39 episodes

From Oxford University's Rothermere American Institute, host Professor Adam Smith talks to guests doing world-leading research that sheds light on the United States from the outside in. We ask what forces have shaped the culture and politics of the US, how its role in the world has changed and what it might be in the future. Is America now, or has it ever been, the "last best hope of earth"? Probably not, but plenty of people have thought so. We try to understand why.
Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

The Last Best Hope‪?‬ Rothermere American Institute, Oxford University

    • History
    • 4.6 • 20 Ratings

From Oxford University's Rothermere American Institute, host Professor Adam Smith talks to guests doing world-leading research that sheds light on the United States from the outside in. We ask what forces have shaped the culture and politics of the US, how its role in the world has changed and what it might be in the future. Is America now, or has it ever been, the "last best hope of earth"? Probably not, but plenty of people have thought so. We try to understand why.
Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    The Propaganda Episode

    The Propaganda Episode

    Is 'fake news' new? Or have we always lived in a world of 'alternative facts'? Adam talks to John Maxwell Hamilton, who has written a book arguing that government propaganda started not in the age of social media or Donald Trump but with American entry into the First World War in 1917. Also joining Adam at the British Library's Breaking the News exhibition are curator Tamara Tubb and Professor Jo Fox from the University of London and one of the world's leading historians of propaganda.
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 37 min
    The Memorialising Covid Episode

    The Memorialising Covid Episode

    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the deaths of over one million Americans to date. How have people memorialised their dead through grassroots memorials and how do we memorialise something that has affected different groups of people in vastly unequal ways? Should there be a national COVID memorial in the US and what form would it take? In this episode, RAI Fellow Dr Alice Kelly speaks to Professor Marianne Hirsch and Professor James Young about the challenges of a national memorial, the idea of ‘reparative memory’, and how we remember separately and together.
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 30 min
    The Cotton Famine Episode

    The Cotton Famine Episode

    In Manchester on new year’s eve 1862, thousands turned out for a public meeting to congratulate President Abraham Lincoln for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. What motivated these people to come along on a wet Wednesday night to listen to fiery speeches about a foreign war? Especially since the most obvious impact of the American Civil War on Lancashire was that the supply of raw cotton was cut off – the so-called ‘cotton famine’ – causing huge economic distress in the textile mill towns. The answer seems to lie in the faith that – somehow – the US represented the last, best hope of earth. Even to people in Lancashire. In this episode, Adam talks to David Brown of the University of Manchester and Richard Blackett of Vanderbilt, to find out about the impact of the cotton famine and what it tells us about the meaning of America in mid-Victorian Britain. 
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 35 min
    The Book of Mormon Episode

    The Book of Mormon Episode

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is simultaneously the most American and the most 'un-American' of projects. Out of the intense religious revival of the 'burned-over district' of New York in the 1820s, "Mormonism" made the astonishing claim that the Risen Christ had literally walked on American soil. They were thus the first truly homegrown American religious movement even as they were reviled for being an alien threat to the Republic. In this episode, Adam talks to Laurie Maffly-Kipp and Rick Turley to find out how Mormonism related to the American nation, why they attracted so much opprobrium, and why, against all the odds, they succeeded. 
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 39 min
    The Free World Episode

    The Free World Episode

    Has the Russian invasion of Ukraine restored America's role as the leader of the 'free world'? What are the challenges for US diplomats and politicians in trying to advance American interests while also speaking about universal values like democracy? In this episode, Adam explores these issues with  Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, who served as the chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in London. Reeker was present when the Berlin Wall came down, and his career -- mostly in Europe -- has spanned the post-Cold War decades. As the Russian tanks rolled into a European country in 2022, did he feel that the world has come full circle? 
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 34 min
    The Dust Bowl Episode

    The Dust Bowl Episode

    The Dust Bowl: the ecological disaster within the larger disaster of the Great Depression. It’s a story that generations of Americans have come to know through John Steinbeck's classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath and Dorothea Lange's unforgettable photos of migrant families struggling on the road to make a living in Depression-torn California.  In this episode, Adam talks to two prize-winning historians, Linda Gordon, author of a biography of Dorothea Lange, and Sarah Phillips, an expert on the environment and politics in the twentieth century and asks what the dust bowl tells us about the American Dream. 
    Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

christopher543577649 ,

Good stuff

Good range of serious history and interesting contributions from various historians

trevorginn ,

Great listen

Interesting and informative

sheerhulk ,

Not objective, not history and no insight

I first heard Adam Smith on the Rest is History podcast talking about the American Civil War. He tried hard to maintain some objectivity , albeit it was evidently tough for him, but I thought it worth listening to this podcast as a result. I listened to the podcast on states rights. To be fair Adam was not involved in this episode , but it was just a ‘progressive’ winge about stuff the speakers don’t like in the area. No objectivity, no real insight, lots of factually inaccurate stuff and just todays politics of the woke academic. Avoid.

Top Podcasts In History

Goalhanger Podcasts
BBC Radio 4
Goalhanger Podcasts
Wondery
NOISER
History Hit

You Might Also Like

Goalhanger Podcasts
Goalhanger Films
Goalhanger Podcasts
History Hit
LBC
Larchmont Productions