“It Was a Damn Close Run Thing”

With John Ferling

What Wellington said about the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo could also be said about the defeat of the British in the War of Independence. A distinguished historian of that war is John Ferling who, in this conversation from 2007, details the many near defeats we suffered and how. almost accidentally, we pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat.


Joie de Vivre a la Mode Francaise

With Mirais Guiliano and Dominick Toigne

The French really do often confess that they do get some real joy out of life. Two who seem to make that claim with authenticity are Mirais Guiliano, author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” and Dominick Toigne, Parisian chef, who here, back in 2006, ruminate joyfully on cuisine and then wander into the sociology or philosophy of actual real life in modern and still traditional French life.


What Ben Bradlee Knew

With Ben Bradlee

The recent death, at 93, of the former editor of the Washington Post led us back to this quite early conversation when, in 1995, he revealed some surprising things about Woodward, Bernstein and “Deep Throat.”  He played his role as well or better than did Jason Robards.


Early Eban and Comparatively Early Israel

With Abba Eban

Way back in 1974 there occurred a memorable encounter with Abba Eban who served Israel at the UN and. ultamitely as Foreign Minister and great public intellectual. An amusing side impression during this early encounter is Eban’s totally British rhetorical style as he denies any persisting British identity.


The Minority (White) Quarterback

With Ira Berkow

Ira Berkow of the New York Times was the most interesting sports writer we ever encountered–not merely for his knowledge of the technical sides of baseball, tennis, football, etc. but because of his great skill in painting verbal portraits of the performers, brilliant, superhuman, eccentric and/or merely human. Essentially he was a novelist let loose upon the field and in the ring. And here he is in a tale-telling session back in 2002.


The Consciousness of a Conservative

With Chris Robling

We recorded this one a few months ago but the rush of events, crises and scandals kept it relegated to the shelf until this week. Now, as the November elections are almost upon us, it seems to the proprietor, that we should get it on screen and before our readers right now. The basic reason is not that we expect to change any or many voting intentions but, rather, because it as good a statement of modern American political and pragmatic conservatism as any we have recently encountered. Christopher Fitzhenry Robling  is a corporate communications professional, sometime broadcaster, sometime election commissioner  and a principled critical observer of the current regime. We could characterize his past appearances on this podcast, thus:  Economics, foreign policy (or its absence), sheer corruption and rewarded incompetence all come under his purview as he lays out an “after six years” (that should be time enough) evaluation of the works and ways of that fellow Chicagoan who is still lingering around the White House.

Of special interest to many of our readers, particularly tea party activists and their “establishment” critics, are Robling’s remarks about the nature of the disagreement and the damage it can do and has done.

The title we have given this one is, of course, an echo of the classic book by Barry Goldwater–this time not “conscience” but “consciousness.” Does Chris catch the basic content of your cc? If not, what should be added or subtracted and why?


Getting to Know Katherine Hepburn

With Scott Berg

Scott Berg at the age of 33, had a scheduled interview with Hepburn which turned out to be a close friendship that lasted till her death. He then went on to do an insightful and fascinating biography of her as “one smart cookie” who managed to be a movie star for sixty (!!) years.  Here is our conversation from 2003 including one delightful clip from “The Philadelphia Story.”


The Awe-ful Harry Shearer

With Harry Shearer

The meaning of the title is that both Harry and I experience “awe” when contemplating the oddities and delights of his career as actor, satirist and all around great mimic. Here he is, seriously kidding around in a conversation back in 2006 and tracking from Saturday Nite Live to the still persisting Harry Shearer Show. Simple confession: Harry is one of my favorite show biz people.


Communism as an American Minority Culture

With Ronald Radosh

Ronald Radosh was raised within that culture and ranks as one of the leading and former “red diaper babies.” He went on as an academic to be one of the major investigators of that culture, its works, ways and achievements. Here, in 2001, he discusses, his book, “Commies: the Old Left, the New Left and the Left-Over Left.”  To this day he remains a controversial figure in American  academic life.


Hitler’s Last Western Campaign….

With four veterans of the bulge

….was, of course, the so-called ”Battle of the Bulge .” In 2003, four American veterans of that last great assault share their vivid memories of how the Wehrmacht advanced with massive force and was, after a dreadful month of unrelenting combat, routed by the American and British armies led, respectively. by Patton and Montgomery.