The John Batchelor Show

Saturday 2 February 2013

Air Date: 
February 02, 2013

(Photo: Becky Edelson and Louise Berger, notorious and celebrated radicals of New York, 1914: see Thai Jones, Second Hour.  'Following the Ludlow Massacre in 1914, Edelsohn helped to lead anti-Rockefeller demonstrations in Tarrytown, New York.[9] On the first day of demonstrations, Edelsohn, Arthur Caron, Charles Plunkett, and other anarchists were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after giving speeches at the public square.[2][10] At her hearing, Edelsohn was specifically cited for calling John D. Rockefeller, Jr. a "multi-murderer".[2] She was jailed at Blackwell's Island where she refused to accept any nourishment other than water. In a letter smuggled to Alexander Berkman, she wrote, "I am still sticking to my programme, having fasted over twenty-seven days. I am very weak." This letter prompted Edelsohn's friends to raise the $300 necessary to post a bond for her release.[11]'  Edelsohn married fellow anarchist Charles Plunkett after World War I. Their marriage lasted nine years. The couple had a son.[12]  Edelsohn died of emphysema in 1973)

First Hour

Herald Square: A Novel of the Cold War by Jefferson Flanders

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields

"This first authorized biography probes both Vonnegut’s creative struggles and family life, detailing his transition from ‘the bowery of the book world’ to counterculture icon. Shields delivers a vivid recreation of Vonnegut’s ghastly WWII experiences as a POW during the Dresden firebombing that became the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five. . . . Tragedies and triumphs are contrasted throughout, along with an adroit literary analysis that highlights obscure or overlooked influences on Vonnegut. . . . With access to more than 1,500 letters, Shields conducted hundreds of interviews to produce this engrossing, definitive biography."—PW, Starred Review

Second Hour

More Powerful Than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives, and New York's Year of Anarchy by Thai Jones

"Jobless, homeless, hungry, desperate.  Remarkable how those words resonate through the years in the richest and most powerful country in world history.  Their significance is dramatically highlighted in this compelling and vivid portrayal of the currents that swept the country a century ago, and have come back to haunt and inspire us once again today.  More Powerful Than Dynamite is an impressive piece of work."—Noam Chomsky

Third Hour

The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923 by Robert Weintraub

The whole baseball year of 1923 is the frame for Weintraub's elegantly constructed narrative: the year the Yankees moved into their own stadium in the Bronx and won their first World Series...There is no nickname ever used for a player that Weintraub overlooks nor any colorful phrase now common in baseball that he doesn't cite...a treasure for the fan who cannot get enough. (Booklist )

Weintraub nicely infuses modern references...into his 1920s descriptions. The book is comprehensive, and Weintraub details everything from the construction of the stadium and the careers of Ruth and McGraw to a detailed season overview and deconstruction of the 1923 World Series. (Publisher's Weekly )

Weintraub is a very lively writer: he makes it all fresh and newly intriguing, adding in a whiff of Damon Runyon's saltiness and introducing readers to some of the idioms of the era. Bracing and fun for all baseball buffs, whether or not fans of today's Bombers. (Library Journal )

Fourth Hour

Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted (A Merloyd Lawrence Book) by Justin Martin

Wall Street Journal, 5/31/11 "Martin is good at shedding light on the less familiar aspects of Olmsted's life. Having written biographies of Alan Greenspan and Ralph Nader, he seems to know his way around rather remote personalities...Engaging."

The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II by Lawrence Verria, George Galdorisi.

On August 14, 1945, Alfred Eisenstaedt took a picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, minutes after they heard of Japan's surrender to the United States. Two weeks later LIFE magazine published that image. It became one of the most famous WWII photographs in history (and the most celebrated photograph ever published in the world's dominant photo-journal), a cherished reminder of what it felt like for the war to finally be over. Everyone who saw the picture wanted to know more about the nurse and sailor, but Eisenstaedt had no information and a search for the mysterious couple's identity took on a dimension of its own. In 1979 Eisenstaedt thought he had found the long lost nurse. And as far as almost everyone could determine, he had. For the next thirty years Edith Shain was known as the woman in the photo of V-J DAY, 1945, TIMES SQUARE. In 1980 LIFE attempted to determine the sailor's identity. Many aging warriors stepped forward with claims, and experts weighed in to support one candidate over another. Chaos ensued.  For almost two decades Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi were intrigued by the controversy surrounding the identity of the two principals in Eisenstaedt's most famous photograph and collected evidence that began to shed light on this mystery. Unraveling years of misinformation and controversy, their findings propelled one claimant s case far ahead of the others and, at the same time, dethroned the supposed kissed nurse when another candidate's claim proved more credible. With this book, the authors solve the 67-year-old mystery by providing irrefutable proof to identify the couple in Eisenstaedt's photo. It is the first time the whole truth behind the celebrated picture has been revealed.  The authors also bring to light the couple's and the photographer's brushes with death that nearly prevented their famous spontaneous Times Square meeting in the first place. The sailor, part of Bull Halsey's famous task force, survived the deadly typhoon that took the lives of hundreds of other sailors. The nurse, an Austrian Jew who lost her mother and father in the Holocaust, barely managed to escape to the United States. Eisenstadt, a World War I German soldier, was nearly killed at Flanders.