Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught our attention this week:

The Conference on Faith and History responds to the assault on the U.S. capitol

Wendell Berry on the peace of wild things

Abraham Lincoln as consoler-in-chief

Marcia Polly reviews Wolf Krotke, Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologians for a Post-Christian World

A U.S. history teacher tries to explain to his students what is happening right now.

Should the history of Reconstruction be our guide as we think about how to deal with Trump insurgency? Also here.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse on QAnon

The history behind the film One Night in Miami

Rafael Warnock‘s progressive Christianity

Was the Civil War an insurrection or a rebellion?

January 6, 2021 and apocalyptic agitation

Scholars at the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics respond to the January 6 insurrection

When media companies silenced Father Charles Coughlin

Teaching the January 6 insurrection

Claire Potter on Josh Hawley’s revoked book contract

Most U.S. megachurches are multiracial

Trump and the past, present, and future of the GOP

Sunday night odds and ends

A few thing online that caught my attention this week:

Are you an evangelical? Do you attend an evangelical church? Did you attend an evangelical church? Take the survey.

Trump and the “Lost Cause

Is it time to bring an end to the academic book review?

The end of American exceptionalism?

When a 19th-century pro-South mob invaded the U.S. Capitol

Looking for solidarity in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Reading the memoirs of billionaires

The rioters at the U.S. Capitol have been around for a long, long time.

What would Alexander Hamilton say about the attack on the U.S. Capitol?

When John Adams skipped Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration

JSTOR and the U.S. survey course

Eric Foner: America has never had a “well-functioning democracy

The ancestors of American democracy

What we will call January 6, 2021?

Timothy Snyder on January 6, 2021

Previous attacks on the U.S. capitol

How did I get all these books?

Mike Pence: evangelical

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

E.P. Thompson

Abolitionism today and the 13th Amendment

Deborah Cohen reviews two new books on the women’s suffrage movement

Marriage and “leaping over a broom

A Harvard political theorist is thinking about running for governor of Massachusetts

Mormons and America

How old Southern ideas shaped American politics

Contemplative Christianity


Beethoven in America

Advent in pandemics past


Monuments and “adding context”

John Steinbeck‘s America

American Studies

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Michael Ignatieff reviews Noel Biggar, When Virtue is Not Enough: What’s Wrong with Rights?

Putnam: Black equality grew before the civil rights movement and slowed after the civil rights movement

E.J. Dionne on Never Trump conservatives

The working class and the classics

What happened to American exceptionalism


Dr. J’s “legendary reverse layup” in the 1980s NBA finals and the “ethics of witnessing

William T. Cavanaugh on Fratelli Tutti

The World Socialist Web Site introduces its 1619 Project book

John Inazu on the misinformation virus

The ghosts of segregation

Remote teaching through ZOOM

The 1872 horse flu

Young and white in 1980s Atlanta

Advice on writing academic book reviews

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

The Trump presidency as a civics lesson

Sam Sackeroff reviews David Bromwich, Writing Politics: An Anthology

Michael Gerson on “moral journalism

Amy Greenberg reviews David Brown, The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams

Pilgrims and buckles

What happened to the Drudge Report?

Trump’s presidency as a reaction to Barack Obama

Thomas Morton’s neo-pagan experiment in the “city upon a hill”

Taverns and early American politics

The migrations of the American South, 1780-2020

Presidential transitions

Bon-Ton department store

The last American baseball glove manufacturer

“There is no monolithic humanities

An 18th-century family sues for freedom

Has America outgrown the Pilgrims?

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Fareed Zakaria reviews Obama’s memoir

Return to normalcy?

Cancel culture


Trump’s rhetorical presidency

Jon Butler talks about his new book God in Gotham: The Miracle of Religion in Modern Manhattan

Peale’s Museum

Abram Van Engen reviews Alan Jacobs’s Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind

Black patriotism

Jill Lepore asks: “Will Trump burn the evidence?”

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the 2020 election

What is Parler?

Brad East reviews N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Promise of Natural Theology

Serious intellectual and cultural history

Cosmopolitan evangelicalism?

Grant Wacker searches for a pastoral voice in a time of tragedy

The “greatest generation” versus the “COVID generation”

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Alexander Hamilton owned slaves

Matthew Clemente reviews Elisabeth Lasch Quinn, Ars Vitae: The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living

Another writer moves to Substack

The election in Georgia in historical context

Health care workers can’t go on like this

Diet soda

Are Republicans still an American political party?

