Podcast

Fresh Air

Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.

Episodes

  • Actor Ben Mendelsohn On 'The Outsider'

    Feb 26 2020

    In the HBO series, which was adapted from a Stephen King novel, the Australian actor plays a detective trying to solve a murder — and resisting the idea that the killer may be a supernatural entity. He talks about masking his accent, acting with his eyes and how his role on 'The Outsider' is a departure from the "baddies" he's played in the past. Film critic Justin Chang reviews 'Wendy,' a loose retelling of 'Peter Pan,' directed by Benh Zeitlin.

  • Facebook: The Inside Story

    Feb 25 2020

    How can one company be so wildly successful — and so thoroughly distrusted? 'Wired' Editor-at-Large Steven Levy reflects on Facebook's enigmatic leader and its reckless drive for expansion in his new book, 'Facebook: The Inside Story.'Also, Ken Tucker reviews a newly released live album from Bryan Ferry, best-known as the lead man of Roxy Music.

  • The Supreme Court's Battle For A 'More Unjust' America

    Feb 24 2020

    In his new book, 'Supreme Inequality,' lawyer/journalist Adam Cohen makes the case that the Supreme Court has been "a right-wing court for 50 years," siding with corporations and the wealthy — and against the poor.And jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Life Goes On,' a record by Carla Bley's trio.

  • Best Of: Claire Danes / Rachael & Vilray Sing Swing Standards

    Feb 22 2020

    Claire Danes has played CIA agent Carrie Mathison on 'Homeland' for 8 seasons. As the last season begins on Showtime, she looks back on the series. She also spoke with Terry Gross about her break-out role on 'My So-Called Life' when she was a teen.Critic John Powers reviews the French film 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire.' The music duo Rachael & Vilray perform songs from their self-titled debut album, which draws on the music of the '30s and '40s. Rachael Price is also the lead singer of Lake Stree...more

  • Writer Recalls Her Mother's Secret Gambling Enterprise

    Feb 21 2020

    Growing up, Bridgett M. Davis' mother booked and banked bets from their home in Detroit. She writes about her experience — and the role of "the numbers" in the black community — in her memoir, 'The World According to Fannie Davis.' (Originally broadcast Feb. 2019) TV critic David Bianculli reviews the latest season of 'Better Call Saul.'

  • Claire Danes

    Feb 20 2020

    Danes has played CIA agent Carrie Mathison on 'Homeland' for 8 seasons. As the last season begins on Showtime, she looks back on the series. She also spoke with Terry Gross about her break-out role on 'My So-Called Life' when she was a teen. "I remember just being amazed ... that somebody out there had been able to articulate what I was going through so, so perfectly," she says. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the new adaptation of Jane Austen's 'Emma.'

  • Chaos, Corruption & Trump's Secrets At Deutsche Bank

    Feb 19 2020

    In his book 'Dark Towers,' David Enrich traces Deutsche Bank's shadowy practices, from laundering money for Russian oligarchs to the violation of international sanctions. Enrich, who is the finance editor at the 'New York Times,' also talks about the bank's long relationship with Donald Trump, and the suspicious activity that has gone unchecked. Also, critic John Powers reviews the Amazon series 'Hunters' starring Al Pacino.

  • Rachael & Vilray Sing Swing Standards

    Feb 18 2020

    The music duo perform songs from their self-titled debut album, which draws on the music of the '30s and '40s. "There is a timeless quality to these old standards," Vilray says. Rachael Price is also the lead singer of Lake Street Dive. They spoke with producer Sam Briger. Also, we remember Ernest Hemingway biographer A. E. Hotchner. He died Feb. 15. Hotchner spoke with Terry Gross in 1999.

  • Donald Trump's Testing Of America

    Feb 17 2020

    'Washington Post' reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker discuss presidential rages, erratic decision-making and other troubling tendencies of the Trump presidency. Their new book is 'A Very Stable Genius.' (Aired Jan. 22, updated Feb. 12, following Trump's impeachment acquittal.) Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a record by saxophonist Ellery Eskelin.

