Fresh Air

Weekdays at 11am
Terry Gross

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Each week, nearly 4.5 million people listen to the show's intimate conversations broadcast on more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a "talk show," it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with "probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights." And a variety of top publications count Gross among the country's leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.

Fresh Air is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.

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Movie Interviews
11:12 am
Thu February 28, 2013

'The Gatekeepers' Offer Candid Assessment Of Israel's Security

Director Dror Moreh was nominated for an Academy Award for his documentary The Gatekeepers.
Mika Moreh Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:30 am

Six former heads of the Shin Bet — Israel's security agency — speak to director Dror Moreh in his Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers. They are men who have signed off on brutal interrogations and targeted killings. They have given their lives to the cause of Israeli security.

What is striking is that all articulate their shared conviction that the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories will not lead to peace or a political solution for the future of the state of Israel.

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Music Reviews
10:41 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Ben Goldberg's Variations: Two New Albums From A San Francisco Jazz Staple

Jazz clarinetist Ben Goldberg has released two new albums for different quintets.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:00 am

Ben Goldberg has been a staple of San Francisco's improvisational-music scene ever since he helped put together the New Klezmer Trio two decades ago. More recently, as a member of the quartet Tin Hat, he's set e.e. cummings poems to music. In between, he's recorded in a wide variety of settings, sometimes including other prominent Bay Area players — as on two new albums for different quintets.

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Book Reviews
9:52 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' Inspires The Story Of 'Mary Coin'

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:00 am

I shied away from Marisa Silver's new novel because of its book jacket: a reproduction of Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photograph called "Migrant Mother." You know it: the woman's strong face is worn and worried; her children lean protectively into her. Lange took the photo at a pea-pickers' camp in California in 1936; the name of the destitute mother of seven, who wasn't identified till the 1970s, is Florence Owens Thompson. The photo on Silver's book jacket is colorized.

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Music Reviews
11:54 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Aretha Franklin Before Atlantic: The Columbia Years

Aretha Franklin became a star on the Atlantic record label after leaving Columbia.
Express Newspapers Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:01 pm

Aretha Franklin made her first record when she was 14, singing some gospel standards in the church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, an easygoing Detroit pastor who was friends with Martin Luther King and just about every gospel singer you could name. One of the stars who visited a lot was Sam Cooke, who convinced Aretha that she could be a hit singing popular music.

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Author Interviews
10:00 am
Wed February 27, 2013

'Behind The Scenes' At The Vatican: The Politics Of Picking A New Pope

In his new book, The Vatican Diaries, John Thavis draws on his nearly 30 years of reporting on the Vatican.
Viking/Penguin Group

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:54 am

The years of his papacy had seen "moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments," Pope Benedict XVI told some 100,000 spectators gathered in St. Peter's Square Wednesday during his final address. "There have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us ... and the Lord seemed to sleep."

As Benedict becomes the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years and cardinals gather in Rome to choose his successor, a series of scandals — child sex abuse, mismanagement at the Vatican bank, the leaking of secret church documents — has left the Vatican reeling.

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Commentary
1:05 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Historical Vocab: When We Get It Wrong, Does It Matter?

Linguist Geoff Nunberg finds that in the film Lincoln, screenwriter Tony Kushner oscillates between old and modern meanings of "equality."
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:12 pm

Has there ever been an age that was so grudging about suspending its disbelief? The groundlings at the Globe Theatre didn't giggle when Shakespeare had a clock chime in Julius Caesar. The Victorians didn't take Dickens to task for having the characters in A Tale of Two Cities ride the Dover mail coach 10 years before it was established. But Shakespeare and Dickens weren't writing in the age of the Internet, when every historical detail is scrutinized for chronological correctness, and when no "Gotcha!" remains unposted for long.

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The Salt
12:23 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:46 am

Dealing Coke to customers called "heavy users." Selling to teens in an attempt to hook them for life. Scientifically tweaking ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize consumer bliss.

In his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss goes inside the world of processed and packaged foods.

