The Score: Magic Beans, Cork Wars, Europe’s End, Money Rock, Clerk Chat

This week on The Score, we report from the 25th annual Virginia Festival of the Book. How important was cork during World War Two? Is the soybean a miracle plant? Does Europe have a future? And we conclude our conversation with Charlottesville’s Clerk of Court.


On this week’s episode, we’ll visit the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville and talk to some of the authors featured on the program.

Court Clerk, Part II
But first, we pick up where we left off last week in our conversation with Llezelle Dugger, clerk of the circuit court in the City of Charlottesville. I wanted to find out what it was like to work in a court house during a trial that brought international attention to a relatively small college town. Dugger was clerk during two such trials, first with George Huguely, a lacrosse player accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, and James Alex Fields, who drove his Dodge Charger into a crowd of people on August 12, 2017, killing Heather Heyer.

Following on that question, Dugger explained the process of how the Circuit Court finds the jurors it summonses each year. Did you know that each city or county in Virginia has jury commissioners to put together a list of eligible, potential jurors? I didn’t until now.

European Politics
This year the Virginia Festival of the Book is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Over the years it has brought hundreds of authors and thousands of book lovers to Charlottesville. (See The Score’s interview with festival director Jane Kulow from earlier this year.)

James Kirchick Virginia Festival of the BookThis past Wednesday, the festival sponsored a panel called “Global Currents: Untethered Foreign Affairs,” moderated by Adam Shapiro and featuring Syaryu Shirley Lin, author of Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy, and James Kirchick, author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age.

Kirchick was a guest on The Score last April, when he talked to us about his book, then recently issued in paperback. After his panel discussion, which was held in Charlottesville City Council chambers, I asked him about some events and trends that had emerged in the year since we last spoke, such as the gilets jaunes movement in France and developments in the United Kingdom’s effort to divorce itself from the European Union (that is, Brexit.)

Follow James Kirchick on Twitter: @jkirchick.

‘Money Rock’
Pam Kelley Money Rock VaBookVeteran journalist Pam Kelley is author of Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South. One critic called the book “compelling” and added that “Kelley’s captivating account bears witness to people and places simultaneously striving and stuck; to the redemptive power of women; and to faith that a better way might be possible, for ourselves and our cities.”

I spoke to Kelley after she participated in a panel discussion called “Southern Discomfort: Journalists Explore Guns and Drugs.”

Pam Kelley is on Twitter as @pamkelleyreads.

Soybeans and Cork
Soybeans are one of the most important cash crops in the world. They provide nutrition for millions of people and produce components for industry, as well. Matthew Roth is assistant director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy and author of Magic Bean: The Rise of Soy in America, a history of the soybean over the past hundred years or so.

Matthew Roth soy David Taylor corkMost people think of cork as the thing that keeps wine fresh in its bottle. For the first half of the twentieth century, it was an important industrial product that was largely irreplaceable. It was necessary for winning the Second World War. David A. Taylor, who teaches science writing at Johns Hopkins University, describes cork’s importance in his recent book, Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II.

Roth and Taylor spoke on a book festival panel called “Commonplace to Critical: Soy and Cork,” moderated by Nina Earnest.

David Taylor is on Twitter as @dataylor1.

The Score will be back next week with more news, reviews, and interviews, including a conversation with historian David Blight about his recent biography of Frederick Douglass, and our film critic Tim Hulsey will look at The Public, a new movie by screenwriter/director Emilio Estevez that was shown at the Paramount in Charlottesville, in an event jointly sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book. (The movie takes place almost entirely in a library, hence the connection to books.)