Stu Levitan welcomes Madison’s favorite journalistic son, and his most frequent guest, David Maraniss. As proud Madisonians know, David grew up on the west side, the son of Capital Times editor Elliott Maraniss and University of Wisconsin Press editor Mary Cummins Maraniss, graduating from West High in 1967. To the rest of the world, he is a best-selling author and an associate editor at the Washington Post, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1993 for his coverage of presidential candidate Bill Clinton, and was part of the Post’s team that won the Pulitzer in 2008 for its coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.
Stu has had the pleasure of interviewing David about several of his bestselling books, most recently A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father, about the aforementioned Elliott. We’ve also aired conversations about his books Barack Obama: The Story, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero; Once In A Great City: A Detroit Story; Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics that Changed the World, and the book that hits closest to home, They Marched Into Sunlight: Vietnam and America October 1967. Unfortunately, Stu didn’t have a show like this when he published When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.
Today, we’re going to do something different, and talk about a book that hasn’t even been published yet, because David has only just finished writing the main text, and this is the first public conversation he’s had about it. It’s another in his series of using sports to examine larger social issues – this time, the promise and plight of the American Indian in modern America, as exemplified by one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. The book is Path Lit By Lightning: A Life of Jim Thorpe, and you can look for it from Simon and Schuster late next summer.
But before we talk about Jim Thorpe, we’re going to take a few moments to preview something that’s also very near and dear to David, the Cap Times Idea Fest, a week-long series of panels and interviews on reckoning with change that kicks off a week from tonight.
As always, it is a great pleasure to welcome back to Madison BookBeat, our friend, David Maraniss.