January 8, 2013 In a new book, Civil War historian Bruce Levine says that from the destruction of the South emerged an entirely new country, making the Civil War equivalent to a second American Revolution. Integral to the Union's victory, he says, were the nearly 200,000 black soldiers who enlisted.
January 7, 2013 On the hit Masterpiece Theater series, the social rules the characters have always known are changing as the world events of the 20th century unfold. The series' creator, Julian Fellowes, says his relatives who lived through that era inspired his lasting interest in class.
January 4, 2013 Frank Calabrese Jr. wrote a memoir about bringing down his father's murderous Chicago crime family. In Operation Family Secrets, Frank detailed how he helped the FBI convict his father of several murders by wearing a hidden wire and taping his father's conversations. His father died Christmas Day.
January 3, 2013 Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, is one of the few reporters covering the situation in northern Mali, where Islamist extremists allied with al-Qaida have taken control after a coup destabilized the country in April.
January 2, 2013 With his latest film, director Quentin Tarantino was inspired both by spaghetti Westerns and the drama of slavery and the Civil War. The movie is extremely violent — but, says Tarantino, "What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse. ... If you can't take it, you can't take it."
January 1, 2013 Actor Jack Black plays a kindly small-town funeral director who murders a millionaire in the film Bernie. Black is also one-half of the comedy folk-rock group Tenacious D. In May, they released an album in the style of heavy metal bands from the 1980s.
December 31, 2012 This year marked the 25th anniversary of Fresh Air as a daily national NPR program. This episode looks back at some of the great live musical performances from the show's archive, including songs from Shirley Horn, Loudon Wainwright III, Susannah McCorkle, Nick Lowe and Richard Thompson.
December 27, 2012 New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey is currently the only knuckleball pitcher in the major leagues. His memoir, Wherever I Wind Up, explains how his life — and career — have mimicked the unpredictable trajectory of the difficult pitch he throws game after game.