Fresh Air

By NPR

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Description

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.

Episode Date
Best Of: John Prine / Author Stephen McCauley
2963
Singer, songwriter and guitarist John Prine underwent surgeries in 1996 and 2013 that affected his throat and voice. Now, he says, he likes his voice better: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." His new album, 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' is his first in 13 years. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.' Stephen McCauley's latest book, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay, but then they become friends. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says.
Jun 23, 2018
The U.S. Gov't's Secret Plan To Save Itself (While The Rest Of Us Die)
2954
In 'Raven Rock,' Garrett Graff describes the bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a catastrophe. One Cold War-era plan put the post office in charge of cataloging the dead. His book is now out in paperback. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new Elvis documentary 'The King.'
Jun 22, 2018
Inside America's First Family
2827
'Vanity Fair' journalist Emily Jane Fox focused on Trump's three marriages and five children when writing her new book, 'Born Trump.' "His presence is overwhelming," she says of the president's role in the family. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews two books that celebrate road trips, 'Don't Make Me Pull Over!' and 'Main-Travelled Roads.'
Jun 21, 2018
Novelist Stephen McCauley
2881
McCauley's latest book, 'My Ex-Life,' is a comedy about a couple whose marriage ended years ago when the husband came out as gay, but then they become friends. "All relationships evolve — even for people who stay together," he says. Also, John Powers reviews two novels about unconventional women, 'Mirror, Shoulder, Signal,' and 'Convenience Store Woman.'
Jun 20, 2018
'War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age'
2922
'New York Times' national security correspondent David Sanger says U.S. officials worry that foreign powers have planted malware that could take down critical infrastructure, including the electric power grid and cell phone systems. Sanger's new book is 'The Perfect Weapon.' Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the new Father John Misty record, 'God's Favorite Customer.'
Jun 19, 2018
John Prine
2934
The singer, songwriter and guitarist underwent surgeries in 1996 and 2013 that affected his throat and voice. Now, he says, he likes his voice better: "It dropped down lower and feels friendlier." His new album, 'The Tree of Forgiveness,' is his first in 13 years. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'There There,' a debut novel from Tommy Orange.
Jun 18, 2018
Best Of: Ethan Hawke & Paul Schrader / Michael Chabon
3035
Schrader wrote and directed the new film 'First Reformed,' which stars Hawke as a pastor having a crisis of faith. Schrader also wrote 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull. He considers his new film to be his first spiritual film. Also, critic Justin Chang reviews the new Pixar movie 'Incredibles 2.' Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon writes about his relationship with his father, as well as his own experiences as the parent of four, in 'Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces.'
Jun 16, 2018
'Quest' Follows A North Philly Family For 8 Years
2909
Filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski spent nearly 10 years filming Christopher Rainey and his family, who run a recording studio in a working-class African-American neighborhood of North Philadelphia. During the course of the film we see the Raineys get married, raise their daughter, and try to recover from a traumatic turn of events when she is hit by a stray bullet. Olshefski and Christopher "Quest" Rainey talk about the film. Also we remember war photographer David Douglas Duncan and Elvis Presley's drummer D.J. Fontana.
Jun 15, 2018
Remembering Feminist Scholar Jill Ker Conway
2943
Conway, a women's history scholar and the first female president of Smith College, died June 1. She grew up on a remote Australian sheep farm and later went on to write three memoirs. She fought for women's equality in education and in the workplace, and insisted on equality in her marriage. Also, Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Lush' by Snail Mail, and Justin Chang reviews 'Incredibles 2.'
Jun 14, 2018
'Black Athletes, A Divided America, And The Politics Of Patriotism'
2861
As some athletes kneel for the national anthem to protest racial injustice, and others decline to visit the White House after championships, journalist Howard Bryant discusses the history of social protest among African-American athletes. His new book, 'The Heritage,' traces the tradition back to Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and others. Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album by pianist Shamie Royston.
