Do you believe in life after death? William Peter Blatty does. He’s the author of The Exorcist — a terrifying novel that became a scary movie — and he says he has the proof in his new memoir, Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life after Death.Unknown

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Blatty describes what he has witnessed since his son’s death, why he interprets these incidents as messages from beyond the grave, and how one of the world’s most acclaimed authors of horror could write such a life-affirming book.

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The separation of church and state doesn’t mean that Americans must separate religion from politics, says Gary Scott Smith, author of Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents.religion in the oval office

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Smith names America’s least-religious presidents, describes his chapter on the faith of President Obama, and also explains how religion led Harry Truman to support the creation of Israel.

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“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” sang Bob Dylan. Whatever elsDays of Rage Bookmongere this line accomplished, it inspired the name of a group of left-wing terrorists, the Weather Underground. In his new book Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence, author Bryan Burrough describes the men and women behind Weather Underground and their ilk, as they bombed their way across America in the 1960s and 1970s.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Burrough discusses the motives of these violent groups, their legacy, and where their members are today–including the unsettling fact that although they’ve had plenty of time to mature, hardly any of them feel remorse for their crimes.

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“I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it,” said CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow in 1945 from Buchenwald. “For most of it, I have no words.”KL History of Nazi Concentration Camps

Historian Nikolaus Wachsmann does have words for it–lots of them–in KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps, a comprehensive new account that runs more than 800 pages and tries to explain the full terror of Auschiwitz, Dachau, and the rest.

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Baseball is back! Years ago, W.P. Kinsella wrote a short story about baseball called “Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa.” The Essential WP KinsellaIt became a novel called Shoeless JoeFinally, it turned into a movie called “Field of Dreams.” The original story, and many more, are collected in The Essential W.P. Kinsella.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Kinsella says what he thinks of “Field of Dreams” (he likes it). He also shares his opinion of hockey (he doesn’t like it). Finally, he names his favorite baseball team (you’ll just have to listen).

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Mark Twain spent about 12 years of his life outside the United States, traveling the world and writing about it–and Roy Morris Jr. describes these adventures in American Vandal: Mark Twain Abroad.Bookmonger John Miller American Vandal Mark Twain Abroad

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Morris says that Twain was best known in his own time as a journalist and travel writer, not a novelist. He developed a low opinion of Europe and the Holy Land and enjoyed a good French joke as much as the rest of us.

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Why are werewolves such great monsters?Andrew Klavan Werewolf Cop Edgar Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Andrew Klavan explains it in a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger about his new novel, Werewolf Cop.

We also discuss the cultural and political mess of Europe, how Klavan became a conservative (or a “patriot,” as he likes to say), and why vampires are boring. Moreover, movie buffs will want to take notes when Klavan names the only two werewolf movies worth seeing. One thing’s for sure: This is a werewolf podcast worth hearing.

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On April 22, 1915 — almost exactly a century ago — Germans attacked French and Canadian soldiers with poison gas, and the world experienced a weapon of mass destruction for the first time. A Higher Form of Killing Diane PrestonWithin a few weeks, a U-boat sank the Lusitania and a zeppelin bombed London. Historian Diana Preston describes these terrifying days in A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare.

In a 10-minute podcast with The Bookmonger, Preston describes how these weapons influenced the United States and whether they backfired on the Germans, who ultimately lost the war. She also discusses what World War I can teach people in the 21st century, at a time when Syria gasses its own people and Iran approaches nuclear capability.

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What is this chimerical creature, the “conservatarian”? Charles C. W. Cooke, my National Review colleague, Unknown-1provides an answer in The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Cooke describes why so many people like to call themselves socially liberal and fiscally conservative, why conservatives should make peace with gay marriage but not with abortion-on-demand, and whether he sees a presidential candidate who is ready to embrace the principles of conservatarianism.

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It sounds like the premise of the next “National Treasure” movie: UnknownFor centuries, philosophers such as Plato, Machiavelli, and Rousseau have hidden their true teachings by engaging in “esoteric writing,” which challenges readers not merely to grasp the plain meaning of their works but to unlock their secrets through careful interpretation.

