A collection of bracing interviews with American writers and thinkers.
Veteran journalist and nine-time Peabody Award winner Moyers (Moyers on Democracy, 2008, etc.) gathers a glittering array of discussions with authors, activists, historians, social scientists and others that were broadcast on his public-affairs program Bill Moyers Journal in 2007–10. Focusing on topics both timely and timeless—torture, health-care reform, the U.S. economy, aging, compassion, God, among many others—the insatiably curious Moyers prods disparate intellectuals into candid talk about their sphere of interest. Often progressive, always articulate, the interviewees include historians Thomas Cahill, Nell Painter and Howard Zinn; poets Robert Bly, Nikki Giovanni and W.S. Merwin; journalists Douglas Blackmon, Barbara Ehrenreich, William Greider, Robert Kaiser and Robert Wright; and activists Grace Lee Boggs (grassroots democracy), Jim Hightower (corporate power), Michael Pollan (food), Jane Goodall (animals) and Holly Sklar (workers). Each interview illuminates some main current in American life. Jon Stewart argues for the importance of joking about absurd world events; novelist Louise Erdrich reflects on the fractured inner life of a mother and writer of mixed ancestry; journalist Sam Tanenhaus distinguishes between the conservatism of Glenn Beck and William F. Buckley Jr.; and Republican insider Victor Gold tells why he awaits “a rebirth of Goldwater.” Judge Richard Goldstone discusses his controversial report on human-rights violations in the Gaza War, and streetwise reporter David Simon, best known for his HBO series The Wire, makes a strong case for crime as the best keyhole into how our society really works. When biologist E.O. Wilson reminds us that human activity is wiping out much of the rest of life on the planet, Moyers suspects that such life would probably survive without us. “Oh, it would do wonderfully well without us,” says the scientist.
A bright treat for browsers.