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Jurek Durczak, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2982346

Johnny Rotten had it easy in England. Try being an east German punk with the Stasi looking over your shoulder.

Tim Mohr, legendary Berlin-based DJ and music scholar, has written a history of the underground punk scene in East Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, called Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Punk rock didn't come close to sinking capitalism in the West. But it played a major role in bringing down the East German regime, says Mohr. 

The oppression punk rockers felt from the East German government says a lot about why the Berlin Wall came down. 

By Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1969-065-24 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5418804

In our current divided political climate the word "fascist" is an all-purpose insult used by the left to describe members of the alt-right. Much like "socialist" or "liberal" is hurled in the opposite direction.

But what exactly constitutes fascism? In his new book, How Fascism Works, Jason Stanley has a simple formula: fascist politics uses divisiveness to attain power.

He also describes the ten pillars of fascist politics. And he points out that a country need not be fascist to experience fascism. 

Public Domain, Wikimedia

Labor Day is supposed to be about celebrating the working people of America, in part by giving them the day off.  We jumped in with all of our feet, and grabbed some past interviews to run.  
At 8:00: one of our favorite regional authors--good books, good interviews--Amy Stewart, took a new tack in her writing with a novel based on a real person.  That is Girls Waits With Gun, her first book about Constance Kopp, tough guy in a skirt from 1914.  
At 9:00: Frank Sinatra would be 103 if he were around today.  The centenary of his birth was observed in 2015 by the book Sinatra's Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World

Minnesota Public Radio

We zoom down rural highways at 65 miles an hour (if we obey the limits), not thinking much about the passing countryside or what would happen if we broke down. 

When you stop to think about it, the people who moved west along the Oregon Trail were just barely this side of broken down.  They really knew little about what lay ahead of them. 

Journalist Rinker Buck and his brother Nicholas decided to see what that was like.  So they pushed themselves and a mule team over the old path, a journey told in the book Oregon Trail

The handsome chief of the Canadian Cherokee had it all: good looks, a great story, and lots of money.  Oh, and one other thing: his story was a complete fabrication. 

"Chief White Elk" was really Edgar Laplante, a grifter and vaudeville performer who upped his game by pretending to be someone and something he wasn't.  And people in the celebrity-obsessed culture of the 1910s and 20s bought it. 

The building and busting of Laplante's myth is told in the book King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age's Greatest Imposter

Walter Gresham, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6409170

The famous "lost colony" of Roanoke Island, North Carolina, has a lot of myths built up around it.  How could a colony of 115 people just disappear? 

Much of our thinking about this 16th-century event comes from 19th-century accounts.  Science writer Andrew Lawler brings 21st-century analysis to the vanished English colony... and explores the possibility that the colonists just took up with local natives and never looked back. 

That's the thrust of The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke

Wikimedia

Jon Meacham has written some fine biographies of Americans, including one on Andrew Jackson that won a Pulitzer Prize.  Now it's not a person Meacham is examining, but a whole country. 

That's the gist of his latest work, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.  In the book, Meacham points out several times in American history when we were at each other's throats, figuratively if not actually, and managed to come through. 

The key: finding and accentuating those better angels. 

Public Domain

Do you remember the first time you saw a magic trick as a kid?  Something vanished, or appeared, or broke and got fixed again.  And you wondered how it was done. 

Magicians are not supposed to tell their secrets.  But magic designer and author Jim Steinmeyer tells a few, with co-author Peter Lamont, in The Secret History of Magic

Not so much tricks, as the secret of magic's own story, and some of the myths that have grown around it. 

Southern Oregon Digital Archive

The voice may sound familiar: Diana Coogle delivered audio essays on JPR News for years. 

Now she's back to talk about her own life story, as it involves a commune, Houkola, in the Colestin Valley by the state line. 

That story is the focus of this month's Stories of Southern Oregon, compiled and curated by Maureen Flanagan Battistella. 

National Archives of The Netherlands

The first world war was unimaginable for many people.  Then it happened again, just a generation later. 

How did Europe, considered the center of civilization, devolve into belligerence and barbarity TWICE in such a short amount of time? 

The Penguin History of Europe series asked that question, and historian Ian Kershaw answered, in To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949

Harris.news/Wikimedia

Celebrate America's birthday!  We will, by taking the day off and putting the Exchange on autopilot.  And that means a review of some of our important segments from the past. 

