50 episodes

Madison BookBeat highlights local authors and book events. The show, hosted by Stu Levitan, airs every Monday afternoon from 1-2 pm.

Madison BookBeat Stu Levitan, WORT News and Public Affairs

    • Arts
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Madison BookBeat highlights local authors and book events. The show, hosted by Stu Levitan, airs every Monday afternoon from 1-2 pm.

    Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments."

    Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments."

    Madison BookBeat - Your listener-supported, community radio home for Madison authors, topics, book events and publishers.Stu Levitan gets 2022 off to a wondrous start with an encore presentation of a conversation with Aimee Nezhukumatathil about her an enchanting and stimulating collection of illustrated nature essays called “World Of Wonders: In Praise Of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments.” Published by the good people at Milkweed Editions, it was named Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble, and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in nonfiction. And Aimee met two of the criteria as a former Badger who was at the Wisconsin Book Festival.If you took Aldo Leopold’s expert eye for Nature and Marcel Proust’s ability to evoke memory out of experience and filtered it all through a poet and essayist who was the daughter of a Filipina mother and South Indian father, you might come close to what Aimee Nezhukumatathil has accomplished in World of Wonders.Born in Chicago in 1974, she lived as a child in Iowa, Arizona, Kansas, New York and Ohio; received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in poetry and nonfiction from The Ohio State University; was awarded a poetry fellowship to the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing; spent 14 years teaching in western New York, and in 2016 accepted appointment as Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where her husband, the essayist Dustin Parsons, also teaches. Since 2003, she has published four collections of poetry and a chapbook of garden poems with the poet Ross Gay, and has been included in several collections and anthologies. She has been awarded a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, among other honors.A real pleasure to have Prof. Aimee Nezhukumatathil on Madison BookBeat.

    • 52 min
    Christina Clancy, "Shoulder Season"

    Christina Clancy, "Shoulder Season"

    Our guest today is Madison author Christina Clancy, for a conversation about her new novel, Shoulder Season.  Christi gave a very interesting and engaging talk at the Wisconsin Book Festival in October, and I’m delighted to bring her to you today.As you may, or more likely may not know, from 1968 to 1981 there was in southeast Wisconsin the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel, a full-service facility featuring big-name entertainment, championship golf course, a restaurant, cocktail lounge, and, yes the requisite colony of bunnies – many of whom were from small towns around Wisconsin. Towns like East Troy, about 15 miles up HWY 120, where the Alpine Valley Music Center opened in 1977 – the largest amphitheater in the country until 1993. The former Playboy Club, which had become the Americana Center in 1982, has been the Grand Geneva Resort since 1993, What life was like for the young women who became Bunnies, and how the resort and the amphitheater affected East Troy, are the main issues which concern Christi Clancy in this, her second novel for St. Martin’s Press. It is so interesting and well-written I expect it will do at least as well as her first work, The Second House, so successful it has been optioned for TV miniseries A Ph D in English from the UW-Milwaukee, Christi worked eight years as a marketing specialist for IBM, then almost a decade as an adjunct English professor at Beloit College before becoming a full-time writer. Her work has also appeared in our best newspapers and literary journals. She lives in Madison with her family. It’s a real pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat Christina Clancy.  

    • 55 min
    UW Prof. Paige Glotzer, "How the Suburbs Were Segregated: The Business of Exclusionary Housing, 1890-1960"

    UW Prof. Paige Glotzer, "How the Suburbs Were Segregated: The Business of Exclusionary Housing, 1890-1960"

    Stu Levitan welcomes UW professor Paige Glotzer, whose first book is the important and eye-opening examination of the origins of systemic racism in housing, How the Suburbs Were Segregated: Developers and the Business of Exclusionary Housing, 1890-1960, just honored as the recipient of the 2021 Kenneth Jackson Award Best Book in North American Urban History from the Urban History Association.It should come as no surprise that racial segregation has been a bedrock principle of suburban development from its very beginning, way back in the 19th century. In 1891, a British land syndicate called the Lands Trust Company purchased a large tract of land in northern Baltimore MD, formed the Roland Park Company and began developing what became one of the first planned segregated suburbs in the United States. How the leaders of the Roland Park Company formulated their exclusionary practices, and extended their influence into the very structure of federal housing policy, is the business that occupies Prof. Glotzer in her revelatory investigation of racial capitalism, published this spring by the good people at Columbia University Press. It’s a narrative that even implicates some names well known in Madison, including John Nolen, Prof. Richard T. Ely and realtor Paul Stark.Paige Glotzer is a graduate of NYU, with a Master’s and Ph D from Johns Hopkins University in the aforementioned Baltimore. Since 2018, she has been Assistant Professor and holder of the John W. and Jeanne M. Rowe Chair in the History of American Politics, Institutions, and Political Economy, at the fabled Department of History at the University of Wisconsin. In her young career, she has already received numerous awards for her scholarship on housing segregation, the suburbs, and related topics

    • 51 min
    UW Prof. Francine Hirsch, "Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II"

    UW Prof. Francine Hirsch, "Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II"

