In A Man of Misconceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change, John Glassie writes of 17th-century Jesuit priest and scientist Athanasius Kircher, a renaissance man who studied magnetism, Mount Vesuvius, even the blood of plague victims. The only problem? His theories were often wrong.
Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained has sparked controversy about his portrayal of slavery. Also, a dispute continues over whether gun owners names and addresses should be made public. And, what are the most underreported stories of 2012? The Barbershop guys weigh in with host Michel Martin for the last time this year.
Wednesday marked the start of Kwanzaa, the seven day festival celebrating African-American culture. In the 1980s and '90s, many considered Kwanzaa a mainstream holiday like Christmas and Hanukkah. But now there seems to be less fanfare. Host Michel Martin speaks with Duke University's Mark Anthony Neal about whether Kwanzaa is still a thing.
From medieval medicine to18th-century English "crack", gin has come a long way. But according to Richard Barnett, author of The Book of Gin, now is "the best time in the last 500 years to be drinking" it.
Former prime minister and music producer, Edward Seaga, compiled an album to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence. It's called, Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music. Host Michel Martin speaks to Mr. Seaga about what he sees as the 100 most significant songs to emerge from the country.
Rye was all but pushed off the market by sweeter, corn-based bourbon after Prohibition, but it might be coming back, no illegal still required. Bartenders from coast to coast seem to prefer its intense flavor for their cocktail creations.
Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs are all names you might recognize as poets of the Beat Generation. But a scholar in Virginia has published a book tracing the life of a friend and inspiration to all three of them.
Archeologists are unearthing evidence that the city of Bethlehem, in the West Bank, celebrated as the birthplace of Jesus, may not have been the actual Bethlehem of his birth. They have discovered a Bethlehem that existed in the Galilee near Nazareth.
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