Last updated 10:05AM ET
April 18, 2014
RadioWest (M-F @ 11AM & 7PM)
RadioWest (M-F @ 11AM & 7PM)
Bishop John Koyle's "Dream Mine" There are stories of hidden treasure throughout the West, but John Koyle's belief in the "Relief Mine" went deeper than mere legend. Koyle was known as something of a prophet in his community. In 1894 he had a dream about riches in the mountains of Utah County, and he predicted these would be found at a time of great peril for the nation. Friday, we're talking about what's also called the "Dream Mine" and about why there are people who still believe. (Rebroadcast)
The Line Between Life and Death How do you know when someone is dead? It might sound like a question with an obvious answer, but the United States didn't have a legal definition of death until 1981. Science writer Dick Teresi says that this law actually made it easier to be declared dead than any other time in human history. Teresi has written a book that explores how modern medicine - including the process of organ donations - is blurring the line between life and death. He joins Doug on Thursday.
The American Dream in the 21st Century Though as old as America itself, the American dream wasn't actually christened until the Great Depression. And now it stands on shaky ground in the wake of the Great Recession. With the gap between rich and poor wider than ever, the dream of freedom and equal opportunity is increasingly out of reach. This summer, NPR is producing a series of stories about the American dream, and NPR reporters Ari Shapiro and John Ydstie join Doug on Wednesday to take the dream's pulse in the 21st century.
Counting the Saints The LDS Church is the second fastest growing religion, but there's a debate over how many people are Mormon. In the U.S., the Church reports some 6.2 million members. Independent researchers place the number at 4.4 million. The difference lies in who should be counted. LDS statistics reflect people who were baptized, but who may no longer be active or even believe. Monday, we're discussing what this gap reveals about the Church today: how it's connecting with a new generation and how it's faring
The Man Who Quit Money In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings, just $30, in a phone booth in Moab and walked away. Twelve years later, he enjoys an apparently full and sane life without money, credit, barter or government hand-outs, fulfilling a vision of the good life inspired by his spiritual guides: Jesus, Buddha and wandering Hindu monks. The writer Mark Sundeen has written a book that traces the path and the singular idea that led Suelo to his extreme lifestyle, and he joins Doug on Friday. (Rebroadcast)
The World Columbus Created Millions of years ago, geological forces ripped the world to pieces. Christopher Columbus changed all that though. When he sailed across the Atlantic, he began a process that knit the world back together ecologically and economically. It meant there would be tomatoes in Italy and coffee in Brazil. The journalist Charles Mann says while the costs and benefits are inseparable, 1493 marked the birth of the world we live in today. Mann is in Utah and he joins us to talk about his book called "1493."
First Position On stage, ballet is an exemplar of human grace: beautiful women float like feathers and handsome men lift them overhead with ease. Behind the fa ade of effortlessness lay incredible pain, sacrifice, competition and countless hours of practice. In FIRST POSITION, Bess Kargman documents the worlds on either side of the stage curtain as she follows six dancers competing in a prestigious ballet competition. She joins Doug on Wednesday to explore the human body's transformation into kinetic poetry.
Starving Your Way to Vigor Two years ago, Steve Hendricks felt overweight, and he resolved to shed 20 pounds. His weight loss method might strike some as reckless: he fasted for over three weeks. Vanity, he writes, wasn't his only concern. He was informally testing theories which suggest that fasting can alleviate numerous maladies and symptoms and improve general health, much like exercise. Hendricks wrote about the benefits of an empty stomach for Harper's, and he joins Doug on Tuesday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)
Cleopatra Biographer Stacy Schiff says that Cleopatra has had "one of the busiest afterlives in history." This Queen of Egypt died over 2000 years ago, but since then she's been the subject of poems and plays, she's had an asteroid and a cigarette named after her. But for all the fame, much of what we think we know about Cleopatra just isn't so. Schiff joins us to rescue the queen from her legend. (Rebroadcast)
Bunch of Amateurs You probably know some amateurs, people driven by a singular passion for whatever, birdwatching, maybe, or home brewing or space elevators. The writer Jack Hitt knows the type. He's written a book about semi-professional people in the grip of passion, and he argues they have long powered America's success and innovation. From Benjamin Franklin to a young Bay Area woman trying to splice a fish's glow-in-the-dark gene into yogurt, Hitt has documented American amateurs and he joins Doug on Thursday
Religion for Atheists Is any religion true? The popular British philosopher Alain de Botton opens his latest book by declaring this the most boring and unproductive question a person can ask. de Botton is himself a resolute non-believer, but by setting that debate aside, he says we can look at the really good ideas religions offer about how to live and how to arrange society. Wednesday, Alain de Botton joins Doug for an exploration of his "Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion."
