The Red Scare that engulfed the U.S. in the years immediately after World War II ruined many careers, and any affiliation with the Communist Party was enough to get you blacklisted.
So it was that popular novelist Howard fast found himself suddenly a pariah because of his membership in the Communist Party USA.
A contentious appearance before the house Un=American Activities Committee in 1950 resulted in a three month prison sentence for contempt of Congress. But it was while serving his sentence that Howard Fast began working on the novel that would turn out to be his most famous work: Spartacus.
By the end of the decade, Fast’s blacklist was over, And he departed from the Communist Party, disenchanted with its leadership.
In 1990 Fast published a memoir called Being Red. And that’s when I have a chance to meet him.
In the early 1970s many women had two books on their shelves: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.
That was the then-31-year-old’s first book and virtually overnight turned her into an international celebrity A leader of the feminist movement
Her ideas about femininity, Male-female relationships, and marriage You find those things For millions of readers
In the years that followed Greer was a prolific writer of essays and books Many of those essays were collected in a 1987 volume which she entitled The Madwoman’s Underclothes. And that’s when I had a chance to spend a few minutes with this iconic figure.
So here now, from 1987, Germaine Greer
Today, January 29, is Germaine Greer’s 85th birthday. She divides her time between England and Australia .
It’s not every day that I would sit across the table from one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins.
But one day in the summer of 1993 I did just that.
Sitting in my studio that day was a man named George Jung. He was there to discuss the book that had just been published about him, by journalist. Bruce Porter, called Blow.
Porter’s book was the basis for the 2001 movie blow starring Johnny Depp as George Jung.
So how does a small town kid from Massachusetts become a major drug lord? Jung’s answer is at once. Simple and terrifying.
So here now, from 1993, George Jung and author Bruce Porter.
Less than a year after hour interview, George Jung was arrested again, after being caught with over 1700 lb of cocaine. He was sentenced to prison, and served for nearly 20 years before his release in 2014. Jung died in 2021 at age 78.
Sometimes we say something stupid that comes back to haunt us years later. That can be especially difficult for someone who’s running for political office.
In 2010, Christine O’Donnell, in her third campaign, rode the Tea Party wave to an upset victory in the Republican primary for US Senate from Delaware.
And then something stupid came back to haunt her.
Years earlier, O’Donnell had appeared on Bill Maher’s TV show and admitted that she had once dabbled in witchcraft.
And before long, that was almost all that some people knew about Christina. O’Donnell, was that she had once dabbled in witchcraft.
Against her own better judgment, she claims, she made a TV commercial in which she declared. “I am not a witch.”
But the damage had been done, and O’Donnell was trounced in the general election.
The following year she wrote a book describing that experience, and detailing the political views that she says she was never able to fully explain during the campaign. Her book was called Troublemaker, and that’s when I have the chance to meet her.
So here now, from 2011, Christine O’Donnell.
Christine O’Donnell is 54 now. She writes a column for the Washington times.
Teresa Godwin Phelps was a noted and respected law professor for several decades, at Notre Dame and American University
But to the public at large, she was better known as the wife of legendary Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps.
She called her 1994 memoir The Coach’s Wife, a rumination on the joys and the frustrations of being in the shadow of such a public figure. And trying to navigate the sometimes-murky waters of college athletics.
Ironically, it was 50 years ago today, January 19, 1974 that Digger Phelps’s Notre Dame team recorded perhaps its greatest victory. That was the day that the Fighting Irish upset John Wooden’s UCLA, ending the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak.
So here now, from 1994 Teresa Godwin Phelps.
In 2019 Professor Phelps retired from Washington College of Law and is currently Professor Emerita.
It was in the early 1950sThe 28 year old pharmaceutical chemist created something that would change the very fabric of our society .
His name was Carl Djerassi. He was a Bulgarian]American who led a team that came up with an oral contraceptive that became known – and is still known today – as simply The Pill . Djerassi has been dubbed “the father of The Pill.”
In 1992 he wrote a memoir called The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas’s Horse, a reflection on a life that was filled with far more than white lab coats and experiments. And that’s when he and I had a conversation about it.
Nichelle Nichols was cast in the role of Communications Officer Uhura on the original TV series “Star Trek” in 1966. But a routine casting decision it was not, as Nichols overnight became an icon and role model. But it took a chance meeting with a powerful and charismatic man to convince her of her own stature.
Nichols was a show business veteran by the time Gene Roddenberry selected her for “Star Trek.” So just one year into her journey where “no man had gone before,” Nichols was anxious to try something else new.
Then she met a fan who changed her mind and changed her life.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day in the U.S., so today, the story of how Dr. King changed Nichelle Nichols’s life and career, and even the very direction that “Star Trek” took. It’s a story Nichols told in her 1994 memoir Beyond Uhura. That’s when I met her.
Dan Rather has been a fixture in American journalism since the early 1950s.
As a young boy, growing up in Texas Rather became enamored of heroes like Edward r. Murrow, and vowed to become a journalist himself someday.
After establishing himself as a local reporter in the ’50s, Rather joined CBS News in the early 1960s. He was promoted to White House correspondent, and famously had run-ins with President Richard m. Nixon.
In 1981 Dan Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite as anchor of the CBS evening News, a position he held for the next 24 years. His tenure in the anchor chair was not without its controversy and rather occasionally found himself at the center of the news.
In 1976 he wrote a best-selling book about the network news business, called The Camera, Never Blinks. And in 1994 he wrote its sequel, The Camera Never Blinks Twice. And that’s when I had one of my several interviews with him.
So here now, from 1994, Dan Rather.
Dan Rather is 92 now and still covering the news. Since 2021, he has been writing the newsletter “Steady” on the Substack platform.