Introducing Abby La Bianca!

Abby LaEpisode 39, the first episode of Season 5 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, will drop on Sunday.  This is the first episode we cut with our new studio producer Abby La Bianca.

Abby is a senior Broadcast and Media Production major from Westfield, New Jersey.  She is also a very busy woman!  When Abby is not editing podcast episodes, working another part-time job, and taking classes, she is working on the Messiah College tech crew and producing a campus television show.  Last year she spent a semester off campus in Nashville where she studied at the Contemporary Music Center.

Welcome aboard, Abby!  Drop her a note in the comments sections or at one of our social media feeds and welcome her to The Way of Improvement Leads Home team!

Rebecca Onion Interviews Sam Wineburg on Teaching History

WineburgI love this interview at Slate.  It is not only a subject–historical thinking in schools–that I interests me, but both participants in the interview are former guests on The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.  Sam Wineburg was a guest on Episode 3.  Rebecca Onion was our guest on Episode 12.  (We hope to have Wineburg back this season–stay tuned).

Onion talks to Wineburg about his new book, Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone).  Here is a taste:

I loved the note you made about the difference between “sounding critical” and thinking critically. President Trump recently said that Google is biased against conservatives. There have been a number of instances of this, where Trump or someone Trump-ish will say something that sounds critical or wise but isn’t. It’s hard because it almost feels like there is an appropriation of the language of critical thinking on the right that makes it hard to explain what the difference might be between that and what we are talking about.

It’s not “almost an appropriation,” it is an appropriation. And in this respect, the work that has influenced me the most is the work by Kate Starbird, an absolutely brilliant internet researcher who studies crisis communication at the University of Washington’s College of Engineering.* And she has a paper that shows that the alt-right has, right there with Alex Jones, has appropriated the language of “Do you have an open mind? Are you an independent thinker? Are you willing to trust your own intelligence to make up your own mind when you review the evidence?”

And so absolutely, this is the language that has been appropriated by the alt-right in particular, these neo-Nazi sites and conspiracy sites that basically say, “The wool is being pulled over your eyes! But you have the power to [pose] thoughtful questions through your own powers of discernment if you have an open mind.” This is the stock-in-trade of propagandists—you can go back and see the same kind of thing in work by Lenin and Goebbels: “You should trust yourself. We’re not going to tell you what to believe, you evaluate the evidence—here is the evidence.”

Read the entire interview here.

Season 5 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is Right Around the Corner!

We are in the studio this week recording episodes for Season 5 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Like Season 4, we have some GREAT guests in the queue.  As always, we NEED YOUR HELP.  Learn how you can support high-quality American history podcasting here.   All supporters are eligible for a The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast mug or a signed copy of one of my books, including Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  Here are some pics:

Podcast on stage

A shot from our first live episode

Ally Podcast

A fan on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Mug in Florida

Florida during Hurricane Irma

graham-mug

I believe this is in Richmond, Virginia

mug-2

bta-students

Some of these students from Boston Trinity Academy were guests on Episode 31

Lowrie

Season 4 studio producer Josh Lowrie has graduated.  We will be announcing his replacement soon

Nilsa

Don’t forget our intern, Nilsa

Shannon

We interview some great authors!

Stephens Book

fun

Sometimes Drew gets very excited about our episodes

Moral combat

Drew and Josh

Drew and Josh doing their thing

Fitz

Occasionally a Pulitzer Prize-winner shows-up on our airwaves

XM

People love listening to the podcast on road trips

Brenda

It’s always great to meet TWOILH patrons when I’m on the road.  

 

The New Season of The Way of Improvement Leads Podcast is Almost Here!

Mug in Florida

A TWOILH podcast patron from Florida shows-off her mug (and generator) during Hurricane Irma

We are gearing up for Season 5 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.  Stay tuned.  New episodes are almost here!