Poe and the Beautiful Cigar Girl Edgar Allan Poe as a detective? It's not just a Hollywood movie. In 1842, the real Poe set out to solve the murder of Mary Rogers, known in New York as the "beautiful cigar girl." While her death captured the imagination of the press and the public, the crime remained unsolved. It was perfect fodder for Poe though, who once called the death of a beautiful woman "the most poetical topic in the world." Tuesday, we talk to writer Daniel Stashower about Poe's life and the birth of crime fiction.
The Influencing Machine Doug talks to Brooke Gladstone, host of NPR's "On the Media." She's written a graphic nonfiction book - a journey through two millennia of journalism. Gladstone says that there's always been a fear that the media are somehow controlling our minds. But rather than being an external force, she argues that the media are mirrors that show us our own reflection. Doug talks to her about "The Influencing Machine," and about what we can do to be savvy media consumers. (Rebroadcast)
The Myth of American Decline Some political observers say the United States is a global superpower on the wane. They see the rise of China and America's increasing failure to get its way in the world as signs of decline. Robert Kagan, a foreign policy commentator, disagrees. He says the size and influence of America's economy, its unparalleled military might and its global political clout position it to remain the world's predominant power. Kagan joins Doug on Wednesday to discuss America's present and future status. (Rebro
The Journal of Best Practices A few years ago, David Finch's marriage was on the skids. Moments of joy and affection between he and his wife, Kristen, had become rare. One day, Kristen sprung a 150-question quiz on David. It was an informal test for Asperger syndrome, and David aced it. The diagnosis explained David's long list of quirks and compulsions, and set him on a quest to better understand himself and to become a better husband. His book is called THE JOURNAL OF BEST PRACTICES and he'll talk with Doug about it on Thu
Breasts - A Natural and Unnatural History When science writer Florence Williams was breastfeeding, she decided to have her milk tested for environmental contaminants. Her results were average for American women and included chemicals found in flame-retardants and jet-fuel. It's not, she says, what her daughter had in mind for dinner. It set her off on a journey to study the history of breasts: how they evolved and what modern life is doing to them. Williams is in Utah on Monday and joins Doug in studio.
Filmmaker Richard Dutcher Richard Dutcher has been called the "father of Mormon cinema," though he actually left the LDS church in 2007. Dutcher says he has always tried to make films that exhibit great personal integrity and appeal to viewers with every manner of belief. His film FALLING chronicles the devastating spiritual and emotional collapse of an ambitious videographer, and it mirrors his own personal and professional crises.
Where the Wild Things Are Wednesday on RadioWest, we're rebroadcasting our conversation about Maurice Sendak's classic children's book "Where the Wild Things Are." The brilliant writer and illustrator died yesterday at the age of 83. His book changed children's literature when it was first published in 1963. Like most good art, it was seen as subversive and outrageous. We'll talk about translating it into a movie - but mostly, our fond memories of Max and his extraordinary adventure. (Rebroadcast)
5/8/12: Vibrator Rx In 1978, technology historian Rachel Maines was researching needlework when she came across ads for vibrators in 19th century magazines. They were sold as medical treatment for women with "hysteria." Symptoms were depression, irritability, confusion and more. Maines' research is the basis of a play on stage in Salt Lake and a Hollywood film that opens here next month. Tuesday, we'll talk to Maines about the history of the vibrator and what it can still tell us about women's roles in society.
