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The Road to Now
73 minutes | 2 days ago
#187 The Insurrection Episode
Bob Crawford is back, so he and Ben decided to take an episode to talk about recent political developments and where they (might) fit into our historical narrative.
88 minutes | 16 days ago
#186 Dark Archives w/ Megan Rosenbloom
Megan Rosenbloom joins Ben and guest cohost Tanya Marsh for a discussion about Megan's new book Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020). Megan built a team of experts to test the validity of books claimed to be covered in human skin, and traveled the world to find out more about the people and processes that led to both real and debunked works of anthropodermic bibliopegy. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
70 minutes | a month ago
#185 Pragmatic History w/ Bill Scher
Journalist Bill Scher joins Ben for a conversation about political pragmatism and the accomplishments that come from compromise and playing the long game when it comes to institutional change. Bill also talks about how his life as a journalist led him to create his new podcast, When America Worked, which focuses on the people whose achievements were accomplished through pragmatism. Episode 1 “He Saved the World: Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.” is out now and available anywhere you get The Road to Now and at www.Scherable.com. You can follow Bill Scher on twitter at @BillScher. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
42 minutes | a month ago
The History of Santa Claus and Christmas Culture w/ James Cooper (RTN #182 Rebroadcast)
Ben and Bob caught up with Christmas expert James Cooper to find out the origins of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and all the other parts of Christmas that most of us take for granted. James explains how Santa Claus and Christmas traditions evolved around the world, and how a man who lived almost 2,000 years ago became one of the most recognizable characters in American culture. You can find out more about the history of Santa Claus and Christmas at James Cooper's website- https://www.whychristmas.com/ This is a rebroadcast of RTN #82, which originally aired in December of 2017.
85 minutes | 2 months ago
#184 The President’s Cabinet w/ Lindsay Chervinsky
Presidential historian Lindsay Chervinsky joins us to talk about the origins of the President’s cabinet and how the decisions George Washington made have outlasted his time in office by more than 200 years. We also discuss the changing role of the executive and why delaying the transition between incoming and outgoing Presidential administrations can have serious consequences for national security. Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky is scholar in residence at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies, Senior Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies. Her new book The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, was published by Belknap Press in 2020. You can follow her on Twitter at @lmchervinsky. Our new website will be launching on the same day as this episode, so check out www.TheRoadToNow.com and then check out Seven Ages Design to find out what they can create for you and your work! The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.
79 minutes | 2 months ago
#183 The History of the Lumbee Indians w/ Malinda Maynor Lowery
The Lumbee are the largest Indian tribe east of the Mississippi, and while few are familiar with their story, Lumbee history is remarkable both in itself and as a way to more richly understand the United States in general. In this episode we speak with Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, whose life as a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a scholar who specializes in Native American history have made her a leading voice for the Lumbee community. Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery is Professor of History and Director for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of multiple works on Native American history, the most recent of which is The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle (UNC Press, 2018). Her New York Times op-ed mentioned in this episode is “We Are the Original Southerners,” New York Times, May 22, 2018). You can follow her on twitter at @MalindaLowery. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Making the Call w/ Matt Negrin #1: Oh God What if He Claims Victory?!
Note: Episodes 2-4 of this series, featuring Sarah Mimms, Brian Karem & Josh Shapiro are currently available on our website at RTNpod.me/makingthecall. In the first of his four part series on media coverage and election night 2020, Matt Negrin calls his former colleague Isaac Dovere, who covers Biden for The Atlantic, to talk about why Trump won’t concede, and what the Biden campaign is nervous about. Making the Call is a RTN special series hosted by The Daily Show Senior Digital Producer Matt Negrin.
51 minutes | 3 months ago
# 182 The Story of North Carolina Popular Music w/ David Menconi (ft. guest co-host Dolph Ramseur)
Journalist David Menconi has documented the people and sounds of North Carolina’s music scene for almost three decades. In this episode, Ben and guest co-host Dolph Ramseur speak with David about his new book Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk, and how the music of “The Old North State” is both reflected in, and a reflection of, its people. David Menconi spent 28 years writing for the Raleigh News & Observer and was Piedmont Laureate in 2019. His other works include Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown" (University of Texas Press, 2012); "Comin’ Right at Ya: How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or, the Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel. (co-written with Ray Benson, University of Texas Press, 2015). You can follow him on twitter at @NCDavidMenconi. Guest co-host Dolph Ramseur is the founder of Ramseur Records and a member of the North Carolina Hall of Fame. If you’re enjoying The Road to Now, please consider joining us on Patreon, giving us a 5 star rating/review on Apple podcasts and sharing this episode with a friend who might also enjoy it. Thank you! This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is a member of the Osiris Podcast Network.
