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.

  • Judy King, Bruce Mathews, and other contributors to their book, Kansas City’s Historic Union Cemetery: Lessons for the Future from the Garden of Time, recall the early pioneers, service veterans, and additional notables now interred in the city’s oldest public cemetery.
    Kansas City’s Historic Union Cemetery
    Tuesday, November 11, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Established in 1857, Union Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City. Buried there are early pioneers, veterans, and others who have left lasting and unique legacies. Judy King and Bruce Mathews – along with other civic-minded contributors to their book, Kansas City’s Historic Union Cemetery: Lessons for the Future from the Garden of Time – present poignant recollections of people now interred there whose hard work and persistence helped push the nation’s move west while strengthening social equality.

    This Veterans Day event underscores the value of preserving the cemetery and the history it encompasses, and serves as the launch of the new book.

    A 6 p.m. reception precedes this event.

  • Local historian Joelouis Mattox examines the role of African Americans in World War I, focusing on the 92nd Infantry Division popularly known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Among its ranks was a Kansas City private for whom the American Legion’s Wayne Miner Post 149 is named.
    The Buffalo Soldiers in World War I
    Sunday, November 9, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Despite their country’s institutionalized prejudice, hundreds of thousands of African Americans fought in the U.S. military during World War I. They manned two combat divisions, one of them the 92nd Infantry Division popularly known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

    Besides fighting Germans “like devils from hell,” members had to deal with racism, character assassination and the myth that they were “subhuman.”

    Joelouis Mattox, a frequent Library speaker, discusses the role of African Americans in World War I, focusing on the 92nd Division. Mattox is the historian for the American Legion’s Wayne Miner Post 149, named for the Kansas City serviceman who served in the 92nd. Miner was one of the last Americans killed in World War I in 1918.

  • Philip White retraces Harry S. Truman’s remarkable (and ultimately successful) effort to salvage the 1948 election in a discussion of his new book, Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman.
    Whistle Stop - Philip White
    Wednesday, November 5, 2014
    Central Library

    His approval rating low and his own party disenchanted, Harry Truman had the look of a one-term president — unlikely to win a return to office — in the summer of 1948. With ingenuity born of desperation, his aides hit upon a plan: Take to the rails, crisscrossing the country and putting Truman in front of as many voters as possible.

    Philip White, a guest lecturer at MidAmerica Nazarene University, recalls the remarkable journey in a discussion of his new book Whistle Stop: How 31,000 Miles of Train Travel, 352 Speeches, and a Little Midwest Gumption Saved the Presidency of Harry Truman. The trek, of course, ended with an election-day upset of Republican Thomas E. Dewey.

  • Caitlin Doughty sits down with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, for a public conversation about the Los Angeles funeral director’s new book – both a witty memoir and eye-opening examination of the American way of death.
    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Caitlin Doughty
    Tuesday, November 4, 2014
    Central Library

    Caitlin Doughty is out to change the way we deal with dying.

    Founder of the Order of the Good Death, a web forum promoting the open discussion of death, and host of the wry and popular web series Ask a Mortician, the 30-year-old Los Angeles funeral director sits down for a public conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, about U.S. attitudes toward death and death practices.

    Doughty’s appearance coincides with the release of her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, both a witty memoir and an eye-opening examination of the American way of death. It was The Kansas City Star’s FYI Book Club selection in September.

  • Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker discusses his newly released biography of Bill Cosby – covering the well-known triumphs of the iconic comedian, actor, producer, author, educator, and social activist as well as his setbacks and personal dramas.
    Cosby: His Life and Times - Mark Whitaker
    Thursday, October 16, 2014
    Central Library

    He grew up in a Philadelphia housing project, the son of an alcoholic, largely absent father and a loving but overworked mother. A high school dropout, he turned his life around in the Navy, made his way into college, and caught a few early breaks as a standup comedian. From there, Bill Cosby went on to become a national treasure.

    Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek and later a senior executive with NBC News and CNN Worldwide, discusses his newly released biography of the now 77-year-old creator and star of television’s The Cosby Show. Cosby not only towers as a groundbreaking comedian, producer, and actor but also as an author, educator, and social activist. Whitaker delves, too, into his setbacks and personal dramas, from an affair that sparked public scandal to the murder of his only son.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Adam Tanner demonstrates how the personal information we routinely share with companies ranging from Amazon to casino giant Caesars Entertainment can quickly be mined and used by corporations, marketers, and more nefarious entities.
    What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data and the End of Privacy as We Know It
    Tuesday, October 7, 2014
    Central Library

    Facebook. Twitter. Amazon. Frequent-flyer numbers. Loyalty cards. Every day, we share personal information while buying something, trying to gain access or perks, or engaging in some other ordinary activity.

    In a discussion of his revealing new book, Adam Tanner illustrates how each bit of personal data we surrender can be combined with alarming speed into a personal profile that corporations, marketing services, and more nefarious entities use to their own advantage. Nobody does it better, he says, than Caesars Entertainment Corporation, whose Harrah’s North Kansas City casino — and its savvy senior vice president and general manager, Tom Cook — figure prominently in What Stays in Vegas.

  • Award-winning author Ann Bausum tells a true story of a terrier that wandered onto an Army training field, befriending Pvt. James Robert Conroy and accompanying him into the trenches of World War I and onto the pages of history.  Appropriate for kindergartners and up.
    Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog - Ann Bausum
    Friday, October 3, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Award-winning author Ann Bausum tells a true story of a terrier that wandered onto an Army training field, befriending Pvt. James Robert Conroy and accompanying him into the trenches of World War I and onto the pages of history. Appropriate for kindergartners and up.

  • In the latest installment of Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III, the Library director holds a public conversation with the influential developer of Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza,  J.C. Nichols, as portrayed by historian Bill Worley.
    Meet the Past: J.C. Nichols
    Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    From Kansas City’s signature Country Club Plaza to pristine shopping districts and neighborhoods across the country, J.C. Nichols’ imprint on the American landscape remains deep and far-reaching.

    The famed real estate developer, who died a little more than 64 years ago, is spotlighted in the latest installment of the Library’s popular Meet the Past series. Nichols — as portrayed by historian and Meet the Past veteran Bill Worley — will be interviewed by Library Director Crosby Kemper III.

    The program also includes introductory remarks about Nichols and the architectural legacy of the Country Club Plaza by Stephanie Meeks, president and chief executive officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Jonathan Kemper, president of the Library’s Board of Trustees and co-chair of the National Trust Council.

    The presentation will be taped by KCPT for later broadcast.

  • Former Wall Street Journal writer Ann Hagedorn discusses her cautionary new book about the handover of a sizable element of our national security – from combat support to police training to cyber security – to private military and security companies.
    The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security
    Wednesday, September 10, 2014
    Central Library

    Thirty years ago, there were no private military and security companies. Now PMSCs, as they’re known, are a vital part of American foreign and military policy, assisting in combat operations, replacing U.S. forces after their withdrawal from combat zones, and providing maritime security, police training, drone operations, cyber security, and intelligence analysis.

    In a discussion of her new book, journalist Ann Hagedorn takes a worried look at this privatization of our national security – why it originated, how it operates, where it’s heading, and the dangers it poses.

    Hagedorn is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal. Among her books are Wild Ride, Ransom, Beyond the River, and Savage Peace.

  • Popular Kansas City blogger  Jen Mann launches her witty, often biting new book on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood – People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges – with a discussion and signing.
    People I Want to Punch in the Throat - Jen Mann
    Tuesday, September 9, 2014
    Central Library

    Jen Mann is, first, a suburban Johnson County, Kansas, wife and mother of two and, second, a witty, biting writer whose blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, has garnered a national following. Featured on The Huffington Post, the young parents’ online magazine Babble, and cable television’s Headline News, she has been described as Erma Bombeck – with f-bombs.

    Mann appears at the Library to launch her new book, People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges, a laugh-out-loud collection of essays on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood. Subjects range from the politics of joining a play group to the thrill of a moms’ night out at the gun range.