When Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492, his journey prompted the exchange of not only information but also food, animals, insects, plants and disease between the continents. In a new book, Charles C. Mann describes the aftermath of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.
In The Twilight War, historian David Crist outlines the secret history of America's 30-year conflict with Iran. Based on interviews with hundreds of officials as well as classified military archives, the book details how the covert war has repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare.
In The Violinist's Thumb, writer Sam Kean goes inside our genetic code, looking at the stories written by the fundamental building blocks within us. The book explains things like why some people can't handle drinking coffee and why some human babies are born with tails.
Jill Tarter works at the SETI Institute, where scientists seek evidence of extraterrestrial life in the universe by looking for some signatures of its technology. "The amount of searching that we've done in 50 years is equivalent to scooping one 8-ounce glass out of the Earth's ocean," she says.
HBO's new behind-the-anchor-desk drama The Newsroom follows in the footsteps of Aaron Sorkin's hit series The West Wing. Also, actress Sigourney Weaver talks about her miniseries Political Animals. And David Edelstein reviews the latest Batman movie.
The great Latin band leader Eddie Palmieri has just received a Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, for his lifetime of achievement in jazz. Fresh Air honors the Latin band leader with excerpts from a 1994 interview.
Colson Whitehead's novel Zone One is a post-apocalyptic tale of a Manhattan crippled by a plague and overrun with zombies. He explains that he created the novel, in part, to pay homage to the grimy 1970s New York of his childhood.
In 2008, "Boston" Bill Hansbury was learning to live with a prosthetic leg when he met Jake Bainter, who was about to have his right leg amputated. The two struck up a friendship, despite their wide age gap: Hansbury was 70, and Jake was 7.
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