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Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

During World War II, the military worked with famous Hollywood directors to create movies to both boost morale back home and document the devastation overseas. Mark Harris’  book, ‘Five Came Back,’ is the basis for a new Netflix docuseries. [Originally broadcast March 2014.]

Mar 30, 2017

After contracting West Nile virus and becoming temporarily paralyzed, Chicago illustrator Emil Ferris had to relearn how to draw. She says that experience was key to the publication of ‘My Favorite Thing Is Monsters.’

Mar 29, 2017

‘New York Times’ reporter David Sanger talks about North Korea's nuclear program and warns that the regime, which has been "fodder for late night comedians for many many years," is no joke. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel ‘One of the Boys,’ about a corrosive father-son relationship.

Mar 28, 2017

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, develops innovative technologies for the military. Its innovations led to the Internet, communication satellites, stealth aircrafts, drones, and driverless cars. Sharon Weinberger’s book, ‘The Imagineers of War,’ tells the untold story of DARPA. Also, we say goodbye to ‘Fresh Air’ producer John Sheehan.

Mar 27, 2017

Tressie McMillan Cottom worked in enrollment at two for-profit colleges, but quit because she felt uncomfortable selling students an education they couldn't afford. Her new book, 'Lower Ed,' argues that for-profit colleges can exploit racial, gender and economic inequality.

Mar 25, 2017

Pete Holmes' new HBO show 'Crashing' is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage as a stand-up comic. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy," not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club." Author Ron Powers’ new book ‘No One Cares About Crazy People’ is both a memoir about his two sons with schizophrenia and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally.

Mar 24, 2017

In the first half of the 20th century, American eugenicists used forced sterilization to "breed out" traits they considered undesirable. The Nazis borrowed from the U.S. eugenics sterilization program. Adam Cohen tells the story in his book, 'Imbeciles,’ now out in paperback. Film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘Wilson,’ adapted from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel.

Mar 23, 2017

Day was a champion of the poor and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Her granddaughter, writer Kate Hennessy, talks about her grandmother’s bohemian past. Hennessy’s new biography of Day draws from family letters, diaries, interviews and her own memories.  Also, ‘Fresh Air’ remembers Chuck Barris, creator of ‘The Dating Game,’ ‘The Newlywed Game,’ and ‘The Gong Show.’ He died Tuesday at 87. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1986. 

Mar 22, 2017

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Jane Mayer talks about Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, who have poured millions of dollars into ‘Breitbart News’ and pushed to have Steve Bannon run Trump’s campaign. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Devil and Webster,’ a novel about a New England college in turmoil.

Mar 21, 2017

Holmes’ new HBO show ‘Crashing’ is based on his real life, after his wife left him and he struggled to find his voice onstage. He grew up a devout Christian and says he saw himself as a "Good Boy” comic, not cursing or talking about sex in the early years of his career. "I was basically picturing [Jesus] in the back of the club."

Mar 20, 2017

"There is no greater feeling of helplessness than to watch two beloved sons deteriorate before [your] eyes," says Ron Powers. His new book 'No One Cares About Crazy People' is both about his sons and a history of how the mentally ill have been treated medically and legally. Also, rock historian Ed Ward looks back on Chuck Berry’s early career. He died Saturday at 90.

Mar 18, 2017

'Get Out' is about a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of 'Key & Peele') calls his movie a "social thriller." Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Frank Carlberg’s meditation on Thelonious Monk. Author Sebastian Barry discusses his book ‘Days Without End' with 'Fresh Air' producer Sam Briger. It's about an Irish immigrant conscripted right off the boat, who falls in love with one of his fellow soldiers.

Mar 17, 2017

To mark the Broadway composer's 90th birthday, we’re replaying excerpts of his 1991 and 2015 interviews with Terry Gross. David Bianculli reviews ‘Julie’s Greenroom’ on Netflix, a children’s series starring Julie Andrews and Jim Henson puppets. Film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘T2 Trainspotting.’

