Fabulous Small Jews

With Joseph Epstein

That is the actual title of a wonderful book of short stories by  Joseph Epstein who is, in fact, a good friend of the host. Interestingly, one of his best known books is titled “Friendship: An Expose.” He is, as well, one of the great talkers and story tellers as is well evident in this conversation from 2003. Listen. you’ll enjoy!

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A Great Talker on his Great Career

With Robert Hughes

Hughes was for many years the Art Critic for Time magazine. At the same time he was, as an Australian,  an émigré to the United States who studied and deeply understood our culture, history and politics. Frankly, he was one of the most fascinating talkers we ever had on the program and here he is, in full brilliant form,  in a conversation from 2006.

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The Soviet Files on American Communism

With Harvey Klehr

Yeltsin opened the files in 1992. The first  American who got full access was Harvey Klehr. Here, in 2003, we discuss with him the evidence of Soviet penetration of the American government and its full management of the American Communist party. This is not loose “McCarthyism” but, rather, effective if delayed counterespionage. Of special interest is the way In which American historians turned blind eyes until Klehr’s book appeared.

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A Hundred Billion Galaxies

With Three astrophysical cosmologists

That is the number of galaxies (on average, each containing a hundred billion suns!) that we used to think composed the total universe. In this conversation we learn that that is merely the number for the “visible universe.” but that there is much more out there, Even more exciting, there are, quite likely, many other universes—perhaps an infinity of them. This exciting and remarkably lucid conversation occurred one night in 2001.

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The War Against the Family

With Steven Baskerville

Modern American divorce has become “a system for plundering the father” says our guest in this program from 2006.  The “no fault” approach in divorce law has done considerable damage to all concerned except, of course, the lawyers. Baskerville, a sociologist, argues that the way the law brings marriages to termination can, should and must be changed and, in the opinion of his interlocutor, makes a very persuasive case.

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The Truth About Adolph Eichmann

With Neal Bascomb

…..was not what Hannah Arendt claimed she had discovered. Rather than being merely a  routinized bureaucrat who represented “the banality of evil,” he was a willing and enthusiastic organizer of the destruction of European Jewry. One of the first to lay out the detailed historical proof was Neal Bascomb who joined us in this riveting discussion from2009. Also heard here is the prosecutor at the Jerusalem trial and a portion of Eichmann’s testimony.

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Is Terrorist Mass Murder Now the Default Position for Radical Islam?

With Martin Kramer and Charles Lipson

So says Martin Kramer, long-term Director of the major  strategy research center at Tel Aviv University and now President of Shalem College in Jerusalem. How and why the Islamic State movement has become a potent rallying cause (and who will do what with which to turn them back) is discussed here with Kramer and  political scientist Charles Lipson…and the prospect is, to say the least, grim.

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About History: the More it Changes……

With James Craycraft, Suzanne Kaufmann, and Evan Shagen

..the more it will go on changing. That is the one great truth that stands out when historians examine one another on their respective fields. Here, from a conversation in 2005, we bring together an historian of Russia, another who specializes in Tudor England and a third who specializes in Catholicism in 19th century France. Great stories abound and….the tale goes on as yesterday continues to shape today. Confession: this is one of my favorite programs from the vast file of the Extension 720 program.

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A true “Captain of Industry” and Almost Everything Else

With Jack Welch

Less than a year after his retirement after twenty-five years as head of General Electric we were joined, in 2001, by Jack Welch who turns out to be a truly interesting guy. Here he is. full of opinion and “wisdom” about the nature of the modern corporation and how to take good care of corporate officers as you ease them out even as you acquire whole new industries.

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God, Death, Suffering and the Loss of Faith

With Bart Ehrman

Bart Ehrman, former fundamentalist pastor who became an agnostic student of the origins and evolution of Christianity, joins us, in 2008, in a discussion of the most pressing issue in modern, post-holocaust theology:  How can a just God countenance the suffering and early death of the innocent?  Of the many scholars of religion we have talked with he is, simply, the most illuminating and moving on this central dilemma of “theodicy.”

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