Authors

 

Over the years that I have been interviewing authors on the radio I have had the pleasure to converse with some of the more interesting people on the planet. One of my favorite guests has been Gene Logsdon. Gene made half a dozen appearances on the program.

On May 4, 1970 a terrible event transpired on the campus of Kent State University. Ohio National Guardsman fired their rifles into a crowd of students. Four students died and a number of others were injured. The carnage was the end result of a cascading chain of troubling events that had unfolded over one horrific weekend in northern Ohio.

In his book "67 Shots - Kent State and the End of American Innocence" Howard Means examines the escalating turbulence which ultimately led to this horror. It should have never happened. But it did. It is good to remember. Lest we forget.

Manhattan was once a place where ordinary people could afford to live. People with dreams. People with low paying jobs. Even starving artists. Molly Prentiss has set her debut novel in New York City as the 1970's are ending. Her book is populated by distinctive characters from the period; a barmaid who has followed her dreams and moved to the city from the wilds of Idaho, an art critic for the New York Times who has a rare perceptive gift, and a struggling painter who has fled the Dirty Wars in his native Argentina.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is our community-wide BIG READ selection this year and it was an excellent choice. The author came to Dayton for the kick-off of this year's BIG READ and when you listen to this interview you'll discover how she first found out about the orphan trains (they really existed) and why she decided to write the novel when she did. As it turned out her window of opportunity for conducting interviews with actual orphan train riders was closing fast. There are very few of them still living today.

Ian Rankin's series of crime novels featuring his sleuth John Rebus is one of my all-time favorites. His latest Rebus novel is one of the best ones yet. Here's my review that ran recently in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Ian Rankin’s latest John Rebus detective novel, “Even Dogs in the Wild,” is out now and it is sensational.

The audience that obsesses over our media driven pop culture possesses an insatiable appetite. The celebrities who become the focus of all that attention are sometimes devoured in the process. The list of victims is long. The pressures of being a celebrity can be enormous. Say goodbye to your privacy. Guard your sanity. The paparazzi are lurking at every turn.

Paul Dickson returned to the program to discuss his nifty book about Prohibition and how the banning of liquor consumption in the United States ended up creating an alcoholic Renaissance of sorts as consumers of these illicit beverages were forced to go underground in a movement that created massive demand and the speakeasy culture of the Roaring Twenties.

Some young couples in rural areas of Bosnia in the former Yugoslavia still practice a custom which has been known in that region for centuries, they elope. These elopements are somewhat unique in the way that they are carried out and according to Keith Doubt the author of  "Through the Window - Kinship and Elopement in Bosnia-Herzegovina" the results are often empowering for the participants and their families.

Shortly after the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 they invaded the Philippines. Those islands had been under American control since the Spanish American War and the US forces there were ill prepared to repel the invasion. The Philippines fell quickly to the Japanese.

Two of my favorite crime writers hail from Scotland. Ian Rankin lives in Edinburgh and his stories are mostly set there. Denise Mina lives in Glasgow and her stories are often set there. But her latest one, "Blood, Salt, Water," is set in another town entirely, a place called Helensburgh. This community is located in a beautiful spot right on the oceanfront. It was once the playground for millionaires. The mouldering ruins of their Victorian mansions are now rotting high up on the hillsides.

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