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Is The United States A 'Dispensable Nation'?

In his new book, The Dispensable Nation, former State Department adviser Vali Nasr explores the state of U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and beyond. Nasr says the U.S. "is happy ... to play a less important role, to no longer be the stabilizer."
NPR

Following The Yellow Brick Road Back To The Origins Of 'Oz'

Before the movies, Broadway musicals and Halloween costumes, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a smash hit of a children's book published in 1900. NPR's Backseat Book Club goes back to where the Yellow Brick Road began with children's book historian Michael Patrick Hearn.
NPR

Friedkin, Who Pushed Film Forward, Looks Back

In his memoir The Friedkin Connection, the legendary director of films like The Exorcist and The French Connection recounts his journey from a poor Chicago neighborhood to the apex of Hollywood success.
NPR

A Pilgrimage Through France, Though Not For God

Motivated not by God, but by nearly everything else, American author David Downie traveled hundreds of miles on foot across France. He writes about his trek in his new book, Paris to the Pyrenees.
NPR

After Tragedy, Young Girl Shipped West On 'Orphan Train'

Christina Baker Kline's new novel incorporates a true piece of American history. One of the book's protagonists, an Irish orphan, is packed onto a train and sent to the Midwest. In real life, "orphan trains" were intended to save children from the streets, but sometimes resulted in near-slavery.
NPR

'Market Power' And The American Author

Many authors struggle to make a living in America, thanks to smaller advances, shrinking royalties and the merging of publishing houses and the impact of e-books. The challenges are embraced by some and make others wary. Writer Scott Turow, who's also president of the Authors Guild, is in the latter camp. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Turow about his recent New York Times op-ed on the topic.

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