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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 31 May 2009

Matt Frei presents an insider guide to the people and the ideas shaping the United States today.

Matt gauges the health of the nation in an interview with one of America's top agony aunts, and reveals the city you'd least expect to be beating America's economic blues, by attracting some of the country's top entrepreneurial talent.

And as politicians in Washington argue over who knew what about the use of torture, the programme asks what happens when the soldiers who carried out the abuse return home to civilian life.

  • Dr. Jonathan Shay

    For 20 years, Dr. Jonathan Shay worked in a Veteran's clinic in Boston where he treated combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. He retired a year ago, and has been pursuing what he calls his "missionary work" on behalf of the veterans, who he says "don't want other young kids wrecked the way they were wrecked". In 1999-2000 Dr. Shay co-authored the Commandant of the Marine Corps Trust Study for Gen. Jim Jones, now the President's National Security Advisor. In 2004-2005 he was Chair of Ethics, Leadership, and Personnel Policy in the Office of the US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, and has recently finished a semester as the 2009 Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the US Army War College. He is the author of Odysseus in America and Achilles in Vietnam which engage with The Iliad and The Odyssey, in order to describe and explain veterans' plight.

  • Amy Dickinson

    Amy Dickinson is an advice columnist writing for the Chicago Tribune, and is syndicated in over 150 newspapers around the United States, reaching 22 million readers a day. She was born on a dairy farm in the village of Freeville, in upstate New York. She has lived in New York, London, Chicago and Washington DC -- where she worked as a lounge singer -- but today has returned to her home town, from where she writes her daily column. Amy is a former producer for NBC News, and has written for Time, Esquire, and O Magazine and is a regular voice on Public Radio in the US, on programmes such as Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me and Ask the Nation.

    Amy Dickinson



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