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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: November, 2021
Nov 29, 2021

During a trip to Denver, Bob and Ben were fortunate enough to sit down with journalist and historian Dick Kreck at the historic Brown Palace hotel for a conversation about the history of the Wild West and the city of Denver, Colorado in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Before retiring in 2009, Dick spent four decades working as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, The LA Times, and The Denver Post, and he has published numerous books on the history of Colorado and the west, including Murder at the Brown Palace: A True Story of Seduction and Betrayal (2003) and Hell on Wheels: Wicked Towns Along the Union Pacific Railway (2013).

This episode is a rebroadcast of RTN episode #7, which originally launched on June 23rd 2016. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

Nov 22, 2021

Nora Guthrie, daughter of American icon Woody Guthrie, joins Ben & Bob to talk about her father’s life and the many ways she’s contributed to sharing his story. Nora discusses the inspiration for Woody’s music, his connection to Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and other music icons, and why her new Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art  • Words and Wisdom, which she co-curated with music historian Robert Santelli, presents her father as she’d like him to be remembered.

Nora Guthrie is President of Woody Guthrie Publications and founder of the Woody Guthrie Archive (1994).

Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art  • Words and Wisdom (co-curated by Nora Guthrie & Robert Santelli) is a beautifully arranged “almanac” that features original handwritten lyrics, drawings, and photographs that document Woody Guthrie’s life through his own words. The book also features insightful contributions by Douglas Brinkley, Roseann Cash, Chuck D, Jeff Daniels, Ani DiFranco and Arlo Guthrie. Click here to buy the book from the Guthrie Center and have your copy signed by Nora.

 

Additional Resources

 

Nov 15, 2021

The 2020 Presidential election was one of the most tumultuous in American history, and while Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump is settled, Trump’s refusal to accept defeat has had implications that transcend his time in the oval office. In this episode, Bob and Ben speak with Robert Costa, whose new book Peril draws on his and co-author Bob Woodward’s extensive investigation of the Biden and Trump campaigns and Trump’s handling of executive power during his time in office. Robert explains how he finds and vets sources, his method of “deep background” interviews, and how he maintains journalistic disinterest in the face of intense partisan conflict. He also discusses what he learned about Trump and Biden as candidates and individuals and why he believes that the peril that characterized the Trump-Biden transition remains a source of concern more than a year after the 2020 election.

Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post and political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. You can follow him on twitter at @CostaReports.

If you enjoyed this conversation, check out our previous conversation with Robert in RTN #130 Sources, Methods & Music w/ Robert Costa.

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Nov 8, 2021

There is a lot at stake when congressional districts are redrawn every ten years, and the complexity of redistricting can make it hard for even well-informed citizens to understand the process. In this episode, we get a primer on redistricting’s past and present from the same experts that our state legislators turn to when it’s time to redraw their districts: Wendy Underhill and Ben Williams of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Wendy and Ben take us through the history of redistricting, why it became mandatory only in the 1960s, and how new information and technology shape the way we’re represented in our state and federal governments.

To find out more about redistricting in your state, check out “Redistricting Systems: A 50 State Overview” from NCSL.

Wendy Underhill is Director of NCSL's Elections and Redistricting Program.

Ben Williams is a Policy Specialist in Elections and Redistricting at NCSL. You can follow him on twitter at @ElectionBen.

A special thanks to Tim Story for helping to arrange this conversation.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher

Nov 1, 2021

Is the United States an empire? US citizens have struggled with this question for a long time. Though our historical narrative traces our origins to the war for independence against the British Empire, we often forget that the US has presided over territories since the very beginning. Today about 4 million people in the territories of American Samoa, the Northern Marinara Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are subject to the US government, yet cannot vote for President and have only symbolic representation in congress. At the same time, the US maintains a global network of about 800 military bases in 80 countries.

 

For these reasons and more, Daniel Immerwahr says the United States is definitely an empire. In this episode, Daniel explains how this happened, the ways that US citizens have debated their country’s role in the world, and how a country born of an anti-imperialist revolution became the thing it professed (and still professes) to despise. He also shares some fascinating stories about how the US military helped make The Beatles, why some people claimed John McCain was not eligible to be President, and how citizens of the United States of America began referring to their country as simply “America.”

Daniel Immerwahr is Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University, and author of the book How To Hide An Empire: A History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019). You can follow him on twitter at @dimmerwahr.

How To Hide An Empire is available on audiobook from libro.fm. Click here and use promo code RTN at checkout to get this book and two more for just $15!

This episode is a reair of RTN #134, which originally aired on July 1, 2019.

The original conversation was edited by Gary Fletcher. This reair was edited by Ben Sawyer.

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