The Axe Files: Ken Burns Discusses What Muhammad Ali Taught America

The Axe Files: Ken Burns Discusses What Muhammad Ali Taught America

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David Axelrod, the founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, brings you The Axe Files, a series of revealing interviews with key figures in the political world. Go beyond the soundbites and get to know some of the most interesting players in politics.Ep. 460 — Ken Burns

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns can pinpoint the exact moment he knew he wanted to be a storyteller. After witnessing his father cry during a film, he understood the power of an impactful story. That, plus the tragic death of his mother which he calls the defining moment of his life, spurred a passion for storytelling that unearths the past and “wakes the dead.” He joined David to talk about his difficult upbringing, what he loves about history, why it’s impossible to disentangle race from his w…Show moreork, and his latest project exploring the life of boxer Muhammad Ali.

Ep. 459 — Clarissa Ward

Twenty years ago, as Clarissa Ward watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on television, she experienced a profound sense of shock and shame that she did not have a better grasp on what was happening in the world. In that moment she felt compelled to pursue journalism in order to bring to life the shared human experience, and since then she has reported from the front lines of conflict zones around the world. Ward, who is CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, joined David to talk about her childhood…Show more in the U.S. and London, the mental and emotional toll of covering conflict, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and how the events of 9/11 shaped her life, America, and the world.

Ep. 458 — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

After a behind-the-scenes career in the military that led to the National Security Council, retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found himself thrust into the spotlight as a key witness in the first impeachment trial of President Trump. He joined David to talk about his family history and childhood as an immigrant in New York, his thoughts on the Afghanistan withdrawal and Afghan refugees coming to America, Trump and his relationship with Russia, and his new memoir, Here, Right Matters.

Ep. 457 — Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Leana Wen has become a leading voice offering straightforward guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic, but her journey to professional prominence was anything but simple. Her family left China—where her father was frequently jailed as a political dissident—when she was a child, arriving in the US with just $40 in their possession. She joined David to discuss the incredible story of her family’s journey to America and the struggles they faced once in the country, her roles as a physician and health…Show more advocate, what she believes is the last and best hope to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 and her new book, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Ep. 456 — Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

Shortly after coming to America, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s family hit a financial rough patch. For a time, the family lived in public ho

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