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Author Interviews
11:38 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Whitey Bulger Bio Profiles Boston's Most Notorious Gangster

FBI AP

The remarkable story of gangster Whitey Bulger begins in the housing projects of South Boston and ends with his capture by the FBI in 2011 after his 16 years on the lam. By then, Bulger was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking for leading a criminal enterprise in Boston from the 1970s until 1995. During much of that time he was also an informant and being protected by the FBI.

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Music Reviews
10:24 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Guards: Anthems With Gravitas

Guards just released its debut album, In Guards We Trust.
Olivia Malone Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:38 am

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Blanco And Bazelon

Richard Blanco reads his poem "One Today" during President Obama's second inaugural, on Jan. 21.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 9:36 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Movie Interviews
11:18 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Affleck On 'Argo' And The 1979 Hostage Crisis

Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo. Affleck also directed the film, which is based on events surrounding the Iran hostage crisis of 1979.
Keith Bernstein Warner Brothers

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 15, 2013.

At the Golden Globes, Ben Affleck looked genuinely surprised and delighted twice toward the end of the evening: first when he won best director for Argo, and then again when the film won for best motion picture/drama.

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Movie Interviews
11:18 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Bradley Cooper Finds 'Silver Linings' Everywhere

Bradley Cooper has been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film Silver Linings Playbook.
Jojo Whilden The Weinstein Company

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 7, 2013.

Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the bipolar Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he and director David O. Russell approached the role with the idea that Cooper would "play as real and authentic as [h]e could."

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Author Interviews
11:51 am
Thu February 21, 2013

'Erasing Death' Explores The Science Of Resuscitation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:39 pm

What happens when we die? Wouldn't we all like to know. We can't bring people back from the dead to tell us — but in some cases, we almost can. Resuscitation medicine is now sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.

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Book Reviews
11:13 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Karen Russell's 'Vampires' Deserve The Raves

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:39 pm

I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

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Movie Reviews
11:40 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Voting Pinochet Out Was More Than Just A Yes Or 'No'

Gael Garcia Bernal stars as an advertising man in Chile under Pinochet in the 2012 film No, which is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Sony Pictures Classics

These days politics and advertising go hand in hand. Mayors stage photo ops. The Bush administration compared the Iraq war to rolling out a new product. And just last year, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent nearly a billion dollars running for president. If you're an American, such wall-to-wall marketing has come to seem a natural phenomenon, like Hurricane Sandy or LeBron James.

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Books
11:20 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Jake Tapper: 'The Outpost' That Never Should Have Been

Jake Tapper's new book, The Outpost, tells the story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan.
Little, Brown & Co.

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 1:10 pm

As the White House correspondent for ABC News, Jake Tapper covered the war in Afghanistan from what he calls "the comfort of the North Lawn of the White House."

"I had not been a war reporter in any sense other than debates about the war in Washington, D.C.," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Author Interviews
11:27 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Today's Bullied Teens Subject To 'Sticks And Stones' Online, Too

When Emily Bazelon was in eighth grade, her friends fired her. Now a senior editor for Slate, Bazelon writes in her new book, Sticks and Stones: "Two and a half decades later, I can say that wryly: it happened to plenty of people, and look at us now, right? We survived. But at the time, in that moment, it was impossible to have that kind of perspective."

In Sticks and Stones, Bazelon explores teen bullying, what it is and what it isn't, and how the rise of the Internet and social media make the experience more challenging.

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Poetry
10:53 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco: 'I Finally Felt Like I Was Home'

Richard Blanco reads his poem "One Today" during President Obama's second inaugural, on Jan. 21.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 12:40 pm

"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Detroit, Anat Cohen And Richard Thompson

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 9:15 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kushner's 'Lincoln' Is Strange, But Also Savvy

Tony Kushner based his screenplay for Lincoln in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of the president, Team of Rivals — but he read many other histories and biographies, in addition to Lincoln's own writings.
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 15, 2012.

Tony Kushner spent years writing the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, but that wasn't the only heavy lifting he had to do. It also took some effort to overcome Daniel Day-Lewis' reluctance to play the title role.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Wes Anderson, Creating A Singular 'Kingdom'

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis star in the film — the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who merge their imaginative worlds on an island off the coast of New England.
Focus Features

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:38 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 29, 2012.

Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom was his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

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Author Interviews
11:13 am
Thu February 14, 2013

'Klansville, U.S.A.' Chronicles The Rise And Fall Of The KKK

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:30 pm

As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960s, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed. That fact itself may not be surprising, but in the introduction to his new book, Klansville, U.S.A., David Cunningham also reveals that, "While deadly KKK violence in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia ha[d] garnered the lion's share of Klan publicity, the United Klan's stronghold was, in fact, North Carolina." North Carolina, Cunningham writes, had more Klan members than the rest of the South combined.

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Music Reviews
10:39 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Richard Thompson's New Album Examines 'Electric' Love

Richard Thompson's new album is titled Electric.
Pamela Littky Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:23 am

Delicate phrasing, with both voice and guitar, has always made Richard Thompson a musician worth hearing — and sometimes even liking on a personal level. For a man who can make such pretty music, it's to his credit that he prefers to show his thorny, stubborn, cranky, even mean side in many of the songs in his solo career.

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Author Interviews
11:51 am
Wed February 13, 2013

'Dead Sea Scrolls' Live On In Debate And Discovery

A part of the Isaiah Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is seen inside the vault of the Shrine of the Book building at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 2:42 pm

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the ancient manuscripts dating back to the time of Jesus that were found between 1947 and 1956 in caves by the Dead Sea. Since they were first discovered, they have been a source of fascination and debate over what they can teach — and have taught — about Judeo-Christian history. In his new book, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography, Yale professor John J. Collins tells the story of the scrolls, their discovery and the controversies surrounding the scholarship of them.

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Music Reviews
10:14 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bicultural Jazz, Ever Shifting

Rudresh Mahanthappa.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 2:47 pm

Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's quartet can sound like it's cross-pollinating Indian classical music and vintage Captain Beefheart. That befits a bicultural saxophonist who grew up in Boulder, where his Hindu family had a Christmas tree. For a long time, Mahanthappa resisted combining jazz and Indian music — it was almost too obvious a trajectory. But then he got serious about it.

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National Security
1:17 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The Sticky Questions Surrounding Drones And Kill Lists

A French military drone takes off in December 2010 from a U.S. airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

New York Times reporter Scott Shane and colleague Jo Becker reported last year that the Obama administration has a list of terrorists targeted for drone attacks, and that the president personally approves such strikes.

The administration has been trying to keep details of its drone program under wraps, arguing that to make it public could threaten national security. Shane has reported numerous such stories.

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Book Reviews
11:38 am
Tue February 12, 2013

A Soured Student-Teacher Friendship Threatens 'Everything'

Matjaz Boncina iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:55 pm

Over the past week or so, I've mentioned James Lasdun's new book, Give Me Everything You Have to a bunch of colleagues; they've all heard about it already and they're all dying to read it. What Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was to parenting a couple of years ago, Lasdun's Give Me Everything You Have may well be to teaching: a controversial personal reflection on the professor-student relationship — except Lasdun, unlike Chua, really has no advice to offer; no certitude, nor help for pain.

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Author Interviews
12:33 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

An 'Autopsy' Of Detroit Finds Resilience In A Struggling City

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and Detroit native Charlie LeDuff says that the city must forget the future and instead focus on the present. His new book is called Detroit: An American Autopsy.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 8:36 am

For some, Detroit may be a symbol of urban decay; but to Charlie LeDuff, it's home. LeDuff, a veteran print and TV journalist who spent 12 years at The New York Times, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, returned home to the city after the birth of his daughter left him and his wife — also a Detroit native — wanting to be closer to family.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Bradley Cooper, Michael Apted

Bradley Cooper has been nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film Silver Linings Playbook.
Jojo Whilden The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 8:49 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Read more
Movie Interviews
11:09 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Tyler Perry Transforms: From Madea To Family Man

Tyler Perry stars in the action thriller Alex Cross, which is now out on DVD.
Sidney Baldwin 2012 Summit Entertainment LLC

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 15, 2012.

Whenever Tyler Perry is in front of the camera, he's usually behind it as well. A screenwriter, director, producer and star, Perry grew up poor in New Orleans, but he has become a movie phenomenon — he was described in the New Yorker as the most financially successful black man the American film industry has ever known.

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