American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)

Episode 532: The American Civil War (19): Making a Revolution

The documents from the summer of 1863, after the victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, show how rapidly Emancipation changed the fortunes of the war and public opinion in both the North and the South. I had a lot of fun with these documents and hope you enjoy too.

Episode 531: Stephen King: IT (4)

In this episode we continue our slow read through IT by Stephen King and finish up part two of the book. The chapters focus on the power of magic, belief, reason, and the group.

Episode 530: Stephen King, It (3)

Part three of my review of IT by Stephen King. The chapters I look at here explore the creation of a Ka-tet (to steal a Dark Tower term) and meditate on the power of the group.

Episode 529: The American Civil War (18): The Turning Point

In this episode we look at a handful of turning points in the American Civil War by working through the Library of America's anthology of Civil War writings.

Episode 528: Stephen King: IT (2)

Part two of my review of Stephen King's IT. I mostly discuss how much I like the book's relationship to fictional and real history.

Episode 527: The American Civil War (17):June of 1863

As I continue reading through a series of primary sources on the American Civil War, I dig into the events of June of 1863, which set the stage for some climactic events including the draft riots, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the attack on Fort Wagner.

Episode 526: Stephen King, IT (1)

This episode of my non-Hugo-award-winning podcast introduces a mini-series on Stephen King's IT, which will be released alongside my main series. Here I cover the first few chapters of the novel.

Episode 525: The American Civil War (16): Total War

When did the American Civil War become a total war? The documents I look at in this episode cover the spring of 1863 and suggest these months may be when the war truly became total.

Episode 524: The American Civil War (15): Impact of Emancipation

In this episode I continue my Civil War series and look at the impact of Emancipation on the war effort, diplomacy, and public opinion. I also talk about Sherman's questions about freedom of the press.

Episode 522: Benjamin Franlkin: Writings from the Seven Years’ War and Letters

A bit of a mixed bag in this episode. I close out my look at Franklin's writings from before his relocation to London in 1757 and take on a grabbag of letters on science and politics.

Episode 521: Benjamin Franklin 1747-1754: The Albany Plan

I read another 100 pages of American writers. This time, it is Ben Franklin's writings from the 1740s and 1750s, up until the Albany Plan of Union and his departure to London. I found the most interesting sections in this bunch of readings involved Franklin's arguments for a proper education.

Episode 520: Benjamin Franklin-1733-1745 and the Formation of the American Philosophical Society

The 1730s and 1740s saw Benjamin Franklin use his newspaper to promote issues of public necessity such as a post office and a fire department. It is during these years he also helped form the American Philosophical Society. All of this got me thinking about the public domain and the role of the media in building community (or not).

Episode 519: Benjamin Franklin: Early journalism and his argument for paper currency

We look at Ben Franklin's writings in the later 1720s and early 1730s. Mostly I consider some of his journalism for the Pennsylvania Gazette, but maybe most interesting from this period is his argument for paper currency.

Episode 518: Benjamin Franklin: Boston and London Writings (1722-1725)

In this episode I start a new series looking at the works of Benjamin Franklin. This time we will focus on his early Boston and London writings such as the Silence Dogood letters and his philosophical pamphlet on free will and pain.

Episode 517: Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt (3)

The finale of my coverage of Sinclair Lewis with my final thoughts on BABBITT (1922). Is there any hope for Babbitt? I am not sure. I see some hints of it before he seems to surrender to conformity at the end. Let me know.

Episode 516: Sinclair Lewis: Babbbitt (2)

Part two of my review of the excellent novel by Sinclair Lewis, BABBITT. Here we see the calm before the storm of Babbitt's crisis of faith as he tries to invest in his social status in Zenith, without much success.

Episode 515: Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt (1)

In this episode we jump into BABBITT by Sinclair Lewis. Most of the first third of this novel is devoted to introducing the character of the ultimate conformist George Babbitt and the town that is the root of his identity (although it could be almost any town in America), Zenith.

Episode 514: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (5)

The finale of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. The major themes in this part are the cancel culture of Gopher's Prairie and the possibilities of escape.

Episode 513: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (4)

Part 4 of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. In this part we see the Kennicott marriage fall apart, while the banality of Gopher's Prairie seems to have metastasized.

Episode 512: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (3)

In this episode we explore more of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis as Carol Kennicott takes a more practical approach to her reforms. Yet, her frustrations continue to deepen. Much of this section of the novel explores the nature of the family in middle America.

Episode 511: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (2)

Part two of my review of MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis. We get a more intimate look at Gopher's Prairie and its people, and see a darker side to the town.

Episode 510: Sinclair Lewis: Main Street (1)

In this episode, I dig into MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis and talk about the psychology of the newly educated and the cultural gap between Main Street and the American coastal cities. Is Main Street the peak of our civilization? Maybe it is.

Episode 509: The American Civil War (14): Fredericksburg

In this episode I look at the Library of America's anthology of Civil War writing, focusing on the end of 1862 and the Battle of Fredericksburg and emancipation.

Next, we will take a break from the Civil War and look at MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis.

Episode 508: The American Civil War (13): Emancipation, General McClellan, and the Battle of Cornith

Lots going on in the fall of 1862, in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation as new debates emerge. This episode follows those debates, the firing of McClellan and Lincoln's 1862 message to Congress. Just how into colonization was Lincoln?

Episode 507: The American Civil War (12): Antietam

In this episode we explore documents surrounding Lee's invasion of Maryland, the Battle of Antietam, and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Some of the eye witness accounts of this battle, collected in this anthology are fascinating. 

Episode 506: The American Civil War (11): The Second Battle of Bull Run

In this episode we see how Lincoln moved toward emancipation in the context of failed military campaigns and growing pressure from enslaved people. You can explore these documents yourself in the Library of America's anthology of civil war writings.

Episode 505: The American Civil War (10): The Seven Days Battle

Our next episode in this series on the American Civil War looks at the events surrounding the Seven Days Battle, especially General Hunter's move to arm blacks in occupied territories. As always we get a diverse cast of witnesses to this conflict.

Episode 504: The American Civil War (9): Shiloh

In this episode, I look at the events surrounding the battle of Shiloh such as the push for compensated emancipation, the seizure of New Orleans, and the battle of the ironclads. As always, my source is the anthology published by the Library of America.

Episode 503: The American Civil War (8): Fall of Fort Donaldson

I am still alive, yes. Just taking a break from recording.
Anyway, as we continue reading American Civil War anthology by the Library of America, we take a look at the first major Union victory, the surrender of Fort Donaldson.

Episode 502: The American Civil War (7): The Winter of 1861

I complete my look at volume 1 of the Library of America's anthology of Civil War writings. It is a dark winter for the USA after a series of military defeats. The political and military response to these defeats is the centerpiece of the documents I examine in this episode.

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