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KERA Think Rundown – Week of 12/05/11

KERA Radio, News Releases 67

Think airs Monday to Thursday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. on KERA FM. Encore airings of Think can be heard Monday to Thursday nights on KERA FM beginning at 9:00 p.m. Podcasts and streamed video are available online at

Monday, 12/05

Hour 1:  How did one of the most influential nations in history come to be? We’ll look back at the highlights of British history this hour with Guardian columnist and former editor of The Times Simon Jenkins. His new book is “A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation” (PublicAffairs, 2011).

Hour 2:  Where did our law-related words and phrases originate and how did they become a common part of our everyday language? We’ll find out this hour with Elizabeth Thornburg, Professor of Law at SMU’s Dedman School of Law and co-author of the new book “Lawtalk: The Unknown Stories Behind Familiar Legal Expressions” (Yale University Press, 2011).

Tuesday, 12/06

Hour 1:  What was the first holiday season of World War II like for Americans? On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack, we’ll revisit the week-long 1941 war-planning sessions between President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the climate of a country thrust into global war. Our guest will be Penn State Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities Stanley Weintraub. His new book is “Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941” (DaCapo Press, 2011).

Hour 2:  What is life like for most of the people of Afghanistan and how important is the drug trade to the country’s economy? We’ll find out this hour with native Afghan and journalist Fariba Nawa, who recounts her experiences traveling within and reporting on the country in her new book “Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords, and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan” (Harper Perennial, 2011).

Wednesday, 12/07

Hour 1:  What events actually led to the 1991 dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and how did the bitter relationship between Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin contribute to the superpower’s demise? We’ll talk this hour with journalist Conor O’Clery, author of the book “Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union” (Public Affairs, 2011).

Hour 2:  Who really has a claim on the study of the sciences? We’ll explore the non-credentialed, non-formal world of “outsider physicists” this hour with journalist Margaret Wertheim, who has spent 15 years studying this scientific subculture. She writes about it in her new book “Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything” (Walker & Company, 2011).

Thursday, 12/08

Hour 1:  Will the planet’s estimated 4,000 remaining wild tigers survive ongoing habitat loss and poaching? We’ll talk this hour with National Geographic contributor Caroline Alexander. Her piece “A Cry for the Tiger” appears in the December, 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

Hour 2:  What are the hot and not-so-hot holiday movies this season? We’ll get the picks and pans of this year’s crop of films with a panel of our favorite critics this hour – Stephen Becker of KERA’s Art&Seek, Christopher Kelly of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News.