If you are interested in conversations and commentary with some great historians and historical thinkers, you are not going to want to miss this upcoming season.  We hope you will download episodes, write reviews of the show at your favorite podcast sites, and share the podcast with your friends.  We also invite you to support us financially.  The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is funded primarily by listeners.  Check out how you can contribute at our Patreon page.  All donor money, of course, goes to the production and development of the podcast.  It is used to pay our producer and studio engineer.

We accept pledges and one-time gifts.  And you may be eligible for a free The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast coffee mug or a free signed book (including Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump).

Here is a quick summary of all of our episodes:

SEASON 1:

Episode 1:  Jim Grossman, the Executive Director of the American Historical Society, reminds us that “Everything Has a History.”

Episode 2: Historian Daniel Williams talks about the history of the pro-life movement in America.

Episode 3: Yoni Appelbaum, Ideas Editor at The Atlantic, helps us think historically about electoral politics.

Episode 4: Stanford’s Sam Wineburg talks about historical thinking “and other unnatural acts.”

Episode 5: Tim Grove of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum talks about museums and writing history for children.

Episode 6:  Nate DiMeo of the wildly popular podcast “The Memory Place” talks about telling stories about the past.

Episode 7: Paul Lukas of ESPN talks about history, memory, nostalgia, and sports uniforms.

Episode 8: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon Reed and Peter Onuf discuss the complex life and legacy of Thomas Jefferson.

Episode 9: Author Marc Dolan discusses the historical, political, and spiritual significance of Bruce Springsteen.

SEASON 2:

Episode 10:  Thomas Jefferson living history interpreter Steve Edenbo talks about what it is like to be a Jefferson re-enactor in a post-Hamilton world.

Episode 11: Historian Ann Little reflects on the writing of biography through the 18th-century life of Esther Wheelright.

Episode 12: Slate‘s Rebecca Onion talks about bringing good history to the public.

Episode 13: NPR reporter Sarah McCammon tells us what it is like to follow Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

Episode 14: Historian Amy Bass joins us to talk Olympics, baseball, and sports history.

Episode 15: Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, the co-author and illustrator of Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War, discusses graphic novels as a way of communicating history to the public.

Episode 16: Award-winning historian Manisha Sinha teaches us about the history of abolitionist movement.

SEASON 3:

Episode 17: Douglas Bradburn, CEO of Mount Vernon, talks with us about George Washington and his Virginia estate.

Episode 18: Historian Bruce Berglund discusses religion and culture in 20th century Prague and we explore the internationalization of American history.

Episode 19: Documentary filmmaker Martin Doblmeier talks about his film: An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story.

Episode 20: Historian Adrian Burgos Jr., editor-in-chief of La Vida Baseball, tackles race, ethnicity, and American baseball.

Episode 21: Scott Hartley, author of The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts will Rule the Digital World, argues that we need more historians in the Silicon Valley.

Episode 22: Bancroft Prize-winning historian Nancy Tomes discusses the history of health-care in America.

Episode 23: Amanda Moniz of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History talks about the history of philanthropy in the United States.

Episode 24: Podcaster Liz Covart talks about podcasting and her popular podcast Ben Franklin’s World.

SEASON 4:

Episode 25:  Kelly Baker, a historian of the KKK, helps us put the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia into historical context.

Episode 26: Kevin Gannon, aka “The Tatooed Prof,” talks history pedagogy and introduces us to his “Teaching Manifesto.”

Episode 27: Historian Julian Chambliss interprets Trump’s “Mar-a-Lago in the context of Florida history, environmental history, and populism.

Episode 28: We talk soul music with Jeff Kollath, executive director of the Stax Museum in Memphis.

Episode 29: National Book Award finalist Nancy MacLean discusses libertarianism and the threat to democracy.

Episode 30: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Francis Fitzgerald discusses the history of American evangelicalism.

Episode 31:  History teacher Mike Milway and his students talk about historical thinking in the classroom and the mission of Boston Trinity Academy.

Episode 32: Historian R. Marie Griffith discusses the links between sexual politics and evangelicalism in modern America.

Episode 33: Historian Amy Bass tells us the story of an amazing group of Somali refugees and their quest to win the Maine state soccer championship.