  • Best Of: The 2020 Disinformation War / Michael Pollan Explains Caffeine

    Feb 15 2020

    The Trump campaign is planning to spend $1 billion and a lot will go towards disinformation and propaganda. 'Atlantic' journalist McKay Coppins talks about what he learned about the new techniques the campaign and its supporters are using to spread disinformation, discredit journalists, and dismantle the mainstream media.Justin Chang reviews 'And Then We Danced,' a gay romance about Georgian folk dance partners. 'Omnivore's Dilemma' author Michael Pollan talks about his new audiobook, 'Caffeine...more

  • 'High Fidelity' Author / Remembering Ladysmith Black Mambazo Founder

    Feb 14 2020

    Nick Hornby's 1995 novel, 'High Fidelity,' about a heartsick record shop owner, was made into a film starring John Cusack in 2000. Now it's been adapted and updated into a new Hulu series, starring Zoë Kravitz. Hornby spoke with Terry Gross when the book came out about judging people based on their pop culture tastes — an idea central to the story. Also, we remember the frontman of the South African a capella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala. He died this week at 78. He spoke with...more

  • Amazon & The 'Rise And Reign' Of Jeff Bezos

    Feb 13 2020

    The new FRONTLINE PBS documentary 'Amazon Empire' investigates Amazon's business practices, as well as questions surrounding privacy, surveillance and regulation. We talk with James Jacoby, the film's director and correspondent, about how the company went from being an online bookseller to having its hands in space travel and facial recognition software.Also, Ken Tucker reviews singer-songwriter John Moreland's new album 'LP5.'

  • An Inside Look At The Watergate Prosecution

    Feb 12 2020

    In her memoir, 'The Watergate Girl,' Jill Wine-Banks talks about confronting Nixon White House insiders on the witness stand, enduring sexism in the courtroom and how the Watergate probe differs from Trump's impeachment. She's now a legal analyst for MSNBC. And book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews Deepa Anappara's novel 'Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line.'

  • The 2020 Disinformation War

    Feb 11 2020

    The Trump campaign is planning to spend $1 billion and a lot will go towards disinformation and propaganda. 'Atlantic' journalist McKay Coppins created a new Facebook account so he could "like" MAGA-related pages, join MAGA groups, and receive messaging being sent to Trump supporters. He'll tell us what he learned about the new techniques the campaign and its supporters are using to spread disinformation, discredit journalists, and dismantle the mainstream media.

  • Michael Pollan Explains Caffeine Addiction & Withdrawal

    Feb 10 2020

    'Omnivore's Dilemma' author Michael Pollan talks about his new audiobook, 'Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Created the Modern World.' He describes caffeine as the world's most widely-used psychoactive drug. "Here's a drug we use every day. ... We never think about it as a drug or an addiction, but that's exactly what it is," Pollan says. "I thought, why not explore that relationship?"Also, jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new album from guitarist Jeff Parker.

  • Best Of: 'American Factory' Filmmakers / Uncovering A Secret Addiction

    Feb 08 2020

    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's Oscar-nominated documentary goes inside a Chinese-owned automotive glass factory in Ohio, where a unionized GM plant once stood. The filmmakers talk about the work culture clash in the factory.Justin Chang reviews the Russian movie 'Beanpole.' Writer Eilene Zimmerman didn't learn of her ex-husband's addiction to cocaine and opioids until after his drug-related death. Her memoir, 'Smacked,' explores how her former spouse, a wealthy, high-powered attorney, hid hi...more

  • 'Joker' Dir. Todd Phillips / Remembering Kirk Douglas

    Feb 07 2020

    'Joker' director Todd Phillips talks about how he disguised his "deep-dive character study" film as a comic book movie. It's nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture.Also, we remember 'Spartacus' actor Kirk Douglas, who died Thursday at 103. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1988.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the Russian movie 'Beanpole.'

  • A New Frontier Of Assassination

    Feb 06 2020

    'New Yorker' staff writer Adam Entous says the U.S. could face further retaliation from Iran for the death of General Soleimani: "If you look at their history, they take a long time before they strike back."TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Tommy,' a new CBS cop drama starring Edie Falco.

  • Coronavirus, Animal Infections & The Next Pandemic

    Feb 05 2020

    Science writer David Quammen talks about the new virus in China, what we learned from SARS, and how viruses travel from animal to animal to humans. "When there's an animal host, then it becomes much, much more difficult to eradicate or even control an infectious virus," Quammen says.Also, Ken Tucker reviews the new album, 'Have We Met,' by the Canadian band Destroyer.

