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.

  •  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.

  • The Brookings Institution’s  Bruce Katz joins a panel of experts for a conversation about how cities - not the federal government - are creating more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports and sustainability.
    The Metropolitan Revolution
    Wednesday, January 15, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In the face of federal gridlock, economic stagnation, and fiscal turmoil, power in the United States is shifting away from Washington and toward our major metropolitan areas.

    In a discussion of his new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes how the emerging metropolitan-led "next economy" will produce more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports, and sustainability.

  • Military historian Richard Barbuto commemorates the 199th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which the vaunted British Army suffered defeat at the hands of makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson.
    Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans
    Wednesday, January 8, 2014
    Central Library

    On January 8, 1815 — 199 years ago — the vaunted British Army suffered an epic defeat by makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in what became the closing act of the War of 1812. Jackson’s remarkably improbable victory, which took place two weeks after the peace treaty ending the war had been signed, brought him national acclaim and led directly to his election to the presidency in 1828.

    Richard Barbuto, deputy director of the department of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, delves into this triumph of American arms, the last time U.S. and British forces ever fought against each other.

  • Enjoy a presentation by local author/illustrator Shane Evans, who discusses his collaboration with actor Taye Diggs on the children’s book Chocolate Me!. Then view a screening of his “chocolatementary.” Appropriate for all ages.
    Chocolate Me!
    Saturday, December 7, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Kansas City’s Shane W. Evans, who has earned national acclaim as the illustrator of more than two dozen children’s books, will discuss his latest work, Chocolate Me!, at the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 2 p.m.

  • Drawing from his book Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy, historian Phillip G. Payne examines what is widely regarded as the most corrupt presidency in American history.
    Warren G. Harding - Phillip Payne
    Thursday, November 21, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the 29th president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner, consistently judged a failure and ranked dead last among his peers.

  • Biographer Terry Teachout discusses his new book about Duke Ellington, the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century — and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand.
    Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Biographer Terry Teachout sheds new light on this creative genius in a discussion of his new book about the grandson of a slave who wrote such classics as “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

    Teachout, a Kansas City resident from 1975 to 1983, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and the play Satchmo at the Waldorf. For The Wall Street Journal, he is drama critic and the author of “Sightings,” a column about the arts in America. He is the critic-at-large at Commentary, and writes the blog About Last Night.

  • Journalist and historian Max Holland looks at the Zapruder film, the famous home movie of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, discussing how it was made, its status as the dominant record of a national tragedy, and how it has helped and hindered our understanding of that traumatic day in Dallas.
    Images from an Assassination
    Wednesday, November 13, 2013
    Central Library

    Several hundred spectators in Dealey Plaza witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Everyone else experienced it through the eyes of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder, whose home movie of the shooting is among the most famous – and closely examined – films in history.

    Journalist and historian Max Holland looks at the Zapruder film, delving into how it came to be, its exalted status as the dominant document of a national tragedy, and how it has helped – or hindered - our understanding of precisely what happened 50 years ago this month.