Episode 34: Princeton historian Kevin Kruse tells us what it is like to be a prominent Twitterstorian.

Episode 35: Historian Bruce Berglund is back to talk about his new project on global ice hockey.

Episode 36: Historian Timothy Shannon introduces us to Peter Williamson, an 18th-century life that spans both sides of the Atlantic.

Episode 37: Historian Erin Bartram, the author of the viral blog post “The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind,” helps us answer the question: “Should You Go to Graduate School?”

Episode 38: Randall Stephens talks about the complicated relationship between Christianity and rock ‘n’ roll.

Bonus Live Episode:  John and Drew talk about the podcast and digital humanities at the Messiah College Educator’s Day.

Support The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast!

Mug

I met a lot of great people on the first leg of the Believe Me book tour last week.  Thanks again for coming out to your local independent bookstore for a conversation about evangelical history and Donald Trump!

I know some of you heard about The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog for the first time last week.  Welcome to our little place on the Internet!  I also want to call your attention to The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, a podcast devoted to American history and its role in our everyday lives.  We talk with award-winning authors, journalists, museum curators, teachers, and anyone who has something useful to say about the place of American history in our democracy.

We are starting to make plans for our fifth season and could really use your support.  Please consider making a one-time donation or pledge at our Patron page.  And if you already know about the podcast or are a regular listener, please consider joining our team with a pledge!  Of if you are not yet ready pledge, please subscribe or download episodes at your favorite ITunes, Stitcher, OvercastFM, or your favorite podcatcher.

And yes, mugs and signed books (including Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump) are still available for new Patrons!  Learn more here!

The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is on Summer Break, But We Still Need Your Help!

Mug

Season Four  at The Way of Improvement Leads Home podcast is a wrap! We will be back later this month with two bonus episodes (stay tuned!), but we are done recording episodes.  I am writing because we could really use your hope as we start preparing for the possibility of a fifth season. in the Fall.

For those unfamiliar, the podcast brings interviews and commentary related to American history, historical thinking, and the role of history in our everyday lives. In each episode we talk to someone doing innovative, creative, and thoughtful work in American history.  Our guests include historians, authors, filmmakers, museum professionals, teachers, public intellectuals, podcasters, and journalists.

Our guests have included:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Frances Fitzgerald on American evangelicalism
  • National Book award finalist Nancy MacLean on libertarianism and democracy
  • Bancroft Prize-winning historian Nancy Tomes on the history of American healthcare
  • Historian R. Marie Griffith on sexual politics
  • Historian Amy Bass on sports and community
  • Author Scott Hartley on the need for the humanities in the Silicon Valley
  • Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier on Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Mount Vernon CEO Doug Bradburn on George Washington’s legacy
  • National Book award finalist Manisha Sinha on the history of abolitionism
  • NPR reporter Sarah McCammon on covering Donald Trump
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed on Thomas Jefferson
  • ESPN writer Paul Lukacs on nostalgia and the history of sports uniforms
  • Stanford professor Sam Wineburg on historical thinking and public schools
  • Atlantic editor Yoni Appelbaum on presidential politics and “useable pasts.”

And much, much more!

The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast relies on the support of patrons like you.  If you appreciate what we do, please consider heading over to our Patreon page and joining our support team!

And yes, mugs and books are still available!

Our First Live Episode of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is in the Books!

Podcast on stageThis morning we recorded our first live episode of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast before the Community of Educators (faculty and co-curricular educators) at Messiah College.

The Community of Educators gathered today at “Educator’s Day,” a tradition in which our faculty and co-curricular educators mark the end of the previous year and turn our attention to developing ourselves for the year ahead.  The theme of this year’s Educator’s Day was “Flourishing in a Digital World.”

As I noted in my post this morning, the administration asked us to record an episode of the podcast related to this theme.   Our guests were three humanities scholars doing very creative work at the intersection of digital scholarship and place.  David Pettegrew runs Messiah College’s Digital Harrisburg Initiative, Jean Corey runs Messiah’s Center for Public Humanities, and Nathan Skulstad is a digital documentarian and story-teller.

