The novels of Tom Rob Smith are set mostly in the Soviet Union of the 1950s, a time and a place where oppression was palpable and any wrong move could get a person sent to a prison thousands of miles away.
Smith's first thriller, Child 44, was the story of a Soviet security agent whose job was to spy on fellow citizens. While many authors are virtual tour guides in the places where they set their novels, Smith had actually only been to Moscow once before — in 1997, on a high school trip.
Ann Powers spoke with David Greene on NPR's Morning Edition about summer songs — those tracks that, as she wrote last week, hit the perfect balance of fun cliches and light-hearted rhythm. They also often hit the top of the charts. But what do those summer songs do to draw us in?
From washed-away roads in North Carolina to historic bridges flooded out in Vermont, Hurricane Irene took its toll up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
But the East is not the only region to suffer from natural disasters this year. There was a string of deadly tornadoes in the South this spring, floods along the Mississippi and in the Upper Midwest, and last May's devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo.
The effects of Hurricane Irene are still being felt and their costs being measured — from billion-dollar damages in New Jersey to ongoing flooding in New England.
For local and national leaders, natural disasters can sometimes be political disasters — or opportunities.
The lessons of Hurricane Katrina are seared into the memory of President Obama and every other politician in America. The president made sure that his emergency team was prepared and competent. He showed up at FEMA headquarters over the weekend, and Monday he gave an update from the Rose Garden.
Ten years ago, an Albanian immigrant agreed to help the Justice Department build a case against a mobster accused of human smuggling. In exchange, he says, federal prosecutors promised him a green card and protection for his family. But the mobster fled the country and the informant, Ed Demiraj, says the U.S. government reneged on its commitment — with violent results.
The first in a series about the challenges female veterans face as they transition to civilian life.
America's female veteran population has grown to an estimated 1.9 million, and the Department of Veterans Affairs projects 50,000 more servicewomen will join that population in the next five years. When they return, many will pick up where they left off, as mothers, wives and caretakers.
In Philadelphia, some female veterans are dealing with family responsibilities while still struggling to cope with the lingering effects of war.
Credit D.C. Planning and Economic Development Office
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center has a storied past. It has been the country's leading Army hospital for more than 100 years, sitting on a complex that includes a Civil War battlefield. There was a time when 16,000 patients a year sought treatment for wounds of war or illness.
By the end of August, all the patients and doctors will have left, moved to Bethesda and Fort Belvoir as the Army consolidates its bases. But as one era closes, another opens: Washington, D.C., may be left with nearly 70 acres of prime real estate.
Many cities in central and southeast Kentucky draw water from the Kentucky River. Other communities tap into the Big Sandy, Ohio, Licking and Mississippi Rivers. Still, wells remain the chief source of drinking water for many rural towns. Joe Burns, with the Kentucky Rural Water Association, says well water is often cleaner and cheaper.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's George Mathis may have started a panic earlier today, when he wrote the headline "Farmville is burning." But he quickly clarified that this was an actual, not a virtual, fire:
Before you rush off to rescue your Facebook plantation, know that this Farmville is an unincorporated area in Gordon County, located in northwest Georgia.