Episode 60: Season One Finale with Matt Negrin and Alexander Trowbridge

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

May 19th was the one-year anniversary of The Road to Now, so we invited our good friends/RTN contributors Matt Negrin and Alex Trowbridge to join us in taking a look at where the road has turned since we launched in 2016. A year ago, Matt and Alex worked at Bloomberg Politics. Today Matt is a Digital Producer for The Daily Show and Alex is a Producer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. A year ago, The Road to Now was just Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer, but now we have Ian Skotte. Also, we have a different President now.

Bob & Ben (via facetime) interview Alex and Matt for The Road to Now's Season One Finale

Bob & Ben (via facetime) interview Alex and Matt for The Road to Now's Season One Finale

We’d like to thank everyone for the support they’ve given us in this first year! We’re going to take a few weeks to develop ideas we’ve been working on, and to schedule some great guests for season 2. We’ll keep your feed going these next weeks with some of our favorite episodes from the last year, and we’ll be back with all-new episodes on Monday, July 10th.

In the meantime, please let us know if there are any questions you’d like us to answer, or if there’s a guest you think would be a great fit for our show. You can email us at RoadToNowCast@gmail.com or tweet at us at @Road_To_Now.

We look forward to sharing our new episodes with you on Monday, July 10th!

Other episodes featuring Matt Negrin and Alex Trowbridge:
Episode 3: Alexander Trowbridge and Matt Negrin on the Media
Episode 15: Live from Coney Island with Matt Negrin and Alexander Trowbridge
Episode 20: Debate Extravaganza!: The History of Presidential Debates and Media Spin
Episode 27: Matt Negrin and Alexander Trowbridge on Campaign Surrogates and Presidential Elections

Here's a bit of what Alex and Matt have been up to lately:

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 59: Mitchell Yockelson on the US and World War I

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

On April 6, 1917, the United States House of Representatives voted to declare war on Germany, bringing the United States into the brutal war that had raged across Europe since the summer of 1914. America’s entry into World War I helped turn the tide of the war, securing a victory for the US and its allies. And while the final shots of the war took place on November 11, 1918, the consequences of “The Great War” live on nearly a century after its end.

Why did the United States become involved in World War I after remaining neutral for so long? How did the war in Europe shape American society? And who actually won World War I? In this episode of The Road to Now, we get the answers to these questions and more in our conversation with military historian and archivist Mitch Yockelson.

Yockelson pic.jpg
This episode brought to you with the support of our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode brought to you with the support of our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 58: Sheena Greitens on North Korea

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

North Korea is a hard place for most Americans to understand. Kim Jung-un and his inner circle keep a tight grip on information, and what the North Korean government does share with outsiders can be hard to decipher. What is clear though, is that the current state of relations between Washington DC and the regime in Pyongyang is growing colder every day, and North Korea’s pursuit of long-range nuclear weapons makes resolving this conflict an urgent matter in US foreign policy today.

How did the standoff between the US and North Korea begin, and who is to blame for this conflict? How has the Kim family, now in its third generation of leadership, managed to stay in power this long, and what are the prospects of removing them from power? And how has our policy toward North Korea been shaped by its geographic proximity to China and Russia?

In this episode of The Road to Now, we get the answer to these questions and more in our interview with North Korea expert, Dr. Sheena Greitens.

Sheena Greitens is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri.  She is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for East Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and an Associate in Research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. 

Links:
-Sheena Greitens' faculty page at University of Missouri. 

This episode brought to you with the support of our sponsor, Ramseur Records. 

This episode brought to you with the support of our sponsor, Ramseur Records. 

Episode 57: Margaret Talev on Covering the White House in the Age of Trump

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

On February 17, 2017, President Donald J. Trump tweeted that the American news media is the enemy of the people. This was an escalation from the rhetoric candidate Trump used along the campaign trail, continually rebuking the mainstream media as purveyors of fake news. The President’s disdain for the media made it no surprise when he announced that he would not attend last week’s White House Correspondence Association Dinner, which is a long-held Washington tradition that celebrates the free press of the United States and honors the work of journalists.