35 minutes | 3 months ago
Washington's Farewell Revisited w/ John Avlon
This episode is a reair of RTN #48 (with an updated intro). George Washington is one of the most revered figures in American history. As Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, Washington led his troops to one of the most unlikely and world-shaking victories in modern history, and his selection as President of both the Constitutional Convention and the new government designed that summer in Philadelphia, demonstrate the unmatched faith that the founders had in General Washington. Today, however, we tend to remember Washington more for the positions he held than for the personal qualities that made him a peerless member of the founding generation, but the wisdom left to us by our first President in his farewell address is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. In this episode of The Road to Now we explain why in our discussion with Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon about his book Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations.
45 minutes | 4 months ago
#181 More Questions than Answers
2020 has been “eventful” so Bob & Ben decided to take an episode to sit back and cover what’s been happening lately and answer questions from our Patrons. We discuss Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the state of politics in the US and major developments in the 2020 election. Ben also gives a rundown of the recent White House Conference on American History (read his twitter thread here) and what appears to be the agenda behind Trump’s announcement of the 1776 commission to “Promote Patriotic Education. In other words, there’s a lot here. Thank you for listening. This episode was recorded live via zoom webinar. If you’d like to be in the zoom room for our upcoming live conversations, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadtoNow This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
106 minutes | 4 months ago
#180 The Transformation of American Policing w/ Stuart Schrader
The confrontations between demonstrators and police that have taken place in the last few months have resulted in a national debate about law enforcement. The expanded use of Federal officers in American cities and the use of unmarked vehicles to detain citizens are concerning recent developments, but some scholars have pointed out that these tactics bear striking similarities to the strategies pursued by the US abroad. In this episode, Ben & guest co-host Alex Galarza speak w/ Johns Hopkins’ Stuart Schrader about the ways that US counterinsurgency abroad came to transform American policing from the 20th century to today. Dr. Stuart Schrader is Lecturer/Assistant Research Scientist in Sociology and the Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (University of California Press, 2019) and has contributed to several major media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Nation & American Quarterly. You can follow him on twitter at @stschrader1. This week’s guest co-host Alex Galarza is Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Delaware. He is a specialist on Latin American history with a focus on the history of sport. Alex also appeared in RTN #99 The History & Politics of the World Cup w/ Alex Galarza & Matt Negrin. You can follow Alex on twitter at @galarzaalex. This episode was edited by Aaron Weber. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
96 minutes | 5 months ago
#179 The Pursuit of Happiness w/ Ravi Patel
Ravi Patel has been a lot of things– an investment banker, an actor, the co-founder of an organization that benefits undernourished children– but in recent years, he’s set out to find the answers to life’s big questions and to share what he finds with others. In this episode, Ravi joins Bob and Ben for a conversation about family, friends and what he discovered from traveling the world for his new series Ravi Patel’s Pursuit of Happiness, which premieres August 24th on HBO MAX. Ravi Patel has appeared as an actor in several hit television shows, including Scrubs, Master of None and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and received multiple awards for his documentary, Meet The Patels, which he co-directed with his sister, Geeta. In 2013, he co-founded This Saves Lives w/ fellow actors Kirsten Bell, Ryan Devlin & Todd Grinnell to help alleviate child malnutrition around the world. And did we mention that his new show Ravi Patel’s Pursuit of Happiness premieres August 24th on HBO MAX (seriously, it’s fantastic- we hope you’ll watch it!). Love audiobooks? Want to support your local bookstore and The Road to Now while you listen? Then check out our sponsor, Libro.fm. Click here to check out a playlist of books by our recent guests and use promo code RTN to get 2 books for just $15! This episode was edited by Aaron Weber. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
72 minutes | 5 months ago
#178 The Facebook Catastrophe w/ Roger McNamee
In 2006, Roger McNamee played a crucial role in convincing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg not to sell his company to Yahoo!. A couple of years later, he helped bring Sheryl Sandberg in as Facebook’s COO. Yet despite this personal connection, and his role as an early investor in the company, Roger now believes that Facebook has become a threat to democracy. In this episode, Bob and Ben talk with Roger about his book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, the role Facebook has played in spreading disinformation, and the steps he believes we should take to regain control over the tech giants of the modern world. Roger McNamee is Managing Director of Elevation Partners, which he co-founded in 2004 with U2’s Bono. Roger is also a member of the band Moonalice, which plays live stream every day at 4:20pm.
108 minutes | 6 months ago
#177 How the South Won the Civil War w/ Heather Cox Richardson
The military engagements of the US Civil War came to an end in 1865, but the ideology of the confederacy was not so easily defeated. In this episode we speak with Dr. Heather Cox Richardson about her new book How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America and how the worldview of antebellum southern elites came to be embraced by the “movement conservatives” who are at the helm of the modern Republican party. Heather also talks about how she’s able to make history relatable to a general audience, her writing process, and why she is fearful, but optimistic, about the future of democracy in the United States. Dr. Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College and the author of six books on US history. Her “Letters from An American” are published almost every day on her facebook page and on substack, where you can subscribe to support her work. You can follow her on twitter at @HC_Richardson. The full unedited video of this conversation is available on our Patreon page. For more on Dr. Richardson’s work, check out The Road to Now #38 The History of the Republican Party from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump w/ Heather Cox Richardson. This episode was edited by Ben Sawyer The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
80 minutes | 6 months ago
#176 Musical Chairs w/ Joe Kwon
Cellist Joe Kwon joins Bob & Ben to talk about his journey from aspiring classical musician to Bob’s bandmate in The Avett Brothers. Joe shares his experiences as a Korean immigrant growing up in North Carolina, why he decided to become a cellist, and where he learned to play the cello standing up. Joe and Bob also discuss how they first met, Joe's first show with the band, and why Joe has such a deep appreciation and passion for cooking and food. For more on Joe, check out his website KwonKwon.com, designed by Charles and Destiny Crossingham at Seven Ages Design. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris podcast network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.
