Thorne Dreyer :
PODCAST | Cesar Chavez biographer Miriam Pawel with poet-critic Gregg Barrios

Gregg Barrios, a veteran of the original Rag, moderated a conversation with author Miriam Pawel at the 2014 Texas Book Festival.

miriam pawel and gregg barrios sm

Miriam Pawel and Gregg Barrios on Rag Radio in the studios of KOOP-FM, Austin, Texas, October 24, 2014. Photos by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interview by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | November 10, 2014

Our guests featured on this Rag Radio podcast are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Miriam Pawel, author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, and poet, playwright, and critic — and contributor to the original Rag — Gregg Barrios.

Miriam Pawel was a featured author at the 2014 Texas Book Festival in Austin, where she appeared in conversation moderated by Barrios. On Rag Radio, we discuss Pawel’s latest book, the first biography of Cesar Chavez, the iconic founder of the United Farm Workers Union. Barrios addresses the history of the Chicano movement — with which Chavez did not identify — and reads from his collection of poetry, La Causa.


Listen to or download the podcast below.

Rag Radio is a weekly hour-long syndicated radio program produced and hosted by Rag Blog editor Thorne Dreyer. The show is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, a cooperatively-run all-volunteer community radio station in Austin, Texas, and is first broadcast live on KOOP every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CDT).

Download the podcast of our October 24, 2014 Rag Radio interview with Miriam Pawel and Gregg Barrios here — or listen to it here:


Miriam Pawel is an author, journalist, and independent historian whose previous book — The Union of Their Dreams – Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement — was a groundbreaking narrative history.

crusades of cesar chavezPawel spent 25 years as an award-winning reporter who directed coverage that won Pulitzer Prizes at Newsday for the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 and at the Los Angeles Times for the deadly 2003 wildfires. She has been a fellow at the Alicia Patterson Foundation and a John Jacobs fellow at the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to complete her work on the Chavez biography.

The New York Times Book Review said, “There is so much brilliant political theater in this book that it’s easy to see why Chavez is still the most celebrated Latino leader in American history,” and the New Yorker noted that Pawel “helps flesh out Chavez as more than a transcendent moral hero.”

Chavez once said, “There is a big difference between being a saint and being an angel.” On Rag Radio, Pawel tells us how Chavez, in many ways a controversial figure, nurtured his role as national icon but also left behind thousands of papers and hundreds of tapes that allowed her to present a historically rich, accurate, and textured picture of Chavez, one of the most important leaders of the 20th century.

miriam powel w barrios and dreyer

Barrios, Pawel, and Dreyer.

Gregg Barrios, a San Antonio-based journalist, poet, playwright, filmmaker, and critic, is a 2013 USC Annenberg Getty Fellow and serves on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle. He has received a CTG-Mark Taper Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Grant, and a 2013 Artist Foundation Grant for his theater work. Most recently, Gregg has been commissioned to write a new play for the 2015 Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival and he recently made his acting debut in San Antonio.

An anti-war veteran of Vietnam, Gregg was a Chicano activist in the ’60s and an original contributor to Austin’s underground newspaper, The Rag, has contributed to The Rag Blog, its digital reincarnation, and twice before has been our guest on Rag Radio.


Coming up on Rag Radio:

  • FRIDAY, Nov. 14: Tom Hayden and Carl Davidson, with a progressive look forward after the 2014 elections.
  • FRIDAY, Nov. 21: Tom Philpott and Raj Patel on the politics of food.
  • FRIDAY, Dec. 5: Timothy Kuhner, author of Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution.

853px-Rag_radio2Rag Radio is hosted and produced by Thorne Dreyer. Tracey Schulz is the show’s engineer and co-producer, Roger Baker is our still photographer, and noted investigative journalist Ken Martin is Rag Radio‘s apprentice.

Rag Radio has aired more than 200 shows since September 2009, on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas. Rag Radio is broadcast live every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CDT) on KOOP — and streamed live on the web — and is rebroadcast and streamed on Sundays at 10 a.m. (EDT) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA. Rag Radio is also aired and streamed on KPFT-HD3 90.1 — Pacifica radio in Houston — on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. (CDT).

After broadcast, all Rag Radio shows are posted as podcasts at the Internet Archive.

Rag Radio is produced in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive Internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Please contact us at ragradio@koop.org.

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