Jun 13, 2018
Paul Schrader & Ethan Hawke On 'First Reformed'
2923
Schrader wrote and directed the new film 'First Reformed,' which stars Hawke as a pastor having a crisis of faith. Schrader also wrote 'Taxi Driver' and 'Raging Bull.' "I was intoxicated by action and empathy, sex and violence," Schrader says of his early work. "And these are not [themes] in the transcendental tool kit." He considers his new film to be his first spiritual film.
Jun 12, 2018
'The Powers, Perversions, And Potential Of Heredity'
2852
Carl Zimmer is a science columnist for the 'New York Times.' His new book, 'She Has Her Mother's Laugh,' is about the broader implications of genetic research and testing. Zimmer tells Terry Gross about genetically modified mosquitoes that are resistant to malaria, how genetic testing was used in the Golden State Killer case, and what he learned about his family history from having his entire genome sequenced. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews two mysteries she thinks would make for terrific summer reading.
Jun 11, 2018
Best Of: Baseball's Keith Hernandez / Actor Nick Offerman
2906
Hernandez played on World Series-winning teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on 'Seinfeld.' His new memoir is 'I'm Keith Hernandez.' Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Hereditary,' which he says is the most emotionally devastating horror movie he's seen in ages. And Offerman has made a career out of playing colorful cranks — most notably, Ron Swanson, the boss on NBC's 'Parks and Recreation.' He now stars as a middle-age single dad in 'Hearts Beat Loud.'
Jun 09, 2018
Remembering Anthony Bourdain
2969
Bourdain, who died at 61, traveled the world, sampling local cuisine and meeting people along the way. We listen back to his Fresh Air interview from 2016 when he talked about starting his career as a dishwasher, cooking for his daughter, and his love of street food. "I'm happiest experiencing food in the most purely emotional way," Bourdain said. And critic David Bianculli remembers the debut, 70 years ago this month, of two variety shows — one hosted by Milton Berle, the other by Ed Sullivan — that showcased the powerful impact of television.
Jun 08, 2018
Nick Offerman
2853
After making a career playing colorful cranks, like Ron Swanson on 'Parks and Recreation,' Offerman plays a different, more nuanced character in 'Hearts Beat Loud.' "This is the largest role, by far, I've ever had in a film," he says. Also, critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews 'Cheek to Cheek,' a compilation of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.
Jun 07, 2018
How A Former FBI Agent Uses Twitter To Fight Terrorism
2869
Clint Watts developed online relationships with terrorists and their sympathizers in order to understand and undermine terror networks. He also researched Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections. His new book is 'Messing with the Enemy.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a re-issue of a classic 1991 album by Anthony Braxton and his quartet, and film critic Justin Chang reviews the horror-thriller 'Hereditary,' starring Toni Collette.
Jun 06, 2018
Former Obama White House Staffer Ben Rhodes
2908
Rhodes was a speechwriter and deputy national security adviser to President Obama. He talks about some of his more intense moments with the president and about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Rhodes' new memoir about his eight years in the White House is called 'The World as It Is.' Also, critic John Powers reviews the CIA thriller series 'Condor.'
Jun 05, 2018
First Baseman Keith Hernandez
2853
Hernandez played on World Series-winning teams with the Cardinals and Mets, and made a memorable appearance on 'Seinfeld.' His new memoir about learning baseball and being his own worst enemy is 'I'm Keith Hernandez.' Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Stranger Days' by 23-year-old trumpeter Adam O'Farrill.
Jun 04, 2018
David Sedaris / André Leon Talley
3018
Best-selling humorist writer David Sedaris talks about his hobby picking up trash on the side of the road, the secret to being in a long relationship, and his new collection of stories, 'Calypso. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Stephen McCauley's new satirical novel 'My Ex-Life.' André Leon Talley felt like a misfit growing up — until he stumbled upon a copy of 'Vogue.' Paging through the iconic fashion magazine, he says, was like traveling down a "rabbit hole [into] a world of glamour." Talley took over as the magazine's creative director in 1988, and served as editor-at-large from 1998 until 2013.
