Past Shows

Middlemarch at the Beach

Middlemarch, a novel by the woman who gave herself a man’s by-line, “George Eliot,” may be the most honored masterpiece you’ve been avoiding all your life. Here’s the point: read it this summer. You’re ready ...

Casino Capital

Casino gambling makes an odd fit with old bean-and-codfish Boston, even with Boston today: the best big college town in the country, the leading edge of genomic medicine, the home address of sports champions and ...

Adventures in D Flat

Composer Matt Aucoin stands for the proposition that the kid playing baseball next door in Medfield, Massachusetts, can grow up to be all music, all the time: mind, heart, spirit, to his fingertips. He remembers ...

Africa, Maine

Migrants from the Congo and Angola, by way of Texas, stepping off buses in Portland, Maine, by the hundreds, taking shelter and sleeping on cots on a hardwood floor built for professional basketball? You’ve seen ...

23 and You

The Democratic debates are going to feel like a long weekend with the whole extended family: grandfather figures banging the table, no-nonsense women in the clan taking the old guys to task; up-start kids you ...

Who Killed the American Century?

Richard Holbrooke makes a case study in American power. He had a diplomatic career, starting in Vietnam, of heroic ambition and hyperactive persistence. He had a peace-making triumph that ended the Balkan wars, then a ...

Tiananmen Square and China’s 1980s

China in the 1980s can sound like a Paradise Lost—paradise crushed by tanks on Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, paradise erased by massacre and state propaganda ever since, an unmarked memory hole. Except that people ...

Beyond Stonewall: From Power to Pride

The Stonewall Uprising, fifty years ago, was chapter one in modern LGBTQ history. It was rough and ready in New York.  It was sexy and often celebratory in the San Francisco version. In Boston, true ...

Etcetera

September 28, 2015

Thomas Mallon’s Real Reagan

“He’s still winking at us,” Thomas Mallon says of our 40th president. Ronald Reagan’s essential quality (as official biographer Edmund Morris discovered with some embarrassment) was being “ungraspable.” In Finale, Mallon’s panoramic fiction of “the ...
August 23, 2017

Akhil Sharma’s Life of Adventure and Delight

Akhil Sharma is a magician with language, on the page and in what feels for me anyway like instantly intimate conversation. He walks into my living room and immediately he’s teaching me something about myself. ...
March 10, 2016

Democracy’s Dark Side

This week, the third in a series on our democracy in 2016, we’re discussing what you can’t change with a vote — at least for now. Change is the electoral mood for now, with Bernie Sanders ...
August 31, 2017

Amiri Baraka: Ennobled by Coltrane

Amiri Baraka‘s death prompts me to repost a conversation we had about the music of John Coltrane, which inspired Baraka and ennobled the ambitions of his Black Arts movement. “Trane was our flag,” Baraka remembered ...
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Our podcast with Sven Beckert, whose new book, Empire of Cotton, is an exhilarating, 250-year profile of the commodity that came to model and drive modern capitalism. | Hear More
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