We could not have done this live episode without the hard work of podcast producer Drew Dyrli Hermeling and Cynthia Wells, the director of the Ernest L. Boyer Center at Messiah.  Thanks as well to Ashley Sheaffer of the Messiah College Agape Center for interviewing me on the episode and the skilled technicians on the Messiah College sound team for making us sound good!

Stay tuned.  This bonus episode will drop sometime in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, head over to Patreon site and help get us to Season 5.

Some tweets:

And Drew’s excellent response to Mr. Hatfield’s snarky tweet:

Welcome Messiah College Community of Educators!

Parmer

Parmer Hall, Messiah College

When this post appears on the blog (9:50am on Monday, May 20, 2018) I will be sitting with Drew Dyrli Hermeling on the magnificent stage of Parmer Hall at Messiah College hosting a special episode of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.  The episode is being recorded right now in front of a live studio audience at Messiah’s “Educator’s Day.”  Every year, Messiah College’s community of educators gather on the Monday following graduation for a day of professional development.  This year’s theme is “Flourishing in a Digital Age” and the administration has asked me to dedicate a podcast episode to digital scholarship and teaching at Messiah College.

We have done 38 full episodes of the podcast thus far.  I have interviewed Pulitzer Prize–winning authors and all kinds of other important people in the history field, but I have never been more nervous than I am this morning.  There is something different about having to host this podcast in front of a few hundred of my colleagues!

I think it is fair to say that most Messiah College educators are not familiar with the blog or the podcast.  Many will be finding their way to http://www.thewayofimprovement.com from their phones and laptops as they listen to us recording the podcast on stage. If you are one of those educators, welcome to our online home!  Feel free to explore a bit and get acquainted with what we have been doing here for the last ten years!  🙂

Season 4 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home is Coming to an End and We Could Use Your Support!

mug

Next weekend Episode 38 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast will be available via ITunes and most other podcasting sites.  Our guest is Randall Stephens of Northumbria University.  We will be talking with Randall about his new book The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘n’ Roll.  It is a great episode!

The forthcoming pisode 38 is our final regular episode of Season 4.  We think it has been our best yet.  During the 2017-2018 academic year we talked with the following guests:

Episode 37:  Erin Bartram talked about her viral essay “The Sublimated Grief of the Left Behind.

Episode 36: Timothy Shannon discussed Atlantic History and his new book Indian Captive, Indian King.

Episode 35:  We talked the history of ice hockey and globalization with historian Bruce Berglund

Episode 34: Princeton University’s Kevin Kruse talked about life as a twitterstorian/

Episode 33: Amy Bass joined us to talk about her new book One Goal: A Coach, A Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together.

Episode 32: R. Marie Griffith joined us to talk about her new book Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics

Episode 31: We chatted with history students from Boston Trinity Academy in Boston, Massachusetts

Episode 30: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Frances Fitzgerald joined us to discuss her latest book, The Evangelicals.

Episode 29:  National Book Award finalist Nancy MacLean talked her book Democracy in Chains

Episode 28: Jeff Kollath, the Executive Director of the Stax Museum in Memphis, joined us to talk about soul music.

Episode 27: We were joined by Julian Chambliss for a discussion of Florida history and Mar-a-Lago

Episode 26: Pedagogy expert Kevin Gannon joined us to talk about teaching history

Episode 25:  KKK scholar Kelly Baker helped us put Charlottesville in some historical perspective

I hope you enjoyed these episodes.  We have plans to return for a 5th season, but we will not be able to pull it off without your support.  As I have said many times before, podcasts are time-consuming and (relatively) expensive to produce.  At this point, I do not get paid a cent for my role as host and creator.  All the money we raise goes to paying our producer and studio technician.

If you are in a position to help us as we enter into the next season, please consider a donation at our Patreon site.  Patreon allows you to give monthly pledges (as low as $1.00 a month) and one-time gifts.  Those who support with a pledge also have a choice of some great gifts.  CLICK HERE to donate!  It’s pretty simple.

