Radio Interviews

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

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.

  • 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.

  • Photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen marks United Nations International Interfaith Harmony Week with a discussion of his images of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim celebrations in modern Israel.
    Images of Faith in the Holy Land - Gil Cohen-Magen
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen has spent a decade in Israel covering not only political and military conflict but also the coming together of various faiths. He is one of the few journalists to observe and record the ceremonies and lifestyles of ultra-Orthodox Jews who live apart from their country’s mainstream culture.

    In a presentation marking United Nations International Interfaith Harmony Week, Cohen-Magen shows photographs depicting Jewish, Christian, and Muslim celebrations, many from his 2011 book Hassidic Courts.

  • Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg chronicles the incredible lives of Holocaust survivor Lou Frydman and Polish resistance fighter Jarek Piekalkiewicz who survived the privations of World War II and after 30 years met at the University of Kansas and became the best of friends.
    Needle in the Bone - Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    Thursday, January 31, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg discusses her new book Needle in the Bone about the incredible lives of a Holocaust survivor (Lou Frydman) and a member of the Polish resistance (Jarek Piekalkiewicz) who somehow endured extraordinary privations during World War II and after 30 years met at the University of Kansas and became good friends.

    Mirriam-Goldberg is a poet, novelist (The Divorce Girl), and certified poetry therapist.

    Co-sponsored by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

  • Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, examines the stories behind some of the 200 vintage postcards currently on display in the original exhibit Greetings from Kansas City, now at the Central Library.
    Greetings from Kansas City - Eli Paul
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013
    Central Library

    Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, examines the stories behind some of the 200 locally made post cards comprising the Greetings from Kansas City exhibit opening in January at the Central Library.

    The exhibit is divided into three categories: Business and Industry (factories, the stockyards, trains and trolleys), History and Heritage (local monuments, cityscapes, the American Royal) and Entertainment, Arts, and Culture (museums, theaters, parks and boulevards).

  • Biographer Robert Farnsworth looks at the life, death, and lingering legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in an unsolved 1970 assassination.
    Leon Mercer Jordan - Robert Farnsworth
    Sunday, January 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Biographer Robert Farnsworth discusses his new eBook about the life, death, and legacy of Leon Jordan, a one-time police officer and educator who founded Freedom, Inc., and became Missouri’s most powerful black politician before being gunned down in a 1970 assassination outside his Kansas City tavern.

  • Author/musician/rickshaw driver Eric Brende offers new lyrics for a Christmas favorite that reflect a greener, cleaner, more frugal approach to celebrating the holidays.
    The Twelve Days of Christmas, Revisited - Eric Brende
    Thursday, December 6, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Ever get the feeling that Christmas has morphed into something it was never supposed to be?

    How did a celebration of joy, togetherness, love, and hope transmute into an extended shopping spree accounting for 25 percent of annual consumer spending? 

  • Author Robert W. Merry wraps up the presidential election - and the Hail to the Chiefs series - with a fresh, playful and challenging way of rating our presidents.
    Robert W. Merry - Where They Stand: Ranking the Presidents
    Tuesday, November 27, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Author Robert W. Merry wraps up the presidential election – and the Hail to the Chiefs series – with a fresh, playful, and challenging way of rating our presidents. He is the author of Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.

    Merry has been a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and the executive editor of Congressional Quarterly.

    Co-presented with the Truman Library Institute; co-sponsored by KCUR’s Up To Date.