That’s the central claim of Arthur M. Melzer in his new book, Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.

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Long before Common Core, conservatives crusaded against progressive education reforms–and historian Adam Laats tells their tale in, The Other School Reformers“The Other School Reformers: Conservative Activism in American Education.”

In a 10-minute podcast with The Bookmonger, Laats describes a 1974 school boycott in West Virginia, plus other examples of grassroots rebellion. We also discuss why so many historians have overlooked the role of conservatives in school policy, why a non-conservative like Laats took an interest in them, and what today’s conservative education reformers can learn from the experiences of their predecessors.

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Randy Boyagoda says that Richard John Neuhaus was the most important American Unknown-1clergyman of his time–and explains why both in his new biography, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square, as well as in the latest edition of The Bookmonger.

We also discuss what personality traits accounted for the influence of Neuhaus and what attracted Boyagoda, an accomplished novelist, to tackle this subject.

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Today we have a special edition of The Bookmonger, a conversation with Rick and Karen Santorum about their new book, Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation. UnknownFirst we discuss their daughter, the victim of Trisomy 18, a rare genetic disorder similar to Down Syndrome. What challenges does Bella present and what has she taught the Santorum family?

Then we talk shop: Will Rick run for president in 2016? (Spoiler alert: He’s thinking about it but, disappointingly, refused to make a major announcement during our 10-minute conversation.) Rick explains went wrong in 2012 and how can Republicans prevail next year, plus how GOP senator Pat Toomey can win re-election in purplish Pennsylvania, where Rick is 2-1 in statewide elections.

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Who is Brent Scowcroft? Mastermind of geopolitical realism? Scourge of neoconservative idealism? 9k=

In The Bookmonger’s latest 10-minute podcast, we try to summarize the life and legacy of the man Bartholomew Sparrow calls The Strategist. That’s the title of his new biography, which is subtitled Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security.

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Michael Kinsley once said that the scandal of Washington is not what’s illegal, but what’s legal. In today’s Bookmonger podcast, Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard and I take up the problem of political corruption.51gXmRzXBBL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Jay’s new book is A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption. In our 10-minute talk, we discuss whether Tammany Hall was more corrupt than today’s Washington, whether civil-service rules are better than the old-fashioned spoils system of patronage, and how Jay would go about fixing the whole big mess.

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The Federalist Society: A debating club for right-of-center lawyers and students, Unknownor a sinister element in the vast right-wing conspiracy?

Today’s guest on The Bookmonger is Amanda Hollis-Brusky, author of Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution. In our 10-minute conversation, she discusses the group’s origins and influence, as well as why the Left, even though it dominates law schools, has had trouble launching a competitor.

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Rena Pederson calls Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi a “moral celebrity” in the pattern of Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Burma Springand Mother Teresa. In our latest edition of The Bookmonger, the author of The Burma Spring explains why. She also describes what the U.S. government can do right now to support freedom in this troubled country as well as what we should call it: Burma or Myanmar? She prefers Burma, as her book title indicates, and has a reason for preferring it.

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The Bookmonger podcast will appear on Mondays — or on Tuesdays, when we have a special reason. And today, we have a special reason: Government Against ItselfWe’re launching the series this week (go here for yesterday’s first edition) and we want to share fresh content. Listen to my 10-minute conversation with Daniel DiSalvo, author of Government Against Itself: Public Union Power and Its Consequences.

We talk about why public-employee unions are a problem, whether cops and firefighters deserve collective-bargaining rights, and why labor economists and labor historians have failed to study this phenomenon of modern liberalism.

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From John J. Miller: For more than seven years, I’ve hosted an author-interview podcast at National Review Online–and starting right now, we’re jointly producing it with Ricochet.

Stalin Rechristened as “The Bookmonger” (and formerly called “Between the Covers”), the podcast features 10-minute conversations with the writers of today’s best books on current events, politics, history, and more.

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