The Best of the Atlantic Monthly

October 22, 2007

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Robert Vare

Robert Vare, editor at large of the Atlantic Monthly and editor of The American Idea: The Best of the Atlantic Monthly, is joined by several Atlantic Monthly contributing writers, including William Least Heat-Moon and Alex Kotlowitz, to discuss the magazine's place of the in American culture as it celebrates its 150th anniversary. 

The Atlantic Monthly (also known as The Atlantic) is an American literary/cultural magazine founded in Boston in 1857. Its creators were a group of writers that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and James Russell Lowell (who would become its first editor). Originally a monthly publication, the magazine, subscribed to by 480,000 readers, now publishes ten times a year and features articles in the fields of political science and foreign affairs, as well as book reviews.

William Least Heat-Moon is a contemporary Missouri travel writer, and author of a bestselling trilogy of topographical U.S. travel writing. Blue Highways, which spent 42 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1982-83, chronicles the people he talked to in roadside cafés as well as his personal soul-searching during a 13,000 mile journey by road.  Other works include, PrairyErth, a deep map account of Chase County, Kansas, and River Horse, an account of a four-month coast-to-coast boat trip across the U.S., using only the nation's waterways, which explores Heat-Moon's continuing observation of American culture.

Alex Kotlowitz is perhaps best known for the bestselling There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America.  The book, which was published in 1991 and has since sold over half-a-million copies, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award. Kotlowitz's most recent book, Never a City So Real (Crown), is a collection of contemporary stories from Chicago, his adopted hometown.

 

Recorded Monday, October 22, 2007 at Chicago Public Library.