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The Road to Now

In 2006, Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Benjamin Sawyer (MTSU History) sat down to talk history in a Detroit coffee shop. Their discussion lasted a couple hours, but the conversation kept going. Join them as they trace the road between past and present with the help of great thinkers from the academy, the media, politics, entertainment and more.
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Now displaying: Page 5
Jul 30, 2018

Bob & Ben speak with Syracuse University’s Dr. David Bennett to learn more about the history of nativism in the United States. Dr. Bennett discusses his book The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History (Penguin, 1995, 2nd ed.), and how that book might look if a new edition were published today.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, check out our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jul 30, 2018

Bob & Ben speak with Syracuse University’s Dr. David Bennett to learn more about the history of nativism in the United States. Dr. Bennett discusses his book The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History (Penguin, 1995, 2nd ed.), and how that book might look if a new edition were published today.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, check out our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jul 23, 2018

A lot has changed since the first episode of The Road to Now launched in May 2016, so Bob and Ben decided to spend some time reflecting on the podcast, the state of politics, and what they’ve learned about history. Bob explains what he thinks most people get wrong about history and the way that hosting RTN and beginning graduate studies have changed his relationship to history, Ben gives his insight on the current state of the US-Russian relationship and why he thinks nostalgia is a big part of the problem in today’s politics, and both say thank you to everyone for helping us turn an idea into a successful podcast. We are grateful for your support, and look forward to then next hundred episodes!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: TheRoadToNow.com

The Road to Now is produced and hosted by Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers and Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of Middle Tennessee State University.

Jul 23, 2018

A lot has changed since the first episode of The Road to Now launched in May 2016, so Bob and Ben decided to spend some time reflecting on the podcast, the state of politics, and what they’ve learned about history. Bob explains what he thinks most people get wrong about history and the way that hosting RTN and beginning graduate studies have changed his relationship to history, Ben gives his insight on the current state of the US-Russian relationship and why he thinks nostalgia is a big part of the problem in today’s politics, and both say thank you to everyone for helping us turn an idea into a successful podcast. We are grateful for your support, and look forward to then next hundred episodes!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: TheRoadToNow.com

The Road to Now is produced and hosted by Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers and Dr. Benjamin Sawyer of Middle Tennessee State University.

Jul 16, 2018

RTN Theology now is now on its own podcast feed! Subscribe anywhere you get The Road to Now for RTN Theology episodes 12-19 and more!

In this episode of RTN Theology, Bob talks to Fuller Theological Seminary Assistant Professor Kutter Callaway about his new book, Breaking the Marriage Idol: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms (InterVarsity Press, 2018) and the need to change the existing perceptions of single life and marriage in the church. They also discuss theology, the arts, and the Paul Schrader film, First Reformed.

The Road to Now is Part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on The Road to Now, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jul 16, 2018

In this episode of RTN Theology, Bob talks to Fuller Theological Seminary Assistant Professor Kutter Callaway about his new book, Breaking the Marriage Idol: Reconstructing Our Cultural and Spiritual Norms (InterVarsity Press, 2018) and the need to change the existing perceptions of single life and marriage in the church. They also discuss theology, the arts, and the Paul Schrader film, First Reformed.

The Road to Now is Part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on The Road to Now, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jul 9, 2018

Last fall, our good friend and fellow podcaster Bruce Carlson invited Ben to join him for a conversation about Elvis Presley and his impact on American society. During the conversation, Bob told an epic story about his Elvis Presley t-shirt that has never been told on The Road to Now.....until now (and Ben thinks it's one of the best stories Bob's ever told)!

We'll be back next week with an all-new RTN Theology!

This episode originally aired on My History Can Beat Up Your Politics on August 15, 2017. If you like The Road to Now, we highly recommend you check it out!

