Politics and History

Estee Lauder

What do Steve Jobs, Estee Lauder and Ted Williams have in common? They were driven by individual compulsions.More

Brother Ali

You can find powerful critiques of capitalism and inequality on political platforms — and also on music stages. Take Brother Ali: he’s a Midwestern, Muslim rapper and one of the most popular socially-conscious hip hop artists out there.More

Kshama Sawant, councilwoman in Seattle

Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant is the first socialist to win an election there in almost a century. Her platform included fighting for — and winning — a $15 minimum wage, and a tax on the wealthy.More

Demonstrators march for "Medicare for All" and other socialist-leaning policy goals.

University of Wisconsin sociologist Erik Olin Wright was one of the world's leading Marxist theorists. He died in early 2019. In 2018, he stopped by our studio to talk socialism with Steve Paulson.More

Norwegian memorial

In 2011, nearly 70 teenagers were shot and killed in Norway. The gunman was a white supremacist named Anders Breivik. Journalist Asne Seierstad spent years trying to figure out how someone could do something so evil. More

Bullhorn

Cleve Jones was a young activist and Harvey Milk’s protege, the man who would later create the AIDS Memorial Quilt.  What he remembers about that time is how the gay community channeled anger and grief into a night he’ll never forget.More

Mubin Shaikh

Self-described former jihadist Mubin Shaikh believes many terrorists are drawn to political violence for very rational reasons. He recounts his journey into, and out of, extremism.More

mosque

For his book “The Sultan and the Queen,” Jerry Brotton has uncovered a history that goes against everything we’ve been told about the relationship between Islam and the West.More

Greek columns

We sat down with conservative intellectual Victor Davis Hanson, classics scholar Donna Zuckerberg, and French-Tunisian political scientist Nadia Marzouki to talk about President Trump’s speech, and try to unpack the question at the center of the president's speech: Is the survival of the West the fundamental question of our time?More

Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty can trace his family’s food history back to the slave cabins and Antebellum kitchens of the South. Honoring his diasporic heritage — he’s both black and Jewish — lead Twitty to the practice of identity cooking. He calls it Kosher/Soul.More

guilt for smoking

A lot of people feel guilty about something - diet, money, relationships or something else. Our host Anne Strainchamps and writer Devorah Baum definitely do. So we asked them to sit down to talk about how we wound up about in a giant cultural guilt trip.More

Adam and Eve

We decided to trace Western culture's fixation on guilt back to one of its earliest origins — the story of Adam and Eve. It's only a page and a half in the Bible, but literary historian Stephen Greenblatt told Steve Paulson why it has been so influential.More

Let’s remember that it wasn’t that long ago that liberals and conservatives were often friends. Jeanne Safer and Richard Brookhiser met during the good old days of American politics. She’s a lifelong liberal; he’s a senior editor for the conservative National Review. They’ve been happily married for more than 35 years.More

Awash in a sea of Trumpian conservativism

Charlie Sykes spent more than two decades hosting a popular conservative talk-radio show, railing against Obama and pushing Paul Ryan and Scott Walker onto the national stage. Today, he’s a Trump critic who's disillusioned with the Republican Party.More

Ken Stern

Ken Stern has lived and worked in a liberal bubble for most of his life, including his ten years as the CEO of NPR. Then, Ken decided to get out of his liberal bubble into Red America, where he found that he agreed with a lot of what he heard.More

USA Trilogy

Kim Stanley Robinson recommends "The Greatest Story of the 1920's That We Have: The U.S.A. Trilogy" by John Dos Passos.More

Circe

In Homer's "The Odyssey," Circe was a Greek goddess who turned Odysseus’ men into pigs. Today, Circe finally gets to tell her side of the story, thanks to novelist Madeline Miller.More

Hatshepsut statue, partially defaced

For centuries, even the memory of Hatshepsut was erased. By the men who followed her. Now, Egyptologist Kara Cooney has written about the great Egyptian queen — a woman who should have become legend — as well as the many other women who ruled ancient Egypt.More

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