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Diary of a Nation

Diary of a Nation

By Christina Zlotnick
Diary of a Nation is a podcast exploring the human experience.
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E16: IV Drug Use to Ivy League
The US has waged a $1 trillion war on drugs. Even though opioid addiction has faded from the news cycle, drug overdoses have surged during the pandemic, and millions remain addicted. This month, my guest Katie celebrates three years of being clean. Her story offers some solutions.
April 27, 2021
E15: Man on Mars
Massachusetts engineer Peter Degen-Portnoy made the news when the Mars One mission named him as a semifinalist in a competition that intended to establish a permanent human colony on the red planet. The father of five was prepared to die on Mars. This interview will give you a more complete picture of Peter as a man. Website: 
April 6, 2021
E14: Lessons from the Dying
Dr. Fred Grewe is a hospice chaplain, an author and a fellow podcaster. Over the past 15 years, he has served more than 3,000 people who have died. In this episode, he explains what the dying have taught him about living. Books: What the Dying Have Taught Me about Living and Time to Talk about Dying. Dr. Grewe's Podcast: Meditations 4 Misfits. Website:
March 16, 2021
E13: Teen Who Swam the English Channel
Vera Rivard was just 16 when she swam the English Channel last year, nearly a century after her idol did the same. Vera's 13-year-old sister Margaret and her mother Darcie supported her along the route as they traveled with a crew in a pilot boat. Listen as the New Hampshire family discusses the trip and their love of swimming. 
February 23, 2021
E12: Part 2: 6.5 Years as a Vietnam POW
Part Two: In the final part of the interview, fighter pilot Capt. Hubert Buchanan discusses solitary confinement and various methods of communication with fellow North Vietnam POWs. He also describes his eventual homecoming, his thoughts on warfare today, and a Harvard study in which he served as a control subject. Photo credit: David Vogt.
February 2, 2021
E11: Part 1: 6.5 Years as a Vietnam POW
The content in this episode is graphic and may be disturbing for some listeners. Former POW Capt. Hubert Buchanan was an Air Force fighter pilot when a Vietnamese fighter ace shot down his F-4 Phantom in 1966. He was quickly captured and moved among half a dozen POW camps over the next 6.5 years. Capt. Buchanan was held captive one year longer than the late US Senator John McCain.  In part one, Capt. Buchanan recounts the dogfight that ended with his capture. He describes what happened to his aircraft commander, Major John Robertson, the pilot who flew with him that fateful afternoon. To this day, Capt. Buchanan remains in contact with his captor. 
January 26, 2021
E10: Pray Away the Gay
A handful of landmark rulings over the past 25 years significantly advanced gay rights in the US. Despite that, institutions and individuals continue to discriminate against gay people. My guest Fausto Di Ianne even tried to pray away the gay. 
January 8, 2021
E9: I'm Sorry, You Have Breast Cancer
Breast cancer dramatically changed Irene Alton. Today, she's a 5-year survivor. Listen as she describes the events leading up to her diagnosis, her cancer treatment and her life today. 
December 15, 2020
E8: Whose Land is America?
Abenaki Native Mali Obomsawin is an activist. She's also a member of the folk band, Lula Wiles. In this interview, she discusses her activism on behalf of land rights and social justice. Photo credit: Lokotah Sanborn, Penobscot Nation. "Shaking As It Turns" song used with artist permission. Band: Articles referenced in podcast appear in Smithsonian Folklife and Boston Globe.
November 24, 2020
E7: Part 3: Hidden in the Hay
Part Three: In the final part of the interview, Kati Preston discusses her associations with Israeli government officials and fellow Holocaust survivors plus her current interests and her take on American politics. Autobiography: Holocaust to Healing: Closing the Circle.
November 3, 2020
E6: Part 2: Hidden in the Hay
Part Two: After the Holocaust, Kati Preston emigrates to Israel. She eventually becomes a highly-successful fashion designer, interacting with Christian Dior and Harry Winston while in Paris.  She learned eight languages, moved across seven countries, married three times, and gave birth to four sons. Autobiography: Holocaust to Healing: Closing the Circle. 
October 27, 2020
E5: Part 1: Hidden in the Hay
The content in this episode is graphic and may be disturbing for some listeners. Holocaust survivor Kati Preston was just five years old when a Hungarian soldier pierced the floor of a barn attic with his bayonet, missing her hay-covered head by an inch. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp where 28 members of her family and 50 of her kindergarten classmates were exterminated. In part one, Kati shares her memories of the Holocaust. Autobiography: Holocaust to Healing: Closing the Circle. 
October 20, 2020
E4: My Transition to a Woman
The US is home to approximately 1.4 million transgender adults, yet most of us don't know anyone who is transgender. NH State Representative Gerri Cannon is a transgender woman who also serves on the school board in her community. This is her story. Photo credit: Deb Cram. 
September 29, 2020
E3: Four Paws, Countless Adventures
Randy Pierce knows life with and without eyesight. He's a husband, a dog lover, a runner, a mountain climber, and a motivational speaker. Yesterday, he ran the virtual Boston Marathon. Two days earlier, his guide dog Autumn passed away. This episode is dedicated to her memory. Memoir: See You at the Summit: My Blind Journey from the Depths of Loss to the Heights of Achievement. Charity:
September 8, 2020
E2: Politicians and the Power of Makeup
Over the past three decades, makeup artist Kriss Blevens has enhanced the face of every single presidential candidate who has traveled to New Hampshire, which holds the distinction of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Blevens also works as an EMT and an energy healer and served as an outspoken advocate during the opioid crisis. Her work is profiled in the August 2020 issue of Allure Magazine. Kriss Cosmetics: Farnum Center:
August 18, 2020
E1: Call Me American
Were it not for his incredible luck in winning a visa lottery slot, there's a good chance Somali immigrant Abdi Nor Iftin would instead be fighting on behalf of the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab. Abdi discusses his memoir as well as his complicated experience living in the U.S. as a Black man while the country reckons with its history of racial injustice. Memoir: Call Me American. Photo credit: Portland Press Herald.
July 28, 2020
Introduction to Diary of a Nation
Diary of a Nation is produced and hosted by Christina Zlotnick. Follow the podcast on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at diaryofanation. Comments and story ideas welcome. 
July 27, 2020