So what’s it like to be a journalist covering a President who is so openly antagonistic to your profession? Is Donald Trump’s disdain for the media as fierce when he’s behind closed doors as it is when he speaks at rallies? And what is it like to go from covering the Obama White House to that of Donald Trump?

In this episode of The Road to Now, we get the answers to these questions and more in our interview with Bloomberg White House Correspondent Margaret Talev.

Margaret Talev is White House Correspondent for Bloomberg Politics, and Vice President of the White House Correspondent Association. She has covered the White House since the beginning of the Obama administration. The full text and audio of her May 1, 2017 interview with Donald Trump is available in the links below.

Links:
-"Transcript: President Donald Trump's Interview with Bloomberg News." Bloomberg.com, May 1, 2017. (Interview by Margaret Talev & Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg Politics)
-Margaret Talev stories from Bloomberg Politics
-Margaret Talev on twitter

 

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 56: Ben Green on the History of the Harlem Globetrotters

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Harlem Globetrotters are one of those great parts of American culture that almost everyone knows and loves. For most of us today, the Globetrotters are outstanding entertainers. But did you know that in the mid-20th century the Globetrotters were probably the single best basketball team on the planet? Did you know that they did travel the globe as agents of the US Department of State during the Cold War, but that they are not, in fact, from Harlem? If you want to know how all of this happened (and how the Globetrotters saved the NBA), you’re going to love this interview with historian Ben Green on the History of the Harlem Globetrotters.

                                                  The Harlem Globetrotters in 1950.

                                                  The Harlem Globetrotters in 1950.

This episode brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 55: Neil Hanson on the Mignonette and Everything Else

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Neil Hanson is one of the most interesting people we know. He’s written books on World War I, the Spanish Armada, and the fire that destroyed London in 1666. He once teamed up with history’s greatest treasure hunter to tell the story of retrieving over $100 million in gold from a sunken Soviet ship in the arctic. He’s been the owner of the highest Inn in all of Great Britain. And, in 1999 he published a book called The Custom of the Sea, which tells the story of a shipwrecked crew that was put on trial in London after resorting to cannibalism. The ship, which fell victim to forty-foot waves off the coast of Africa in 1884, was named the Mignonette, and Hanson’s book was so good that in 2004 it inspired an album by an up-and-coming group of musicians called The Avett Brothers.

A sketch of the Mignonette  by ship captain Tom Dudley

A sketch of the Mignonette  by ship captain Tom Dudley

 

How could someone turn a gruesome tale of cannibalism into an inspirational work of history? How do you track down the sources that allow you to answer so many questions about history? And how does one individual accomplish so much in one life? In this episode of The Road to Now, we get the answers in our conversation with Neil Hanson.

                                        Neil Hanson

                                        Neil Hanson

This episode brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 54: Tom Price on the (After)Life of James K. Polk

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

“Who is James K. Polk?” If you’re asking this question to yourself right now, you’re not alone. In fact, “Who is James K. Polk?” was a slogan Polk’s political rivals used to mock him in the 1844 Presidential election. This made sense at the time; despite serving as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1835 to 1839 and Governor of Tennessee from 1839 to 1841, Polk lacked the dynamic personality that defines many of America’s great Presidents. Yet a late compromise in the Democratic Party and the changing mood of the American people thrust Polk from a failed Gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee to the White House in less than a year.

Who is James K. Polk? He’s America’s first dark horse President. He’s the Commander-in-Chief who oversaw the annexation of the southern portion of the Oregon territory, the admission of Texas into the United States, and the invasion of Mexico that forced the Mexican government to cede about half of its territory to the United States in 1848 (you know New Mexico? It used to be part of old Mexico). He’s the man who may have done more to transform the United States in a single term than any other President in American history.

And, strangely enough, he’s also the man whose corpse has been dug out of the ground more times than any other President. His current resting spot in Nashville is Polk’s third grave, but he may be moving again in the near future.

Ben Sawyer and Tom Price at the James K. Polk Home & Museum in Columbia, TN. The two paintings in the background were done two years apart by the same artist.

