Bill Moyers (author); BILL MOYERS JOURNAL; The New Press (Nonfiction: Culture) $29.95 ISBN: 9781595586247
Byline: Edward Morris
These are transcriptions of fifty interviews Moyers conducted for the third incarnation of Bill Moyers Journal, which ran on PBS from 2007 to 2010. Politically, he is an unapologetic New Deal/Great Society liberal (he was Lyndon Johnson's press secretary for four years), but Moyers comes across as the most gentle and earnest of partisans, one who listens carefully and makes a good faith effort to understand opposing points of views even though he knows he's not likely to be converted by them.
It's obvious that Moyers is more interested in the ideas of those he quizzes than in their celebrity. Even when he's talking to such high profile subjects as comedian Jon Stewart, actor John Lithgow, naturalist Jane Goodall, or novelist John Grisham, his focus is on their assessments of the world and why they hold them -- not their current project. Probing Barbara Ehrenreich on economic inequality, Michael Pollan on the politics of food, Jeremy Scahill on America's use of for-profit armies, Karen Armstrong on the social functions of religion, and Robert Bly, Nikki Giovanni, and W. S. Merwin on the power and persistence of poetry, his interests are omnivorous.