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on The Road to Now, check out our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jun 18, 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway in Russia, so Ben sat down with soccer historian Alex Galarza and RTN favorite Matt Negrin to talk about the history of the World Cup. We discuss the corruption that has plagued FIFA, the controversy surrounding FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, and what factors helped propel soccer into the world’s most popular sport. We also share some of our favorite experiences at soccer matches abroad and celebrate the recent announcement that the United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 World Cup.

Dr. Alex Galarza is a Post-Doctoral researcher at Haverford College and former Fulbright scholar in Argentina whose specialty is the history of sport in Latin America and digital history.

Matt Negrin is a Digital Producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and former freelance journalist who covered soccer around the world. Most importantly though, he is the record holder for “Most Appearances on The Road to Now (non-Bob & Ben category)”.

Bob & Ben are going to take a few weeks off, but we'll be back with new episodes in July. In the meantime, you can see Bob play music with The Avett Brothers and catch Ben on the road at a comedy show. Thank you so much for your support!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this an all our other episodes, visit our website: TheRoadToNow.com

Jun 18, 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is underway in Russia, so Ben sat down with soccer historian Alex Galarza and RTN favorite Matt Negrin to talk about the history of the World Cup. We discuss the corruption that has plagued FIFA, the controversy surrounding FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, and what factors helped propel soccer into the world’s most popular sport. We also share some of our favorite experiences at soccer matches abroad and celebrate the recent announcement that the United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 World Cup.

Dr. Alex Galarza is a Post-Doctoral researcher at Haverford College and former Fulbright scholar in Argentina whose specialty is the history of sport in Latin America and digital history.

Matt Negrin is a Digital Producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and former freelance journalist who covered soccer around the world. Most importantly though, he is the record holder for “Most Appearances on The Road to Now (non-Bob & Ben category)”.

Bob & Ben are going to take a few weeks off, but we'll be back with new episodes in July. In the meantime, you can see Bob play music with The Avett Brothers and catch Ben on the road at a comedy show. Thank you so much for your support!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this an all our other episodes, visit our website: TheRoadToNow.com

Jun 11, 2018

There’s a good chance you don’t appreciate how engrained professional wrestling is in American history and culture, and this episode is about to change that. We didn’t know all this either until wrestling legend Jim Cornette was kind enough to spend an hour taking us from wrestling’s origins in the late 19th century up to the sport as it exists today. Jim knows the sport like no other- he’s been part of the professional wrestling scene since the 1970s, and currently hosts the tremendously popular podcast The Jim Cornette Experience. Jim has also been ringside (and sometimes in the ring) for some of wrestling’s greatest moments, including the April 5, 1982 showdown between Andy Kaufman & Jerry “The King” Lawler (that was his first time on national television), and his storytelling is second-to-none.

This episode also features wrestling aficionado Jon Burr making a special appearance as guest co-host. Jon is the host of the NBA podcast The Fastbreak Breakfast, the front man for the band How I Became the Bomb, and Ben’s friend & neighbor.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jun 11, 2018

There’s a good chance you don’t appreciate how engrained professional wrestling is in American history and culture, and this episode is about to change that. We didn’t know all this either until wrestling legend Jim Cornette was kind enough to spend an hour taking us from wrestling’s origins in the late 19th century up to the sport as it exists today. Jim knows the sport like no other- he’s been part of the professional wrestling scene since the 1970s, and currently hosts the tremendously popular podcast The Jim Cornette Experience. Jim has also been ringside (and sometimes in the ring) for some of wrestling’s greatest moments, including the April 5, 1982 showdown between Andy Kaufman & Jerry “The King” Lawler (that was his first time on national television), and his storytelling is second-to-none.

