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.

  • Author and labor leader Bill Fletcher Jr. takes on accusations that unions pamper workers with high pay and cushy benefits at the expense of the American economy.
    “They’re Bankrupting Us!” And 20 Other Myths about Unions
    Tuesday, March 19, 2013
    Central Library

    Unions have been blamed for budget deficits and for pampering workers with high pay and cushy benefits. Labor leader Bill Fletcher, Jr. tackles those accusations in his book “They’re Bankrupting Us!” He traces the roots of anti-union myths, examines the movement’s missteps and lists significant labor contributions like the minimum wage and 40-hour work week.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith shows how over the last 40 years seismic political and economic changes have all but eliminated the idea of shared prosperity, with America losing the title of “Land of Opportunity.”
    Who Stole the American Dream?
    Tuesday, March 12, 2013
    Central Library

    In his new book Who Stole the American Dream?, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith shows how over the last 40 years seismic changes, sparked by a sequence of landmark political and economic decisions, have all but eliminated the idea of shared prosperity, with America losing the title of “Land of Opportunity.”

    Smith is a former reporter and editor for The New York Times and an Emmy Award-winning producer/correspondent for the PBS show Frontline. Among his books are The Russians, The New Russians, The Media and the Gulf War, and Rethinking America.

  • Author Pat O’Neill  examines the colorful history of the Irish in Kansas City, particularly as it played out on both sides of the law.
    Lawyers, Lawmen, and Outlaws
    Sunday, March 10, 2013
    Central Library

    Pat O’Neill looks at the colorful history of the Irish in Kansas City – particularly as it played out on both sides of the law – in this presentation designed to augment the Library’s current exhibit about the Kansas City Police Department, Kansas City’s Finest.

    O’Neill is a proud son of Erin whose father created the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is the owner of O’Neill Marketing & Event Management, and the author of From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford discusses his new novel Canada – the story of a teenager who flees his Montana home and begins a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie after his parents are arrested for bank robbery.
    Thursday, March 7, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In Canada, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford introduces us to teenager Del Parsons, who after his parents’ imprisonment for bank robbery flees his Montana home, beginning a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie.

    Ford reads from Canada and holds a conversation with UMKC Writer-in-Residence Whitney Terrell, organizer of the Writers at Work series. Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.

    Co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

  • Veteran White House journalist Carl M. Cannon takes a look at Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and one of her husband’s most valued political mentors.  This presentation is the first in the new series Beyond the Gowns: First Ladies in American History.
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Veteran journalist Carl M. Cannon discusses the life of first lady Michele Obama on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

    Michelle Obama is the 46th first lady of the United States, caretaker of an unpaid position that nevertheless is one of the most powerful in the world. How powerful? Put it this way: Even in this rarified air, Mrs. Obama stands out for her closeness to the president.

  • Historian Leon Litwack discusses the 1963 event that gave us Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and spurred the Kennedy Administration to advance civil rights legislation.
    Leon Litwack: The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In the summer of 1963 more than 200,000 demonstrators descended on the nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event was highlighted by Martin Luther King’s memorable “I Have A Dream” speech and pressured the Kennedy administration into initiating a strong federal civil rights bill.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Tim Weiner explains how the FBI became the most formidable intelligence force in American history and how the Bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive ... including presidents.
    Enemies: A History of the FBI
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Its reputation is that of America’s incorruptible police force. Yet the primary mission of the FBI is secret intelligence, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner. In his new book Weiner reveals how presidents have used the agency as the most formidable intelligence force in American history, and how the bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive … including presidents.

    The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties, creating a tension that strains the very fabric of a free society.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America - Henry Wiencek
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • View clips from a new PBS documentary about KC-born composing genius Virgil Thomson, and enjoy a conversation with the filmmakers –- James Arntz, John Paulson, and Aimee Larrabee.
    A Valentine for Virgil Thomson
    Wednesday, February 13, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) went from playing organ in Kansas City’s silent movie houses to become a fixture of “Paris in the twenties,” a prominent music critic, and a world-famous composer of operas (Four Saints in Three Acts, The Mother of Us All) and movie scores (The Plow that Broke the Plains, The River).

  • Walter Stahr examines the
    Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    Central Library

    In 1860 William Henry Seward was poised to become the Republican nominee for president, only to lose to Abraham Lincoln.

    Now, on Lincoln’s birthday, historian Walter Stahr describes how the two put aside their rivalry, with Seward becoming Lincoln’s Secretary of State and closest adviser during the Civil War. He was so important that John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators targeted Seward along with the President.

    A former lawyer, Stahr is also the author of John Jay: Founding Father.

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