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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: January, 2018
Jan 31, 2018

Investigative reporter Ronen Bergman says that while Israel's shootings, poisonings, bombings and drone strikes against its perceived enemies were "tactical successes," they were also diplomatically harmful. His book is ‘Rise and Kill First.’ Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews guitarist Wes Montgomery’s 1965 Paris concert.

Jan 30, 2018

Journalist Glenn Frankel talks about a chapter of paranoia and persecution in America, in which the president, Congress, the courts and the press all played a part. Frankel's book is about the Hollywood Blacklist and the making of the classic film 'High Noon,' which was written as a parable about the blacklist. Also, to mark Black History Month, Penguin Press is reprinting six books from the Harlem Renaissance. Maureen Corrigan has an appreciation. 

Jan 29, 2018

‘Atlantic’ journalist Franklin Foer says before Manafort became Trump's campaign manager, he rewrote the rules of lobbying and then became entangled in the world of dictators, oligarchs and dirty money. Foer’s article is called ‘The Plot Against America.’

Jan 27, 2018

Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson talks about his new film, ‘Phantom Thread,’ which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as a renowned and obsessive fashion designer. It’s nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Maureen Corrigan reviews the novel ‘The Perfect Nanny,’ inspired by a tragic murder of two kids by their nanny. 'New York Times' reporter John Leland followed six people above the age of 85 for one year. That series changed his understanding of old age — and inspired his book, 'Happiness is a Choice You Make.' 

Jan 26, 2018

In 1986 Sam Baker was on a train in Peru when a bomb exploded in the luggage rack above him. His body was torn apart, he had a brain injury, and severe hearing loss. Somehow, during his long recovery, songs started coming to him. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2014 about how the bombing changed his life and made him a musician. His new album is ‘Land of Doubt.’

Jan 25, 2018

Dan Diamond, who covers the Dept. of Health and Human Services for ‘Politico,’ says the number of HHS leaders who previously worked in the anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ movement is “unusual and notable.” Also, Justin Chang reviews ‘Lover for a Day.' 

Jan 24, 2018

‘New York Times’ reporter John Leland followed six people above the age of 85 for one year. That series changed his understanding of old age — and inspired his book, ‘Happiness is a Choice You Make.’ Also, we remember feminist sci-fi and fantasy writer Ursula Le Guin. She died this week at 88. Le Guin spoke with Terry Gross in 1989 about the challenges of being a mother and a writer.

Jan 23, 2018

Set in 1950s London, Anderson's new film features Daniel Day-Lewis as a renowned and obsessive fashion designer. The director says he was inspired by fashion icons like Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga. He spoke with Terry Gross about ghosts, the importance of music in the film, and making sewing exciting on camera. 'Phantom Thread' has six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

Jan 22, 2018

Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt are experts in what makes democracies healthy — and what leads to their collapse. They warn that American democracy is in trouble. Ken Tucker reviews Charli XCX’s album ‘Pop 2,’ and book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Perfect Nanny,’ by award-winning Moroccan-French author Leïla Slimani.

Jan 20, 2018

The Netflix series ‘The Crown,’ now in its second season, centers on a young Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. Creator Peter Morgan talks about how he works with a team of researchers to reconstruct history, and how he takes creative liberties. Also, TV critic David Bianculli discusses the comeback of the anthology series. Finally, we speak with Melba Pattillo Beals. In 1957 she was part of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group students chosen by the NAACP to integrate a high school after the Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional. She shares her experience being tormented and bullied by white students. Her new book is ‘I Will Not Fear.’

Jan 19, 2018

Frank, who died this week, created the radio drama series ‘Work in Progress’ and was known for his intimate on-air monologues, sketches, and interviews. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1989. Also, we talk with Daniel Ellsberg. He leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, in hopes they would help end the Vietnam War. He is portrayed in the new film ‘The Post.’ Film critic David Edelstein reviews the documentary ‘The Final Year,’ which follows President Obama’s foreign policy team as the presidency comes to an end.

Jan 18, 2018

Christian Picciolini spent eight years as a member of a violent, white power skinhead group. He eventually withdrew and co-founded a nonprofit to help extremists disengage. His new book is ‘White American Youth.’

Jan 17, 2018

Medical journalist Jeanne Lenzer warns that implanted medical devices are approved with far less scrutiny and testing than pharmaceutical drugs. As a result, she says, some have caused harm and even death. “Walmart tracks heads of lettuce they have on a shelf at any given time. They know how many they have to replace. They can track those a lot better than we’re tracking medical devices implanted in people,” Lenzer says. Her new book is ‘The Danger Within Us.’  Also, TV critic David Bianculli discusses the comeback of the anthology series.

