Colin's 41st birthday led to him getting a new computer, which he had mixed feelings about. He spent the anniversary of the battle of Second Bull Run at the battlefield, which provides lessons for even the most hardened Civil War scholar. Also, a showing of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at the Byrd Theatre last weekend in Richmond turns out to have been the best way to remember Gen Wilder.
James Kelly has worked in museums for his whole career, and he and Colin used to work together at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. On this episode, Jim talks about growing up near Philadelphia, his years in Nashville as a grad student, and his childhood obsession with Captain Hook.
Chip Jones works at Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence. He’s also a Hokie, football fan, and veteran of the Iraq War. He talks with Colin about growing up in Virginia, college, and his experiences in the Mid-East. Give it a listen!
Todd Schall-Vess has been manager of the Byrd Theatre for almost 20 years. The Byrd was built in 1928 and is a historic landmark. It’s also one of Colin's own 7 Wonders of the World. In this episode, Colin talks with him about trying to make money in the movie biz, events at the Byrd, and Todd’s favorite movies.
It’s been hot, baby, and it’s that time of year when people start acting especially crazy. So why not talk politics? A recent, not-for-the-first-time watching of Dirty Harry leads to a discussion of how fascism continues to be a major trope in American politics.
In this episode, Colin talks about his earliest obsession: baseball. He explores why he's a devoted Red Sox fan, how the game has changed (and how not so much), and why 1994 was when baseball started to go bad, got better, got worse, and will always endure.
Ed Ayers and Gary Gallagher are two of the best southern historians working today. Ed Ayers is from Tennessee, taught at UVA, and is now president emeritus and professor at the University of Richmond. Gary Gallagher came to UVA by way of Penn State, University of Texas, Colorado, and Los Angeles. Both are now working in the field of Civil War studies. Ed Ayers new book, The Thin Light of Freedom, will be published next fall. Gary Gallagher's most recent book is The American War, which he co-wrote with scholar Joan Waugh, is available in bookstores now.
It's a long episode, but a good one. Give it a listen!
In this episode, the Colin talks about the patron saint of American Film, Quentin Tarantino, who has directed some Colin's favorite movies, including Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Colin saw the Hateful Eight, and he discusses that wild ride, along with the rest of the Tarantino oeuvre. Also, Colin talks about a New Year's Eve watching of A Clockwork Orange, why he's not a big fan of The Big Lebowski, and why he wants to call the movie Planet Terror "Planet World."
Nelson Lankford is the author of several books about the Civil War, including Richmond Burning and Cry Havoc! A Virginia native who received his Ph.D. at Indiana, he was the editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography at the Virginia Historical Society for 30 years. He is retired now, but he still lives in Richmond. He talks with Colin about doing Civil War history, the publishing industry, the writing process, and the recent exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. It’s a long talk, but a good one. Check it out!
A mini-cast about Colin's recent trip to Montpelier, the home of James Madison, which had some interesting artwork. The Rambler also talks briefly about finding the gravesite for Stonewall Jackson's left arm.
Colin talks about the 2015 Star Wars sequel and the impact the Star Wars franchise has had on him and his entire generation. He also gets nostalgic for video stores and discusses the misery of "Red Box Purgatory."
Colin talks about two great Christmas stories: Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and the 1940s movie It's a Wonderful Life, both of which say something important about the class struggle. It's a Wonderful Life, especially, resonates with people in the 21st century struggling to get by.
This episode was sponsored by Colonial Beach, Virginia, featuring No Trespassing signs, annoying dogs, camouflage, dollar stores, hunting knives, and the Confederate flag (official and battle).
The Rambler finally does a music show. For his first music podcast, Colin talks about Johnny Cash. Colin is writing a book about J.R. (aka the Man in Black, aka Johnny), Country Boy: The Roots of Johnny Cash, which began as a research project while he was living in Arkansas.
Colin also discusses his musical tastes growing up, his memories of Iron Maiden t-shirts, and his recent success getting out of a speeding ticket during a trip through Port Royal.
A few words about what happened last weekend. Stay safe, everybody.
In this episode, Colin talks about the recent efforts to remove statues of Confederate leaders, including one of Robert E. Lee, in New Orleans. Is this a good idea? And if so, by what criteria do we measure historical figures?
Colin's discussion takes him from Robert E. Lee and Huey Long, to Andrew Jackson and Johnny Cash, discussing how we remember people--whether soldiers, authors, politicians, or musicians.
With no guests available, Colin opts to take matters into his own hands in the garage. In “Bill Hicks wanna-be” mode, he discusses his first visit to a geek show, why he’s not especially afraid of clowns, wikipedia rabbit holes, and his “beef” with Steven Spielberg. Speaking of clowns, Colin says what he really thinks of Donald Trump. Also, he mentions the new album by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, the Aussie band whose name he can’t get quite right.
It’s stream of consciousness/meets open mic night/ meets Noam Chomsky on this one, folks!
It’s the inaugural episode of Amerikan Rambler! Colin answers such burning questions as “Who am I?” and “Why am I doing this?” Also, he talks about the recent James Bond movie, Spectre, and the Bond films in general.
Wes Freed does the brilliant artwork for the Alabama southern rock band Drive-By Truckers. He is also a musician and Virginia native, who has lived in Richmond for decades. He’s played with the bands Mudd Helmet, Dirtball, and the Shiners. His latest outfit is Mag Bats.
On this episode, Wes talks with Colin about growing up in the Shenandoah Valley, his college days at Virginia Commonwealth University, Gwar, and how Southern Rock Opera changed his life.
It’s a long talk, recorded on Wes’s front porch in Richmond. This guy is the real deal. Check it out!
A Virginia-based podcast discussing history, books, film, music, and pop culture.
It’s Graham Dozier Day on Amerikan Rambler! Graham is the author and editor of A Gunner in Lee’s Army: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter, which is available through University of North Carolina Press. The book contains 100 letters written by Carter, an artillery officer in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Graham is also the editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography at the Virginia Historical Society.
In this, the first interview on Amerikan Rambler, Colin talks with Graham about his early love of Egyptian history, his Yankee roots and college days at Virginia Tech, and his love of classic rock bands.
It’s a talk that lasts about an hour and 45 minutes, and it’s a good one.
Jon Bachman is Public Events Manager at Stratford Hall, the home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence and the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. Jon is a true raconteur, who talks about being a principal in the public school system, music, and growing up as the son of a horn player in the 1960s. Jon also discusses college life in West Virginia and the perils of going on the road as a solo act. His album The Star in the Cottonwood is available on amazon. Lots of great stories here.
James McPherson is the Dean of Civil War historians. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1988 book Battle Cry of Freedom. He has also won the Lincoln Prize twice, for For Cause and Comrades:Why Men Fought in the Civil War and Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. He is the author more recently of Embattled Rebel and The War that Forged a Nation both published in 2015. He taught at Princeton University for more than 40 years. In this episode, he talks with Colin about Johns Hopkins and his mentor C. Vann Woodward, landing at Princeton, and his life studying and writing about the Civil War.