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 Denise Kiernan recounts the experiences of thousands of civilians, many of them young women, recruited during World War II to work at a secretive site in Tennessee. Their mission, as later revealed: enriching the uranium that led to the first atomic bombs.
    The Girls of Atomic City - Denise Kiernan
    Tuesday, June 9, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    At the height of World War II, the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee—then known only as the Clinton Engineering Works—boasted 75,000 people and yet did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women, were recruited to the secretive site and trained not to talk about what they did or knew.

    This was where the U.S. enriched the uranium that led to the first atomic bombs, a fact not revealed to workers until the bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945.

    Journalist Denise Kiernan recounts the women’s experiences in a discussion of her book The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. The presentation continues the series War Stories: World War II Remembered, which is co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Through photographs and objects he collected, artist Matt Rahner documented the dismantling of a section of Kansas City’s Wendell Phillips neighborhood via eminent domain. He gives an illustrated talk about his work, on display in the installation Eminent Domain in the Central Library.
    Eminent Domain: An Illustrated Presentation - Matt Rahner
    Thursday, May 28, 2015
    Central Library

    Matt Rahner began documenting the dismantling of roughly a four-block section of Kansas City’s Wendell Phillips neighborhood—acquired by the city via eminent domain—in the fall of 2012. Forty-three households were displaced, some forcibly, to make room in the predominantly African American area for a new police station and crime lab.

    Rahner’s photographs, along with objects and ephemera from the vacated homes and lots, are featured in the installation Eminent Domain on display in the Central Library through May 31, 2015. He discusses his effort to illuminate what he says are “the repercussions and reality of a power construct that allows one entity to forcefully and legally relocate others against their will.”

  • Fundraising and political consultant Annie Presley talks with UMKC’s Allan Katz, a former U.S. ambassador to Portugal, about her eventful life and new book – a guide to organizing important information and wishes before you die. Co-author Christy Howard joins them.
    Read This When I’m Dead - Annie Presley
    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Having spent a quarter-century in the political arena, Annie Presley has had a full life: enduring a near-plane crash with Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft and Sen. Christopher Bond and sitting tight for an hour with Margaret Thatcher while a couple of armed protesters were hauled to jail, among other memorable episodes.

    Part of living, too, is preparing for death. And Presley and co-author Christy Howard have written Read This ... When I'm Dead: A Guide to Getting Your Stuff Together for Your Loved Ones, a fill-in-the-blank guide to organizing your key information, thoughts, and wishes for your heirs.

    Presley, a native Missourian and accomplished fundraising and political consultant, discusses both her eventful career and her new book on planning for the end in a public conversation with University of Missouri-Kansas City professor and former U.S. ambassador to Portugal Allan Katz.

  • Behind Dwight Eisenhower’s dry smile and simple tastes was a brilliant, intellectual strategist who navigated the nation through a perilous time. Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas launches the Eisenhower 125 series with a discussion of his new book, Ike’s Bluff.
    Ike’s Bluff - Evan Thomas
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Dwight Eisenhower was a man of simple tastes but decisive action. Behind the dry smile was a brilliant, intellectual tactician, an attribute—also evident at the poker table—that served to keep dozens of Cold War standoffs from flaring into full-scale war during his two terms as president.

    Former Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas draws from his book Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World in discussing the central Kansas war hero turned commander-in-chief, who navigated the nation through some of the most perilous times the world has known.

  • The University of Missouri’s Earnest L. Perry Jr. examines  the civil rights-era tug of war between activist organizations and the African American press, including The Kansas City Call and its longtime editor and publisher, Lucile Bluford.
    Civil Rights: The Struggle Within - Earnest L. Perry, Jr.
    Thursday, May 14, 2015
    Central Library

    The Kansas City Call and its longtime editor and publisher, Lucile Bluford, epitomized the role of the African American press in the civil rights movement. The newspaper advocated forcefully for the political and economic interests of its readers, forging relationships with such key organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

    Beneath outward displays of unity, however, were internal disagreements between the press and activist groups about what direction the fight for equality would take and, often, who should be its voice. Earnest L. Perry Jr., an associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, examines that struggle, what it entailed for Bluford and The Call, and the implications for today’s social justice movement.

