biographies

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The executive director of the Kansas City Symphony is a busy man, but Frank Byrne has carved out some time for Up To Date. Today, he leads us through a Shostakovich symphony he's been listening to a lot lately. Then, we learn about the reporting, the writing, and the living Ernest Hemingway did in Kansas City during his 18th year of life.

Bobnjeff / Flickr - CC

Despite passing away 25 years ago, Marjorie Powell Allen's life works continue to impact the Kansas City region. Today, we recall the businesswoman, educator and philanthropist, chronicled in a new biography. Then, we speak with two-time Grammy winner and Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, and learn how and why she continues to advocate for the environment and the LGBTQ community.  

New America / Flickr - CC

Today, Kansas's newest poet laureate discusses how to find extraordinary meaning in the seemingly ordinary events of our lives. Then, we speak with political journalist and long-time confidant to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, whose new writing delves into the complex life of one of America's great presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

These days, politicians who change their policy positions are called flip-floppers, but that epithet could easily apply to some of this country's most celebrated leaders. Journalist Larry Tye's book, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, illustrates the political evolution of Robert Kennedy.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jon Meacham's new book on the first President Bush is generating attention for what he had to say about Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, advisers to his son President George W. Bush. But there's a lot more inside the biography about the man Meacham describes as "the last moderate Republican."

Kyle Smith / KCUR

Perhaps it's the insight into the creative process. Or maybe it's because they seem like larger-than-life figures. Whatever the case, there's just something fascinating about reading about the lives of artists.

KCUR's Bibliofiles — our book critics — share their favorite books about artists with Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Here are their recommendations:

Kaite Stover, Kansas City Public Library:

University of Missouri Press

  Any prominent public figure has private citizens supporting him or her without much recognition. The name Grenville Clark may not roll off your tongue, but the people he supported-- including both presidential Roosevelts-- changed the history of the United States.  

Guest:

  • Nancy Peterson Hill, author of A Very Private Public Citizen: The Life of Grenville Clark

Simon & Schuster

He was a pitchman for Jell-O and got us moving with Fat Albert. He was the first black man to star in a television drama and gave fatherly advice in the TV show that bore his name and changed the way many people in America viewed African-Americans.

After nearly 120 years, jockey Issac Burns Murphy's winning record is still the highest in American horse racing history.  Though he won three Kentucky Derbies and set numerous records throughout his career, Murphy had to deal with the harsh reality of being black in the still deeply segregated South.

On this edition of Up to Date Pellom McDaniels III talks with Steve Kraske about his new biography of "The Prince of Jockeys" whose life and career spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow.

Landov / CBS

Many knew him as the “most trusted man in America,” but how well do you really know Walter Cronkite?

Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch, is a biography of one of the most public—and yet most private—people in the world.