After he won the presidency, Abraham Lincoln brought three of his rivals for the Republican nomination into his cabinet. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s book, Team of Rivals, recounts the life and work of our 16th president — and the principal characters of his administration. Goodwin won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, No Ordinary Time, about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She has also written books about Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: When Lyndon B. Johnson took office as president, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he began making daily recordings of his private conversations. Historian Michael Beschloss transcribed and edited the tapes’ contents and provided commentary on them in his book Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964. The book sheds light on Johnson’s thoughts during the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, the creation of the Warren Commission to investigate it, the progress of the civil rights bill and the Gulf of Tonkin attack. And it illuminates Johnson’s decision-making process during his administration’s escalation of the Vietnam War. Beschloss has written several other books; his latest is Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: The fight over the siting of Philadelphia’s two casinos has moved into the realm of city and state politics. We get the inside scoop on who the players are and what’s at stake from Daily News columnists ELMER SMITH and DAVE DAVIES. Listen to this show via Real Audio
Prologue. Host Ira Glass talks with Lauren Waterman, who’s in the middle of a break-up right now and grappling with totally contradictory feelings. She wants her boyfriend to call, but also—maybe a little bit—doesn’t want him to call. She misses him and doesn’t want to stop thinking about him…but also does all of this elaborate math to calculate the day she’ll finally be over him. (5 minutes) Act One. Dr. Phil. In the wake of a break-up, writer Starlee Kine finds so much comfort in break-up songs that she decides to try and write one herself—even though she has no musical ability whatsoever. For some help, she goes to a rather surprising expert on the subject: Phil Collins. Starlee was also assisted in her efforts by musicians Joe McGinty and Julia Greenberg, who co-wrote “The Three of Us,” the song featured in this story. Starlee Kine is co-creator of the Post-It Note Reading Series in Brooklyn. Joe McGinty’s most recent CD, with his band Baby Steps, is Kiss Me, Stupid. It includes another song heard in Starlee’s story, “This Song Is Three Days Old,” which is available for purchase at his MySpace page. Julia Greenberg is co-author of the rock musical People Are Wrong. Phil Collins’s latest album is Testify. (29 minutes) Act Two. But Why? Eight-year-old Betsy Walters goes on a campaign to understand her parents’ divorce. A campaign that takes her to school guidance counselors, children’s book authors, and the mayor of New York City. The interview with Betsy first aired on NPR’s All Things Considered—in 1987, when a young Ira Glass was a producer there. (10 minutes) Act Three. Let No Court Put Asunder. Ira talks with divorce mediator Barry Berkman about why it’s bad when the justice system gets involved in a break-up. Barry is a member of The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. (8 minutes) Act Four. Divorce Is Rrruuffff! What divorce looks like from the dog’s point of view. This monologue was performed by Merrill Markoe and recorded at Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles. Merrill is author, most recently, of Walking in Circles Before Lying Down. (4 minutes) Song: “Against All Odds,” The Postal Service.