At 8: Bryan Burrough gives a look back at a tough time in American history in his book Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence

At 9: Alice Randall gave us a slave's perspective on Gone With the Wind with a parody called The Wind Done Gone

She and daughter Caroline Randall Williams teamed up for a cookbook with stories of their family and updated (as in less-fatty) recipes called Soul Food Love

Wikimedia/Public Domain

Quick, name some of the fabulously rich men of the 19th century.  John D. Rockefeller?  Check.  Andrew Carnegie?  Check.  John W. Mackay?  Uh, who? 

Not a household name in our time, but John Mackay got rich in the Comstock Lode of silver and gold in Nevada, and went toe-to-toe in competition with some of the richest men of his time. 

Gregory Crouch profiles Mackay (pronounced "Mackie") in the book The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in the American West

Oregon State University Press

It was the late 1960s... and Malcolm Terence did what a lot of people did in that time: looked for a different way to live. 

He'd been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and he was ready for a change.  Managing a rock band was fun, but also not the answer. 

So Malcolm found his way to the Black Bear Ranch, a commune nestled in the mountains by the Oregon-California state line.  That's where things got interesting, and Malcolm built himself a life. 

He tells the story in his first book, Beginner's Luck: Dispatches From the Klamath Mountains

Gellinger/Pixabay

It's really not that long a stretch from "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" (Elvis Presley, 1961) to "I'm a sucker for the way that you move, babe" ("Never Be The Same", Camila Cabelo, 2018). 

They are both songs of love.  There have been many through time, and the history is really interesting. 

Love songs truly challenged their cultures when they first appeared.  This is one of many things Ted Gioia reveals in his book Love Songs: The Hidden History

flyingtigersavg.com

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."  So China and the United States were friendly in the early days of World War II, even before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 

A covert military operation brought American planes and pilots to Southeast Asia to support the Chinese in their fight with Japan: The Flying Tigers. 

The story of the group's creation and activities is told in Samuel Kleiner's book Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan

It's a highly unusual story, this group of volunteers fighting under a foreign flag. 

Tales of people fighting fires go way back in the region.  And there's a special aura of mystery and romance around smokejumpers, people who actually jump out of planes (yes, with parachutes) to fight wildfires. 

Mystery and romance?  More like grunts and groans, from the tales of the smokejumpers themselves. 

The physical conditioning they undergo to be ready for action is challenging, to say the least. 

This month's Stories of Southern Oregon features a return visit from Gary Buck of the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum near Cave Junction. 

Wikimedia

Silent since her death in 1959, the voice of Billie Holiday still echoes for generations of Americans. 

The story of "Lady Day" has been told many times, but author Tracy Fessenden tells the story of Holiday's music with a religious focus.  Fessenden's book is Religion Around Billie Holiday, and it explores religious influences ranging from Holiday's time in a convent as a child to the Jewish predominance in the Tin Pan Alley pop music culture. 

Each helped shape the work of the singer who flamed out too early at age 44. 

Wikimedia

Maybe the details become murky over time, but just the name of America's most complicated war says volumes: Vietnam. 

58,000 people died fighting for the United States, and the country itself divided sharply over the war, leaving a permanent scar. 

Elizabeth Partridge protested the war as a teenager in Berkeley; she offers an overview of the war to a new generation in the lavishly-illustrated book Boots On The Ground: America's War In Vietnam

Alexander Novati/Wikimedia

The imprisoning of Japanese-Americans in prison camps during World War II is an enduring stain on the country.  We still struggle to understand the actions and motivations of the time. 

Much of the attention focuses on people leaving their homes and living in the camps. 

But what happened after they were released?  That's the approach taken in the book Life After Manzanar by Naomi Hirahara and Heather Lindquist. 

People released from camps got 25 dollars and a bus ticket. 

mdvaden/Wikimedia

It helps understand our region and its history when people take the time to jot down a few notes. 

Annice Olena Black comes from a family of historians who recorded tales of people and places in the Applegate Valley around Ruch. 

Annice is the focus of this month's edition of Stories of Southern Oregon.  She has many stories of her own to tell about her parents and their writing, including a book. 

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