When the PR people from Penguin invited us to talk about a new book, I Alone Can Fix It – Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year our first reaction was, Oh no! Not another book about him. After five years, haven’t we exhausted the conversation? Then, the authors of A Very Stable Genius, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker were included. That was more than enough information to confirm this was a book we had to talk about. The acclaimed Washington Post reporters pull back the curtain on the handling of Covid-19, the re-election bid, and its chaotic and violent aftermath. This is the true story of what took place in Donald Trump’s White House during a disastrous 2020. What was really going on around the president, as the government failed to contain the coronavirus and over half a million Americans perished? Who was influencing Trump after he refused to concede an election he had clearly lost and spread lies about election fraud? Carol Leonnig reveals to Norman B a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency’s inner workings in unprecedented, stunning detail.
Between 1840 and 1910, hundreds of thousands of men and women traveled deep into the underdeveloped American West, lured by the prospect of adventure and opportunity. Alongside this rapid expansion of the United States, a second, overlapping social shift was taking place: Survival in a settler society busy building itself from scratch required two equally hardworking partners, compelling women to compromise Eastern sensibilities and take on some of the same responsibilities as their husbands. At a time when women had very few legal or economic – much less political – rights, these women soon proved they were just as essential as men to westward expansion. Their efforts to attain equality by acting as men’s equals paid off, and well before the Nineteenth Amendment, they became the first American women to vote. In New Women in the Old West, Winifred Gallagher brings to life the riveting history of the little-known women – the White, Black, and Asian settlers, and the Native Americans and Hispanics they displaced – who played monumental roles in one of America’s most transformative periods. Drawing on an extraordinary collection of research, Gallagher weaves together the striking legacy of the persistent individuals who not only created homes on weather-wracked prairies and built communities in muddy mining camps, but also played a vital, unrecognized role in the women’s rights movement and forever redefined the “American woman”.
Also in the show, new and very different music. UK-based, composer, producer, and late-night broadcaster, Hannah Peel’s latest album, Fir Wave is a wonderful assembly of ambient, experimental, and electronic music. Realistically, slotting Ms. Peel’s work into specific genres misses the point. Patterned Formation being a perfect example. This is music to indulge in. Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher have never met in person. The peculiar circumstances of Covid brought the two musicians together via the magic of the wireless (internet). Harry of Inca Babies fame and punk-blues veteran Marco teamed up and have produced a wonderful selection of cuts for the LP, Bone Architecture. The unintentionally timely, There’s Someone Tryin’ To Get In shows how these to gents have merged their respective talents to full effect.