Harvey Mansfield, the professor of government and political philosopher at Harvard, is one of the great teachers in America. He does some splendid teaching in this hour with Jay. He talks about manliness – what it is and what it isn’t. (Mansfield published a book on the subject in 2006.) He talks about “conservative” and “liberal” – what do those things mean? He addresses the question, posed long ago, of whether we can keep our republic. In all, a rich and enriching hour, requiring not a cent in tuition.

In these post-election days, Jay wanted to talk to his old friend and colleague Robert Costa: national political reporter of the Washington Post; analyst for NBC News and MSNBC; host of PBS’s “Washington Week.” They do indeed talk it over: R’s, D’s, media, inaugurations, and more. Costa is a man who knows – because he finds out.

A wide-ranging conversation with Sally Jenkins, columnist of the Washington Post, and David French, senior editor of The Dispatch. An NBA season. A Major League Baseball season. College football, sort of. A Masters tournament in November. Should there be a college sports major? And more. Two seasoned and eloquent gurus, questioned by Jay.

In the middle of the World Series, you want to talk baseball with George F. Will. You want to talk baseball with him anytime, actually, and a number of other subjects, too. In this “Q&A,” Will speaks of the “angelic, superb Mookie Betts,” of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also talks about the presidential campaign, the Supreme Court, and the Republican Party. There’s Big Tech, too. Is it to be feared? Well, one behemoth replaces another. A&P had thousands of stores in the middle of town; then Piggly Wiggly set up stores on the outskirts of town, which was bad news for the other guys. Jay asks Will some personal questions: about David Brinkley and Sam Donaldson, for example. He also asks him about Lincoln (whom Will values highly, as does Jay): What might Lincoln have to say to us today? A well-rounded, invigorating conversation.

Earlier this month, Bret Stephens wrote a searching essay on the New York Times’s 1619 Project. Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times himself. The 1619 Project places slavery at the center of the American founding (and thus of America). With Jay, Stephens talks about this, and much else: the presidential campaign, the Middle East, New York City, and more. Bret Stephens won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. Jay often says that he wishes he could give Stephens a second one.

Cameron Hilditch is a writer for National Review, born in 1998, as the Troubles wound down: the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This Northern Irishman is a “child of the peace,” as he says. He went to Magdalen College, Oxford. He has a great love for the United States, and a great knowledge about it (and other things). Jay asks him about Northern Ireland, America, democracy, and a lot more. You can learn a lot from this young man, and he is a delight to listen to. You may even want to hear the podcast twice.

There was once a movie called “Divorce American Style.” David French was going to title his new book “The Great American Divorce.” But the title is “Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.” David and Jay are old friends and comrades, and they talk about the issues raised in the book – plus the Afghan War, the NBA, and more.

Thomas Kent is a veteran, estimable journalist. He held many positions with the Associated Press, including Moscow bureau chief and international editor. He was the president and CEO of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. And he is the author of a new book: “Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation.” Kent knows all about it: the ins and outs, the pros and cons. It’s a pleasure to be in the hands of a real expert, on an important topic.

Without a family at age twelve, Joseph Kim was out on the streets for three years. Homeless. Begging. Stealing. Trying to stay alive. With incredible good fortune – and his own bravery – he managed to escape and get to the United States. He wrote a book called “Under the Same Sky: From Starvation in North Korea to Salvation in America.” He is now with the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. Amazing fellow.

There is almost no one Jay would rather talk with than Natan Sharansky: one of the great heroes of the 20th century (much as he may demur to this) and a force in the 21st. With Gil Troy, Sharansky has written a book called “Never Alone.” It is a memoir of his years in the Gulag; his years in Israeli politics; and his years at the helm of the Jewish Agency. With Jay, Sharansky discusses the past, the present, and the future – in Israel, America, and all over. A most stimulating conversation. Jay says that it is moving to talk with Sharansky, and you may find it moving to hear him.

Previously, Jay did a “Q&A” with Ondrej Kolar, a district mayor of Prague. Kolar has required police protection, after angering the Kremlin and its supporters in his own country. This “Q&A” is with the overall mayor — or the lord mayor — of Prague: Zdenek Hrib. He, too, has angered the Kremlin, requiring police protection. He has angered the Chinese government, too. Hrib is a man who cares about human rights and general liberal-democratic values. Get to know him a little.

