On December 29, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the USSR, Michael Krasny interviewed me on his award-winning KQED radio show, Forum. KQED is currently the most-listened-to public radio station in America, reaching over 745,000 listeners each week.
Listen to the one-hour interview, where we discuss my book, The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.
The program's blurb: San Francisco native Francis Tapon has visited more than 80 countries and hiked over 12,500 miles. Along his journey he has learned many life lessons. He joins the program to share his insights about what Eastern Europeans can teach us in his newest book, The Hidden Europe.
“Francis Tapon provides us with a wide-ranging personal and historical travelogue. . . . The result is one of the world's most personal, idiosyncratic, and unorthodox cultural and historical travel guides. . . . It's really an impressive and ambitious book.” — Michael Krasny, Host on KQED's Forum
About Michael Krasny: Dr. Krasny has interviewed many of the leading newsmakers and cultural icons of our time, including former President Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Francis Ford Coppola, Don DeLillo, Newt Gingrich, Vice President Al Gore, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, President Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Redford, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Updike, and countless others. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including The S.Y. Agnon Gold Medal for Intellectual Distinction, The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism, The Inclusiveness in Media Award from The National Conference for Community and Justice, and a Koret Foundation Fellowship. He has also been named best talk show host by Focus magazine, a number of Bay Area newspapers, The San Francisco Publicity Club, and Citysearch.
Background: When I used to work in Silicon Valley, I would often listen to Forum with Michael Krasny on 88.5 FM. Therefore, it was a bit surreal to be in the studio talking with him since I have always admired his objectivity and brilliance. The Hidden Europe is a 750-page tome, so I couldn't imagine Krasny being able to read it, but he stunned me at how well he knew my book, including obsure details. His questions and observations made me understand why he's argubly the best interviewer in the world.
Two minor errors in the interview
1. At 18:40-18:50: I say that Putin "used to have an approval rating of 69% earlier in 2001." I meant "earlier in 2011." Why did I make that error? I was about to say "earlier this year," when the thought flashed in my head that many people might listen to this Dec 29, 2011 recording in 2012. So if I had said "earlier this year" some might have thought that I was referring to "earlier in 2012." However, my tongue/brain got tied and I blurted out "2001." Fortunately, my statement wasn't that inaccurate. Putin's approval in 2001 was also roughly 69%. Indeed, his current 51% approval rating is an all-time low for him.
2. At minute 12:00: Krasny says that in my book I make an analogy between Serbia and Oklahoma. I then correct him saying that my analogy was between Kosovo and Oklahoma. THE TRUTH: I'm wrong and Krasny's right! The analogy that I made in my book was indeed between Serbia and Oklahoma. Something happened in the studio that distracted me, which gave me a temporary brain freeze. Here's the analogy I make in my book:
SERBIA = OKLAHOMA
KOSOVO = OKLAHOMA'S AUTONOMOUS INDIAN RESERVATIONS
Read more about why Serbia is like Oklahoma.