Episodes
Public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which represents people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. In 2018, EJI founded a museum and monument in Montgomery, Ala., to address the atrocities of slavery, lynching and segregation. "We need to create institutions in this country that motivate more people to say 'Never again,'" he says. Stevenson's 2014 memoir 'Just Mercy' is now a movie...
Published 01/20/20
Martin Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. He spoke with Terry Gross about childhood, redemption and getting kicked out of seminary school. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews, 'Ow!,' a newly resurfaced live recording of saxophonists Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin. Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the...
Published 01/18/20
Religion scholar Elaine Pagels lost her young son to terminal illness and her husband a year later in an accident. Her book, 'Why Religion?,' combines memoir and biblical scholarship to reflect on loss and faith. It's now out in paperback. Also, we remember late spiritual leader Ram Dass. In the '60s and '70s, Dass, along with Timothy Leary, became interested in the religious potential of LSD. He was a practitioner of Eastern-inspired philosophy, and was careful to distance himself from...
Published 01/17/20
'Intercept' Senior National Security Correspondent James Risen says new documents show how Iran has embedded itself in the politics of its neighbor, Iraq — and that the late Gen. Soleimani oversaw Iran's proxy wars in Iraq and Syria. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Seven Worlds, One Planet,' a BBC nature docuseries.
Published 01/16/20
Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. He spoke with Terry Gross about death, redemption and his biggest flop. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the WWI epic '1917.'
Published 01/15/20
Reporters Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld won a Pulitzer for their investigation of Trump's 2016 hush money payments to Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Their new book is 'The Fixers: The Bottom-feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'American Dirt,' Jeanine Cummins' literary thriller about the treacherous journey a migrant mother takes with her son.
Published 01/14/20
In the 1890s, Wilmington, N.C. was a mixed-race community with a thriving black middle class, black aldermen and police officers, and a black newspaper. White supremacists saw this as an abomination, and plotted a bloody purge around the 1898 election. They rampaged through the streets, killing 60 black men, and banished prominent black people and their white allies from the city. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino tells the story in his new book, 'Wilmington's Lie.' Also,...
Published 01/13/20
'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs,' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both...
Published 01/11/20
Buck Henry, who died Jan. 8, co-wrote the film 'Get Smart' with Mel Brooks and made regular appearances as a guest host on 'Saturday Night Live' in the show's early years. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1997 at the New York Film Forum about his masterpiece, 'The Graduate.' Also, we remember jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon. He sang with Benny Goodman and was bandleader and sidekick for Merv Griffin's talk show for many years. He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1993. John Powers reviews HBO's...
Published 01/10/20
'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos says that China is building up its military, and Pentagon analysts now believe it could defeat U.S. forces in a confrontation along its borders. "China is the big story we don't talk about every day," Osnos says. "It's the fact of American political and diplomatic life we'll be contending with for most of the rest of this century."
Published 01/09/20
Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both the Trumps and the Kushners, and their "marriage of money and power." Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews a new anthology of Jean Stafford novels.
Published 01/08/20
Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the ages of 16 and 22. "When I was doing ['Girls & Sex'] the kind of core issue with girls was that they were being cut off from their bodies and not understanding their bodies' response and their needs and their limits and their desires," she says. "With boys, it felt like they were being cut off from their hearts." Orenstein talks about hookup culture,...
Published 01/07/20
'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Phillips talks about the score, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the divisive reaction to the movie.
Published 01/06/20
We close out our 'Best of the Decade' series with two of our favorite film directors. Jordan Peele made his directorial debut in 2017 with the "social thriller" 'Get Out.' Francis Ford Coppola, also spoke with Terry Gross in 2017 about the studio battle that went on behind-the-scenes of his 1972 movie 'The Godfather.'
Published 01/04/20
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two music icons. First, Patti Smith spoke with Terry Gross in 2010 about 'Just Kids,' her memoir about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. And then we listen back to part of Bruce Springsteen's 2016 conversation about his memoir, 'Born to Run.'
Published 01/03/20
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two of the most influential writers of our time. In 2015, Coates discussed his book 'Between the World and Me.' Formatted as a letter to his son, Coates writes about the different forms of violence young African Americans face on the street, in school and from the police. Morrison, who died in 2019, spoke with Terry Gross in 2015 about aging and regret.
Published 01/02/20
Our Best of the Decade series continues with three music interviews. Carolina Chocolate Drops are a old-time string band from Durham, N.C. Jazz singer Catherine Russell sang back-up for Paul Simon, David Bowie and Jackson Browne. Jon Batiste is the bandleader for 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.'
Published 01/01/20
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two irreverent New Yorkers. Stern, the "King of All Media," spoke with Terry Gross this year about how he evolved from his early shock-jock days. Also, we listen back to a 2010 interview with the late comic Joan Rivers about being a pioneer for women in comedy.
Published 12/31/19
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two giants of the media world we lost too soon. Chef-turned-travel-host Anthony Bourdain took us around the world with CNN's 'Parts Unknown.' He died in 2018. David Carr was the media columnist for 'The New York Times.' He died in 2015. And linguist Geoff Nunberg reveals his word of the year.
Published 12/30/19
Adam Sandler plays a jewelry store owner who's deep in debt in a new thriller, 'Uncut Gems,' by writer/directors Josh and Benny Safdie. The movie was inspired by the brothers' father, who worked in the NYC diamond district. John Powers shares his "Ghost List" of things he wished he reviewed during the year. Also, TV critic David Bianculli talks with Terry Gross about his favorite TV of 2019.
Published 12/30/19
As part of our Best of the Decade series, we listen back to interviews about two Broadway phenomena. First we hear from 'Hamilton' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda about how his "mixed tape" musical came together. And we revisit to our interview with 'South Park' creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone about their outrageous show about Mormon missionaries in Uganda.
Published 12/27/19
This week, we are listening back to some of our favorite interviews from the past decade. We listen back to our 2012 and 2016 interviews with Meryl Streep. Also, Carrie Fisher spoke with Terry Gross about 'The Princess Diarist,' her memoir based on the journal she kept while filming the 'Star Wars' movies.
Published 12/26/19
To celebrate Christmas, we listen back to a concert given by the late singer and actress in 1997. Clooney spoke with Terry Gross about her childhood, being on the road as a young performer with her sister, and working with Bing Crosby.
Published 12/25/19
Singer-songwriter JD McPherson never thought he'd make a Christmas album. Then, he says, "I got a bug in my ear." He and his band perform live in studio from 'Socks,' and McPherson talks about growing up on a cattle farm in Oklahoma. And critic Ken Tucker reviews Tyler Childers' album, 'Country Squire.'
Published 12/24/19
TV critic David Bianculli and film critic Justin Chang sit down with Terry Gross to share their top 10 lists and talk about larger themes. And John Powers shares his "Ghost List," the books, TV, music and movies he didn't get to review in 2019.
Published 12/23/19