Ben Sawyer and Tom Price at the James K. Polk Home & Museum in Columbia, TN. The two paintings in the background were done two years apart by the same artist.

So how did Polk go from relative obscurity to President of the United States in such a short period of time? Why does his place in Americans’ minds fall so far short of his impact on American history? And why are lawmakers in Tennessee considering moving Polk’s body for a fourth time more than 150 years after his death? In this episode of The Road to Now we answer these questions and more in our conversation with the Curator of the James K. Polk Home & Museum, Tom Price.

Links:
-The James K. Polk Home & Museum website
-James K. Polk Museum on twitter
-"Historical Organizations Clash Over President James K. Polk's Remains," The Tennessean, April 10, 2017. 

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode was produced with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 53: Sean Foley on the History of Syria

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, has been one of the most tragic events in recent history. The implications of the situation in Syria stretch far beyond the borders of the country, and the UN estimates that more than 5 million people have fled the country to escape the violence that has claimed that lives of more than 400,000 Syrians. But how did the conflict start? What is at stake for the various factions at war in Syria? And how have foreign countries such as Russia and the United States influenced Syria? In this special edition of The Road to Now, we answer these questions and more in our conversation with Dr. Sean Foley.

                                       Sean Foley

                                       Sean Foley

Dr. Foley specializes in the contemporary history and politics of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world. He frequently visits Asia and the Middle East, follows events in both regions closely, and speaks Arabic and Bahasa Malaysian. He has published widely and has delivered public presentations to audiences around the world.  He has also held Fulbright fellowships in Syria, Turkey, and Malaysia. From April 2013 until January 2014, he lived and traveled extensively in Saudi Arabia.

Links
-Sean Foley's website
-Sean Foley's profile at MTSU

Episode 52: Douglas Brinkley on Bob Dylan, John Kennedy, and the Rise of the American Individual

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The 1960s was a decade of individualism, and few individuals from this era are as iconic as Bob Dylan and John F. Kennedy. For Dylan, the 60s was just the beginning of a half-century career that has included over 2,500 shows, 38 studio albums, 13 Grammys and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Kennedy, on the other hand, like so many of the decade’s giants, was taken from us too soon, leaving us to wonder what he may have accomplished if not for his tragic assassination in 1963. In this episode of The Road to Now we talk about the life, times, and cultural influence of Bob Dylan and John F. Kennedy with award-winning historian, Dr. Douglas Brinkley.

              Douglas Brinkley

              Douglas Brinkley

Dr. Douglas Brinkley is Professor of History at Rice University and Fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. He has authored more than 20 books, including Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (HarperCollins, 2016) and Cronkite (HarperCollins, 2012). Dr. Brinkley is the CNN Presidential Historian and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. 

Links:
Douglas Brinkley's website at Rice University
Douglas Brinkley, "Bob Dylan's Late-Era, Old-Style American Individualism," Rolling Stone, May 14, 2009. 
Douglas Brinkley List of Publications from HarperCollins Publishers

This episode is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

Episode 51: Tony Parker on the History of Golf

You can download this episode and others by subscribing to The Road to Now on iTunesGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century the perception of Golf in popular culture was that of a sport for wealthy white men who gathered at their exclusive country clubs to make business deals over 18 holes of golf, all the while smoking expensive cigars and drinking martinis (you know, like in CaddyShack?). But then, seemingly from out of nowhere, Tiger Woods burst onto the scene, changing the look and style of the sport forever. 

It turns out, however, that most Americans’ perception of the sport is does not quite fit the reality. The truth behind golf’s history is much more complicated and a bit more noble. And today, Golf raises more money for charity than all other major sports combined. For example, since 1970 the FedEx St Jude Classic Golf tournament has raised over 33 million dollars for the hospital.

                                                                 Dr. Tony Parker

                                                                 Dr. Tony Parker

In this episode of the Road to Now we get the story straight in our conversation on the history of golf with Dr. Tony Parker of the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.

Links:
World Golf Hall of Fame
Tony Parker on twitter

This episode is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.

This episode is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Ramseur Records.