defense

For over ten thousand years, much of humankind has lived inside walls behind walls behind still more walls. Walls have protected us and divided us, but have they also affected the way we think, work, and create?

David Frye’s new book, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick is a narrative of invasions, empires, kings, and khans - presenting a new theory: walls haven't just influenced the course of history; they have profoundly shaped the human psyche.

David Frye currently teaches ancient and medieval history at Eastern Connecticut State University. 

Over his career, Jerome F. Buting has spent hundreds of hours in courtrooms representing defendants in criminal trials. When he agreed to join Dean Strang as co-counsel for the defense in Steven A. Avery vs. State of Wisconsin, he knew a tough fight lay ahead. But, as he reveals in Illusion of Justice, no-one could have predicted just how tough and twisted that fight would be -- or that it would become the center of the documentary Making a Murderer, which made Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey household names and thrust Buting into the spotlight.

His book is Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System.

In 1991, the police were called to East 72nd St. in Manhattan, where a woman's body had fallen from a twelfth-story window. The woman’s husband, Herbert Weinstein, soon confessed to having hit and strangled his wife after an argument, then dropping her body out of their apartment window to make it look like a suicide. The 65-year-old Weinstein, a quiet, unassuming retired advertising executive, had no criminal record, no history of violent behavior—not even a short temper. How, then, to explain this horrific act?
 
Journalist Kevin Davis uses the perplexing story of the Weinstein murder to present a riveting, deeply researched exploration of the intersection of neuroscience and criminal justice. Shortly after Weinstein was arrested, an MRI revealed a cyst the size of an orange on his brain’s frontal lobe, the part of the brain that governs judgment and impulse control. Weinstein’s lawyer seized on that discovery, arguing that the cyst had impaired Weinstein’s judgment and that he should not be held criminally responsible for the murder. It was the first case in the United States in which a judge allowed a scan showing a defendant’s brain activity to be admitted as evidence to support a claim of innocence.

Kevin Davis' new book is The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms.

  Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret.

By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everythingtransforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don’t really understand.

Every member of Congress keeps busy with committee work.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Republican Elise Stefanik tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about her work on defense.

Watching Public Television’s recent National Memorial Day observance, that made reference to the awe-inspiring sacrifice of World War II veterans, in which this commentator was a participant for nearly three years of combat, one was of course, struck by the sheer immensity in numbers of those affected, both as casualties and hapless victims.  The format evoked multiple emotions of sorrow and pride.  But the sheer scope of projection still left this viewer wanting.  The story of America’s current world-wide involvement has increased the scope of our military might.  As the observance reached a climactic intensity, this viewer wondered at the lack of ardor in the on-site audience of thousands, ostensibly gathered to bear proud witness and emotional acclaim.  As past military leaders and those of government joined current commanders and leaders, to acknowledge fealty to a sacred debt, this veteran was aware of an immense expression of silence…and a vexing and voiceless question:  How and when will all who demand and who must respond to such a huge national sacrifice speak the single missing word: “Enough!?” and pledge an end to the senseless slaughter that maims and emasculates our most precious resource: America’s families and their members?