Author Archive

Race, Poverty, and The Moynihan Report 50 Years Later

August 30, 2015 Leave a comment

imageTune in Monday at 8 a.m. to KAZI 88.7FM for my live interview with Susan Greenbaum, author of BLAMING THE POOR: The Long Shadow of The Moynihan Report on Cruel Images About Poverty.  

Susan Greenbaum’s new book, BLAMING THE POOR, examines the negative impact on social policy, race relations, and the poor of the highly controversial report, The Negro Family:The Case For National Action, written in 1965 by assistant secretary of labor Daniel Moynihan for the U.S. Department of Labor.  In the report Moynihan wrote,  “At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family.  It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.”  Moynihan, a Democrat, was later elected to the U.S. Senate to represent New York.

Susan Greenbaum

Susan Greenbaum

Greenbaum rejects Moynihan’s main argument, that the so called matriarchal structure of the African American family feminized black men, making them inadequate workers and absent fathers, resulting in what he called a tangle of pathology that led to a host of social ills.  She reveals how his questionable ideas have been used to redirect blame away from societal sources and to the poor and African Americans.

SUSAN D. GREENBAUM, a professor emerita of anthropology at the University of South Florida, is a leading authority on poverty and racism in the United States.

Sue Grafton Discusses Latest Kinsey Milhone Novel, X, on KAZI

August 29, 2015 1 comment

imageSue Grafton’s latest Kinsey Milhone thriller, X, is a dark and chilling novel, featuring a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath, but the test for her iconic private investigator Kinsey test is whether she can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.

Sue Grafton (© Laurie Roberts Porter)

Sue Grafton (© Laurie Roberts Porter)

Tune in Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CST/1:30 p.m. EST to KAZI 88.7FM  for my interview with Sue Grafton.  I was joined in my interview by KAZI Book Review contributor Gale Albright, a local mystery writer and vice president of the Sisters In Crime heart of Texas chapter.  In our inteview Sue Grafton discussed how she researches her novel, why men should read her Kinsey Milhone novels, and how she keeps a positive focus when writing her novels.  Sue Grafton published her first Kinsey Milhone novel in this alphabet series, A is for Alibi, in 1982, and her books in the series have become international best sellers and her heroine has become an iconic figure.  Grafton has received numerous honors for her writing including being named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

Author Discusses Experience Growing Dreadlocks & Male Identity

August 23, 2015 Leave a comment

imageTune in for my interview with Bert Ashe, author of TWISTED: My Dreadlock Chronicles, Monday, August 24 at 8 a.m. CST/9 a.m. EST on KAZI 88.7FM, Austin, TX.

From the publisher: In TWISTED: My Dreadlock Chronicles, professor and author Bert Ashe delivers a witty, fascinating, and unprecedented account of black male identity as seen through our culture’s perceptions of hair. It is a deeply personal story that weaves together the cultural and political history of dreadlocks with Ashe’s own mid-life journey to lock his hair. Ashe is a fresh, new voice that addresses the importance of black hair in the 20th and 21st centuries through an accessible, humorous, and literary style sure to engage a wide variety of readers.

After leading a far-too-conventional life for forty years, Ashe began a long, arduous, uncertain process of locking his own hair in an attempt to step out of American convention. Black hair, after all, matters. Few Americans are subject to snap judgements like those in the African-American community, and fewer communities face such loaded criticism about their appearances, in particular their hair. Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles makes the argument that the story of dreadlocks in America can’t be told except in front of the backdrop of black hair in America.

Bert Ashe

Bert Ashe

Bert Ashe, an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Richmond, teaches and writes about contemporary American culture, primarily post-Civil Rights Movement African American literature and culture (often referred to as “post-blackness” or the “post-soul aesthetic”), as well as the black vernacular triumvirate of black hair, basketball, and jazz.

His first book, From Within the Frame: Storytelling in African-American Fiction (Routledge, 2002) tracks the development of the African American “frame text,” from Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman through John Edgar Wideman’s “Doc’s Story,” with chapters that focus on Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man along the way.

Are America’s Founding Fathers Overused in Political Discourse?

August 22, 2015 Leave a comment

David Sehat

David Sehat

Author David Sehat discusses his new book THE JEFFERSON RULE: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible on KAZI Book Review, Sunday, August 23 at 12:30 p.m. CST on KAZI 88.7FM in Austin, TX.

From the publisher: In THE JEFFERSON RULE historian David Sehat describes how liberals, conservatives, secessionists, unionists, civil rights leaders, radicals, and libertarians have sought out the Founding Fathers to defend their policies. Beginning with the debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton over the future of the nation, and continuing through the Civil War, the New Deal, the Reagan Revolution, and Obama and the Tea Party, many pols have asked, “What would the Founders do?” instead of “What is the common good today?” Recently both the Right and the Left have used the Founders to sort through such issues as voting rights, campaign finance, free speech, gun control, taxes, and war and peace. They have used an outdated context to make sense of contemporary concerns.

In our interview we discussed how Thomas Jefferson became the most influential of the founders of our nation, the Teaimage Party’s strict interpretation of the constitution, and how the Founding Fathers didn’t even agree among themselves about the meaning of the constitution

David Sehat is Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University. His first book, The Myth of American Religious Freedom, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians.

PODCAST: Manchild in the Promised Land

August 20, 2015 Leave a comment

KAZI Book Review contributors Peggy Terry and Evelyn Martin joined me in a live interview July 27 to discuss MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED Land.  Listen to the interview:

Claude Brown

Claude Brown

Published in 1965, MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND is a semi-autobiographical novel widely regarded as one of the most realistic and poignant portrayals of everyday life for the first generations of African Americans who grew up in northern cities during the 1940s and 1950s. In it, Claude Brown chronicles his coming of age in Harlem with both fondness and sadness, lamenting the many in his neighborhood, including his younger brother, who fell victim to the persistent violence, poverty and alcohol and drug addiction that plagued the community. Claude Brown died in 2002.

Al Roker and Michael Hiltzik on KAZI Book Review

August 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Tune in at 8am CST/9am EST today to KAZI 88.7 FM  for interviews with Al Roker, author of THE STORM OF THE CENTURY and Michael Hiltzik, author of BIG SCIENCE.


Categories: Uncategorized

New Novel Explores Vietnamese Immigrant Experience

August 15, 2015 Leave a comment

Tune in to KAZI Book Review Sunday, August 15 at 12:30 p.m. CST for my interview with Vu Tron, author of DRAGONFISH.

From the publisher: Robert, an Oakland cop, still can’t let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who’s blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny’s sadistic son, “Junior,” and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, as his investigation soon uncovers the existence of an elusive packet of her secret letters to someone she left behind long ago. Although Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy’s life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.

About the author: Vu Tran, winner of a Whiting Award recognizing “exceptional talent and promise,” teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.  DRAGONFISH is his first novel.  Tran was born in Saigon in 1975, five months after the city fell to the North Vietnamese and five months after his father, a captain in the South Vietnamese Air Force, was forced to flee the country. In the spring of 1980, Tran, his mother, and his seven-year-old sister escaped Vietnam by boat, spending five days at sea. They ended up in Malaysia and settled in a refugee camp on the island of Pulau Bidong, off the Malaysian coast. Four months later, Tran’s father sponsored them from America, and in September, they all reunited in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he met his father for the first time.



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