  • The world seemingly endures a new crisis every day. In a discussion of her new book, Sarah Chayes, a former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  cites a common instigator: government corruption so pervasive that some regimes now resemble criminal gangs.
    Thieves of State - Sarah Chayes
    Monday, May 11, 2015
    Central Library

    The world is blowing up, seemingly confronted by a violent new crisis every day: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria, the East-West standoff in Ukraine, abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. The common thread, Sarah Chayes says, is government corruption so pervasive that some regimes now resemble criminal gangs.

    A former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chayes spent most of the past decade in Afghanistan. She discusses her new book Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security and the premise that structural corruption inevitably provokes resentment, prompting protests and revolts and often fueling extremist violence. The U.S., she argues, has a tendency not just to ignore such international corruption but also compound it, which in places like Afghanistan can be destabilizing and dangerous.

  • Patrick Dobson, an adjunct history professor at Johnson County Community College, discusses his new book on his transformative journey nearly 20 years ago from Helena, Montana, to Kansas City – by canoe on the Missouri River. That, after he’d walked to Helena.
    Canoeing the Great Plains - Patrick Dobson
    Thursday, May 7, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Tired of an unfulfilling life in Kansas City, Patrick Dobson left his job and set off on foot across the Great Plains. He arrived over two months later in Helena, Montana, then set a canoe on the Missouri River and asked the waters to carry him back home.

    Dobson, who teaches American history and literature at Johnson County Community College, discusses his new book Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer and a journey undertaken nearly 20 years ago that proved to be transformative. Dobson learned to trust himself to the flows of the river and its stark, serenely beautiful countryside – and to a cast of characters he met along the way. They assisted the novice canoeist with portaging around dams and reservoirs, finding campsites, and other travel tasks, and they fueled his personal renewal.

  • In a conversation about his  new book with co-author Matt Fulks, Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore spells out the leadership principles, strategies and decisions behind the team’s rise to American League champion and World Series darling.
    More Than a Season: Building a Championship Culture - Dayton Moore, Matt Fulks
    Monday, May 4, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    The Kansas City Royals were on their way to a fourth 100-loss season in five years when Dayton Moore took over as general manager in June 2006, and their string of non-playoff seasons would stretch to 28 before his painstaking rebuilding plan memorably kicked in a year ago.

    Sitting down with Matt Fulks, the co-author of his new book More Than a Season, Moore discusses the leadership principles, strategies, and decisions that guided the Royals’ transformation into American League champions and World Series darlings. The event precedes the public launch of the book, the proceeds from which go to Moore’s C You in the Major Leagues Foundation.

  • Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek discusses the quantifiable economic impact of effective classroom teaching, asserting that we should make significant changes in how we evaluate – and especially reward – our educators.
    The Economic Value of Teacher Quality - Eric Hanushek
    Thursday, April 30, 2015
    Central Library

    Stanford University’s Eric Hanushek puts the value of quality teaching in stark economic terms. Place even a slightly above-average teacher in front of a class of 20, and the resultant gain is more than $400,000 in future earnings over the earnings of students exposed to an average teacher. Replacing the bottom 5 to 8 percent of teachers with average instructors, he says, could lift the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings.

    Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, discusses the economic value of effective teachers and the assertion that their impact is sufficiently large to make significant changes in how we evaluate and reward them.

    Co-sponsored by the Show-Me Institute and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation.

  • Lennon and McCartney. Jobs and Wozniak. Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and author Robert Day to discuss Shenk’s new book about the rewards of one-to-one collaboration, Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.
    Powers of Two - Joshua Wolf Shenk, Robert Day
    Wednesday, April 29, 2015
    Central Library

    Granted, there are creative lone wolves out there. But history and social psychology tell us that success stems far more often from one-to-one collaboration. Think John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

    Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and former colleague Robert Day to discuss the elements and impact of creative chemistry and Shenk’s new, science-backed book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.

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