Jun 02, 2018
Author Tom Perrotta
2844
Perrotta's previous books, 'Election' and 'Little Children,' were made into films, and 'The Leftovers' became an HBO series. His new book, 'Mrs. Fletcher,' tells the story of a single mother whose only child has left for college. Perrotta says the book was inspired by the upheaval he experienced when his own kids moved out. Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'Florida' by Lauren Groff.
Jun 01, 2018
André Leon Talley, Former 'Vogue' Editor-At-Large
2926
Talley felt like a misfit growing up — until he stumbled upon a copy of the iconic fashion magazine. Paging through 'Vogue,' he says, was like traveling down a "rabbit hole [into] a world of glamour." The fashion titan talks about loneliness, working in Andy Warhol's Factory, and his signature caftans. Also, linguist Geoff Nunberg considers the future of cursive handwriting, and critic David Edelstein reviews the heist film 'American Animals.'
May 31, 2018
An Exiled Journalist's 'Fight For Freedom In Modern Iran'
2883
Feminist activist and journalist Masih Alinejad discusses her campaign against a law requiring that Iranian women and girls to cover their heads with a hijab. Her new memoir is 'The Wind in My Hair.' Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the funny new novel 'My Ex-Life,' and jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics' by Saxophonist Jon Irabagon.
May 30, 2018
David Sedaris
2928
The best-selling humorist writer talks about his hobby picking up trash on the side of the road, the secret to being in a long relationship, and his new collection of stories, 'Calypso.' Also, classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews violist Johnny Gandelsman's recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas.
May 29, 2018
How Rodgers & Hammerstein Revolutionized Broadway
2842
Todd Purdum's new book, 'Something Wonderful,' is about the creative partnership and strained personal relationship behind such hit shows as 'Oklahoma!,' 'Carousel,' 'South Pacific' and 'The Sound of Music.' (Rebroadcast from April, 2018)
May 28, 2018
Best Of: Ronan Farrow / 'Jessica Jones' Actress Krysten Ritter
2947
Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. He talks about his childhood growing up with 13 siblings, many of whom have disabilities, being raised by a single mother, Mia Farrow, and going to college at age 11. Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the new album 'Tell Me How You Really Feel' from Courtney Barnett. Also, 'Jessica Jones' star Krysten Ritter talks about why she loves the complex role of the atypical superhero.
May 26, 2018
Remembering Philip Roth, Part II
2955
We continue our tribute to literary giant Philip Roth with excerpts of interviews about his novels 'The Plot Against America' and 'Everyman.' Roth died Tuesday at age 85. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new Amazon series 'Picnic at Hanging Rock.'
May 25, 2018
Remembering Philip Roth, Part I
2871
The influential novelist won almost every major literary award, but still found the writing process was full of discovery. "Each and every sentence is a revelation," he said. Roth died Tuesday at 85. He spoke with Terry Gross seven times over the years. Over two episodes we'll listen back to excerpts of those interviews. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Solo: A Star Wars Story.'
May 24, 2018
Ronan Farrow
2848
Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. He was threatened while reporting the piece, in an attempt to suppress his investigation. We'll also talk about his childhood growing up with 13 siblings, many of whom have disabilities, being raised by a single mother, Mia Farrow, and going to college at age 11. His new book is 'War on Peace.'
May 23, 2018
A Feminist Take On The 'Science & Culture' Of Pregnancy
2883
'Like a Mother' author Angela Garbes explains the importance of the placenta, the nutritional and immunological components of breast milk and the difficulties she faced in childbirth. Also, Ken Tucker reviews a the new album 'Tell Me How You Really Feel' from Courtney Barnett, and John Powers reviews the new British series 'The Split' on SundanceTV.
May 22, 2018
Writer Michael Chabon On Fatherhood
2953
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author writes about his relationship with his father, as well as his own experiences as the parent of four, in 'Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces.' TV critic David Bianculli reviews the reboot of 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' on Amazon.
