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.

  • Former State Department and CIA intelligence analyst Mark Stout discusses the birth of modern American espionage during World War I, from aerial reconnaissance and battlefield code-breaking to the search for spies and saboteurs back home in the States.
    Intelligence and Espionage During World War I - Mark Stout
    Wednesday, August 20, 2014
    Central Library

    Former State Department and CIA intelligence analyst Mark Stout discusses the birth of modern American espionage during World War I, from aerial reconnaissance and battlefield code-breaking to the search for spies and saboteurs back home in the States.

  • Historian Petra DeWitt examines the suspicions and hostilities faced by Missouri’s sizable German American population during World War I, including questions about loyalty and an effort to ban the German language in the state.
    Missouri’s German Americans During World War I - Petra DeWitt
    Sunday, August 17, 2014
    Central Library

    Historian Petra DeWitt examines the suspicions and hostilities faced by Missouri’s sizable German American population during World War I, including questions about loyalty and an effort to ban the German language in the state.

  • John E. Miller discusses his book about how giants of American art, industry, and politics – the likes of Walt Disney, Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, and Ronald Reagan – were nurtured and shaped by their boyhoods in small Midwestern towns.
    Small-Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America
    Tuesday, August 12, 2014
    Central Library

    The Midwest’s small towns have produced the entrepreneurial likes of Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, and Walt Disney; artists and entertainers such as Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Carl Sandburg, and Johnny Carson; and political titans William McKinley, William Jennings Bryan, and Ronald Reagan.

    In a discussion of his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, author John E. Miller explores the lives of those and other notables and the small-town environments from which they came. In their stories, as Miller tells them, all appear in a new light – unique in their backgrounds and accomplishments, united only in the way their lives reveal the persisting, shaping power of place.

  •  In a discussion of his book, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford, historian John Robert Greene examines Ford’s struggle to restore the prestige of the office amid a host of challenges – starting with the lingering distaste of Richard Nixon’s resignation.
    Gerald R. Ford - John Robert Greene
    Thursday, August 7, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Thrust into the nation’s highest office following Richard Nixon’s resignation, Gerald R. Ford faced the impossible task of achieving much in little time and in the face of great adversity.

    Historian John Robert Greene examines the 38th president’s struggle to restore the prestige of the office — after Nixon’s misdeeds, during an ignominious departure from Vietnam, and amid Congress’ intentions to scale back presidential power — in a discussion of his book, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

  • Author Tevi Troy combines research with witty observations  to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped  by pop culture, from Thomas Jefferson’s literary bent to Barack Obama’s fascination with HBO’s The Wire.
    What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted
    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day.

    Thomas Jefferson famously said, “I cannot live without books.” Jimmy Carter loved movies. Abraham Lincoln loved theater. And Barack Obama has been known to kick back with a few episodes of HBO's The Wire.

    Author Tevi Troy combines research with witty observations to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by pop culture in a discussion of his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted.

    Troy is the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the administration of George W. Bush.

  • UMKC’s Matthew Warner Osborn examines the medical and societal fascination two centuries ago with heavy drinking and drinkers, including Edgar Allan Poe.
    Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic
    Wednesday, July 9, 2014
    Central Library

    Edgar Allan Poe vividly recalled watching men mutilate the body of his mother, a terrifying but imaginary scene. It was a hallucination, part of his alcohol-induced delirium tremens – or DTs.

    In a discussion of his new book, scholar Matthew Warner Osborn examines the medical and societal fascination two centuries ago with heavy drinking and drinkers, including Poe. Out of that grew the modern view of alcohol addiction as a psychic struggle with inner demons.

    Osborn is an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Rum Maniacs is his first book.

  • Bestselling urban fiction writer Victoria Christopher Murray discusses and reads from her novel about three friends whose stable lives are thrown into chaos by the reappearances of their former husbands and lovers.
    Forever an Ex - Victoria Christopher Murray
    Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author Victoria Christopher Murray discusses and reads from her novel about three friends whose stable lives are thrown into chaos by the reappearances of their former husbands and lovers. It’s a yarn that, in the words of The Washington Post, “has the kind of momentum that prompts you to elbow disbelief aside and flip the pages in horrified enjoyment.”

    Among Murray’s novels are Scandalous, Destiny’s Divas, Sins of the Mother, and Temptation. She is the co-author (with ReShonda Tate Billingsley) of the “First Ladies” series of novels about rival preachers’ wives.

  • Daniel Smith takes a ground-level look at the “Gettysburg of the West,” a bloody Civil War battle that took place in October 1864 in what today are peaceful Kansas City neighborhoods.
    Battle of Westport: Memory and Legacy
    Sunday, June 22, 2014
    Central Library

    On October 21-23, 1864, a Confederate army led by General Sterling Price clashed with its Union counterpart commanded by General Samuel Curtis. The immediate results of this large-scale battle, called by some the “Gettysburg of the West,” were a decisive Union victory and Price’s ignoble retreat from Missouri for the remainder of the Civil War.

    Daniel Smith takes a ground-level look at this epic battle, as well as its lasting legacy, and asks: what does it mean, and why does it matter today? As area groups gear up this year to re-enact the Battle of Westport, Smith explores earlier efforts by participants and successive generations to remember and commemorate this significant historical event.

  • Former Kansas City Royals catcher Jason Kendall and Lee Judge discuss their new book, taking you behind the scenes of major league baseball – onto the field, into the dugout, and behind the closed doors of the players’ clubhouse.
    Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played
    Thursday, June 19, 2014
    Central Library

    Jason Kendall knows baseball inside and out. Emphasis on the inside.

    The former Kansas City Royals catcher, whose career spanned 15 seasons and five teams, delivers a behind-the-scenes look at the Grand Old Game in a conversation with The Kansas City Star’s Lee Judge – with whom he has co-authored an insightful new book.

    There’s the game everybody sees. And there’s the game within the game that fans don’t see or fail to notice – the superstitions, subtle strategies, and mind games (at which Kendall was a master). He and Judge take you on the field, into the dugout, and behind the closed doors of a major league clubhouse.

  • Author Jennifer Senior focuses on parenthood rather than parenting in this honest, and sometimes humorous, examination of the way children deepen and add purpose to our lives. And in the process, she makes parents everywhere feel better about their lives, their relationships, and their children.
    All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
    Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Central Library

    Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But what are the effects of children on their parents? New York magazine’s Jennifer Senior digs into that question in a discussion of her new book.

    Senior examines the history and changing definition of what it means to be a parent, analyzing the many ways in which children reshape parents’ lives – their marriages, jobs, habits, hobbies, friendships, and internal sense of self. Her book follows mothers and fathers through parenthood’s deepest vexations and finest rewards.