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Almost every day on our program, we end with a "Reporter's Notebook," on events or issues that aren't necessarily leading the news. In this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, we present a collection of our favorite interviews from this year with the authors of remarkable books. We hear how Barack Obama's biographer learned more than the President knew about his own ancestry; why Exxon-Mobil's not really an American company — and how women came out of the secretarial pool into senior positions in the news industry. We also get a scathing account of America's fumbling efforts to transform Afghanistan — before and during our longest war. Plus, a conversation with Salman Rushdie about surviving a fatwa.

Reporter's Notebook David Maraniss on Obama 7 MIN, 39 SEC

Maraniss_book.jpgIn June, we interviewed David Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winner at the Washington Post, also biographer of Bill Clinton. His latest is Barack Obama: the Story.

David Maraniss, Washington Post (@davidmaraniss)

Barack Obama

David Maraniss

Reporter's Notebook Rajiv Chandrasekaran on 'Little America' in Afghanistan 15 MIN, 18 SEC

Chandrasekaran_book.jpgRajiv Chandrasekaran is an editor and foreign correspondent for the Washington Post.  His book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, was a scathing account of US mishandling of the war in Iraq. His latest is Little America: the War Within the War for Afghanistan. We talked to him at KCRW's studio in Santa Monica in July.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Starbucks (@rajivscribe)

Little America

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Reporter's Notebook Salman Rushdie's Memoir 10 MIN, 36 SEC

Rushdie_book.jpgOn September 18 of this year, we interviewed the novelist Salman Rushdie, whose memoir about living under a fatwa had just been published. Rushdie says the fatwa was based on a misunderstanding of his earlier novel, The Satanic Verses, which Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini denounced as an insult to Islam. Coincidentally, Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton, was published in the midst of another international uproar. Seventy-five lives were lost in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan in protests over the film, The Innocence of Muslims — which was very much intended to be an insult to Islam.

Salman Rushdie, author (@salmanrushdie)

Joseph Anton

Salman Rushdie

Reporter's Notebook Lynn Povich on the Good Girls Revolt at Newsweek 7 MIN, 26 SEC

Povich_book.jpgIn 1975, Lynn Povich became the first female senior editor of Newsweek magazine, where she started out as a secretary. But her rise from an entry-level position to senior management was different from those of the men who preceded her. It took legal action.  She's written a book about the process: The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace.

Lynn Povich, journalist and author (@LynnPovich)

The Good Girls Revolt

Lynn Povich

Reporter's Notebook Steve Coll on ExxonMobil 9 MIN

Coll_book.jpgApple has challenged Exxon Mobil as the biggest American company, but Exxon Mobil deals with fuel for the energy that powers the world's economy — including Apple computers. Now it's become a sort of state on its own, with a foreign policy that may not conform to the foreign policy of its home country. Exxon Mobil is not "a US company," according to its former president, Lee Raymond. "I don't make decisions based on what's good for the US." He's cited in the new book, Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power, authored by Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Coll, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine.

Steve Coll, Author and Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, CEO of New America Foundation

Private Empire

Steve Coll


Warren Olney

Sonya Geis

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