Why the Pilgrims would probably cancel Thanksgiving this year

The conservative never Trumpers at The Bulwark

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reviews Barack Obama, A Promised Land

Intellectuals on the Left discuss the meaning of the 2020 election

Banning travel in a pandemic in A.D. 640

Ronald K.L. Collins reviews Hamilton and the Law: Reading Today’s Most Contentious Legal Issues Through the Hit Musical

An 1897 snowball flight

The Black man who invented Nebraska football

Presidential memoirs

Marilynne Robinson, God, and Jack

Virginia DeJohn Anderson reviews Thomas Ricks, First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned From the Greeks and Romans and How That Shared Our Country

Louis Masur reviews David Reynolds, Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Ballpoint pens

Confessional writing

David Blight on Trumpism

Teaching American history in a divided country

Are American evangelicals a “political bloc with a religious past?”

Joe Biden: “Griever-in-Chief

The history of the present

Marjoleine Kars reviews Martha Jones, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Nell Irvin Painter sees hope

Andrew Delbanco and “Humanities for Everyone

Building metaphors and American democracy

Trump and Falwell Jr. as evangelicals’ “golden calves

The new Mississippi flag

Bill Thompson reviews William L. Barney, Rebels in the Making: The Secession Crisis and the Birth of the Confederacy

The Star Spangled Banner

Charles King reviews Thomas Ricks, First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

How to edit a journal of opinion

How to write a CV

The 2020s might be like the 1850s

Robert Putnam of Bowling Alone fame is “bullish on America

Rethinking politics

Rick Perlstein: 2020 is not 1968

A political history of the present moment

Who should be allowed to vote, and by what methods?

James Davison Hunter works through contradictions of racial exclusion and injustice with Martin Luther King Jr.

After October 21, 1980 baseball fans stopped rushing the field

Andrew Burstein reviews Lynne Cheney, The Virginia Dynasty

Annette Gordon-Reed reflects on the Tuesday’s election

McCarthy, La Follette, and Wisconsin politics

Black Spartacus

Interpreting Plymouth

Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street turns 100

Andrew Delbanco on The Twilight Zone

Writers’ rooms

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

When Malcolm X met with the KKK

What is a political essay?

Stealing elections–old school style

Journalism in the age of Trump

Marriages and COVID-19

Doug: The last undecided voter

Jon Meacham on 1968 and 2020

The Democrats are winning the war of ideas

Sex and the author of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution

White fear and American politics

Atlantic City

In Brazil, I see my life whole”

Religion and Supreme Court justices


Woodrow Wilson and race

Book binding and human skin

Thomas Frank on populism

Alexis Coe reviews H.W. Brands, The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom

Sunday night odds and ends

A few days online that caught my attention this week:

Jonathan Edwards

Is Amy Coney Barrett committed to religious pluralism?

Will Joe Biden’s presidency be transformative?

The New York Times editorial board makes a case against Donald Trump

Peter Wehner: “Evangelicals made a bad bargain with Trump”

Robert P. Jones on Christians and white supremacy

Trump vs. Democracy

How baseball happened

Why vote?

Ross Douthat

A visual history of the Haitian Revolution

Where do you write?

Trump the anointed one

I watched The Trial of the Chicago 7 last night. Excellent. What is true and what is not?

Lael Weinberger reviews Jack Rakove, Beyond Belief, Beyond Conscience: Exercising Religion and Taming Faction

David Blight wonders if Republicans are the new Confederates

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Jeet Heer reviews Sean Wilentz’s edited collection of some of Richard Hofstadter’s most important work.

John Barry on what a virus can do to a president

Jeremy Beer reviews Andrew Bacevich, ed., American Conservatism: Reclaiming an Intellectual Tradition

Should we be glad Trump got COVID-19?

Joe Biden, Dwight Eisenhower, and getting back to normal

Marilynne Robinson: “the first order of business for us as a people is to find our way back to equilibrium”

Obama’s speeches

Historian Paul Matzko on conservative talk radio

The Mark Meadows family dancing the night away while so many of us locked ourselves for the great good. Thank you Rebecca Onion.

James Kloppenberg reviews What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era

America’s moral convulsion

“…the electoral college failed to work as designed because its design was contradictory in the first place.

On the death of president John Tyler’ grandson this week

The links between Christian nationalism and anti-masking

Trump’s fear of honest history

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Why no evangelicals on the Supreme Court?

Bowling Alone turns 20

Robert Merry reviews David S. Reynolds, Abe: Abraham Lincoln and His Times

Trump is a tragic figure

Mitchell Cohen reviews John Judis, The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left

Mike Piazza‘s former Italian soccer team

What happens is incapacitated or dies?

E.J. Dionne on social Catholicism and politics

Amy Coney Barrett and charismatic Catholicism

The last time writers left news outlets to write newsletters

11 historic sites that need saving

David Greenberg reviews Jonathan Alter, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life

Should we abandon the U.S. Senate?

Hermione Lee reviews Marilynne Robinson’s Jack. Elaine Showalter reviews it here.

Don’t put your books in a greenhouse

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Are pious Catholics a problem for liberalism?

Marilynne Robinson’s latest Gilead novel

Editing RBG


Cheap stuff in America

1820 and 1920

Women’s domesticity and 1950s ads

Is Uncle Tom’s Cabin guilt lit?”