May 21, 2018
Best Of: Annette Bening / Tig Notaro
2981
Bening starred in the films 'American Beauty,' 'The Kids Are All Right,' '20th Century Women,' and most recently, 'The Seagull.' Bening spoke with Terry Gross about her transition from stage to screen, her stop-and-start approach to show business, and her desire to play characters her own age. Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews 'Invasion of Privacy' by rapper Cardi B. In 2012, comic Tig Notaro became famous after her stand-up set about her cancer diagnosis went viral. Since then, she created the Amazon series 'One Mississippi,' got married and had twins. Her new special is 'Happy to Be Here.'
May 19, 2018
Remembering Tom Wolfe
2923
Wolfe began experimenting with nonfiction writing techniques in the 1960s. The "new journalism" pioneer and best-selling author died Monday. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1987. Also, we listen back to a 2014 interview with author Edward St. Aubyn. His semi-autobiographical novels 'Patrick Melrose' have been adapted into a Showtime miniseries. And TV critic David Bianculli reviews the HBO movie 'Fahrenheit 451.'
May 18, 2018
President Trump's 'War' On The 'Deep State'
2825
'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos says that hundreds of non-partisan civil servants, considered not loyal enough to the administration, have been marginalized or pushed out of government entirely.
May 17, 2018
Comic Tig Notaro
2906
In 2012, Notaro became famous after her stand-up set about her cancer diagnosis went viral. Since then, she created the Amazon series 'One Mississippi,' got married and had twins. She's also recorded a couple more stand-up specials, including one in which she took off her shirt and showed her double-mastectomy scars. Her new special is 'Happy to Be Here.' Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'First Reformer.'
May 16, 2018
Michael Pollan On The 'New Science' Of Psychedelics
4037
Pollan, author of 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' and 'The Botany of Desire,' talks about his new book, 'How to Change Your Mind.' It covers the history of psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms, and how they're now being used experimentally in therapeutic settings, to treat depression, addiction, and fear of death. Pollan also talks about his own experience experimenting with psychedelics. "I had an experience that was by turns frightening and ecstatic and weird," he says.
May 15, 2018
The Life And Death Of Robin Williams / 'Jessica Jones' Star Krysten Ritter
2845
'New York Times' writer Dave Itzkoff examines Williams' comic brilliance and struggle with addiction in the biography 'Robin.' Williams took his own life in 2014; an autopsy later revealed he had Lewy body dementia. Also, 'Jessica Jones' star Krysten Ritter says she loves the complex role of the atypical superhero. "I am doing the most work when I'm not saying lines," she says. Netflix just renewed the series for a third season.
May 14, 2018
Best Of: Tracey Thorn / Chef Lidia Bastianich
2970
Tracey Thorn (formerly of the band Everything But the Girl) stepped away from performing two decades ago in order to start a family. Now she sings about the different stages of women's lives on her solo album, 'Record.' Maureen Corrigan reviews the book 'Barracoon' by Zora Neale Hurston. Chef Lidia Bastianich talks about growing up eating farm-to-table meals with her Italian family. After she emigrated to America, she drew on those childhood meals in opening her first restaurant. Her new memoir is 'My American Dream.'
May 12, 2018
'Crime And Punishment In Black America'
2844
Yale Law professor James Forman Jr., son of civil rights activists, says that African-American leaders seeking to combat drugs and crime often supported policies that disproportionately targeted the black community. He received a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for his nonfiction book 'Locking Up Our Own.' Also, critic Ken Tucker reviews 'Invasion of Privacy' by rapper Cardi B.
May 11, 2018
Annette Bening
2915
Bening starred in the films 'American Beauty,' 'The Grifters,' 'The Kids Are Alright,' and '20th Century Women.' Now she's in the screen adaptation of Anton Chekhov's 'The Seagull.' Bening spoke with Terry Gross about her transition from stage to screen, her stop-and-start approach to show business, and her desire to play characters her own age. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews the Showtime miniseries 'Patrick Melrose.'