This episode also features wrestling aficionado Jon Burr making a special appearance as guest co-host. Jon is the host of the NBA podcast The Fastbreak Breakfast, the front man for the band How I Became the Bomb, and Ben’s friend & neighbor.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Jun 4, 2018

The world we live in today has Dwight Eisenhower’s fingerprints all over it. When Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell address on January 17, 1960, he warned the American people of the growing influence of a “military-industrial complex.” What few people remember is that it was Eisenhower who oversaw the transformation of the American military into the large-scale force that spans the globe. “Ike” also helped facilitate the ceasefire in Korea that remains in place over six decades later, and his administration’s use of the CIA and covert operations to install regimes friendly to US interests continues to haunt America’s foreign relations with countries such as Iran today. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with the University of Virginia’s William Hitchcock to talk about Dwight Eisenhower and the ways his eight years in the Oval Office can still be felt more than half a century later. Along the way, we discuss how Eisenhower's experience as a General during World War II shaped his world view, and where Eisenhower fits within the history of the Republican Party and the greater history of American Presidents. 

Dr. William Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the Randolph P. Compton Professor at UVa's Miller Center. He is the author of six books, the most recent of which The Age of Eisenhower: American and the World in the 1950s was published by Simon & Schuster in March of 2018.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

Jun 4, 2018

The world we live in today has Dwight Eisenhower’s fingerprints all over it. When Dwight Eisenhower gave his farewell address on January 17, 1960, he warned the American people of the growing influence of a “military-industrial complex.” What few people remember is that it was Eisenhower who oversaw the transformation of the American military into the large-scale force that spans the globe. “Ike” also helped facilitate the ceasefire in Korea that remains in place over six decades later, and his administration’s use of the CIA and covert operations to install regimes friendly to US interests continues to haunt America’s foreign relations with countries such as Iran today. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with the University of Virginia’s William Hitchcock to talk about Dwight Eisenhower and the ways his eight years in the Oval Office can still be felt more than half a century later. Along the way, we discuss how Eisenhower's experience as a General during World War II shaped his world view, and where Eisenhower fits within the history of the Republican Party and the greater history of American Presidents. 

Dr. William Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the Randolph P. Compton Professor at UVa's Miller Center. He is the author of six books, the most recent of which The Age of Eisenhower: American and the World in the 1950s was published by Simon & Schuster in March of 2018.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and all others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

May 28, 2018

In this episode of The Road to Now, recorded live at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, Governor Martin O’Malley join Bob & Ben for a conversation about history, music and politics. We discuss the history of immigration, how Gov. O’Malley’s Catholic faith influenced his political views, and Gov. O’Malley shares (and plays) some of the songs that have had the strongest impact on his life.

Martin O’Malley has served as Governor of Maryland (2007-2015), Mayor of Baltimore (1999-2007) and Maryland City Councilman (1991-1999).

This episode was recorded live on October 27, 2016 at Georgetown University. Special thanks to Mo Elleithee and everyone at the Institute of Politics and Public Service for supporting this event and for all the hospitality they showed us during our visit.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

May 21, 2018

For the third installment of our Music May series, Ben caught up with Tyler Mahan Coe whose podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones dives into some of the most famous stories in the history of country music. As a musician and son of country legend David Allan Coe, Tyler’s own history is part of that story, but his ability to take the best of his own experiences while remaining objective in the subjects he covers is outstanding. Tyler talks about the calling that drove him to make Cocaine & Rhinestones, the methodology he developed to cover the history of country music in a podcast, and why he thinks most people don’t have the story right when it comes to Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee.

A special shout out to Dr. Kelly Kolar for recommending Tyler as a guest for our music series and for joining us for the interview.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode, check out our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

May 21, 2018

For the third installment of our Music May series, Ben caught up with Tyler Mahan Coe whose podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones dives into some of the most famous stories in the history of country music. As a musician and son of country legend David Allan Coe, Tyler’s own history is part of that story, but his ability to take the best of his own experiences while remaining objective in the subjects he covers is outstanding. Tyler talks about the calling that drove him to make Cocaine & Rhinestones, the methodology he developed to cover the history of country music in a podcast, and why he thinks most people don’t have the story right when it comes to Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee.