120 minutes | 7 months ago
I Can’t Breathe: Surviving the Dual Pandemics of Racism and Covid-19 w/ Louis Woods
As Americans grapple with the devastation wrought by the dual pandemics of racism and Covid-19, it is critically important to understand the vast racial disparities Covid-19 has exposed within the African American community (specifically), but communities of color (generally). The legacies of housing policies sponsoring residential segregation, and the associated racial gaps in wealth, educational achievement, health inequities, and lethal police encounters resonate nationally, but global white supremacy and migration patterns have contributed to powerful displays of international solidarity. In this episode, Dr. Louis Woods speaks with experts in multiple fields to examine how the sudden shock of the Covid-19 pandemic has illuminated the centuries-old pandemic of racism in western culture, and particularly in the United States. Sociologist Dr. Tony Brown discusses underlying health disparities. Dr. Terah Venzant Chambers describes educational funding discrepancies contributing to racial achievement gaps. Dr. Sharita Jacobs-Thompson explores the invaluable contribution her co-taught “History of Policing” class has made to DC Metropolitan veteran officers and police cadets. Dr. Michelle Stevens examines the link between PTSD and trauma in the black community and emphasizes the critical importance of self-care. Dr. Glenn Chambers provides international contexts to the global protest movement associated with murder of George Floyd. Dr. Louis Woods then concludes with an analysis of historical housing policy and the generational impacts witnessed today. It took the world stopping, for a critical mass of white Americans to hear, in many instances for the first time, the legitimate outcries of police brutality made generationally by African Americans. This podcast episode provides a holistic exploration to the tragedies that made this latest iteration of white police terror both a national and an international movement. This episode is part of RTN’s Pass The Mic Project. This episode was recorded by, and remains the property of, Dr. Louis Woods.
91 minutes | 7 months ago
#175 The Death of Expertise w/ Tom Nichols
Tom Nichols is University Professor at the Naval War College, where he specializes in international affairs, and a respected commentator on US politics and international security. A former Republican, Tom broke from the party during the Trump administration and has since been a vocal critic of the current administration. In this episode Bob and Ben speak with Tom about the current state of American politics and his book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters, (Oxford University Press, 2017). You can follow Tom Nichols on Twitter at @RadioFreeTom. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
82 minutes | 7 months ago
#174 Direction w/ Michael Bonfiglio
Michael Bonfiglio is an award-winning filmmaker whose work as a director and producer includes May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (2017), the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries You Don’t Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson (2012) and Doc & Darryl (2016), and From the Ashes (2017). Mike joins Ben & Bob to talk about the art of making documentary films, how his work engages with the historical narrative, and how the coronavirus epidemic has changed filmmakers work. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
84 minutes | 8 months ago
#173 The South w/ Trae Crowder
Since going viral with his Liberal Redneck videos in 2016, comedian Trae Crowder has become well-known for sharing a perspective that is southern in origin, but not quite what most people expect. In this episode, Trae joins Bob and Ben for a conversation about southern culture, the south’s bizarre embrace of Donald Trump, and how his work helped a lot of southerners with less conservative viewpoints to ‘come out of the closet.’ We also talk about how Trae’s family and education helped to shape his understanding of the world, and what it’s like when you have your work suddenly go viral. For more on Trae, visit the WellRED Comedy Tour's website and subscribe to The WellRed Podcast, w/ Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan. We also announce that this summer, The Road to Now will be going to a bi-weekly schedule. We've got some great guests lined up, and you can join us for the recordings by supporting us on Patreon! For details: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
59 minutes | 8 months ago
#172 Fourth Anniversary Party
There was a lot happening when Bob and Ben launched the first episode of The Road to Now on May 19th, 2016. It was the year of a Presidential election, there was an intense feeling of partisanship in the air, and people were everywhere- at concerts, in classes, on the sidewalk…. Four years later, Bob and Ben are still going strong, so we decided to make this year’s anniversary episode a party and to invite our Patrons. It’s not a typical episode of RTN, but we hope you enjoy it! Thanks to everyone who has supported us on Patreon, attended a live show, bought our merch, told a friend about our work, or even just taken the time to listen to an episode. RTN matters to us because it matters to you. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network.
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