  • Grief, Guilt & An Ex-Husband's Secret Addiction

    Feb 04 2020

    Eilene Zimmerman didn't learn of her ex-husband's addiction to cocaine and opioids until after his drug-related death. Her memoir, 'Smacked,' explores how her former spouse, a wealthy, high-powered attorney, hid his addiction and depression from her and their two children. "This had happened in front of us, and we hadn't recognized it," she says. Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews Emma Copley Eisenberg's new book, 'The Third Rainbow Girl,' which centers on the 1980 murders of two young hitchhikers.

  • 'American Factory' Doc. Filmmakers On Chinese/U.S. Work Culture Clash

    Feb 03 2020

    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's Oscar-nominated documentary goes inside a Chinese-owned automotive glass factory in Ohio. The filmmakers talk about the culture clash in the factory, the workers' attempt to unionize, and how Reichert's cancer diagnosis has changed her work.

  • Best Of: America's Legacy Of Racial Terror / Musician Amy Rigby

    Feb 01 2020

    Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which represents people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. EJI founded a museum and monument in Montgomery, Ala., to address the atrocities of slavery, lynching and segregation. His 2014 memoir 'Just Mercy' is now a movie starring Michael B. Jordan.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the indie movie 'The Assistant,' inspired by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.Amy Rigby's...more

  • Antonio Banderas On 'Pain And Glory'

    Jan 31 2020

    Banderas earned his first ever Oscar nomination for his role in Pedro Almodóvar's 'Pain and Glory.' He plays a screenwriter and director who stops making movies because of physical and spiritual pain. Banderas talks about how his experience having a heart attack informed his performance. Critic John Powers reviews the British TV show 'Giri/Haji' on Netflix, about a Tokyo policeman who goes to London to bring home a murderer.

  • Cultural & Religious Upheaval In The Middle East / Treasure In The Thames

    Jan 30 2020

    Kim Ghattas grew up in Lebanon during the civil war and covered the Middle East for the BBC for 20 years. She says events in the Mideast in 1979 set off a wave of extremism and violence that continues today. Her new book is 'Black Wave.' Also, we talk with 'Mudlark' author Lara Maiklem. She scours the edge of London's tidal River Thames in search of items that were lost to history. Among her finds: Roman pottery, medieval jug handles and a 500-year-old child's shoe.

  • What Happens If There's An 'Election Meltdown' In 2020

    Jan 29 2020

    Imagine the power grid goes out in a major city on Election Day. Or the losing candidate refuses to concede. How secure are new voting machines? These are among the things law professor Rick Hasen considers in his book, 'Election Meltdown.' "There's lots of ways that things could go south," he says. Also, Ken Tucker reviews the concept album, 'The Neon Skyline' by Andy Shauf.

  • Singer-Songwriter Amy Rigby

    Jan 28 2020

    Rigby's memoir, 'Girl to City,' tracks how a Catholic girl from the Pittsburgh suburbs became part of New York City punk scene — and invented and reinvented herself as a performer, songwriter and a mother. She talks about going on tour with her baby, her manifesto, and meeting her husband, Wreckless Eric. And film critic Justin Chang reviews the indie movie 'The Assistant,' inspired by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

  • The Secret History Of Nuclear War

    Jan 27 2020

    In his new book, 'The Bomb,' journalist Fred Kaplan pulls back the curtain on how U.S. presidents, their advisers and generals have thought about, planned for — and sometimes narrowly avoided — nuclear war.Also, we remember longtime PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer. He died last week at 85.

  • Inside Trump's Chaotic 'Den Of Dysfunction' / Actor Tim Roth

    Jan 25 2020

    Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Washington Post' reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker did over 200 interviews with Trump administration insiders. Their new book, 'A Very Stable Genius,' details presidential rages, erratic decision-making and other troubling tendencies of the Trump presidency.Ken Tucker reviews Marcus King's solo album, 'El Dorado.'British actor Tim Roth can be seen in the Tarantino films 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'The Hateful Eight' and 'Pulp Fiction. His new movie is 'The Song of Names.'

