Radio Interviews

All Kansas City Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 26, and will remain closed all day Thursday, November 27, for Thanksgiving.

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.

  • How did America end up in Vietnam? Historian Fredrik Logevall explains the 40 years of political, military, and diplomatic miscalculation that led to U.S. involvement in Indochina.
    Fredrik Logevall - Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam
    Thursday, September 6, 2012
    Central Library

    Cornell University historian Fredrik Logevall discusses the origins of America’s least popular war, beginning with the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference that ended World War I, continuing through a half century of French rule, and on to America’s involvement in Vietnam. It’s a story of political, military, and diplomatic maneuvering and miscalculation.

    Logevall is John S. Knight professor of international studies at Cornell University. Among his books are America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity, and Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived.

  • Pultizer Prize-winning author James B. Steele argues that the American middle class has been condemned to terminal decline because of actions by Washington and Wall Street over decades.
    James B. Steele - The Betrayal of the American Dream
    Wednesday, August 15, 2012
    Central Library

    Twenty years ago James B. Steele co-authored America: What Went Wrong, which argued that the middle class was shrinking, guaranteed pensions would become a thing of the past, and millions would be without health insurance. His new book asserts that “We grossly underestimated how fast the economic ruling class would pull the rug out from under everyone else.”

    Steele and his writing partner Donald Bartlett are the only reporting team ever to have received two Pulitzer Prizes and two National Magazine Awards.

  • Local historian Joelouis Mattox discusses the history of Prospect Avenue and the life of one of the surrounding community’s leading citizens, Lucile H. Bluford.
    Joelouis Mattox - When Prospect Avenue Was Main Street
    Sunday, July 29, 2012
    Lucile H. Bluford Branch

    Local historian Joelouis Mattox discusses the history of Prospect Avenue and the life of one of the surrounding community’s leading citizens, Lucile H. Bluford.

    In the late 1950s and early 1960s Prospect Avenue was one of Kansas City’s main commercial thoroughfares. It also functioned as an entertainment district, serving as “Westport,” “River Quay,” and the “Power & Light District” for the African-American community.

  • Mark E. Neely, Jr., author of  Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation, examines charges that Lincoln played fast and loose with the Constitution during his presidency.
    Mark E. Neely, Jr. - Abraham Lincoln
    Thursday, July 26, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    In pursuing the Civil War, did Abraham Lincoln play fast and loose with civil liberties?

    Pulitzer Prize winner Mark E. Neely, Jr., author of Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation, rejects that idea and argues that Lincoln’s interpretation of the Constitution was well suited to tolerate the stresses of wartime.

    Neely is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at Pennsylvania State University.

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

  • LaDene Morton traces the 170-year history of Kansas City’s residential/business district as depicted in her book The Waldo Story: The Home of Friendly Merchants.
    LaDene Morton - The Road to Waldo
    Wednesday, July 18, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    LaDene Morton, author of The Waldo Story: The Home of Friendly Merchants, traces the history of the district from the Civil War and the coming of the railroad to Waldo’s role in the Kansas City housing boom. Throughout the years the ever-adaptable Waldo neighborhood always seems to find ways to stay modern and prosperous.

    Morton is a former researcher and policy analyst at Midwest Research Institute, and past vice president of the Applied Urban Research Institute. She runs the consulting firm I/O & Company.

  • Best-selling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses The Secret She Kept, her new urban fiction novel about a marriage threatened by mental illness.
    ReShonda Tate Billingsley - The Secret She Kept
    Friday, July 13, 2012
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses and reads from The Secret She Kept, her new novel about a marriage threatened by mental illness.

    A Houston resident and the mother of three, Billingsley has written 23 books for adults and teens. She has been a reporter for the National Enquirer and an on-air anchor for television stations in Oklahoma City and Houston.

  • Biographer John Robert Greene examines the domestic issues, personality factors, and the vagaries of the 1992 campaign that confined George H.W. Bush to a single term.
    John Robert Greene - George H.W. Bush
    Thursday, July 12, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    How could a president have won a war and lost a re-election? For George H.W. Bush, being Commander-in-Chief during Desert Storm was not enough.

    John Robert Greene, author of The Presidency of George Bush, sets Bush’s presidency in the context of the Reagan years and reviews his foreign policy successes, such as the war with Iraq and an improved relationship with Russia, and nagging domestic issues such as economic recession, “Read My Lips,” and the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court appointment.

  • Author and businessman Barnett C. Helzberg, Jr. and Library Director Crosby Kemper III hold a public conversation with some of the local entrepreneurs profiled in Helzberg's new book Entrepreneurs + Mentors = Success: 22 Convincing Stories.
    Barnett C. Helzberg Jr. - Entrepreneurs + Mentors = Success: 22 Convincing Stories
    Thursday, June 28, 2012
    Central Library

    No matter what the business problem, there’s usually someone who’s dealt with it before. That’s the power of mentoring, business veterans share their insights with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

    Author and businessman Barnett C. Helzberg Jr. and Library Director Crosby Kemper III hold a public conversation with some of the local entrepreneurs profiled in Helzberg’s new book Entrepreneurs + Mentors = Success: 22 Convincing Stories.

  • Historian Jeff Broadwater discusses the presidency of James Madison who played key roles in the creation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but whose clear political mind became muddled when it came to slavery and race.
    Jeff Broadwater: James Madison
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Historian Jeff Broadwater argues that no single figure can tell us more about the origins of the American republic than our fourth president, James Madison, a bookish political theorist who played key roles in the creation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but whose thinking became muddled on the issue of race.

    Broadwater is professor of history at Barton College and author of James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation.

  • Ethno-biologist Edwin Marty looks at the exploding urban farming movement, which he believes has the potential to transform our national food system.
    Edwin Marty - Breaking Through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012
    Central Library

    Author Edwin Marty looks at successful urban farm programs, part of an environmental and social movement that could transform our national food system. From backyard food swaps to a restaurant supply garden on a Brooklyn rooftop, Marty chronicles changing attitudes and offers advice on keeping livestock in the city, decontaminating toxic soil, and even changing zoning laws.

    Marty is an ethno-botanist, former assistant garden editor for Southern Living magazine and founder of the Jones Valley Urban Farm in Birmingham, Alabama.