5/7/12: The Guardian Poplar When former University of Utah President Chase Peterson began writing his memoir, it was largely to displace panic after a cancer diagnosis. He says his book is not the story of an academician, a scientist or a physician, though Dr. Peterson is all of those things. It's what he calls a "human and spiritual journey," that took him from the American West to New England and home again. Monday, Chase Peterson talks with us about the people he has served and the moments that brought his life meaning.
5/4/12: God's Jury Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. But not everybody really knows what it is, either. The writer Cullen Murphy has written a book about the Catholic Church's 700-year persecution of its enemies, both real and imagined. And he says the "inquisitorial impulse" lives on - in America's massive surveillance and routine use of torture in the wake of 9/11, for example. Murphy joins Doug on Friday to remind us the Inquisition isn't something safely relegated to the past (Rebroadcast)
5/3/12: Through the Lens - Bully

Thursday, we're joined by Lee Hirsch, director of the troubling and powerful film "Bully." It's the latest in our Through the Lens documentary series. Hirsch has said he wanted to bring the hidden lives of young people who are bullied out in the open. He spent a year following five families - including two trying to find some resolution after their sons took their own lives. We'll talk to Hirsch about the film and present free screenings at 4:35 and 7:10 at

4/30/12: Sex and the Political Divide For those trying to make sense of dysfunction in US politics, historian Nancy Cohen has an answer: sex. Cohen argues that a 40-year backlash against the sexual revolution is at the heart of our current political wars, and she's not just blaming Republican men. She says that Democrats are complicit and that women have been ardent champions of what she calls the counterrevolution. Monday, she'll take us through the modern history of gender politics and explain what it means for the 2012 election.
4/27/12: Revelations For many, The Book of Revelation lays out a terrifying vision for the end of days: war, famine and plague visited on the Earth. Religion scholar Elaine Pagels says that with its symbolic language, the Bible's final book has been subject to a range of interpretations though. She says it's about hope as much as fear. Pagels' latest book is called "Revelations" and Friday she joins us to explain what ancient prophecies can teach us not just about good and evil, but about humankind as a whole.
4/26/12: The 2012 Utah Caucuses Thursday on RadioWest we're hosting a panel discussion about Utah's recent political caucuses. There's evidence that caucus delegates were more moderate this time around, and that they value experience more than in years past. That may explain why Sen. Orrin Hatch survived the caucuses, only to face his first primary since 1976. We'll also talk about the coming congressional race between Rep. Jim Matheson and Republican nominee Mia Love, and what Democrats are doing to woo Utah's Mormon voters.
4/25/12: Storyteller Kevin Kling Wednesday, Doug is joined by storyteller and humorist Kevin Kling. Kling is perhaps best known for his commentaries on NPR. His stories are autobiographical - funny, but deeply personal. Kling shares everything from holidays in Minnesota and performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia to living with a birth defect and surviving a near fatal motor cycle accident. He joins Doug to talk about the power of story to overcome tragedy. (Rebroadcast)
4/24/12: Facing the Storm - The Story of the American Bison The past 200 years haven't been kind to the American buffalo. Once the basis for the cultures and economies of Native Americans on the Great Plains, bison were nearly eradicated in the 19th century. Conservation efforts saved the animals from extinction, but they no longer roam freely on their old range. In a new documentary, the filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis chronicles the history of human relations with the American bison. He and Western historian Dan Flores join Doug on Tuesday.
4/23/12: Paper Promises For the past 40 years western economies have splurged on debt, but it's hardly a new phenomenon. Financial journalist Philip Coggan says that economic crises have a time-worn place in history. Governments fall, currencies lose their value and new systems emerge. In his new book, Coggan traces our attitudes towards money and debt through history. Monday, he joins us to explain what these debt cycles can teach us about our current situation and how our attitudes might be about to change again.
4/20/12: Inside Scientology Friday, we're talking about Scientology with the journalist Janet Reitman. To its adherents, Scientology is the "fastest growing religion in the world." Its critics though call it a "cult" and even a "mafia" pointing to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that believers can pay for salvation. Reitman spent five years investigating the group and joins us to discuss her book "Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion." (Rebroadcast)