A special shout out to Dr. Kelly Kolar for recommending Tyler as a guest for our music series and for joining us for the interview.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode, check out our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

May 14, 2018

You may have heard Tom Marshall’s words even if you’ve never heard him speak. For the last four decades Tom has been the chief lyricist for the band Phish, which is one of the most successful touring bands in the world. Tom, however, does not tour with the band, and his position as the mysterious wordsmith for the band has spawned several online myths about Tom’s origins and his life accomplishments outside of Phish. In this episode, We talk with Phish lyricist Tom Marshall to learn about the history of Phish, his friendship with Trey Anastasio, and the life experiences that inspired the lyrics for some of the band’s most well-known songs. We also set the record straight about Tom’s life, discuss his podcast Under the Scales and talk about Bob & Ben’s collaboration w/ Tom through the Osiris Podcast Network.

Today’s music is by Tom Marshall’s band Amphibian.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. Learn more about this episode and others at our website: www.The RoadToNow.com.

May 7, 2018

Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is one of the well-known tunes in the United States, but the song, and the man who wrote it, are far more complex and fascinating than most folks realize. Born in Oklahoma in 1912, Woody moved west during the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s and witnessed first-hand the tragedy that was the Great Depression. A self-proclaimed “common-ist,” Woody dedicated his life to documenting the experiences of his generation and using his platform as a nationally-recognized musician to advocate for the common working American. In today’s episode of The Road to Now, Bob & Ben speak with Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud to learn more about the experiences that shaped Woody Guthrie and the legacy he left for those of us today.

This episode was recorded at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK. If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend you take the time to visit. Check out the video of our visit to the Guthrie Center by clicking here.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

May 7, 2018

Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is one of the well-known tunes in the United States, but the song, and the man who wrote it, are far more complex and fascinating than most folks realize. Born in Oklahoma in 1912, Woody moved west during the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s and witnessed first-hand the tragedy that was the Great Depression. A self-proclaimed “common-ist,” Woody dedicated his life to documenting the experiences of his generation and using his platform as a nationally-recognized musician to advocate for the common working American. In today’s episode of The Road to Now, Bob & Ben speak with Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud to learn more about the experiences that shaped Woody Guthrie and the legacy he left for those of us today.

This episode was recorded at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, OK. If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend you take the time to visit. Check out the video of our visit to the Guthrie Center by clicking here.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and others, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

Apr 30, 2018

On The Road to Now, we talk a lot about how understanding history is essential to making informed political decisions. In today’s episode, Patricia O’Toole joins us to talk about what happened when a historian got control of the White House.

O’Toole’s new biography The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made (Simon & Schuster, 2018) examines the life of a President whose policy was guided by his personal sense of morality. From today’s perspective, Woodrow Wilson’s time in the White House (1913-1921) seems full of contradictions. He supported a constitutional amendment to ensure women’s suffrage, but oversaw the re-segregation of America’s civil service. He championed national self-determination for the people of Europe, but readily deployed US soldiers to intervene in Latin America. And he won re-election with the slogan “He Kept Us Out Of War,” yet called for America’s entry into World War I just a little over a month after his second inauguration. In spite of this, O’Toole says that a close examination of Wilson’s thought and policy reveals a consistent world view that binds these seemingly contradictory actions together.

Patricia O’Toole is the author of five books, including The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams (Simon & Schuster, 2006), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She previously taught in the School of the Arts at Columbia University was a fellow of the Society of American Historians. Her new biography of Woodrow Wilson The Moralist was released on April 24, 2018.

The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this episode and others, visit our website www.TheRoadToNow.com

Apr 27, 2018

In episode 53, we spoke with Sean Foley about Syria and the historic forces at work in the Syrian Civil War. A lot has changed since we first spoke with Sean in April of 2017, so we asked him to come back to catch us up on the Syrian Civil War, where Isis, Assad and other players currently stand, and the implications of Donald Trump’s sudden reversal on American intervention in the conflict.

