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The History and Future of Gorbachev.

Veteran journalist Dusko Doder. Doder and co-author Louise Branson have just written a comprehensive biography of Mikhail Gorbachev, titled, "Gorbachev: Heretic In the Kremlin." It's published by Viking. Dusko Doder is the former Moscow Bureau chief for the Washington Post. Branson covered the Soviet Union for the Sunday Times of London.


What Spelling Changes Say About French Culture

The French government will officially simplify the spelling of several dozen words, claiming the change will make their national language more accessible and appealing to foreigners. Linguist Geoff Nunberg questions the efficacy of the initiative, and considers how countries define themselves through culture and legislation.


A Christian Palestinian Promotes Non-Violent Resistance

Mubarak Awad grew up in the Occupied Territories; he later became a U.S. citizen, but returned to Palestine to advocate for civil disobedience as the best way to resist Israeli rule and discrimination. He joins Fresh Air to give his perspective on the intifada and Palestinian organizations like PLO, whose violent actions Awat sees as acts of resistance, not terrorism.


Krushchev's Son on His Father's Life

Historian William Taubman edited and translated a biography of the last years of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, as told by Nikita's son, Sergei. The book, titled Khrushchev on Khrushchev, gives new insights into the elder Khrushchev's fall from power after repudiating Stalinism, and his final days as a virtual pariah in the Soviet Union.


A Definitive Report on the Chernobyl Accident

Scientist Zhores Mevedvev was the first scientist in the West to determine that the Soviet Union suffered a nuclear accident in 1957, three decades before Chernobyl. He has a new book called "The Legacy of Chernobyl," about the latter disaster -- which contributed to the Soviet Union's glasnost and perestroika reforms. Medvedev's father was exiled from Russia; Medvedev himself faced persecution for his research and activism.


The Pentagon's Secret Spending on Future Wars

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Tim Weiner reports on national security issues. In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles on secret Pentagon spending on advanced weaponry and defense technology. Weiner argues that the lack of transparency is unconstitutional -- a point he argues in his new book, "Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black Budget."


Albie Sachs Survives His Assassination Attempt

The white anti-apartheid activist and African National Congress member survived a car bomb explosion, though the blast left him severely injured. Sachs later left South Africa for Mozambique, then England. His new memoir about the experience is called Running to Maputo.


The Growing Arsenal of Third World Dictatorships

Sunday Times journalist James Adams reports on the increase of chemical weapons stores in Iraq -- which was fueled in part by the actions of wealthier, Western countries. He says dictators around the world are more likely to use their weapons stores, which poses a problem for developed countries. An expert on the arms business, Adams believes war between the United States and Iraq is inevitable.


Nadine Gordimer's Returns with a New Novel

The white South African writer's latest book is called My Son's Story, about a mixed-race family. She joins Fresh Air to talk about why she stays in in her home country, despite political unrest. A long-time anti-apartheid activist, she's recently become a member of the African National Congress.


Middle East's "Longest War" and It's International Ramifications

Pakistan-born, British journalist Dilip Hiro covers Middle East affairs. His forthcoming book on the Iran-Iraq war is called The Longest War. He says Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein gained power by receiving intelligence and material support from Western states, including the U.S. He says any conflict between the U.S. and Iraq could destabilize the region.


Guatemalan Novelist Arturo Arias

Arias advocates for writers who dissent against repressive governments. He lives in the United States, but occasionally returns to his home country. His newest novel, After the Bombs, about a young boy growing up in a politically unstable Guatemala City, has just been published in English.


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