  • The Horrors Of Auschwitz

    Jan 24 2020

    To mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp, we're revisiting archival interviews with Auschwitz survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, and Holocaust historian Laurence Rees.

  • Attorney General William Barr's Unwavering Support Of Trump, Explained

    Jan 23 2020

    'New Yorker' editor David Rohde says Barr acts as Trump's political "sword and shield," which has made him the most feared, criticized and effective member of the president's cabinet. He talks about the attorney general with contributor Dave Davies. Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Star Trek: Picard,' dropping today on CBS All Access.

  • Inside Trump's Chaotic 'Den Of Dysfunction'

    Jan 22 2020

    Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Washington Post' reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker did over 200 interviews with Trump administration insiders. Their new book, 'A Very Stable Genius,' details presidential rages, erratic decision-making and other troubling tendencies of the Trump presidency.Also, we remember Monty Python co-founder Terry Jones. He died yesterday at 77. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1987.

  • Actor Tim Roth

    Jan 21 2020

    The British actor can be seen in the Tarantino films 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'The Hateful Eight' and 'Pulp Fiction,' and the new movie 'The Song of Names.' His first onscreen role was a white supremacist skinhead in the 1982 TV movie 'Made in Britain.' "There were questions asked about it in Parliament," Roth says. "It took me by surprise. I got chased by skinheads down the road in London."Also, Ken Tucker reviews Marcus King's solo album, 'El Dorado.'

  • 'Just Mercy' Lawyer Asks America To Reckon With Its Racist Past & Present

    Jan 20 2020

    Public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which represents people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced or abused in state jails and prisons. In 2018, EJI founded a museum and monument in Montgomery, Ala., to address the atrocities of slavery, lynching and segregation. "We need to create institutions in this country that motivate more people to say 'Never again,'" he says. Stevenson's 2014 memoir 'Just Mercy' is now a movie starring ...more

  • Best Of: Martin Scorsese / 'Boys & Sex'

    Jan 18 2020

    Martin Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. He spoke with Terry Gross about childhood, redemption and getting kicked out of seminary school.Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews, 'Ow!,' a newly resurfaced live recording of saxophonists Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin.Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the ages of 16 and...more

  • 'Why Religion?' Asks How Hearts Heal After Tragedy

    Jan 17 2020

    Religion scholar Elaine Pagels lost her young son to terminal illness and her husband a year later in an accident. Her book, 'Why Religion?,' combines memoir and biblical scholarship to reflect on loss and faith. It's now out in paperback. Also, we remember late spiritual leader Ram Dass. In the '60s and '70s, Dass, along with Timothy Leary, became interested in the religious potential of LSD. He was a practitioner of Eastern-inspired philosophy, and was careful to distance himself from corrupti...more

  • Iran's Secret Influence On Iraq

    Jan 16 2020

    'Intercept' Senior National Security Correspondent James Risen says new documents show how Iran has embedded itself in the politics of its neighbor, Iraq — and that the late Gen. Soleimani oversaw Iran's proxy wars in Iraq and Syria.Also, TV critic David Bianculli reviews 'Seven Worlds, One Planet,' a BBC nature docuseries.

  • Martin Scorsese

    Jan 15 2020

    Scorsese's latest film, 'The Irishman,' is up for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. He spoke with Terry Gross about death, redemption and his biggest flop. Also, film critic Justin Chang reviews the WWI epic '1917.'

  • The 'Fixers' That Created President Trump

    Jan 14 2020

    Reporters Joe Palazzolo and Michael Rothfeld won a Pulitzer for their investigation of Trump's 2016 hush money payments to Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Their new book is 'The Fixers: The Bottom-feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President.'Also, book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 'American Dirt,' Jeanine Cummins' literary thriller about the treacherous journey a migrant mother takes with her son.

