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The Genre of Conservative Fiction

Guest: Adam Bellow

Of the making of books there is no end. So says the Book of Ecclesiastes. . But according to Adam Bellow, son of Saul, the strong liberal or "progressive" tilt of modern fiction is not counter-balanced by conservative or "traditionalist" fiction. As a leading publisher of conservative writers such as Charles…

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The “Greatest” Political Murderer

Guest: Roderick Macfarquhar

The trio of Hitler, Stalin and Mao were responsible for some 100 million political murders of civilians. Of these some 48 million could be traced to Mao Tse Tung and his two mad campaigns known as "The Great Leap Forward" and  "The Cultural Revolution." The terrifying and inevitably riveting story…

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Great Books. Good Books and Non-Books

Guest: Mark Bauerline and Bruce Gans

Vergil, Plato, Augustine, Dante, Goethe, Austen, Melville---are these all "great books?" By common designation they are. What about  Dickens, James, Hemingway, Cocteau and Mickey Spillane? The later group may be more immediately enjoyable than the former.  But here are two professors of literature who joined us in 2005 with a…

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Classic Mafia Murder

Guest: Tom Kirkpatrick, John Drummond, and John Kass

By the year 2005 the Chicago Mafia had experienced (and performed) some 1500 murders. A great investigation in that year disclosed much about who killed who...and why and how.  Also illuminated in that investigation was how the Mafia was coordinated into the rule and function of a great American city. Here, in rich…

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The Rise and Fall of Great Empires

Guest: Three academic historians

So far, no far-flung empire has lasted  more than 1500 years (the Romans) unless you count the many dynasties of Egypt, the last of which was run by Alexandrian Greeks. The great questions addressed by "large-picture" historians are how empires rise and how and why they inevitably fall. Three such academic…

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Nous Sommes Etonees

Guest: Charles Lipson

"Je suis Charlie" and "je suis juif" provide the model for the title above which, though lacking the required accents aigus, means that we are astonished. The "we" is me and my guest, Charles Lipson, member of our old A Team and one of the country's five leading political scientists (by…

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Architecture of the Absurd

Guest: John Silber

That's the title of a wonderfully outspoken book by John Silber who was, for many years, the President of Boston University. Architecture is, of course, the most public of the arts. You can put a bad painting in the basement but  not a bad building....and Silber, always an outspoken critic,…

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Being Mindfull About the Mind

Guest: David Finkelstein and David Hilbert

That can be said to be the basic assignment of psychologists, psychiatrists and, these days particularly, neuroscientists. But the original investigators of the human mind were those we now call philosophers. They are still at it and, using only mind itself, they sometimes clarify many issues and come upon many exciting…

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