Jan 16, 2018

The Netflix series, now in its second season, centers on a young Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. One of the figures in the series is Elizabeth’s uncle, the former King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 and was ostracized by the family. “What we have here is a fantastic family saga,” Morgan says. “And no family is complete without an embarrassing uncle, and [Edward] is the ultimate embarrassing uncle.” Morgan also wrote the screenplays for the films ‘Frost/Nixon’ and ‘The Queen.’ Also, John Powers reviews the second installment of ‘American Crime Story’ with ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace.’

Jan 15, 2018

In 1957, three years after the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional, nine black students were chosen by the NAACP to try to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The students were met by an angry white mob, and it took the presence of federal troops to get them into class. One of the students was Melba Pattillo Beals. She’s written a new book called ‘I Will Not Fear,’ about her childhood.  Also, film critic David Edelstein reviews ‘In The Fade.’

Jan 13, 2018

Actress and writer Lena Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing, for her work on Aziz Ansari's Netflix series 'Master of None.' Now she's lending her voice to a new Showtime series, 'The Chi,' set in the South Side Chicago. Also, John Powers reviews ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ a Golden Globe award-winning series on Amazon. Co-directors and co-writers Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina spent six years creating their Pixar film ‘Coco,’ about the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday on which the living remember their deceased loved ones.

Jan 12, 2018

Holmes' 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." Holmes spoke with Terry Gross in 2017. ‘Crashing’ is back for a second season. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new David Letterman Netflix series ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.’

Jan 11, 2018

Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing, for her work on Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series ‘Master of None.’ Now she’s lending her voice to a new Showtime series, ‘The Chi,’ set in the South Side Chicago.

Jan 10, 2018

Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina spent six years creating their animated film about the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday on which the living remember their deceased loved ones. The movie is about how the dead remain alive in our hearts as long as we keep them in our memories and tell their stories. ‘Coco’ just won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film. Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews a collection of live recordings from soprano Maria Callas.

Jan 9, 2018

Banks left a six-figure salary as an engineer to pursue her dream of owning an auto shop. She went to technical school, worked for free, and in 2016 she opened Girls Auto Clinic. Her auto shop is staffed with women mechanics, and caters to female customers. Her new book is ‘Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide.’  Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews ‘The Largesse of the Sea,’ a book of short stories by the late writer Denis Johnson.

Jan 8, 2018

‘Vox’ drug policy reporter German Lopez details the scope of the opioid epidemic. There were nearly 64,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2016. “To put that in context, that’s more than gun deaths. That’s more than car crashes. It’s more than HIV/AIDS during the peak of that epidemic,” Lopez says. Also, WHYY criminal justice reporter Bobby Allyn talks about the safe injection site being considered in Philadelphia.

Jan 6, 2018

Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli says, "Just the last few years alone have seen some serious breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research.”  His new book is 'The Pursuit of Memory.' Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews ‘Face Your Fear,’ an album by singer-songwriter Curtis Harding. Also, ’Vanity Fair' editor-at-large Cullen Murphy talks about growing up the son of a cartoonist. His father, John Cullen Murphy, drew the popular Prince Valiant strip, which Murphy eventually wrote for 14 years. His new memoir is 'Cartoon County.' 

Jan 5, 2018

‘Get Out’ tells the story of a young black man whose white girlfriend takes him to meet her parents for the first time. Writer-director Jordan Peele, who calls the movie a “social thriller,” says, “It was very important to me to just get the entire audience in touch in some way with the fears inherent [in] being black in this country,” Peele says. The film is nominated for two Golden Globes. Also, we remember jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, who died last month. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2002.

Jan 4, 2018

Neal Katyal wrote the special counsel regulations when he worked for the Clinton administration. He lays out the legal issues that could arise if Trump tries to interfere with the Mueller investigation. Also rock critic Ken Tucker reviews a new box set of Louisiana Hayride performances from the ‘50s.

Jan 3, 2018

‘New Yorker’ staff writer Evan Osnos talks about how China learned to use President Trump to its advantage. He says that as the president withdraws the U.S. from commitments around the globe, strategists in Beijing see an opening. Osnos also explains why China's president thinks flattery is the way to win over Trump.

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