Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 2:58 pm
Talking about death isn't easy, but mortician Caitlin Doughty is trying to reform how we think about the deaths of loved ones — and prepare for our own.
"My philosophy is honesty," Doughty tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I think that we've been so hidden from death in this culture for such a long time that it's very refreshing and liberating to talk about death in an open, honest manner."
When Marilynne Robinson finished writing her first novel, Housekeeping, she felt like she still had more to say about the characters. She says, "I just decided that I would outlive the impulse, you know. But then, after I finished [her second novel] Gilead, I had the same feeling that the characters were still with me and that there was much more that I knew about them than I had ever articulated to myself. And so I thought, 'Well, let's see what's here.' And two more books have come from that."
Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 2:20 pm
In the 1950s, four people — the founder of the birth control movement, a controversial scientist, a Catholic obstetrician and a wealthy feminist — got together to create a revolutionary little pill the world had never seen before.
They were sneaky about what they were doing — skirting the law, lying to women about the tests they performed and fibbing to the public about their motivations.
Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:17 pm
Who was the last great president of the United States? Well, if you're not on Social Security, you wouldn't be old enough to have seen one, says author Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In his new book, The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President, Miller concludes that we've had three great leaders:
George Washington, who launched the republic.
Abraham Lincoln, who held it together and ended slavery.