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Book Nook: Desk 88 - Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America, by Sherrod Brown


Our senior U.S. Senator from Ohio is Sherrod Brown. When he was first elected to the U.S. Senate he was brought on to the floor of the Senate chamber along with the other newly elected first-time Senators. They were there to choose their desks. The desks are numbered.

In this interview he described the moment when he decided he wanted to be seated at a particular desk. Over the past century or so many of the legislators who have been seated in that assembly have carved or written their names inside their desks. When Senator Brown looked at Desk 88 he noticed the names of a number of senators who had occupied that desk previously. Senator George McGovern, the presidential candidate for the Democrats in 1972 had written his name there. He saw the name "Kennedy" and he asked the late Senator Edward Kennedy which one of his brothers had sat there, Jack? Or Bobby? Ted Kennedy said that he was seated at his brother John's old desk so Desk 88 had been where Robert F. Kennedy had been seated. Senator Brown chose that one, Desk 88.

His tenure at Desk 88 inspired him to write a book about eight of the progressive legislators who have been seated at that desk over the years. Some of them were well known. Others toiled in obscurity. Each one made significant contributions to our nation. These are their stories.

As some of you know, I am what could be politely described as a political junkie. I have had the pleasure to interview a number of politicians over the years. I had John Kasich on the program when he was in Congress and once again when he was the Governor of Ohio. I have interviewed the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. I spoke to the late Mario Cuomo, the former Governor of New York. And I have spoken to a number of our U.S. Senators. Some of them were still in office. Others were long retired. Here's my list so far: Byron Dorgan, Barbara Boxer, Gary Hart, the late John Glenn, and the late George McGovern who I interviewed twice.

This interview with Senator Sherrod Brown is one of my favorite interviews that I have ever done. We had a wonderful conversation. It was recorded on Veteran's Day.

I hope that you like it.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Microsun Lamps.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.