Mar 16, 2017

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Elif Batuman talks about her Turkish-American roots and her new novel, which follows a young woman's first year at Harvard University in the ‘90s, and how she finds love through email. It’s based on her own experiences. Also, writer Daniel Torday reflects on the vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Milo Miles reviews Sxip Shirey’s album ‘A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees.’

Mar 15, 2017

‘Get Out’ tells the story of a young black man named Chris whose white girlfriend, Rose, takes him to meet her parents for the first time — without first telling them he’s black. Writer-director Jordan Peele (previously of ‘Key & Peele’) calls his movie a “social thriller.” He talks about his love of horror, his biracial identity, and making a film that would play differently to black and white audiences.

Mar 14, 2017

Rukmini Callimachi covers ISIS for the ‘New York Times.’ She just returned from Iraq where she was embedded with Iraqi soldiers as they battled to liberate the western half of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS. She says ISIS is more fierce than ever.

Mar 13, 2017

Author Adam Alter says that technology is designed to be addictive, and that the gratification it provides is similar to that of other addictive behaviors, such as drug abuse or gambling. Alter’s book is ‘Irresistible.’ Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews ‘Monk Dreams, Hallucinations and Nightmares,’ from pianist and composer Frank Carlberg. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel ‘Heretics’ by Leonardo Padura.

Mar 11, 2017

'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,' now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,’ misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president.  Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews ‘Personal Shopper,’ starring Kristen Stewart. Finally, author Mohsin Hamid talks about his new novel, 'Exit West,' which is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants.

Mar 10, 2017

According to Adam Hochschild, about 2,800 Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War, and some were bombed by Nazis years before the U.S. entered World War II. His book, ‘Spain in Our Hearts,’ is now in paperback.  Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘The Sense of an Ending.’

Mar 9, 2017

'New York Times’ journalist Emily Bazelon says the relationship between the Trump strategist and the attorney general predates the 2016 campaign, and that their anti-immigration policies come from fears of a growing minority population.

Mar 8, 2017

Hamid's new novel, ‘Exit West,’ is about knowing when it's time to flee your country, and what happens when you migrate to a nation that's hostile to immigrants. Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but has lived in New York and London. He talks about feeling like an outsider, social media and anxiety, and the power of language. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead shares an appreciation of composer and pianist Misha Mengelberg, who died recently.

Mar 7, 2017

Author Norman Ohler says that Hitler's drug abuse increased "significantly" from the fall of 1941 until the winter of 1944: "Hitler needed those highs to substitute [for] his natural charisma." Methamphetamine was distributed to German troops to keep them awake and "reduce fear" during long battles. Ohler’s new book is ‘Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich.’ TV critic David Bianculli reviews the premiere of FX’s 5th season of ‘The Americans.’

Mar 6, 2017

‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,’ now in its second season on TBS, is a satire news show with a feminist point-of-view. Host Samantha Bee and head writer Jo Miller talk about getting started in comedy at ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,”misogyny on Twitter, and how their show has changed since Trump became president. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album ‘I See You’ from the British group The xx.

Mar 4, 2017

Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar talks about being shot down by the Taliban, being a warrior and mother, and why being told she "shoots like a girl" is a compliment. TV critic David Bianculli reviews ‘Feud: Bette and Joan.’ Also, ‘National Geographic' photographer Joel Sartore is on a mission to document every captive animal species in the world. (So far he's photographed about 6,500.) He talks about racing against time to photograph endangered species for ‘The Photo Ark.’

Mar 3, 2017

Anderson delivers a standout performance as the mother of an embittered rodeo clown in ‘Baskets.’ The show, co-created by Louis C.K, Zach Galifianakis, and Jonathan Krisel, is in its second season.  TV critic David Bianculli reviews ‘Feud: Bette and Joan.’ David Edelstein weighs in on the new X-Men film, ‘Logan.’

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