In her new book, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow invokes Thomas Jefferson to argue for limited government — at least in the case of the military. She argues that sometimes we got to war because we've invested so much in military strength.
Before locavores and the "slow food" movement, one man's invention radically transformed how (and what) we eat. In his new book, Mark Kurlansky shows us the curious, roving mind that made TV dinners possible.
Hilary Mantel is the Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall. The next installment of her trilogy about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell is titled Bring Up the Bodies. It tells the story of Cromwell's part in the massive coup that took down Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Host Scott Simon speaks with the author.
A neuroscientist claims that ignorance--not knowledge--is the true engine of science. He explains how scientists use ignorance to concentrate their research, and why "not knowing" is one of the greatest benefits to science.
William Dodd served for four years as the ambassador to Germany before resigning — after repeated clashes with both Nazi Party officials and the State Department. Erik Larson chronicles Dodd's time in Berlin in his new book, In the Garden of Beasts.
Steve Inskeep talks to Steve Coll about his new book, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. In it, Coll delves into the business model of one of the country's largest and most profitable corporations. He explores how the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 shaped the culture at the company for years to come.
What can explain the enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes? Critic John Powers says it's that Sherlock "embodies an archetypal aspect of the human psyche" — and appeals to the part of us that loves a good mystery.
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