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Episode 180: Robert Gudmestad

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Release Date: 07/17/2020

Episode 210: Emory Thomas, Part II show art Episode 210: Emory Thomas, Part II

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Colin continues his conversation with Emory Thomas, Civil War historian and former professor at the University of Georgia, Athens. They discuss his biographies of Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart. Emory also talks about the Civil War sesquicentennial and the tragedy of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015. And speaking of Athens, in the intro, Colin talks about attending his first concert since the pandemic began, where he saw the Drive-By Truckers, an alt-country band formerly based in Athens.  

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Episode 209: Emory Thomas, Part I show art Episode 209: Emory Thomas, Part I

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Civil War historian Emory Thomas is a native of Richmond, Virginia. It's no coincidence, then, that he is known for his work on the Confederacy, including his biographies of Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart. However, he has made Athens, Georgia, his home since the late 1960s. As a football player at UVA, Emory got the history bug after reading C. Vann Woodward. His interest in the southern past took him to graduate school at Rice, where he studied under the prodigious Frank Vandiver. The University of Georgia was his first and only teaching job, and he stayed there for many years. In part one of...

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Episode 208: Jonson Miller show art Episode 208: Jonson Miller

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

It's not often that historians make the leap from interplanetary geology to the study of antebellum Virginia. But Dr. Miller is one such person. And maybe it makes sense that someone from southwestern Pennsylvania who did part of his education in West Virginia, would want to study the inner workings of planets (it's coal country, after all). Now, he is a professor at Drexel University. He's on the podcast to discuss his book on VMI. VMI was a creature of the Jacksonian era--not because it was populated by Jacksonians necessarily, but because it reflected the struggle or political power...

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Episode 207: Keith Ryan Cartwright show art Episode 207: Keith Ryan Cartwright

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Some writers start young. Keith Ryan Cartwright is one of those. An early gift of a typewriter kept Keith busy while growing up in Wisconsin. And he hasn't stopped writing since. In part one of this conversation (part two will appear when his book comes out this fall), Keith talks about his brief stint in college in Florida, writing on the Madison music scene, and moving to Los Angeles to become a writer. In L..A, he spent a lot of time around bands such as Poison, Tuff, and Ratt and has had the opportunity to interview everyone from The Cult and Quiet Riot to David Lee Roth. Based in the...

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Episode 206: Lieutenant Colonel Sam V. Wilson, Jr. show art Episode 206: Lieutenant Colonel Sam V. Wilson, Jr.

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Sam Wilson, Jr., is the son of the late General Samuel Vaughan Wilson, a member of the World War II unit "Merrill's Marauders," Cold War spy, and commander in Vietnam. His father's shadow falls long over his family, but Sam, Jr., had his own accomplished career in the military. He eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, which included a year in Vietnam in the early 70s, where he completed 25 dangerous helicopter missions to locate and pick up wounded soldiers. His experiences in the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta gave him a grudging respect for his North Vietnamese adversaries...

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Episode 205: David Hill show art Episode 205: David Hill

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Writer and podcaster David Hill is the author of The Vapors: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and the Rise and Fall of Hot Spring's, America's Forgotten Capital of Vice. Originally from Arkansas, he moved to New York to work as a union organizer but moved back to his hometown for a year to write the book. One of the notches in the Bible Belt, Arkansas has a colorful history that does not always conform to its 21st century conservative reputation. Hot Springs is the wildest of Arkansas cities and was once where celebrities such as Al Capone and Babe Ruth spent their free time. Even though...

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Episode 204: Blake Scott Ball show art Episode 204: Blake Scott Ball

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

A native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Blake Ball originally wanted to be a musician. Then he got the history bug. He has a new book out and it's his first, Charlie Brown's America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts. He's also the head of the history department at Huntingdon College in Alabama. When you think of Peanuts, you probably don't think of politics. But given the enormous popularity of the comic and TV shows, Charles Schulz felt obligated to address some of the major issues of the day, from civil rights to the women's movement and the Vietnam War. Schulz, however, often approached these...

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Episode 203: Joshua D. Rothman show art Episode 203: Joshua D. Rothman

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Josh Rothman has gone native. Originally from New York, he has lived in Alabama for a while, where he is the head of the history department at the University of Alabama. He has a new book, The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America. Josh began his career as a historian at Cornell University, where he completed a B.A. under the guidance of political historian Joel Silbey. He then went on to the University of Virginia, where he studied under (previous podcast guest) Ed Ayers. The Ledger and the Chain builds upon a career dedicated to southern racial and social history....

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Episode 202: Edward Packard show art Episode 202: Edward Packard

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Edward Packard knows about choices. He went to Columbia Law School, but he never really wanted to be an attorney. He admits he was often "sleepwalking" through life before landing on an innovative idea for young readers. He eventually began writing full time, and many 80s kids (like Colin) can thank him for that. Edward created and wrote for the popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" series of paperbacks. Edward's idea was so successful that it inspired spin-offs (including his own Space Hawks series) and imitators. The series began in 1969 as a book called Sugarcane Island that Edward wrote for...

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Episode 201: Colin Woodard show art Episode 201: Colin Woodard

American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Colin often gets confused with Colin. And by that, we mean the author of Marching Masters is often thought of as an author of books about Maine and pirates. To clear things up, Colin Woodard is the Maine author and historian behind Republic of Pirates, The Lobster Coast, American Nations, and the recent book, Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood (2020).  A writer his whole life, Colin came into journalism "accidentally." He studied history as an undergraduate at Tufts and began as a correspondent in post-communist Europe, spending long stretches in Hungary....

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Robert Gudmestad is a native of Minnesota who teaches history at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He knows Colin from his days as a grad student at LSU, where they both worked with the imposing figure of Charles Royster, the late scholar of the Early Republic, the Civil War, and colonial Vietnam. 

Bob is the author of two books, A Troublesome Commerce (2003), about the domestic slave trade, and Steamboats and the Rise of the Cotton Kingdom (2011). As he tells Colin, he never approached his career with much of a plan. He had a good job before he attended grad school. Even so, he decided doing history was a better fit for him. That journey took him to Richmond and then Baton Rouge, where he enjoyed good food, football, and the pleasures of a monastic academic existence.

Recorded in early June, Colin and Rob talk about the then growing Black Lives Matter protests and the fate of Confederate monuments. They reflect on he eccentric side of professional historians, and discuss at length Bob's new research project, which looks at the role Union gunboats played in the western theater of the Civil War.