During this most unusual of presidential campaign years, a number of books have been published about former presidents.

Our nation's 16th president is often viewed as a man who was above politics, but in the first book of his multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, Sidney Blumenthal says Lincoln was intensely ambitious, a political genius who held aspirations from his earliest years.

George Washington Carver was an accomplished botanist, known for his discovery of many uses for the peanut, but his life required great perseverance and character to overcome a wealth of societal obstacles.

This interview originally aired on June 28, 2015.

Marian Spencer was born in 1920 in Gallipolis, Ohio, one year after the “Red Summer” of 1919 that saw an upsurge in race riots and lynchings. Following the example of her grandfather, an ex-slave and community leader, Ms. Spencer joined the NAACP at thirteen and grew up to achieve not only a number of civic leadership firsts here in her adopted home of Cincinnati, but a legacy of lasting civil rights victories. Ohio University Press has just released the biography, “Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer,” written by Dorothy Christenson. She and Marian Spencer join us this afternoon.

A re-broadcast of Barbara Gray’s recent discussion with civil rights activist Marian Spencer and her friend Dot Christenson about their book, Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer.

The Adventures of Henry Thoreau: A Young Man's Unlikely Path to Walden Pond tells the story of how the young man who had trouble holding a job became an early voice in the environmental movement. The author, Michael Sims, is on the phone with our Kelly Blewett to talk about Thoreau’s early years, before Walden Pond.

  At the age of 17, Dottie Kamenshek of Cincinnati was drafted to play for the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  Many agree the  Dottie Hinson character in the movie A League of Their Own drew at least in some part  from her life.

  For three decades, Xavier University'’s Sister Rose Ann Fleming has been a force behind the school's extraordinary academic record for its men's basketball players. Since she started Xavier’'s academic advising program, every player who reached his final year of eligibility has graduated.

A new biography of legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington

Nov 15, 2013

Terry Teachout, drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, jazz musician and author, joins David Delegator by phone for a talk about his latest biography, DUKE: A Life of Duke Ellington.

Northern Kentucky University Associate Professor Carol Medlicott is a scholar of the Shakers and has written Issachar Bates: A Shaker's Journey, a biography of an early Shaker leader who led the group’s expansion west of the Appalachians. She joins Mark Heyne to discuss Bates’ life and how he established the seven Shaker centers in this region.

Barbara Gray welcomes local author and UC Associate Professor Nikki Taylor into the studio to talk about her new book, America’s First Black Socialist: The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark. He led the fight for African Americans' access to Ohio's public schools and became the first black principal in the state.

Louisa May Alcott and Abigail May Alcott

Feb 8, 2013

With newly uncovered family papers long thought destroyed, Eve LaPlante-a great-niece and cousin of Abigail and Louisa May Alcott – was able to write two recently released books about this famous, yet not fully understood family. Barbara Gray had the opportunity to talk by phone with the author about Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother and My Heart is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa's Mother.

Richard Burton's Diaries

Dec 28, 2012

Hollywood icon and Oscar-nominated actor Richard Burton led a tumultuous life that included two marriages to Elizabeth Taylor and a bit of drinking. For the first time, his diaries from 1939 through 1983 have been published and Chris Williams, the book’s editor, speaks with Larry Thomas about this revealing collection of personal writings, and how they provide a unique look at those supposed glamor years.

John Quincy Adams

Nov 2, 2012

Historian and author Harlow Giles Unger has delved into the lives of many known and lesser known historical figures, but his new book tells the story of a man who fought for Washington, served with Lincoln, witnessed Bunker Hill, and sounded the clarion against slavery on the eve of the Civil War. He negotiated an end to the War of 1812, engineered the annexation of Florida, and won the Supreme Court decision that freed the African captives of The Amistad.