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American Rambler with Colin Woodward


Apr 19, 2020

Michael Foley lives in France, where he is a professor of history at University Grenoble Alpes. He might be far from home, but Mike is used to moving around. The son of a blue collar dad, his father's work took the family around New England and, briefly, into Pennsylvania. He grew up in the culture of Democratic politics and small town meetings, which has informed his later work. Yet, as an undergrad, he went to Florida to pursue a business degree.

After "five miserable years" working in Boston in the late 1980s as an auditor for mutual funds, Mike, inspired by historians of the civil rights movement, got his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire. There, he studied with Harvard Sitkoff. Since then, he has approached his work with an activist bent. His first monograph, Confronting the War Machine, was about resistance to the draft during the Vietnam War. His work on the 1960s won him the attention of Mad Men, which asked him to be a consultant to the show. He continues to write about politics.

He also is a big music fan. In 2015, he published a book on the Dead Kennedys album for the popular 33 1/3 series. Now, he is writing a book on Johnny Cash's politics.