Julia Keller's latest novel is A Killing in the Hills.
When the actor James O'Neill played the title character in a stage version of The Count of Monte Cristo, it was a piece of "good bad luck," his son Eugene O'Neill later said. James O'Neill could never escape the shadow of the role that made him famous.
According to David Denby, 1979's Apocalypse Now came "out of a movie world so different from our own that sitting through it again is almost a masochistic experience."
The New Yorker film critic clearly loves movies, but in his new book, Do the Movies Have a Future?, he argues that complex films like Apocalypse Noware becoming more and more of a rarity. Denby joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss promising directors, what it means to be a film critic and the future of film.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 10:30 am
An ancient piece of text is reviving an equally ancient debate: Was Jesus Christ married?
Of course, most Christians believe that he wasn't. But today, Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King presented a scrap of papyrus that dates back to the fourth century. She told a gathering of scholars in Rome that written in Coptic was this surprising sentence: "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...' "
One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:03 am
Hanna Rosin's pop sociology work The End of Men, based on her cover story in The Atlantic magazine, is a frustrating blend of genuine insight and breezy, unconvincing anecdotalism. She begins with a much-discussed statistic: three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost in our current recession were once held by men.
Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:03 am
Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue is an agreeable if ultimately frustrating shaggy-dog tale of a novel that slips its leash and lopes its discursive and distinctly unhurried way through the unkempt backyards of its characters' lives.
In the 1960s, Lynn Povich worked at Newsweek — where she became part of a revolution.
"At Newsweek, women were hired on the mail desk to deliver mail, then to clip newspapers, and, if they were lucky, became researchers or fact checkers," Povich tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer, whom she knows personally. "All of the writers and reporters were men, and everyone accepted it as that was the way the world was — until we didn't."
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:55 am
When a consummately articulate, boundlessly bold journalist stricken with stage 4 esophageal cancer reports from the front lines about facing what he calls, among other things, "hello darkness my old friend," you sit up and pay attention. Mortality, by virtue of its ultimate unavoidability, raises questions about the very meaning of life, making it as challenging a subject as any tackled by Christopher Hitchens in his brilliant career. It is, in fact, one of the subjects, right up there with love, and you can count on Hitchens to eschew weak-kneed sentimentality.