Thursday, November 24, 2011

My PBS News Hour interview, airing tonight

Thanks to my father's media habits, I've been watching the PBS News Hour since grade school, back when it was still called the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, and the wonderful Nova Scotian, Robin MacNeil, was co-hosting. I still turn to it as an antidote to the frenetic, sensationalized network and cable news, coupled with the half-hour fix of the BBC carried by my local public television network.

So I'm especially pleased to have been interviewed by the News Hour's Margaret Warner about my new book, American Nations, for a segment that's scheduled to run tonight, Thanksgiving evening. If you live in Maine or New Hampshire, that's at 7pm, though its sometimes broadcast earlier or later in other parts of the country. We filmed the segment at the Gadsby Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, a structure dating back to 1785, when it served as sort of the Willard Hotel of its age, a gathering place for past and present presidents, Senators, and cabinet officials of the Early Republic.

Please tune in whilst you digest your turkey.

If you're looking for other ways to idle away the holiday, Washington Monthly has just posted my latest American Nations-fueled piece on U.S. politics, this one on Mitt Romney, Mormonism, and Yankeedom and provocatively titled "Can the Dems Flip Utah?" Its one of a series of pieces at their Ten Miles Square blog tapping off my feature in the current issue of the magazine. Have a look, and let me know what you think, particularly if you live in Utah.

And Happy Thanksgiving.

[Update, 1/25/2011: The interview is now online as well.]


  1. I'll be watching. I'm glad Josh posted this on the MWPA Facebook page.

  2. Oddly google "American nations" doesn't return your book, but does return, among others, this one from 1981: The Nine Nations of North America.

    (google does prompt with your name)

    Is your thesis different, or have the politics of the past three decades brought the divisions out more starkly, or has immigration (eg Asians to the left coast) overridden the previous identity of say California shaped by the dust bowl okie migration to California?

    I find your comments on News Hour very interesting in explaining the very sharp differences in perspectives and language.

  3. I look forward to purchasing and reading your book after watching you on the News Hour this evening. I am reading a sample of your books from iBooks, and I cannot wait to read the entire book. I also just read your article re: Mitt Romney and the possibility of Utahans loosing interest in the GOP. I agree, but from a different perspective. Having been raised a Mormon (no longer practicing, but still respectful of my upbringing in many ways) I see a great change in Mormon people of my generation (Gen X). I see that these young people, while still wildly devoted to their religion, are definitely questioning the political and social beliefs of their parents' (and grandparents, etc...) generation. For instance, read any popular Mormon Mommy blog and you'll see a very different kind of Mormon woman emerging. At least very different from the Mormon Mommies that I knew growing up. It might only be a matter of time.

  4. Im just trying to work out the time difference to see if what I just saw was live or not.I saw the last 5 or 10mins,here in New Zealand it has just ticked into the 26th,I would like to see the item in full.They showed a quick view of the map,what states are yankeedom?It looked like it was in the middle of midlands.Im not familar with US history n politics but it looked interesting.We have our general election today but its a 4gone conclusion,status quo.

  5. Hello all, and thanks for watching.

    @mulp: As I write in the book, I read Garreau's book in junior high school, loved it, and was no doubt partly inspired by it. We share the belief that the true North American borderlines that matter don't correspond to state or national frontiers and that the various regions of the country have attributes of nationhood.

    From there, however, the books part ways, using different methods, asking different research questions, and coming to very different conclusions. (Mine is a history, his a snapshot in time, circa 1980.)

  6. @Anonymous of 12:22 am: Thanks for your very interesting perspective on the Utah/Mormon question. What you say is intriguing, and parallels things I've heard from experts studying Gen Y and Millennial Generation evangelicals.

  7. @Anonymous of 6:27am - The full interview is up online at the News Hour website. I've added a link as an update to the post above. Let me know if, for some reason, you're not allowed to see it in New Zealand.

  8. My daughter and I, lapsed Quakers, thoroughly enjoyed watching "The Singles Ward" LDS comedy, starring Julie Stoffer, the LDS then 20-something who appeared on MTV's "Real World." I also enjoyed "God's Army," another film from an LDS filmmaker.