This week, History for the Future turns to the New Deal, as guest Neil Maher discusses his book, Nature’s New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement (2008). Maher, who is a professor of history at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark, shows in this study how the CCC helped transform the conservationist tradition in the U.S. into what we can recognize today as the modern environmental movement. On the show, Maher explains what “planning” looked like in the 1930s and describes how the New Deal’s most popular program came under fire from wilderness advocates and ecologists alike towards the end of that decade. Give it a listen and also hear what Maher has to say about the what a Green New Deal might look like today.
After an almost two month hiatus from the radio, HFTF is back with a new episode featuring an interview with Anthony DiMaggio on his brand new book, The Rise of the Tea Party: Political Discontent and Corporate Media in the Age of Obama (Monthly Review Press, 2011). DiMaggio’s book questions the widely shared notion that the Tea Party constitutes a “mass movement,” and instead shows how media filters and political power have shaped the perceived size and power of the group. In the interview, DiMaggio also discusses the meaning of “propaganda,” the state of Tea Party in 2012, and the Occupy Movement. It was an interesting interview; give it a listen!
At the end of the show, Tony recommended a few of the news outlets he likes for good critical reporting and commentary. Here they are: Democracy Now! (also airing on WRCT, weekdays at 8am), truthout, Counter Punch, and Z-Magazine.
On this brand new episode of HFTF, journalist and author Dave Zirin talks about sports, politics, and history. Zirin is the sports editor at The Nation magazine, and the author of a number of books, including Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love, and most recently, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World (with John Carlos). His columns and weekly satellite radio show can be found at edgeofsports.com. On the show we discussed public financing of stadiums, the NFL and NBA lockouts, the Penn State scandal, and much more. Give it a listen!
This week on HFTF, Colby College historian James R. Fleming discusses his 2010 book, Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control. Fleming’s work traces the efforts of visionaries and charlatans since antiquity to manipulate weather and climate. On the show, Fleming describes weather manipulation in classical mythology, 19th century attempts to make it rain, and British military undertakings to clear fog from airport runways during World War II. In showing the mix of hubris and confusion marring many historical efforts at weather control, Fleming’s work offers a powerful caution for those who propose “geoengineering” to mitigate climate change. Give the show a listen!
At the end of the show, James Fleming mentioned a couple of authors exploring the ethical and human dimensions of geoengineering. To take a look at Stephen Gardiner’s recent publications, click here, and for Alan Robock’s article, “20 Reasons Why Geoengineering May Be a Bad Idea,” click here (.pdf).
On this new episode of History for the Future, Rutgers University historian Lloyd C. Gardner discusses his new book, The Road To Tahrir Square: Egypt and the United States from the Rise of Nasser to the Fall of Mubarak. Inspired by the revolution this year in Egypt, Gardner traces the long and contentious history of U.S. – Egyptian relations since the end of World War II. It was an enjoyable discussion; give it a listen!
This week on HFTF, historian David Kinkela discusses his brand new book, DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide that Changed the World. Kinkela, who teaches at the State University of New York-Fredonia, traces the history of the controversial pesticide DDT, starting with its early deployment during World War II as Allied troops sought to halt the spread of disease carrying insects in war torn Europe. Increasingly used as a “miracle” agricultural pesticide and malaria deterrent, DDT became famous – or infamous – in Rachel Carson’s 1962 classic, Silent Spring. On the show, Kinkela discusses the ecological and political reasons for DDT’s eventual removal from the domestic market, and much more. Give it a listen!
As the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeps across the country and the world – including Pittsburgh – this week’s HFTF considers protest in American history. On the show, Scott R. Nelson, labor and economic historian, and professor at the College of William and Mary, discusses what he calls “Occupy Chicago, 1894.” In that year, a grassroots movement of railroad workers led by Eugene V. Debs spread from a Chicago strike to much of the country, with railroad workers and many others demanding significant changes in the way that American labor relations worked. What were the short and long term effects of this “occupation”? What can it tell us about the current Occupy movement? Listen in!
You can find Nelson’s youtube clip here, and be sure to keep an eye out for his forthcoming book from Knopf, Crash: An Uncommon History of America’s Financial Panics.
On this episode of HFTF, University of Virginia history professor and author, Sophia Rosenfeld, discusses her new book, Common Sense: A Political History. Starting about one hundred years before Thomas Paine’s famous 1776 pamphlet, writers in England began to make arguments by appealing to readers’ “common sense.” Though obscure in its origin, Rosenfeld shows how “common sense” has become… well… a common sense way to make political arguments in Europe and the United States. In charting this history, Rosenfeld asks questions that continue to reverberate in our own political moment: Who does “common sense” benefit? And who does it exclude? In other words, who doesn’t have common sense?
Also, click to view Rosenfeld’s April 2011 Washington Post article, “Beware of Republicans Bearing ‘Common Sense.’”
On this week’s episode of HFTF, scientist and writer Fred Magdoff discusses his brand new book (with John Bellamy Foster), What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism: A Citizen’s Guide to Capitalism and the Environment. Magdoff and Foster go against much of the “conventional wisdom” around environmentalism, and argue that the economic imperatives of our current system (capitalism) are incompatible with environmental sustainability. In other words, for Magdoff and Foster, there can be no “green” or “clean” capitalism! On the show, Magdoff lays out the basics of their argument and discusses what a sustainable society might look like. Enjoy the show!
On this new episode of HFTF, veteran journalist Michael Hudson discusses his book, The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America – And Spawned a Global Crisis. Hudson’s book is a highly readable account of the origins and conduct of the subprime mortgage industry, where he shows how firms often preyed on the weak, avoided public scrutiny of corrupt and illegal practices, and contributed to the economic crisis of 2008. Hudson is a reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, which can be found at iwatchnews.org. On that site you can browse much of Mike’s recent work, including this new article on the silencing of whistleblowers in the mortgage industry. It was a fascinating discussion of a crucial topic, one especially relevant given that as Hudson points out, many of the banks and firms involved in the subprime crisis remain both powerful and committed to preventing any meaningful regulation of their practices. Give it a listen!