Radio Interviews

KCUR, Kansas City's local NPR station, hosts on its programs many of the authors and speakers that visit the Library. This page lists these interviews and provides links for you to listen to the programs.

  • Best-selling urban fiction writer Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from her newest novel; the latest installment in her series based on the life of the Rev. Curtis Black.
    The Prodigal Son - Kimberla Lawson Roby
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from the latest novel in her popular series about the Rev. Curtis Black and his frequently dysfunctional family. Here the Reverend tries to win back his estranged son Matthew while dealing with long-hidden offspring Dillon, the result of a youthful dalliance.

    Roby self-published her first book 17 years ago. She has written almost two dozen novels, among them The Perfect Marriage, Be Careful What You Pray For, Changing Faces, and Casting the First Stone. She is the winner of a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.

  • Food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.
    Steaks, Stockyards, and Sin: Kansas City’s Meat & Potato Past - Charles Ferruzza
    Sunday, May 18, 2014
    Central Library

    A now forgotten advertising slogan once proclaimed that Kansas City — proud of its “cowtown” heritage — was “where the steak is born.”

    Local food critic Charles Ferruzza explores our town’s carnivorous proclivities, connecting the historical and cultural dots between the iconic Kansas City Stockyards, local steak joints, and the changing eating habits of the American people.

    Ferruzza writes a weekly restaurant column for The Pitch, appears regularly on KCUR-FM and hosts the talk show “Anything Goes” on KKFI-FM.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Stanford University’s Ian Morris takes the provocative position that despite its horrors, armed conflict has made humanity both safer and richer.
    War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robot
    Tuesday, April 29, 2014
    Central Library

    “War! What is it good for?” Motown singer Edwin Starr asked in his 1969 hit record. The musical answer: “Absolutely nothing.”

    But in a discussion of his erudite new history of war, Stanford University’s Ian Morris takes the provocative position that, despite its horrors, armed conflict has made humanity both safer and richer. From the aggressive instincts of chimpanzees and early “protohumans” to ancient civilizations and the “American Empire,” he looks at war and notes that in terms of lives lost (as a percentage of national population), its impact has lessened while the long-term effects have been “productive.”

  • This feature documentary explores the idea of heroic women, from the birth of superheroes in the 1940s to the TV and big-screen action blockbusters of today. Following the screening filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan leads a discussion of the themes of the documentary.
    Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
    Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    For decades, the fictional world of superheroes was dominated by male characters. Wonder Woman was the only female with any real clout.

    Filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan presents and leads a discussion of her feature documentary exploring the concept of heroic women from the birth of superheroes in the 1940s to the TV and big screen action blockbusters of today. Actresses Lynda (Wonder Woman) Carter and Lindsay (The Bionic Woman) Wagner, feminist Gloria Steinem, and punk rocker Kathleen Hanna are among those interviewed in the film.

    Presented by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Dean Starkman exposes the failure of America’s business press to cover the systemic corruption in the financial industry and other events leading up to the 2008 financial collapse.
    The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism
    Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    Central Library

    Does the 2008 financial collapse lie at least in part at journalists’ feet?

    Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dean Starkman, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, exposes the critical failure of America’s business press to cover the systemic corruption in the financial industry and other events leading up to the 2008 economic meltdown.

    He maintains that deep cultural and structural shifts — some unavoidable, some self-inflicted — eroded journalism’s appetite for its role as watchdog, and the result was a deafening silence about questionable, even dishonest practices. Tragically, that silence grew more profound as the mortgage madness reached its apogee from 2004-06.

  • Larry Tye discusses the first full biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.
    Superman - Larry Tye
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    Central Library

    Larry Tye discusses his book Superman, the first full-fledged biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.

    A former reporter for The Boston Globe, Tye now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media cover critical health care issues. His books have addressed baseball legend Satchel Paige, the birth of the public relations industry, and how Pullman porters helped create a black middle class.

  •  Kevin Cook discusses his new book about the 1964 murder in New York of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, a crime made doubly notorious because a reported 38 witnesses didn’t attempt to stop it. Problem is, according to Cook, much of what we think we know about the incident is wrong.
    Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    Central Library

    The 1964 murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has become a defining moment in American social history. Early reporting described how she was stabbed to death on the front stoop of her New York City home in full view of 38 neighbors who “didn’t want to get involved.”

    Fifty years after that notorious crime, Kevin Cook argues in his new book that much of what we think we know about the incident is just plain wrong.

  • Charles L. Cohen kicks off this year’s McKinzie Symposium with a discussion of the issues facing minority religions in a political landscape dominated by Christianity.
    Muslims and Jews in Christian America
    Thursday, February 27, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    To kick off this year’s McKinzie symposium—One Nation Under God: The Politics of America’s Religious Diversity—the University of Wisconsin’s Charles L. Cohen delivers a keynote address on the issues facing minority religions in America.

    Cohen is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.

  • Drawing from official case files, the National Archives’ Jake Ersland explores the murderers, mob bosses, anarchists, bootleggers, and thieves – many from Kansas City – who have done time at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.
    Locked Up in Leavenworth - Jake Ersland
    Sunday, February 16, 2014
    Central Library

    Murderers. Mob bosses. Anarchists. Bootleggers. Thieves. They’ve all found a home at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, regarded for many years as the ultimate high-security prison.

    Now their stories are told by the National Archives’ Jake Ersland in an exploration of the Archives’ “Record Group 129,” the inmate case files for the Leavenworth penitentiary. Ersland gives an illustrated lecture on the history of these valuable research files and the untold stories they contain, many with a Kansas City connection.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of European statesmen used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to initiate a long-awaited showdown among the Continent’s powers, ultimately leading to the start of World War I.  Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Reception: 6 p.m. Program: 6:30 p.m.   Central Library 14 W. 10th St.
    July 1914: Countdown to War
    Wednesday, January 29, 2014
    Central Library

    When a Serbian assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, there was nothing to suggest the event would lead to a horrific world war. In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of statesmen used the Archduke's murder to set up a long-awaited showdown among the European powers. July 1914: Countdown to War reveals how in a single month a handful of men changed the course of the 20th century.