If you would like to give and would prefer not go through Patreon, please contact me.  We have a few other options for those interested in making a larger donation.

Thanks so much for your support!

Congratulations Josh Lowrie!

lowrie-photoIf you listen to The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast you know the work of Josh Lowrie.  Josh is our studio producer and the guy who makes us sound good. His work is largely unheralded, but we could not do it without him!

Josh will be with us for one more episode before he graduates, gets married, and heads-off to a new job in Maryland.  He recently made this announcement on his Facebook page:

I am very pleased to announce that after graduation I will be working at Bay Area Community Church as the Student Ministries Program Coordinator!! I am very excited for the upcoming journey ahead! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me as I’ve been looking for a job!

Congratulations, Josh!   I think it goes without saying that his work at the podcast is what really landed him this new job!  🙂

*The Devil’s Music* Playlist

StephensOn Episode 38 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, we talk to University of Oslo historian Randall Stephens about his new book The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Randall talks about his new book and I reflect on my own experiences at the intersection of evangelicalism and rock music.  The episode will drop next weekend.

In the meantime, head over the the website of Harvard University Press and listen to a Spotify playlist of songs and artists that Stephens considers in The Devil’s Music.  It includes music by Sam Cooke, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley & the Comets, The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy, Andre Crouch, Sha Na Na, Bill Gaither Trio, Bob Dylan, Amy Grant, Keith Green, DeGarmo & Key, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, DC Talk, and Sufjan Stevens.

And if you are a Randall Stephens fan, don’t forget to check out “The Randall Stephens Collection.”

Thanks for Supporting The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast

Podcast

I just checked the Patreon crowdfunding page for The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast and noticed that we have picked up a few extra patrons over the past few weeks.  If you are one of them, thank you for your support!!

It takes a lot of work to produce a podcast.  I write every episode.  Our producer Drew Dyrli Hermeling schedules the guests, works with our hosts at Recorded History Podcast, schedules our recording sessions, works with our patrons to get them free goodies, edits every episode, and, most importantly, provides creative energy to make this thing happen.

We could not live without our studio producer Josh Lowrie.  He is a master of the sound board and spends several hours on every episode taking out all of our mistakes and making us and our guests sound good.  He also reserves the studio.

The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is a labor of love, but we still have expenses. At this point, I do not make a cent on the podcast.  Most of the support we received via Patreon helps pay for the production work of Drew and Josh, but even that is not enough.

We were able to launch the podcast with a gift from an angel donor.  That money is now almost gone and we are in the process of trying to figure out how to move forward without it.

This is where you can help.  In addition to sharing the podcast on your social media feeds, reviewing it at ITunes or another podcatcher, and downloading episodes, we also need financial supporters.

For those new to the podcast, we are committed to landing great guests who are doing all kinds of amazing history-related things.  Here are just a few of the folks we have talked to over the last four seasons:

  • Princeton University historian Kevin Kruse on life as a #twitterstorian
  • Sports historian Amy Bass on her new book One Goal
  • Historian of American religion R. Marie Griffiths on her new book on sexual politics and American evangelicalism
  • Pulitzer prize-winner Francis Fitzgerald on American evangelicals
  • National Book Award finalist Nancy MacLean on libertarianism and democracy
  • Bancfroft Prize-winning historian Nancy Tomes on the history of healthcare
  • National Book Award finalist Manisha Sinha on the history of abolitionism
  • Pulitzer prize-winner Annette Gordon Reed on Thomas Jefferson
  • Historical thinking guru Sam Wineburg on teaching history in schools
  • The Atlantic‘s Washington Bureau Chief Yoni Appelbaum on history and politics.

And much, much more!!!!

Please consider heading over to our Patreon page and become a patron or make a one-time donation!  Thank you.

What People Are Saying About The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast

Podcast

Podcasts take a lot of work.  We have a staff of three at The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.  As the creator and host of the podcast, I work for free.  Our producer, Drew Dyrli Hermeling (who some of you met in St. Louis this past weekend), is paid through our of the Patreon campaign.  Our studio producer, Josh Lowrie, is paid (at least until May) by a single angel donor.  Needless to say, we operate on a shoestring budget and we could really use your help.  Please consider investing in our work.

