A Great Surgeon and Author and the Conquest of his Burden

With Sherwin Nuland

That burden was nothing less than mental disease which kept Sherwin Nuland in a mental hospital for over a year. A distinguished Professor Of Surgery at Yale he is also the celebrated author of many finely-wrought books drawn from medical science and culture, among them “How We Die” and “The Wisdom of the Body.” Though I had known him for years I was stunned by what he revealed in this conversation in 2003 and in his then new book “Lost in America.”


Are Public Intellectuals a diminishing Species?

With Richard Posner and Ron Grossman

The term means a truly intelligent commentator who addresses the larger issues of the time or of eternity. Perhaps Cicero, Thucydides, Seneca? And in almost modern time such contributors as Edmund Wilson, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt or George Steiner. Are such figures still with us or have the universities swallowed them all? These questions are addressed and many other great public intellectuals discussed and evaluated in this discussion from 2002. The discussants are Judge Richard Posner who had just done a book about the decline of public intellectuals and Ron Grossman former professor of history and now a cultural journalist.


Crazy Horse and the Forty Years War

With Joseph Marshall and Brian Hosner

Those forty years in the nineteenth century ended at Wounded Knee with the final defeat of Indian counter forces. A great figure in this extended war was Crazy Horse who is memorialized in a fine and vivid biography by Joseph Marshall,  himself a leading member of he Lakota Sioux tribe. He is joined in this discussion from 2004 by Brian Hosner, a leading historian of this epic struggle.


The Art and Question of Nepotism

With Adam Bellow

Publisher Adam Bellow, son of Saul, looked to his famous father to land his first job. My son did the same and that provides a good basis for a wide ranging discussion in 2005 of nepotism in our time and across history. Beyond the moral issue of should it be done are the sociological issues of: How often is it done? How is it well or poorly done? Is it a benefit or burden for the larger society? As we kick these matters around some surprises are bound to show up.


How Special Forces Began

With Andy McNab

It remains a contentious issue in military history but, probably, the British outfit called the “Special Air Service” was the beginning. It was put together at the time of the Falklands war between the UK and Argentina and then went on to secret missions in Asia and all over the middle east. One of the original SAS fighters, Andy McNab, tells the tale and recounts some truly daring assaults and escapes in this conversation from 2002.