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Book Nook: Some Favorite Interviews From 2020 - A Non-Fiction Retrospective

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Vick Mickunas

Vick Mickunas looks back on some his favorite interviews with non-fiction authors in 2020

When I looked back at the interviews I conducted during 2020 I had many favorites. I chose three of them to feature on this retrospective program. There were lots more that I might have picked.

1. "Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World" by Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace published his first book last year. Chris is a long-time reporter, interviewer, and television host. He's the son of the legendary CBS journalist Mike Wallace. Chris is currently working at Fox News. A few months after this interview took place Chris moderated the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. You might recall that President Trump kept interrupting Joe Biden and that Chris Wallace essentially lost control of the debate.

It was quite an unexpected surprise to even obtain this interview. When I originally scheduled it the publicist informed me that we would only have 15 minutes. When I called Chris on the phone he told me we would actually have only 10 minutes. So we got right to it. He must have liked the conversation-he stayed on the phone for a full 11 minutes!

2. "The Hardhat Riot: Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution" by David Paul Kuhn

If you want to obtain a better understanding of how our country got to the place in which we could have a riot and assault upon the center of our government that was instigated by the President of the United States here's an excellent place to start; in his book "The Hard Hat Riot" David Paul Kuhn revisits the events of 50 years ago when anti-war protesters in Manhattan were brutally assaulted by construction workers while the New York City Police essentially allowed this to occur. This fracturing of the former liberal coalition of labor and progressives a half century ago is very much at the root of the political polarization that has brought us to where we are today.

3. "Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist" by Eli Saslow

We took the Book Nook on the road a couple of times in 2020. We had a very nice event at the Wright Memorial Library in Oakwood as I interviewed the author Moriel Rothman-Zecher in front of an audience at that beautiful library. And The Tipp City Public Library arranged a panel discussion at the Clark County Public Library in Springfield (another beautiful facility) as I moderated a panel discussion about the book "Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist" by Eli Saslow.

This event was recorded for a radio broadcast and it was also filmed. You can watch the video on our website.

*** a note about the photo: 2020 was the year of remote everything. I have observed so many Zoom events in which authors, editors, and assorted people were able to show off the books on their bookshelves as backdrops. I participated in one Zoom meeting last year. It was to prepare for our panel discussion in Springfield and I was at WYSO for it and therefore was unable to show off my bookshelves. When I submitted the podcast for some of my favorite fiction interviews from 2020 I posted a photo of one of my bookcases. It had some book titles that you could read and some vintage teacups. I got some lovely comments about that photo from listeners. So I'm posting one more shot of my library. This one has book spines you can read along with some artwork that I like to incorporate into my bookshelves. There's some outsider art by a woman from the Carolinas who paints on windows. There are also some primitive masks from southern Mexico. I may not Zoom but I still love sharing the occasional bookshelf!

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

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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.