Do the framers of the Constitution still own it?

Amy Coney Barrett and the conservative legal movement

Blatant lying…characterizes much of the Christian propaganda for Donald Trump

Defending white freedom

A monument to a Jewish Confederate

Gene Seymour reviews Rick Perlstein, Reaganland: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980

Rewatching Ken Burns’s The Civil War after a summer of racial unrest

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Alan Jacobs on reading books from the past. And a review.

Democracy vs. Epistocracy

Empathy for Teddy

Selling soap


The pandemic spiral

Learning humility from Ben Franklin

White churches and white supremacy

Socialism and the American trail system

American democracy and the U.S. postal service

Slavery and the Trail of Tears

The Jefferson Bible

Tom Seaver: “If the Mets can win the World Series, then we can get out of Vietnam.”

When the Christian Right stopped loving their neighbors

Complexity, nuance, and the removal of monuments

Jia Lynn Yang reviews James A. Monroe, Republic of Wrath: How American Politics Turned Tribal, From George Washington to Donald Trump

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

The Colfax Massacre

Grant Wacker on the fall of Jerry Falwell Jr.

Suffrage and Black women

Socialist Sunday schools

What is Jill Lepore reading?

Donald Trump and John Wayne

Liberty University in the post-Falwell era

Two new books on the history of nativism

A “flying train” in 1902

Trump’s use of imagery

Manichaenism in presidential politics

Women’s suffrage after the 19th amendment

1968 and 2020

Randall Kennedy reviews Jon Meacham’s His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

The Conversation tackles the Falwell scandal here and here.

Did a sermon provoke violence during the Stamp Act crisis?

The fight over monuments

Christopher Lasch and local culture

Most popular posts of the last week

Here are the most popular posts of the last week at The Way of Improvement Leads Home:

  1. The Jerry Falwell Jr. story takes a bizarre turn
  2. This interview tells us a lot about John MacArthur and the movement he represents
  3. Why did Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. post a picture of himself with his pants unbuckled, underwear showing, a glass of “wine” in his hand, and his arm around a woman’s waist?
  4. The “pool boy” tells his side of the story and it’s pretty damning for the Falwells
  5. The last fundamentalist empire died yesterday in Lynchburg, Virginia
  6. John MacArthur’s views on slavery sound eerily familiar
  7. Half the “key speakers” at the Republican National Convention this week are Trumps
  8. GOP: No platform this year. We are just supporting Trump
  9. It looks like Falwell will be out tomorrow (Tuesday)
  10. Jerry Falwell Jr. resigns as president of Liberty University


Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Os Guinness responds to Abram Van Engen and other “Christian scholars”

The bond between an author and his assistant

When Andrew Jackson politicized the post office

Cancel culture is not new. The Harper’s letter in historical context.

Leonard Downie reviews Harold Holzer’s The Presidents vs. the Press


David Blight on Barack Obama’s DNC Convention “jeremiad

Using churches to host K-12 classes

Errol Morris on the anatomy of Trump’s St. John’s church photo-op

The Puritan ethic

Jemar Tisby reviews Robert P. Jones, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity

Evangelical colleges respond to the death of George Floyd

Richard R. John and Joseph Turow on the U.S. Postal Service

Can Joe Biden really “hurt God?”

Janelle Peters reviews Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder, A Century of Votes for Women

Sunday night odds and ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Gerald Russello reviews George Scialabba, How to be Depressed

The World Socialist Web Site on the death of Bernard Bailyn

What makes for a successful vice-presidential pick?

A historian on university openings and closings

Thomas Frank on populism


A panel discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement

Joe Biden: “Griever-in-Chief

Dan Walden reviews Matt Walsh’s Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians

The never-Trump conservative intellectuals

Rebecca Onion interviews Richard Kreitner, author of Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

H. W. Brands reviews Marjoleine Kars, Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast

Jefferson Davis’s pro-slavery nemesis

Who owned the Liberty Tree?

Kamala Harris and the future of American religion


The pro-life movement and Black voters

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Visiting Frederick Douglass’s birthplace

Pro-lifers prepare for a post-Roe world

Ruth Graham on Falwell’s leave of absence

COVID-19 workers seen through 19th-century tintype photography

What should the American Museum of Natural History do with its Teddy Roosevelt statue?

Drew Gilpin Faust on William Faulkner and race

A history of hurricanes

Katie Ladecky swims with a glass of chocolate milk on her head

The Gilder-Lehman Institute of American History and Hamilton

The power of The New York Times

The four historic threats to American democracy

The story of a Black cemetery in Waco, Texas

Why Americans rejected only educating the children of the rich

Fara Dabhoiwala reviews three new books on slavery in the West Indies

The meaning of statistics in the Progressive Era

Manute Bol’s son

David Roediger reviews Walter Johnson, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States.

Julian Zelizer reviews three new Trump books