    Madison authors, topics, book events & publishersIt's Stu Levitan's birthday, his 68th birthday to be precise, so he's taking the day off and dialing up an encore presentation of a conversation from this past February with UW Prof. Francine Hirsch, the author of Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II. Published by Oxford University Press, it is an award-winning reappraisal of the trial that became the pivot point between World War 2 and the Cold War.On November 20 1945, the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union opened the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, putting on trial 22 Nazi leaders and seven organizations, charged with conspiring in a crime against peace, planning and waging wars of aggression, participating in war crimes, and committing crimes against humanity.On September 30 and October 1, 1946 judges from the four countries announced their verdicts – 12 of the accused, including Reich Marshall Herman Goering and German foreign minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop, were sentenced to death by hanging, seven received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life, and three were acquitted. Four organizations -the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, the Secret State Police, or Gestapo, the Protective Squadron or SS, and the Security Service, or SD, were found criminal – but only for what they did after the start of the war on September 1, 1939; three organizations – the Reich Cabinet, the Storm Troopers, or SA and the German General Staff and High Command – were found not guilty.In the collective memory of the west, these Nuremberg Trials – the only 4-power trials - were first and foremost an American exercise of finding truth and dispensing justice. Chief US prosecutor Robert H Jackson, on leave from his post as associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, was both star and director, with able prosecutors from Great Britain in friendly support. The French were only marginally relevant, and the Soviets … well, they were at best an annoyance and at worst an embarrassment whose obvious and overwhelming conflicts threatened the very legitimacy of the entire exercise.But what if that Nuremberg Moment was just a myth, and our memory is not of the whole story? What if, notwithstanding their own dealings with Hitler and their own war crimes, the Soviets were actually essential to the Tribunal happening at all? What if it was a Soviet lawyer who came up with the fundamental breakthrough in international law underpinning the entire trial?Those are the questions that Prof. Hirsch asks and answers brilliantly in this landmark account, for which she has already received the American Society for International Law’s 2021 Certificate of Merit for a preeminent contribution to creative scholarship.Fran Hirsch is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison so it is no surprise that she has produced such a work of scholarship and style. Her first book, Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005) received awards from the American Historical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and the Council For European Studies. She also scores a very healthy 4.4 rating on Rate My Professor. It is a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Prof. Fran Hirsch.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Jackie Lees & KG Miles, "Bob Dylan in London: Troubadour Tales"

    Jackie Lees & KG Miles, "Bob Dylan in London: Troubadour Tales"

    Madison authors, topics, book events and publishers. We deviate from the usual concept just a bit this week to welcome Jackie Lees and KG Miles to discuss their book, Bob Dylan in London: Troubadour Tales, a combination illustrated guidebook for a walking tour, history lesson and critical analysis.And there is sort of a Madison connection, because Madison was the last place Dylan stayed before he went to New York for the first time in January 1961, which is where KG’s next book, Bob Dylan in the Big Apple: Troubadour Tales of New York, begins. It was bitterly cold in NY that winter, and it would be even colder when Dylan went to London in December 1962, which is where Jackie and K.G. pick up the story.It is a story they are eminently qualified to write, as Londoners who are longtime Dylan aficionados and co-curators of the Dylan Room at the Troubadour Club. Jackie took a break from a career writing and editing for a homelessness charity to work on the book, the room and also provide some amateur management to the Dylan Band. K.G., whom I saw speak at the inaugural conference of the Bob Dylan archives in 2019, is as I said also the author of a companion volume coming in about three weeks, Bob Dylan in the Big Apple: Troubadour Tales of New York.It is a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Jackie Lees and K.G. Miles.

    • 54 min
    Lisa S. Johnson, "Immortal Axes: Guitars That Rock"

    Lisa S. Johnson, "Immortal Axes: Guitars That Rock"

    Madison authors, topics, book event and publishers.Stu Levitan deviates a bit from that concept today with his guest Lisa S. Johnson because she’s got a new book out which you might want to know about for your holiday gift-giving or gift-asking needs. The book is Immortal Axes, Guitars That Rock, an absolutely gorgeous coffee table photography book focusing on some of the most important guitars in modern music – guitars played on seminal recordings and at historic events – and even some concerts in Madison — by the likes of Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, B.B. King, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Phil Lesh, Johnny Cash and more, 157 guitarists in all, 350 pages of high-end photographs and insightful short essays, plus a Forward by Peter Frampton and an afterward by Suzi Quatro. The book is published by the good people at Princeton Architectural Press.Lisa S Johnson followed a somewhat circuitous route to becoming one of the pre-eminent photographers in a very rarified field.She traveled solo around Europe and South Africa for seven months as she was turning 21, went back home to Canada and got a hotel job in the icy and isolated North West Territories. Then two years at an exclusive private club in Edmonton before transferring to Florida where she put herself through college studying photography. Naturally, she ended up with a job at a private photo lab with the necessary security clearance to handle material for NASA and various defense contractors. Then a decade with the Eastman Kodak company before the corporate world started to get her down.After injuring her neck, she took up Kundalini yoga, and took to it so well she quit her job at Kodak and opened up two yoga studios in Las Vegas, where she continues to live. All the while, though, she was continuing with her photographic pursuits, but now, thanks indirectly to her father’s interest in a 1917 Gibson mandolin, with a new focus– guitars. The lure of the modern lyre was so great she sold her studios to concentrate on a guitar project, and in 2013 published her first book, 108 Rock Star Guitars – the number itself a nod to various spiritual aspects of yoga. This new book expands the area of interest to include guitars notable for their custodian’s contributions to country, jazz and blues.Lisa S. Johnson’s website is immortalaxes.com, her twitter handle is lsjrockphotos. It’s a pleasure to welcome to Madison BookBeat, Lisa S Johnson.

    • 56 min

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