Apr 27, 2013 — Blues, jazz and gospel; a civil rights movement that began with the Emmett Till case; modern glass and steel buildings that dared the sky. In Third Coast, Thomas Dyja writes that "the most profound aspects of American Modernity grew up out of the flat, prairie land next to Lake Michigan."
Nov 14, 2012 — What are the best of the books? NPR Books looks at this year's National Book Award nominees for fiction and nonfiction. These 10 books — which tell the stories of a young drug smuggler, lovable philanderers, holograms in the Saudi desert and more — inspired, informed and entertained readers.
Nov 8, 2012 — Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum describes the tactics the Soviets used after World War II to take over and transform much of Eastern Europe. Her book Iron Curtain was recently nominated for the National Book Award.
Oct 15, 2012 — Novelists Aatish Taseer and Naomi Benaron portray life amid sectarian violence in Pakistan and Rwanda, respectively, while Glenn Carle reflects on being a CIA interrogator, novelist Jonathan Lethem explores his influences, and David Bellos probes translation's complexity.
Sep 15, 2012 — In Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?, Pastor Brian McLaren explores the tension between religions and attempts to imagine a conversation between the most important figures in Western theology.
May 31, 2012 — Heart of a Samurai tells the true story of 14-year-old Manjiro, a boy who was shipwrecked, rescued by whalers and taken to America. It was the late 1800s, when Japan was cut off from the outside world — until Manjiro returned and influenced the shogun to open the country to diplomacy.
Apr 24, 2012 — Margi Preus' Heart of a Samurai tells the story of Manjiro, a fisherman's son who dreams of becoming a samurai. When his boat is shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, he embarks on a series of adventures that turn his dreams into reality.
Sep 26, 2011 — In 2009, Peter Van Buren joined a team working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and economy. For the next year, he encountered comically misguided projects, greedy contractors and oblivious bureaucrats. In his new book, We Meant Well, he recounts the ground-level waste and corruption he saw.
Sep 21, 2011 — In the span of less than a year, Aatish Taseer's father was killed and his brother was kidnapped. Taseer writes about a violent and turbulent Pakistan in his new novel, Noon. "There's a general sense of a society disintegrating," he says.
Jul 12, 2011 — In her biography of the border, historian Rachel St. John traces the dividing line's origins back to the mid-1800s. Though there's plenty of modern-day rhetoric about "regaining" control of the border, St. John argues that the U.S. has never really had it under control.