Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Talking UNION with Majority Report's Sam Seder

Yesterday I had an enjoyable conversation with Sam Seder of the "Majority Report" podcast about the struggle to create a story of United States nationhood in the 19th century and how the ethnnonationalist option won the day, for a time, in the 1910s. (It's the topic of my new book, Union.) You can hear the interview here.

Thanks especially to Seder and crew for having me on what was the first show since the death of their colleague and co-host, Michael Brooks, just days earlier.

I also recently spoke about the book with WUTC's "Scenic Roots," the long-format interview show at Chatanooga's NPR station, and with Peter B. Collins' podcast about the link between the cultural geography in American Nations and the pandemic response.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Maine pandemic updates: testing delays, low hospitalizations, few non-residents testing positive

A few recent updates on the pandemic situation in Maine:

Major national testing labs have been overwhelmed by the pandemic's surge in the Deep South and El Norte, and that's caused one to two week delays in getting COVID-19 results via many Maine providers who rely on these labs, including CVS, Maine Urgent Care, and Intermed. Fortunately, the state's strategy of increasing in-state capacity has limited the damage. The story is in tomorrow's Press Herald.

As of last Thursday, COVID-19 hospitalizations had hit a record low in Maine. That's great news in a state that has the third lowest per capita prevalence of the disease in the country. This usually lags exposures by two or three weeks and is not effected by how much and how well you do testing, so is a very solid indication that Maine was doing well at the end of June. I'll have a fresh update on this metric tomorrow.

And as of July 18 -- the latest date the Maine CDC could provide data for -- the number of non-residents testing positive remained low, and increasing at a rate of only 0.7 per day since the start of July. This is also welcome news as the most likely way in which the pandemic could turn worse here is via the introduction of infections from high prevalence regions to our south during the summer tourist season,.

Monday, July 20, 2020

An Online Event for UNION for Press Herald Subscribers, July 22

The Portland Press Herald is hosting a special event for subscribers: an online conversation between myself and Pulizter Prize-winning journalist and Press Herald digital editor Katherine Lee about Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood.

Katherine and I will kick off at 7pm. Subscribers can register via the links at this article announcing the event. (Make sure to use the email address your subscription is under.)

Thanks for supporting local journalism. To support local business, consider purchasing Union from one of Maine's many great, likely struggling-with-the-pandemic, independent bookstores. At this writing, you can find signed copies at Sherman's (Portland and Freeport); Gulf of Maine Books (Brunswick); Longfellow Books (Portland); and River Run Books just over the border in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Maine Sunday Telegram reviews UNION

Thanks to Thomas Urquhart for his review of my new book, Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood, which recognizes the book's position in an informal trilogy with American Nations and American Character. The review ran in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram and is available for online reading here.

The Press Herald is hosting a virtual/live interview event July 22. More on that soon here, but details also via this link.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Talking UNION with KERA's Think

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being the guest on "Think," the long-format interview show produced by KERA, the NPR affiliate for Dallas, and carried on public radio stations across Texas and in fourteen other states. Thanks to Krys Boyd for an enjoyable conversation about Union and the struggle to define United States nationhood, which you can hear online here.

I was last on "Think" four years ago, speaking about American Character, a book about the American conflict between individual liberty and the common good, which is unfortunately extremely relevant in these pandemic times.

Also, tonight at 8 pm Eastern consider joining this virtual book party for Union, where you can also order signed or personalized copies that will then be shipped to your door.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Racist names banned by Maine law decades ago still on official registry

Based on a reader's tip, last week I discovered that Maine's official registry of coastal islands still contained several with names banned by law decades ago, including three with the "N-word."

How this could be remains unclear, as I reported in the Portland Press Herald, but the state has taken the registry offline for a full review. (The owners of two of the islands in question had already asked for a name change for them June 30 when they discovered the official names on their own.) Details in the story.

Thanks to New England Cable News for speaking with me for their follow up.

[Update, 7/22/20: I did a follow-up on the state's response.]

Monday, July 13, 2020

Virtual book event for UNION, July 16

Back before the pandemic hit, my friends Nate Fick and Margaret Angell had very kindly planned to host a book launch party for Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood,  here in Maine. Large in-person events being impossible, we've gone virtual with this one, which means everyone's invited!

So please join us at 8 to 9 pm Eastern on July 16 -- Pacific-friendly for our colleagues on the West Coast -- for virtual cocktails, a bit from me about the book and how I came to write it, and plenty of time for questions from all of you.

With the partnership of our local independent bookstore, Longfellow Books, you can not only order the book, you can have it signed or personalized by yours truly before it's shipped to you. (Or any of my other titles.) Just let us know the details in the "notes" section when you order here:


Here are the Zoom logistics for the evening:

Join at 8pm ET from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://elastic.zoom.us/j/95429485303

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +16465588656,95429485303# or +13017158592,95429485303#

Or Telephone:  +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) 

Thanks again to Nate (whose own, genuinely riveting, 2006 book about serving in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts has some surprise appearances from (now General) Mattis) and Margaret for hosting this, and to all of you for considering attending.