This interview was originally broadcast on April 12, 2011. 1861: The Civil War Awakening is now available in paperback.
The first shots of the American Civil War were fired almost 151 years ago in the Charleston, S.C., harbor. Less than two days later, Fort Sumter surrendered. It would take the Union army nearly four years to bring the coastal fortification back under its command.
The premise of Friends with Kids is the stuff of high-concept romantic comedies: Writer-director Jennifer Westfeldt plays Julie, who's at the age when her odds of childbearing lessen each year, and there's no mate in sight. So her best friend, Jason, played by Adam Scott, volunteers to impregnate her.
There are times when TV dramas about national politics and politicians deserve criticism, even ridicule, for their fast-and-loose narratives and characterizations. Recent miniseries about the Reagans and the Kennedys, loaded with unsubstantiated dialogue and action, are only two very fresh examples.
But Game Change â€” HBO's new take on the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign â€” is entertaining, and commendable, precisely because it stays so close to the facts, not because it strays from them.
It's not difficult to guess what the over-arching theme might be on an album Bruce Springsteen characterizes as being "as direct as any I ever made." The title song from Wrecking Ball is one he wrote a few years ago to commemorate the demolition of Giants Stadium in New Jersey. It was written from the point of view of the stadium, but in its new context, the wrecking ball is a symbol of the implacable forces that have wrecked the economy for millions of people.