August 19, 2013 T.E. Lawrence, the British officer who played a key role in the Middle East during World War I, served as one of that war's few romantic champions. Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia explains how Lawrence used his knowledge of Arab culture and medieval history to advance British causes.
August 16, 2013 Journalist Seth Rosenfeld spent three decades pursuing government documents about the FBI's undercover operation in Berkeley, Calif., during the student protest movements in the '60s. His book details how the FBI "used dirty tricks to stifle dissent on campus" and influenced Ronald Reagan's politics.
August 15, 2013 Think of everything your brain processes in a single day: your breakfast, a stain on a book cover, a meeting at work. If you remembered all those things, your brain would reach capacity. Author and neuroscientist Penelope Lewis says sleep helps sort through the memories that are worth keeping.
August 14, 2013 Sherpa guides are 10 times more likely to die than commercial fishermen, the most dangerous, nonmilitary occupation in the U.S. But they're offered little financial protection by companies who charge Western climbers thousands of dollars for a trip up the mountain.
August 14, 2013 Rose George spent several weeks aboard a container ship to research Ninety Percent of Everything, her book about the shipping industry. She writes, "There are more than one hundred thousand ships at sea carrying all the solids, liquids and gases that we need to live."
August 13, 2013 Orange Is the New Black's showrunner explains how a story about a privileged white woman and criminality allows her to tell "really fascinating tales" of black women, Latinas, old women and criminals. Kohan also created the Showtime series Weeds.
August 12, 2013 When she was 24, Piper Kerman dated a woman who was part of a drug smuggling ring. Years later, after being named as part of that ring, Kerman served time in a federal prison and at one point shared a cell with her former girlfriend. Her memoir of that experience inspired the Netflix series.
August 9, 2013 On the HBO series Enlightened, a naive corporate executive played by Laura Dern wants to change the world. The series' creator and writer, Mike White, says the show's whistle-blowing plot line was inspired, in part, by his own father's experience.
August 8, 2013 Lake Bell's comedy In a World ... tracks a vocal coach's efforts to break into the male-dominated world of voice-overs. She and actor/voice-over artist Fred Melamed tell Terry Gross about what drew them to voice-over work, and the origins of the "sexy baby vocal virus" trend.
August 7, 2013 New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Rosenthal is spending a year investigating why American medical bills are so much higher than in other developed countries. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Every part of the [U.S.] system needs to rethink the way it's working."
August 6, 2013 Fast-talking, sleazeball lawyer Saul Goodman knows how to bend the law, or break it, depending on his clients' needs. Odenkirk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about playing the AMC drama's most comedic character, and the origins of Saul's comb-over.