May 10, 2018
New Email Dump Reveals Secret Inner Workings Of The EPA
2865
'New York Times' reporter Eric Lipton says the response to a recent Freedom of Information Act request shows that Scott Pruitt and his staff have gone to great lengths to keep the public and the news media at a distance. Film critic Justin Chang reviews the thriller 'Beast.'
May 09, 2018
Jay & Mark Duplass
2814
Filmmaker siblings Jay and Mark Duplass have been making movies together since they were kids. Their short film, 'This is John,' made for $3 on a VHS tape, went to the Sundance Film Festival. They've gone on to do HBO's 'Togetherness,' and films like 'The Puffy Chair.' Their new memoir, 'Like Brothers,' is about the rewards and difficulties of being in such a close, collaborative relationship. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews the book 'Barracoon.'
May 08, 2018
Chef Lidia Bastianich
2846
Bastianich grew up eating farm-to-table meals with her Italian family. After she emigrated to America, she drew on those childhood meals in opening her first restaurant. Her new memoir is 'My American Dream.' Also, critic at large John Powers reviews the novel 'The Mars Room' by Rachel Kushner.
May 07, 2018
Best Of: Comic Michelle Wolf / Journalist Alex Wagner
2996
In an exclusive interview after the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Wolf addresses the backlash to her set. "I wouldn't change a single word. I'm very happy with what I said, and I'm glad I stuck to my guns." Also, CBS News contributor Alex Wagner talks about her search for the roots of her mixed-race ancestry. She used her reporting skills to investigate, digging through archives and getting multiple and conflicting genetic tests. Her book is 'Futureface.'
May 05, 2018
Lynching In America
2965
The new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala., honors the victims of lynching and racial terrorism in the U.S. 'Fresh Air' looks back on the history of lynching, including the grotesque picture postcards sold as lynching mementos. Historian Philip Dray and collector James Allen join us. Also contributor Mat Johnson talks about how his great-grandfather escaped being lynched.
May 04, 2018
Singer-Songwriter Tracey Thorn
2908
The Everything But the Girl singer stepped away from performing two decades ago in order to start a family. Now she sings about the different stages of women's lives on her solo album, 'Record.'
May 03, 2018
'Soul Of America' Makes Sense Of The Present By Examining The Past
2861
Presidential historian Jon Meacham says looking back at times when the nation was divided by partisan fury and racial strife can help shed light on "the politics of the moment." Also, rock critic Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Sparrow' from country singer Ashley Monroe.
May 02, 2018
Comic Michelle Wolf On The Correspondents' Dinner
2847
In an exclusive interview after the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Wolf addresses the backlash to her set. "I wouldn't change a single word. I'm very happy with what I said, and I'm glad I stuck to my guns." Also, we remember Iranian photographer Abbas, who spoke with Terry Gross in 2015.
May 01, 2018
Journalist Alex Wagner Seeks Out Her Roots In 'Futureface'
2827
CBS News contributor Alex Wagner was curious about the roots of her mixed-race ancestry. She used her reporting skills to investigate, digging through archives and getting multiple and conflicting genetic tests. Her book is 'Futureface.' Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews the "weird-but-true story" 'The Feather Thief.'
Apr 30, 2018
Best Of: Jake Tapper / Poet Gregory Pardlo
2947
CNN anchor Jake Tapper talks about his heated interview with Trump adviser Stephen Miller, moderating presidential debates, and his new novel, 'The Hellfire Club.' Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a four-disc reissue of Louis Armstrong. Also, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo discusses his new memoir, 'Air Traffic,' which chronicles his complicated relationship with his father, a labor organizer who lost his job following the air traffic controllers' 1981 strike.
Apr 28, 2018
Remembering 'Schoolhouse Rock!' Composer Bob Dorough
2968
We remember jazz composer and singer Bob Dorough, who died this week at 94. He was best known for songs he wrote for 'Schoolhouse Rock!' like "My Hero, Zero" and "Three is a Magic Number." He spoke with Terry Gross in 1982 and 1996. Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a four-disc reissue of Louis Armstrong.
Apr 27, 2018