Here are some of our ITunes reviews:

Engaging exploration of the historian’s craft, American history, religion, politics, and more…Can’t wait to hear more!”

“Some podcasts are intellectual, but boring; some are fun, but shallow.  Some are hosted by bellicose personalities.  Some are hosted by posers.  It may take a lot of history podcast browsing before you land on one that is engaging for both an academic audience and non-academic audience, while at the same time is hosted by people you would like to invite to your house for dinner.  Fea and Hermeling make a great team.  They are both historians, and while they differ on some issues, they obviously are good friends and have superb rapport.  The guest so far have been top shelf, and the hosts engage them professionally and intelligently.”

“John Fea consistently pushes listeners to think critically using the discipline of history.  Using timely applications, he illustrates the power historical thinking has to gain insight into the world around us.  Everything has a history.  TWOILH podcast is worth your time because it will encourage you to think clearly.”

“I learned the value of thinking historically through reading Fea’s blog and listening to him speak.  I had no idea what I was missing.”

“I, like most people, subscribe to too many podcasts.  However, there are a few that I make sure to listen to every time they post.  In less than 5 episodes, The Way of Improvement Leads Home has become one of them. If you are interested in history or just in thinking deeply about the world around you, I would highly, highly recommend the podcast.”

“Just listened to the first four episodes while on spring break.  Whether you make a living in the profession of history or are someone who simply likes history, this is for you.  Terrific reflections on the practice of history and the events and outlooks of the past.”

“I have listened to every episode from the beginning and this is one of the best history podcasts around.  It is balanced, provides good scholarship, and thought-provoking interviews.  I have used many different components in my own history classes.”

“As a teacher it can be difficult to juggle the demands of lesson planning, assessing, and managing your classroom and still find time for expanding your own depth of knowledge.  This podcast helps to solve that problem.  With a keen focus on the teaching of history and engaging guests, The Way of Improvement Leads Home helps me stay connected to the scholarly world of historical study in an accessible and engaging manner.  Add it to your playlist and reap the benefits!”

“I so much appreciate the mix of broad overview of theory and big picture stuff Fea gives before the actual interview.  The casual nature of the interaction between Fea and Hermeling and their undergraduate technical assistant especially make this accessible.  My husband, who isn’t a historian, loved the podcast on sports we listened to while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  Thanks for connecting the past to the present and I especially appreciate how frequently women scholars are featured–this is vital when so few podcasts feature women hosts.”

If you feel led to support us please head over to our Patreon page and become a patron or make a one-time donation.  Thanks in advance!  And if you can’t support us, please tell your friends about us or write a review at your podcatcher of choice!

The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast Needs Your Support!

mug

Season Four continues here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home podcast.  For those unfamiliar, the podcast brings interviews and commentary related to American history, historical thinking, and the role of history in our everyday lives. In each episode we talk to someone doing innovative, creative, and thoughtful work in American history.  Our guests include historians, authors, filmmakers, museum professionals, teachers, public intellectuals, podcasters, and journalists.

Our guests have included:

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Frances Fitzgerald on American evangelicalism
  • National Book award finalist Nancy MacLean on libertarianism and democracy
  • Bancroft Prize-winning historian Nancy Tomes on the history of American healthcare
  • Historian R. Marie Griffith on sexual politics
  • Historian Amy Bass on sports and community
  • Author Scott Hartley on the need for the humanities in the Silicon Valley
  • Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier on Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Mount Vernon CEO Doug Bradburn on George Washington’s legacy
  • National Book award finalist Manisha Sinha on the history of abolitionism
  • NPR reporter Sarah McCammon on covering Donald Trump
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed on Thomas Jefferson
  • ESPN writer Paul Lukacs on nostalgia and the history of sports uniforms
  • Stanford professor Sam Wineburg on historical thinking and public schools
  • Atlantic editor Yoni Appelbaum on presidential politics and “useable pasts.”

