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Amid the flurry of retrospectives prompted by Nelson Mandela's death, writer Kevin Roose reminds readers not to forget the social context within which Mandela struggled. Roose suggests reading the novel, Cry the Beloved Country, to understand the systematic racial oppression of South Africa under apartheid.
When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word — but sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story, or more to a background character. NPR's Lynn Neary explores the fine old literary tradition of writing new stories based on existing books.
Theodore Roosevelt is known as many things: a naturalist, hunter, rough rider and, of course, president. A new book argues it was his time in Manhattan, not the West, that forged him into the politician and man we now read about in history books. Host Scott Simon talks with author Edward Kohn about his new book, Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt.
A new book about Richard Wagner, who relentlessly recorded his daily life, and another about Bach, who left hardly any paper trail.
A biography of the puppeteer whose influence has hardly waned in the more than two decades since his death.
Virginia Postrel lays out the case for glamour as a life-shaping force, whether for good or for ill.
Henry Bushkin, who worked as a lawyer for Johnny Carson, has written a gossipy, breezy memoir about the late-night host.
John Shaw’s book tells the story of two American anthems: Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”