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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: August, 2023
Aug 28, 2023

The war between the US Army and the Native American confederation during the war of 1812 is a buried story in an often-overlooked event, yet its impact on the history of North America is profound. The leading figures on both sides of the war, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and US Army General William Henry Harrison, had come of age in the struggles over what is today called the Midwest United States, and both understood that losing the war would mean losing the future they imagined for their people. In this episode, Ben & Bob do a deep dive on the story behind that war with Peter Stark, author of the incredibly accessible new book, Gallop Toward The Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison’s Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation (Random House, 2023).

Peter Stark is an adventure and exploration writer and historian who was previously a correspondent for Outside magazine. His previous book, Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father, was named a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize in 2019. You can follow him on Instagram at @peterstark_adventure_historian.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

We’re excited to announce that Ben & Bob will be recording a live episode of RTN on the history of Americana music in Nashville on September 18, 2023 w/ guests Emmy Lou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Jefferson Cowie! Click here for tickets. Hope to see you there!

Aug 21, 2023

Washington D.C. in the 1850s was a tale of two cities. It was the Capitol city of a rapidly expanding new nation while at the same time ground zero for a politically fractured and divided nation hurtling toward disunion. Standing in the middle of it all was Montgomery C. Meigs, a military engineer who led the construction of two massive public works projects at the same time: the expansion of the Capitol building and an aqueduct to provide water to the residents growing city. Meigs would go on to serve as Quartermaster for the Union Army under Abraham Lincoln. Meigs was an innovator, public servant, and one of the most important patriots of the nineteenth century.

This week Bob welcomes author and journalist Robert O’Harrow Jr. to discuss his 2016 book, The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army.

For thirty years Robert O'Harrow Jr. was an investigative journalist and contributing writer at The Washington Post and was among the first national journalists to cover cybersecurity. In 2017, he part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of notorious Alabama political Roy Moore.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Aug 14, 2023

The recent changes to Florida’s education system have gotten nationwide attention, with similar stories playing out across the US. In this episode, Ben & Bob investigate the nature of these reforms, who is behind them, and how they may impact the students and teachers whose daily lives are directly affected by these changes. They are joined by Ana Goñi-Lessan, a Tallahassee-based journalist who covers the Florida legislature for USA Today and Dr. Andrew Polk, a history professor and former high school teacher who directs the history and social studies education initiatives for the Department of History at Middle Tennessee State University.

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher

Aug 7, 2023
Ben & Bob have been on the road for most of the summer, so in this episode they catch up to talk about the 100th anniversary of the death of Warren G. Harding, the feedback they got from their conversation on ai, chat gpt and the future of tech w/ Roger McNamee, and their responses to the recent Congressional hearings on UAP (formerly known as UFO) sightings. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. Warren G. Harding Sources: Jordyn Phelps, “Ex-President Warren Harding’s Love Child Confirmed Through DNA Testing,” ABCNews.com, August 13, 2015. “President Warren Harding's Love Letters Open to the Public,” News from the Library of Congress, July 29, 2014. Megan Gambino, “Warren Harding’s Love Letters Finally Give Us Something to Remember Him For,” Smithsonian.com, August 29, 2014. Daniel McCarthy, “Warren Harding’s Read Scandal was his Conservatism,” New York Post, August 1, 2023. Bryan Pietsch, “Exhume the Body of Warren G. Harding? A Judge Says that Won’t be Necessary,” New York Times, Dec. 1, 2020. Jordan Michael Smith, “The Letters that Warren G. Harding’s Family Didn’t Want You to See,” New York Times Magazine, July 7, 2014.
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