And much, much more!

The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast relies on the support of patrons like you.  If you appreciate what we do, please consider heading over to our Patreon page and joining our support team!

A Big Podcast Announcement

TWOILHWe have some exciting news to announce here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home!

At the end of last year, we were approached by a couple of podcast producers who were in the process of forming a new network of history podcasts, the Recorded History Podcast Network. They have asked us to join as one of a wide range of historically-minded productions.

As we continue to explore the best ways to make the production of the podcast sustainable, we jumped at the opportunity to join forces with others doing similar work.

While we will retain full creative control over the podcast, listeners will notice some changes in 2018. First and foremost, joining the network gives us access to advertisers. This is a great monetization opportunity for us, but it does mean that advertisements will begin appearing throughout the podcast. Ads will be placed at the beginning and end of each episode and there will be a short advertising break in the middle. Additionally, you will start hearing cross-promotions for other podcasts on the network. We believe this will be a great way to spread the word about what we’re doing and introduce other podcasters’ work to our listeners.

Finally, you can also see that there have been some small changes to our visual identity as our podcast logo has been redesigned to include a tag with the Recorded History logo.

This will not change our current relationship with our patrons. In fact, we are working with the network to provide an ad-free option for our patrons as an added perk. So we still need your support. If you have not done so already, please head over to our Patreon campaign website and join the team!

We are very excited about the continued growth of the podcast and our dedicated and growing listenership. We always need good historical thinking, but in times of great social change, we need it more than ever. We believe that the Recorded History Podcast Network presents a wonderful opportunity for making historical thinking more accessible.

Episode 31 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast is Almost Here!

BTA students

I am really excited about Episode 31!  We talked with Boston Trinity Academy (BTA) history teacher Mike Milway and three of his senior students about studying history at the secondary-school level.  Some of you may recall my recent visit to BTA.  The episode drops on Sunday.  In the meantime, get caught up on previous episodes here.

As always, we could use your patronage.  Head over to our Patreon campaign and learn about the different ways you can support our work. Help us reach our goal!  You may even qualify for a free mug or signed book!

*The New York Times* Covers “The Memory Palace”

showcard_memory

Check out Sarah Larsen’s piece on Nate DiMeo, the creator and host of “The Memory Palace,” a very popular American history podcast.  Some of you may remember that DiMeo was our guest on Episode 6 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Here is a taste of Larsen’s piece:

Nate DiMeo’s long-running independently produced podcast “The Memory Palace,” part of the Radiotopia collective, is about history and, in its way, part of history itself: DiMeo started it in 2008, and a decade is a long time in podcast years. It’s both an established veteran and an esoteric indie, consisting of short vignettes about people, places, and objects from the past and the memories they contain—the old Coney Island, the year Hank Greenberg hit fifty-eight home runsthe early-twentieth-century Mexican-American botantist Ynés Mexía—written and performed by DiMeo, without the intrusion of other voices, set to faint background music. Episodes tend to be short—eight minutes, twelve minutes—and transporting. DiMeo sounds like a wistful youngish man dreaming into a microphone and teaching us things at the same time. It has carried him, and his audience, a long way. DiMeo was the 2016-17 artist in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he created several episodes based on its collections. Last year, as well, a book of “Memory Palace” stories, translated into Portuguese, was published in Brazil.

One way to experience “The Memory Palace” is to jump in anywhere, or to start with the most recent episode and work back; if you’re listening on a phone, it’s hard to poke around for topics of interest, because DiMeo omits episode descriptions in an effort to make the listener just surrender to listening. You can do that, or you can start with the show’s best-episodes page, which does indeed feature a bunch of winners. One of the show’s loveliest episodes, about the Dreamland amusement park in Coney Island, which burned down in 1911, is there.

Read the entire piece.

If you end up listening to Episode 6 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast and like what you hear, please consider writing a review, telling your friends, share on social media, or help us to produce more episodes by donating to our Patreon campaign.  You may even qualify for a mug or free book!

mug