J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Podcasting from the Past

As long as I'm on the subject of audio lectures for downloading, I'll highlight three websites featuring audio interviews with some top historical authors. Sometimes these discussions focus on the American Revolution, often other periods and events. But they're always at a high level. Or rather, they always were, since two of these three podcasts are not only about the past, but are now of the past.

Talking History was an initiative by the Organization of American Historians to share history professors' latest work with the public, first as a radio program and then as a podcast. The show lost its funding this past summer, and no new episodes are being produced.

Also fading out last year was the History Channel's podcast called Hardcover History. There seem to have been only four episodes produced, none hitting the Revolution. (The History Channel website offers another little feature called This Day in the American Revolution; folks there interviewed me to write for it months back, and all I got was this Boston 1775 T-shirt.)

The only podcast I've found devoted to Revolutionary America comes from Colonial Williamsburg, and it's still churning out new episodes. The "Past & Present" podcasts offer historical background on life in the 1700s, behind-the-scenes peeks at Williamsburg's living history, and discussions of colonial-era crafts. The webpage also offers links to pertinent articles from the Colonial Williamsburg magazine and website. (Just as the History Channel uses "history.com" as its domain, Colonial Williamsburg claimed "history.org"; let's pause to consider the implication that all history starts in Virginia.)

All these podcasts are also available through iTunes.


anninoe said...

one of the best books i've read about the AR is Henry Wiencek's "An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America." Read it; you'll love it!

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, I've got Wiencek's book. Another recent studies of Washington's relationship with his slaves and slavery as an institution is George Washington and Slavery.

We're seeing authors pay a lot more attention, and a lot more sophisticated attention, to this big part of life for the top tier of American society at the founding.

Rachel said...

Fabulous blog!

Rachel D. Medanic