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Christopher Lydon
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Entries by Christopher Lydon

Howard French on Africa in a Chinese Century (AUDIO)

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2011 | 8:26 AM

Fifty years almost to the day after the catastrophic assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo -- a Cold War murder by Belgium with help from our CIA -- the journalist Howard French is sketching an alternative path ahead for African development...
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Lydia Davis: Miniatures from a Mind on Fire (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 8:37 AM


Theo Cote photo
Lydia Davis keeps popping up in conversation as a favorite writer of our favorite writers -- Rae Armantrout, the Pulitzer poet, among them, and the novelist Robert Coover. Dan Chiasson makes her Collected Stories "one of the great...
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Mohammed Hanif's AfPak: A Case of Exploding Absurdities (AUDIO)

(13) Comments | Posted January 13, 2011 | 2:47 PM

Somebody said: if you're an intelligent Islamic militant and you had a choice: to take over either Afghanistan or Pakistan, what would you do? You would take over Pakistan, obviously.


Ghaith Abdul Ahad photo
Mohammed Hanif, the Pakistani novelist, is observing from Karachi that "even...
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The Iraq and Af-Pak Wars, at the Receiving End with War Correspondent Nir Rosen (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 9:26 AM


Ghaith Abdul Ahad photo
Nir Rosen is the rare war reporter (not unlike Anthony Shadid) who covers Iraq and Afghanistan as if there are articulate people in pain on the ground -- in families and villages caught between the wrecking ball of...
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David Bromwich on the "Disappointment in Obama" (AUDIO)

(5) Comments | Posted December 23, 2010 | 1:48 PM



David Bromwich, the Sterling Professor of English at Yale, reads Barack Obama like a book -- as if he were a book, that is. With the novelist Zadie Smith, he often seems to me the only commentator worth reading on Obama, precisely because...

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Economist Mark Blyth: 2011 Will Be Worse... and Life Will Go On (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2010 | 8:46 AM

Mark Blyth is in the pub tonight, played by Sean Connery, as usual, and demonstrating again how far a man can go in political economy just by talking fast and infallibly with a strong Scots' accent.

The Democrats in Washington have taken up again their modern mission: cleaning...

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Mark Blyth: On Ireland, the Circle Will Not Be Squared (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2010 | 10:53 AM

Mark Blyth, of Austerity fame and the Watson Institute, has a Scot's vernacular gift for clarifying economics. Is the situation explosive? "You've got 300 million Americans and 500 million handguns. And 72 percent of Americans that live paycheck to paycheck. Do the math!"

We're talking in particular...

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Dennis Lehane: Between Dorchester Ave and Sunset Boulevard (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 9:19 AM

Dennis Lehane so rules the neighborhood of Noir ("Nwaaah," as we say in Boston) that he gets street credit for work he didn't write, like "The Departed" and "The Town." But does the author of "Mystic River," "Gone Baby Gone" and the new Moonlight...

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Pakistan 3.0: The "CIA Jihad" and the Whirlwind Today (AUDIO)

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 9:48 AM

It is well known that the term 'Pakistan', an acronym, was originally thought up in England by a group of Muslim intellectuals. P for the Punjabis, A for the Afghans, K for the Kashmiris, S for Sind and the 'tan', they say, for Baluchistan... So it was a word born...
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Reading Obama's Mind: Pragmatism and Its Perils (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 1:23 PM

If there is a problem with Barack Obama's thinking, his "intellectual biographer" James Kloppenberg is saying on the morning after Obama's mid-term "humbling," it's not what he thinks, deep in the Democratic mainstream. Neither is Obama over-thinking his confoundingly broad assignment. Rather it may be the way he thinks,...

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Noam Chomsky: the American Socrates on an Upbeat (AUDIO)

(6) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 10:20 AM

Noam Chomsky, after all these years, retains the power to shock -- in the bright title of his new collection, Hopes and Prospects, and with what sounds like good news in this conversation.

It's Professor Chomsky's cheerful conviction, drawing on his own trials in the Vietnam War resistance, that...

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V. S. Naipaul's "Gloomy Clarity" About Africa and Himself (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2010 | 1:57 PM

V. S. Naipaul, in the winter of his long writing life, doesn't disguise his melancholy or his frailty. Still, his inquisitorial eye and his magic with a prose sentence have not abandoned him, nor the organ tones of his mesmerizing voice. In conversation he relishes...
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Jill Lepore: Tea Party Time... and the Death of Compassion (AUDIO)

(5) Comments | Posted October 15, 2010 | 11:01 AM

There's more religion than politics in the 2010 Tea Party, Jill Lepore is saying. There's less of 1776 about it than of 1976 -- that dyspeptic post-Vietnam, post-Watergate bicentennial moment remembered for Gerald Ford and school busing fights in Boston elsewhere. 1976 marks a time when we discovered that...

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Daniel Kehlmann's Fame: The Self in the Cyber Century (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2010 | 9:45 AM

Daniel Kehlmann is a very funny, very philosophical young fictionist from Germany who will make you want more like him -- and more playfully engaging books like his Fame, a novel in nine linked short stories, or "episodes." A number of reviewers who seem...
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Andrew Bacevich: how war without end became the rule (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 10:46 AM

Andrew Bacevich is the soldier turned writer who's still unlearning and puncturing the Washington Rules of national security. The rules have turned into doctrines, he's telling us, of global war forever. He is talking about the scales that have fallen from the eyes of a slow learner, as...

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Real India: Ashis Nandy's post-colonial "intimate enemies" (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 9:47 AM

NEW DELHI -- Ashis Nandy has a big idea about "loss and recovery" in the history of colonialism. The bumpersticker version is that the conquerors and colonists lose in the end; the vanquished victims win. He is talking, of course, about England and India. By chance...
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Namita Gokhale: the revolution will be written! (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 1:18 PM

Listen to the conversation here:

NEW DELHI -- Namita Gokhale -- novelist, publisher, sparkplug of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival -- says the essential (maybe the only) revolution in India today is literary. She's envisioning something like a galactic explosion outward from a...
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Tarun Tejpal's heart-ache for "the idea of India" (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2010 | 4:50 PM

NEW DELHI -- Tarun Tejpal -- muckraker, editor and novelist -- is speaking with professional zeal and a certain generational remorse about his remarkable ten-year-old magazine Tehelka.

In the slick commercial media of New Delhi, Tehelka is the strong-minded reformist alternative. It could remind...

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Walking the Slum Side of Bangalore (AUDIO)

(0) Comments | Posted August 16, 2010 | 10:23 AM

BANGALORE -- Brinda Adige, a self-starting social activist, in yellow sari, is our guide to the slum side of Bangalore and the virtual canyon between the public squalor and private affluence that are both hallmarks of the New India.

We're in Lakshman Rau...

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Real India: At Koshy's Cafe, The Talk of Bangalore (AUDIO)

(1) Comments | Posted August 13, 2010 | 10:41 AM

"... And our nation, though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy or punctuality, does have entrepreneurs. Thousands and thousands of them. Especially in the field of technology. And these entrepreneurs -- we entrepreneurs -- have...
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