Book Beat: The Podcast

Previous postings on Don Swaim's Book Beat: The Podcast Site
ARCHIVES #1 — 2008-2009

Wired for Books

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Detective novelist and screenwriter, Kaminsky was a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. Don's broadcast with Kaminsky on the occasion of his Edgar Award-winning novel A Cold Red Sunrise: listen.

Speechwriter, language expert, novelist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, William Safire was a conservative even the Left could admire. Don's broadcast with Safire on the occasion of his Civil War novel Freedom: listen.

Poet and punk rocker, whose chaotic life blended sports, drugs, and verse, died of a heart attack at the age of sixty. Poignant article about the end of his sad, near poverty-stricken life by Alex Williams in The New York Times here. Don's broadcast with Jim Carroll: listen.

Imprint of an American Literary Icon

  • Doctorow, celebrated for Ragtime, publishes Homer and Langley (Random House, September 2009), his sixteenth book
  • Don Swaim's five-part interview with Doctorow: listen
  • Doctorow vies with John Updike, International PEN Congress 3/10/86: listen
  • Doctorow receives 1986 American Book Award: listen
  • Doctorow publishes classic essay about a failed president, Easthampton Star, 9/9/04: here
  • Doctorow booed by George W. Bush supporters at Hoftra University, Newsday, 5/24/04: here
  • Doctorow at home, The New York Times, 9/2/09: here
  • Don's unedited Wired for Books interview with Doctorow: listen

    Pluck & Scholarship

    The noted black studies scholar was caught in a firestorm when he was arrested for being impertinent to a white cop in Gates' Cambridge, Massachusetts, home. But far more important is that Gates unearthed what is believed to be the first novel written by a black woman in America. Hear Don's interview with Gates at Wired for Books -- and the actual broadcast listen.

    Schulberg shook up Hollywood with his novel What Makes Sammy Run, and he won an Oscar for On the Waterfront. Hear Don's 1990 interview with Schulberg at Wired for Books -- and the actual broadcast listen.


    Coloful writer and lawyer, whose daughter's untimely death led to major improvements in working conditions at New York hospitals. Hear Don's 1991 interview with Zion at Wired for Books -- and the actual broadcast listen.

    Richard M. Nixon discusses books, authors, and his own writing
    in an interview with Don Swaim on February 6, 1984. listen.


    Arguably, the acclaimed Pennsylvania-born novelist should have won the Nobel Prize. Don Swaim interviewed Updike in 1984. Listen to the unedited interview at Wired for Books. For the actual broadcast: listen.


    WILLIAM L. SHIRER, pioneering news broadcaster and author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, talks about the first days of CBS News and Edward R. Murrow, godfather of broadcast journalism in a thirty-minute interview with Don Swaim on July 7, 1984. listen.


    DAVID SCHOENBRUN, one of the original CBS News correspondents in World War Two, talks about the old radio days in an interview with Don Swaim on October 6, 1984. listen.


    Definitive biography of EDWARD R. MURROW and the history of CBS News by Ann Sperber. listen.


    Hard to categorize although with a cult following, the Ohio-born Purdy never enjoyed a wide audience, but he was truly an original. Despite his severe image, Purdy was friendly and courtly. Don Swaim interviewed him three times. The unedited interviews can be heard at Wired for Books. Purdy's obit here. Gore Vidal's profile of Purdy: The Novelist as Outlaw.

    Early Enthusiast of Personal Computers

    Crichton (1942-2008) was the Harvard Medical School-trained writer who blended science and technology into thrillers and sci-fi, such as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. In 1983 -- before Macs, Windows, email, and the Internet -- he published a ground-breaking non-fiction book aimed at educating Americans about personal computing, Electronic Life: How To Think About Computers, and how, as he put it, "everybody's going to have to learn." He was prescient. In a two-part series, Don Swaim spoke to Crichton about computing: listen. For Don's four unedited Wired for Books interviews with Crichton go here. Unfortunately, in his last year, Crichton's fiction was used by the presidency of George W. Bush in a crude effort to prove that global warming is a hoax.

    Archive One 2008-2010
    Archive Two 2011-2012

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