The live map of Syria that Sean mentions in this episode can be found at https://syria.liveuamap.com/

Check out the Road to Now #53 for an in-depth history of Syria and the Middle East.

Dr. Sean Foley is an Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University, where he specializes in the contemporary history and politics of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. You can learn more about Dr. Foley on his personal website and his MTSU profile page.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

Apr 27, 2018

In episode 53, we spoke with Sean Foley about Syria and the historic forces at work in the Syrian Civil War. A lot has changed since we first spoke with Sean in April of 2017, so we asked him to come back to catch us up on the Syrian Civil War, where Isis, Assad and other players currently stand, and the implications of Donald Trump’s sudden reversal on American intervention in the conflict.

The live map of Syria that Sean mentions in this episode can be found at https://syria.liveuamap.com/

Check out the Road to Now #53 for an in-depth history of Syria and the Middle East.

Dr. Sean Foley is an Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University, where he specializes in the contemporary history and politics of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. You can learn more about Dr. Foley on his personal website and his MTSU profile page.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

Apr 23, 2018

The Armenian genocide was one of the most tragic events in the 20th century. The Ottoman government’s deliberate attempt to purge Armenians during World War I led to the elimination of approximately 1.5 million of the 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire just a few years earlier. While some families were able to escape the country and emigrate elsewhere, approximately eight hundred thousand Armenians were put to death by the Ottoman government and its allies within the Empire. Yet despite overwhelming evidence of the scale and purpose of this event, many governments, including the United States, have yet to officially recognize the Armenian genocide.

In this episode of The Road to Now we speak with Ronald Suny, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on the history of the Armenian genocide. Ron explains the process that led the Ottoman government to turn on its Armenian subjects and the methods it used to carry out this atrocity. He also explains why, in spite of the evidence, recognizing this as genocide remains a political hotspot both internationally and within modern Turkey, and why it is important to remember tragedies even when doing so makes us uncomfortable.

Dr. Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago, and Senior Researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is the author of numerous books, including “They Can Live in the Desert But Nowhere Else:” A History of the Armenian Genocide (Princeton University Press, 2015).

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

Apr 23, 2018

The Armenian genocide was one of the most tragic events in the 20th century. The Ottoman government’s deliberate attempt to purge Armenians during World War I led to the elimination of approximately 1.5 million of the 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire just a few years earlier. While some families were able to escape the country and emigrate elsewhere, approximately eight hundred thousand Armenians were put to death by the Ottoman government and its allies within the Empire. Yet despite overwhelming evidence of the scale and purpose of this event, many governments, including the United States, have yet to officially recognize the Armenian genocide.

In this episode of The Road to Now we speak with Ronald Suny, who is one of the world’s foremost experts on the history of the Armenian genocide. Ron explains the process that led the Ottoman government to turn on its Armenian subjects and the methods it used to carry out this atrocity. He also explains why, in spite of the evidence, recognizing this as genocide remains a political hotspot both internationally and within modern Turkey, and why it is important to remember tragedies even when doing so makes us uncomfortable.

Dr. Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago, and Senior Researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is the author of numerous books, including “They Can Live in the Desert But Nowhere Else:” A History of the Armenian Genocide (Princeton University Press, 2015).

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. For more on this and all other episodes of our podcast, visit our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com.

Apr 16, 2018

In this episode of The Road to Now, Richard Samuel West joins Bob and Ben for a conversation on the history of political cartoons in the United States. West tells of how political cartoonists went from independent artists in the early 19th century who sold their work on the streets to become powerful actors in American politics just a few decades later. He also explains how technological and social forces led to the rise, and eventual fall, of political cartoons as a form of satire, and how one of America’s most powerful and corrupt crime bosses was brought down by a single artist and his drawings.

Richard Samuel West is the coauthor of What Fools These Mortals Be: The History of Puck (IDW Publishing, 2014 w/ forward by Bill Waterson) and the founder of Periodyssey, which specializes in “significant and unusual American paper.”

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