  • The Murderous Coup of 1898 & The Rise of White Supremacy

    Jan 13 2020

    In the 1890s, Wilmington, N.C. was a mixed-race community with a thriving black middle class, black aldermen and police officers, and a black newspaper. White supremacists saw this as an abomination, and plotted a bloody purge around the 1898 election. They rampaged through the streets, killing 60 black men, and banished prominent black people and their white allies from the city. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Zucchino tells the story in his new book, 'Wilmington's Lie.' Also, jazz cri...more

  • Best Of: 'Joker' Dir. Todd Phillips / Andrea Bernstein on 'American Oligarchs'

    Jan 11 2020

    'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs,' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both the ...more

  • Remembering 'Graduate' Screenwriter Buck Henry

    Jan 10 2020

    Buck Henry, who died Jan. 8, co-wrote the film 'Get Smart' with Mel Brooks and made regular appearances as a guest host on 'Saturday Night Live' in the show's early years. He spoke with Terry Gross in 1997 at the New York Film Forum about his masterpiece, 'The Graduate.' Also, we remember jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon. He sang with Benny Goodman and was bandleader and sidekick for Merv Griffin's talk show for many years. He spoke with 'Fresh Air' in 1993. John Powers reviews HBO's adaptation of St...more

  • The Future Of America's Contest With China

    Jan 09 2020

    'New Yorker' staff writer Evan Osnos says that China is building up its military, and Pentagon analysts now believe it could defeat U.S. forces in a confrontation along its borders. "China is the big story we don't talk about every day," Osnos says. "It's the fact of American political and diplomatic life we'll be contending with for most of the rest of this century."

  • The Trumps & Kushners, 'American Oligarchs'

    Jan 08 2020

    Author Andrea Bernstein, co-host of the podcast 'Trump, Inc.' and the author of the new book 'American Oligarchs' talks with Terry Gross about the family histories of both the Trumps and the Kushners, and their "marriage of money and power."Also, Maureen Corrigan reviews a new anthology of Jean Stafford novels.

  • 'Boys & Sex'

    Jan 07 2020

    Peggy Orenstein's new book, 'Boys & Sex,' is based on extensive interviews with more than 100 college and college-bound boys between the ages of 16 and 22. "When I was doing ['Girls & Sex'] the kind of core issue with girls was that they were being cut off from their bodies and not understanding their bodies' response and their needs and their limits and their desires," she says. "With boys, it felt like they were being cut off from their hearts." Orenstein talks about hookup culture, homophobia...more

  • 'Joker' Director Todd Phillips

    Jan 06 2020

    'Joker' is an origin story for the villain in the Batman series, but director Todd Phillips says it's not a comic book movie. "It really started as an experiment, so to speak. ... Maybe you could get one of those deep-dive character study movies done nowadays in the studio system if you disguise it as a comic book film." Phillips talks about the score, working with Joaquin Phoenix, and the divisive reaction to the movie.

  • Jordan Peele / Francis Ford Coppola

    Jan 04 2020

    We close out our 'Best of the Decade' series with two of our favorite film directors. Jordan Peele made his directorial debut in 2017 with the "social thriller" 'Get Out.' Francis Ford Coppola, also spoke with Terry Gross in 2017 about the studio battle that went on behind-the-scenes of his 1972 movie 'The Godfather.'

  • Patti Smith / Bruce Springsteen

    Jan 03 2020

    Our Best of the Decade series continues with two music icons. First, Patti Smith spoke with Terry Gross in 2010 about 'Just Kids,' her memoir about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. And then we listen back to part of Bruce Springsteen's 2016 conversation about his memoir, 'Born to Run.'

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates / Toni Morrison

    Jan 02 2020

    Our Best of the Decade series continues with two of the most influential writers of our time. In 2015, Coates discussed his book 'Between the World and Me.' Formatted as a letter to his son, Coates writes about the different forms of violence young African Americans face on the street, in school and from the police. Morrison, who died in 2019, spoke with Terry Gross in 2015 about aging and regret.

  • In Concert: Carolina Chocolate Drops / Catherine Russell / Jon Batiste

    Jan 01 2020

    Our Best of the Decade series continues with three music interviews. Carolina Chocolate Drops are a old-time string band from Durham, N.C. Jazz singer Catherine Russell sang back-up for Paul Simon, David Bowie and Jackson Browne. Jon Batiste is the bandleader for 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.'

  • Howard Stern / Joan Rivers

    Dec 31 2019

    Our Best of the Decade series continues with two irreverent New Yorkers. Stern, the "King of All Media," spoke with Terry Gross this year about how he evolved from his early shock-jock days. Also, we listen back to a 2010 interview with the late comic Joan Rivers about being a pioneer for women in comedy.