The group's sound broke down musical walls and inspired civil rights leaders. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with biographer Greg Kot about his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway.
Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.
Armistead Maupin's famous series Tales of the City winds down with one last story about Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane. Maupin tells NPR the series originally grew out of his attempts to write a nonfiction piece about the heterosexual pickup scene at his local Safeway.
Richard Powers' new novel tells the story of an avant-garde classical composer who finds himself dabbling in DNA. He "gets obsessed with finding music inside of living things," Powers explains, and, as a fugitive, ends up leading officials on a low-speed chase.
What began as little more than a glorified metronome has worked its way into bedroom studios and state-of-the-art recording facilities alike. A new book chronicles the history and influence of the drum machine in all its wood- and plastic-paneled glory.
Gabriel Sherman traces the beginning of Fox News' success back to its wall-to-wall coverage of Monica Lewinsky. He says, "Ratings during the Lewinsky scandal exploded more than 400 percent, so you saw instantly that there was a market for this type of ... television." Sherman's book is called The Loudest Voice In The Room.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch argues that while we invoke Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s name frequently, few understand the principles he championed or the history of race relations in America.
Modern black barber shops are civic, cultural and business institutions in many major cities. Their history, however, is complicated, shifting from places where only white men were served to the democratic social spaces of today in just over a century. We consider the political and social movements brought that change about and the role these shops play in communities now.
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