I think everyone can agree that the Republican Party's search for its presidential nominee has been a long, strange trip. For me, one of the strangest things about it is that, after all this time, I barely know who's running Mitt Romney's, Rick Santorum's and Newt Gingrich's campaigns. You see, over the past 30 years, political strategists have gone from being shadowy figures to being celebrities in their own right.
Some years ago I was visiting Disneyland and had a culture-clash encounter there with my one of fellow Americans. I was standing with my daughter on the miles-long meandering line for "It's a Small World After All" and I fell into a conversation with another mom; when this woman found out I was a native New Yorker, she treated me to her verdict on the city: "It's so dirty there!"
I was in my local independent bookstore last week, enjoying the endangered pleasure of wandering around and snuffling through interesting-looking books, when I overheard two women talking in front of the new releases section. "I need a new British novelist," one of them said. Ladies, I should have spoken up, but the moment passed and, besides, it was too awkward to explain that one of the best British novelists writing today was born in New Jersey.
Lucy Worsley works as the chief curator in several palatial buildings in London, including Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. In contrast, she lives in what she calls a "normal, boring modern flat."
Peter Bergman, one of the founding members of the four-man surrealist comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre, died Friday of complications from leukemia. He was 72.
Bergman, along with collaborators David Ossman, Phil Proctor and Phil Austin, created satire out of the political and civil upsets of the 1960s and 1970s, blending surrealism, absurdities, non sequiturs, paranoia, parodies of the Establishment, sound effects, in-jokes about hippies and knowing allusions to literature and trash culture.
After Dave Brubeck signed with Columbia Records in the mid-1950s, his quartet made a few albums a year, and now that material has been collected in a 19-disc box set called The Dave Brubeck Quartet: The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2011. 1861: The Civil War Awakening is now available in paperback.
The first shots of the American Civil War were fired almost 151 years ago in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. Less than two days later, Fort Sumter surrendered. It would take the Union army nearly four years to bring the coastal fortification back under its command.