Ever wonder what it's like to be inside the mind of American Rambler? Well, it might be something like this: a mishmash of TV and movie clips, comedy bits, and creative impulses. For the first time, you get to hear original American Rambler poetry! Yes, Colin reads two works about famous people, "I Rode on a Plane with Kierkegaard" and "I Had a Beer with Bukowski." So, get your Revolution 9 on, y'all. It's the most avant garde episode yet!
Kevin Levin is a veteran of the history wars. He is perhaps best known for his popular blog Civil War Memory. But he is also a teacher and published scholar, who has not backed down in the face of intimidation from the "heritage" crowd. A native of New Jersey, Kevin has degrees from the University of Maryland and the University of Richmond, where he wrote a thesis on the Civil War that became the basis for his first book, The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.
At a cozy hotel in downtown Charlottesville, Colin and Kevin talk about doing history and how it often treads on uncomfortable political ground. Also, Kevin talks about his new book project, soon to be published by University of North Carolina Press, which addresses the myth of black Confederate soldiers. Can historians really make themselves heard above the political noise surrounding Confederate monuments and the Rebel flag? Do facts matter in an age of "fake news?" Listen and find out!
The country lost two greats recently. One, Ira Berlin, was a professor of United States history and the slave South at the University of Maryland. He was also a former guest on American Rambler (episode 28, posted in October 2016). The other great was Anthony Bourdain, who became a household name as a writer, chef, and world traveler. Colin talks about the contributions of both of these men and how Anthony Bourdain seemed to epitomize the empathetic celebrity in a America where we see a shocking empathy gap.
On a more upbeat note, Colin talks about seeing Robert Plant for the first time in Richmond, and how the former singer for Led Zeppelin manages to blend the old and the new into an entertaining and professional music package that covers country, folk, and arena rock.
A. Wilson "Will" Greene has been around. A native of Chicago, Will is perhaps the Guinness record holder for most miles traveled by a historian. His education and career in the National Park Service took him all over the country, from Indiana to Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia. He lives in Tennessee now, but he keeps busy. And on the road.
In the lobby of the Marriott in Newport News, Will talks with Colin about his adventures at Louisiana State University in the 1970s studying with T. Harry Williams and Bill Cooper, doing weekend radio in New Orleans, and the events that led him to Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg, Virginia.
Will is the foremost authority on the battle of Petersburg. Now that he's retired, he has even more time for research. His most recent book is A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg, which is the first in a trilogy examining the longest "siege" in American military history. Parts two and three are in the works. Will is also one of the founders of the Civil War Trust (now the American Battlefield Trust), which has preserved thousands of acres for future generations to study and enjoy.