Richard Brookhiser has written many books about the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers. He got interested when he went to college—to Yale, where he saw John Trumbull’s paintings. Now he has written a biography of the artist. A wonderful student and explainer and depicter, Brookhiser is.

Illia Ponomarenko is one of the leading war reporters and defense analysts in Ukraine. He himself is Ukrainian—from the east of the country. He went to college in Mariupol, which has now been bludgeoned and taken over by Putin’s forces. Ponomarenko has come out with a book, mid-war: “I Will Show You How It Was: The Story of Wartime Kyiv.” Jay talks with him about issues that gnaw at a great many.

Mohamad Jebara grew up in Ottawa, Canada, the son of Lebanese immigrants. He, and they, were “cultural Muslims.” But he soon became a scholar of Islam, and a philologist. He is a man of formidable learning, and he has a gift for imparting what he knows to a general audience. From ages ten to twelve, he memorized the Koran. It is still there, in his head. He practices while driving or working out. His new book is “The Life of the Qu’ran.” Jay asks him some basic questions, questions to which many may like to know the answers. An interesting and illuminating confab.

Simone Sepe and Saura Masconale teach at the University of Arizona. He is in the law school; she is in the Department of Political Economy and Moral Science. They are both associated with the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. He is from Rome, she is from Verona. They are married, with three excellent children. Jay talks with them about their interests (and his).

Vernon L. Smith is one of the leading economists of our time. He was born in Wichita, on January 1, 1927. In 2002, he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize with Daniel Kahneman. Professor Smith has taught at many universities. He is a classical liberal, in the mold of a Smith of yore: Adam. With Jay, he talks about his life, his findings, and freedom—glorious, precious freedom.

Robert Mundheim is a leading professor of law, who has also worked in the private sector and in government. (He worked on the Iran hostage crisis, in particular.) He started out in Germany in 1933. His wife, Guna Mundheim, is an artist, who started out in Riga in 1936. They have much to impart, in this wide-ranging conversation.

Stephen Richer has been at the center of election controversies in Arizona. He is the recorder of Maricopa County. Donald Trump defamed him. So did Kari Lake. So have many others. Lake, he actually sued. She capitulated. Richer is a conservative Republican who has had a fascinating journey in our democracy—too fascinating for comfort. With Jay, he has a frank, engrossing conversation.

Peter Pomerantsev is an authority on propaganda—and counter-propaganda. He is a Soviet-born British writer and teacher. His latest book is “How to Win an Information War:  The Propagandist Who Outwitted Hitler.” That propagandist was Sefton Delmer, a fascinating personality. World War II offers parallels to our own day, of course. Pomerantsev is a master of a slippery and critical subject.

Howard G. Buffett is, among other things, the head of the foundation that bears his name. He has been “many, many things in life,” as Jay says: “businessman, farmer, politician, lawman, conservationist, anti-poverty activist, author, philanthropist,” and more. To date, Buffett has donated more than $500 million to Ukraine. He and Jay discuss that, plus a range of other issues: law enforcement, drug policy, poverty alleviation, conservation—and growing up as Warren’s son. A superb conversationalist, Howard Buffett is.

Michael Lockshin is a film director, who grew up in both the United States and Russia. (Actually, he grew up in the Soviet Union, too.) He has made a magnificent movie: “The Master and Margarita,” based on Bulgakov’s classic novel. It is a sensation in Russia. It has been denounced by the authorities, for hitting too close to home: for depicting the struggle of artists against dictatorship. With Jay, Lockshin talks about literature, movies, identity, and Russia today.

Carl Gershman was the founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy, serving in that position from 1984 to 2021. Jay talks with him about his life: starting with his boyhood in New York. Along the way, Gershman touches on Max Shachtman, Sidney Hook, Leszek Kołakowski, Pat Moynihan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan, Natan Sharansky . . . Wonderful stories, wonderful points—grave and important issues.

Patrick Chovanec, as Jay says in his introduction, is a hard man to sum up: an econ whiz; a China man; a politico (of a sort); a writer. Now he is a pilot. His new book is “Cleared for the Option: A Year Learning to Fly.” Jay talks with him about a slew of issues, relating to what Chovanec has done and learned in his life. Get to know this interesting and versatile fellow.

David Zuluaga is an intellectual, a philosopher, a management consultant, a politico—many things. He is also a friend of Jay’s. And he has been spending a lot of time on artificial intelligence: studying it, explaining it. In this “Q&A,” he discusses some fundamental issues concerning AI. He also talks some philosophy in general—a delight.

Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times. Previously, he was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, he won the Pulitzer prize for commentary. Earlier in his life, he was the editor of the Jerusalem Post. He and Jay talk about Russia and Ukraine. And about Israel, Gaza, and antisemitism. And about the U.S. media. A rich, multilayered conversation.

Luke Coffey is an expert on foreign policy and national security. He works at the Hudson Institute. He was in the Army, serving in Afghanistan. Jay asks him about Afghanistan: Did we achieve anything in that country, in our 20 years there? Or was it all for naught? Discussion then turns to Ukraine: Is it in the U.S. interest? Why? What would be the consequences of a Putin victory over Ukraine? What do you think Americans ought to know? A blunt and bracing conversation.

Phillips O’Brien is a professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He has had a British career. He was born and bred in Boston, however. In recent years, he has thought and written a lot about Ukraine—and he has valuable things to say about all the essential questions. For instance, who’s arming whom, and how? He and Jay go over these questions.

The latest novel by Mark Helprin is “The Oceans and the Stars.” What’s it about? Helprin gives this summation, in his conversation with Jay: “love and war.” The book is also a hymn to the U.S. Navy. Helprin and Jay talk about the writing life and life at large.

Jay hosts a sportscast, with his usual gurus, David French and Vivek Dave. How ’bout them Lions? How about Bill Belichick? And Nick Saban? NBA-wise, how about Wemby? And LeBron? And others? A wide-ranging, lively, and sometimes contentious conversation. Good stuff.

Deborah Lipstadt is a well-known scholar of modern Jewish history, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial. She has written many books. In the 1990s, she was involved in a famous trial against David Irving, the notorious English Holocaust-denier. (She won.) The case was depicted in a 2016 movie, “Denial,” in which Prof. Lipstadt was portrayed by Rachel Weisz. Today, Prof. Lipstadt works in the State Department: as the U.S. special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism. She has a lot to say, as you can imagine—very important things to say.

Yaroslav Trofimov is the chief foreign-affairs correspondent of the Wall Street Journal. He was that paper’s bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His previous books have been about the Middle East and the broader Muslim world. But he was born in Ukraine—and has been covering that war, intensely. His new book is “Our Enemies Will Vanish: The Russian Invasion and Ukraine’s War of Independence.” Jay asks him about essential things.