Jamie Fly is a veteran foreign-policy hand. When he was coming of age, his views were shaped by the Reagan experience. He went on to work in the White House, the Pentagon, and elsewhere. Until recently, he was president of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. He knows a great deal about Russian disinformation, and other disinformation, and how to combat it. With Jay, he talks about this and the world at large. An informative conversation.

Quin Hillyer is a veteran political writer who has stuck several toes in politics himself. He was a page at the 1980 Republican National Convention. He was around for a very big scoop. He later worked for Louisiana congressman Bob Livingston. He was part of the effort to block the ascension of David Duke. He went to Georgetown University, where one of his teachers was Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Quin and Jay talk of many things – starting with New Orleans, where Quin grew up (and which Jay loves, and knows a little). They talk about political ideas. They talk about Confederate monuments, a sore, delicate, and important subject. Finally, they talk about one of their favorite people in sports, and one of their favorite people on earth: Jack Nicklaus.

Susan Eisenhower has written a book about her grandfather: “How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions.” With Jay, she talks about family, war, politics, and more. A wonderful discussion on all fronts.

Ondrej Kolar is a district mayor in Prague – the mayor of Prague 6. His father, Petr, was a dissident in Communist times; Petr was later a diplomat, serving as ambassador to the United States, for example. As district mayor, Ondrej presided over the removal of a monument to Marshal Ivan Konev, a hero of the Red Army – but not so heroic to many Czechs, and to others who value freedom. Once the statue was removed, all hell broke loose, and Kolar had to go into hiding. There were apparent threats against his life from the Russian government, and from fellow Czechs who sympathize with that government. With Jay, Ondrej Kolar talks about these events and the fate of freedom and democracy in his country.

David Normoyle is a golf historian and an altogether exceptional person. He is also an old friend of Jay’s. Recently, David went on an extraordinary journey: a 40-day car trip through COVID America. He chronicled his trip, daily. In conversation with Jay, David talks about what he saw, and a slew of other subjects as well. Enjoy a conversation between two old friends, on golf and life.

In a career of writing extraordinary books, David Pryce-Jones has written a new one: “Signatures: Literary Encounters of a Lifetime.” DP-J has a collection of about a hundred books inscribed to him by their authors: Aldous Huxley, W. H. Auden, Saul Bellow, Somerset Maugham, Rebecca West, Erich Segal, and so on. He talks about these authors in “Signatures.” The book is a series of brief lives, you might say, or brief encounters. (Sounds like the title of a movie.) It is also partly an autobiography, because the encounters provide windows on DP-J’s own life.

“Signatures” is, in effect, a companion to “Fault Lines,” Pryce-Jones’s superb and magisterial autobiography of 2015.

Mathis Bitton is a summer intern at National Review and a sophomore-to-be at Yale. He has a lot to say – about many subjects, but today’s subject is France, a rich, varied, and inexhaustible subject, to be sure. Jay puts the young monsieur through some paces: about the French language, and English, for that matter; about French poets, novelists, painters, scientists, cars, etc.; about Napoleon and de Gaulle (how to view them?); about assimilation and identity; about a lot of things. Jay clearly has a ball listening to this kid, and you will as well. Check him out.

P.S. Jay may well do a Round 2 with Mathis, about things French. If you have a question you’d like put to the young man, tell Jay at jnordlinger@nationalreview.com.

Radek Sikorski is a man of considerable experience: as a journalist, for National Review, The Spectator, and many other publications; and as a politician. Sikorski was foreign minister and defense minister of his country, Poland. Today, he is a member of the European Parliament. He talks with Jay about a slew of issues: the recent Polish election; the EU; NATO; the United States; Boris Johnson (his contemporary at Oxford); Viktor Orbán (ditto); Afghanistan (where Sikorski was a war correspondent); etc. A lot of ground is covered in this Q&A, with a very thoughtful, and experienced, and candid man.

 

John R. Bolton – who has served in every Republican administration from Reagan on – has kicked up a fuss with his memoir of the Trump White House: “The Room Where It Happened.” With Jay, he talks about the president, the world, and himself.