86 episodes

A biweekly discussion dedicated to American History, historical thinking, and the role of history in our every day lives. Hosted by historian John Fea

The Way of Improvement Leads Home: American History, Religion, Politics, and Academic life‪.‬ Recorded History Podcast Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 99 Ratings

A biweekly discussion dedicated to American History, historical thinking, and the role of history in our every day lives. Hosted by historian John Fea

    Episode 83: Celebrity in the Early American Republic

    Episode 83: Celebrity in the Early American Republic

    In this episode we talk with Carolyn Eastman, author of The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States' First Forgotten Celebrity. Eastman chronicles the life of James Ogilvie, an itinerant orator who became one of the most famous men in America in the years between 1809 and 1817. Ogilvie's career features many of the hallmarks of celebrity we recognize from later eras: glamorous friends, eccentric clothing, scandalous religious views, narcissism, and even an alarming drug habit. Yet he captivated audiences with his eloquence and inaugurated a golden age of American oratory. 
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Episode 82: The Fastest Game in the World

    Episode 82: The Fastest Game in the World

    Ice hockey is now a global sport. Even Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, and Australia have national teams. The National Hockey League has teams in Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Nashville, and Phoenix. Junior league hockey is played in Shreveport and Amarillo. Anyone who wants to understand hockey today must not only tell a story about skates, rinks, sticks and goals, but must also tell a story about television, marketing, suburbia, social welfare, politics, class, climate change, and youth culture. Our guest in this episode, Bruce Berglund, helps us make sense of it all. He is the author of The Fastest Game in the World: Hockey and the Globalization of Sports (University of California Press, 2020).
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 81: God's Law and Order

    Episode 81: God's Law and Order

    On June 1, 2020, Donald Trump declared himself a "law and order" president and marched to historic St. John's Church for a photo-op with a Bible. Our guest in this episode, historian Aaron Griffith, helps us understand why evangelicals cheered this moment. Join us for a conversation on evangelicalism, crime, and mass incarceration with the author of the fascinating new book, God's Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America.
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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 80: How Alternative Media Broke Our Democracy

    Episode 80: How Alternative Media Broke Our Democracy

    Our guest in this episode is historian and public intellectual Claire Potter, author of Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy. She helps us make sense of the current state of alternative media and how it has hooked Americans on politics.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Episode 79: John Foster Dulles and the Cold War Protestant Left

    Episode 79: John Foster Dulles and the Cold War Protestant Left

    In this episode we talk about the connections between liberal Protestantism, American foreign policy, and the Cold War in mid-20th-century America. We discuss these themes through an examination of the life of former U.S. Secretary of State (1953-1959) John Foster Dulles. Our guest is John Wilsey, author of God' Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Episode 78: "How a 1630 Sermon Shaped American Exceptionalism"

    Episode 78: "How a 1630 Sermon Shaped American Exceptionalism"

    Our guest in this episode is Abram Van Engen, author of City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism. He helps us make sense of the phrase "city on a hill" in John Winthrop's famous 1630 sermon, both in its 17th-century context and today.
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
99 Ratings

99 Ratings

zacharyfcote ,

Continually enriching our minds

I have never missed an episode of The Way of Improvement Leads Home. John Fea has the unique gift of bringing on guests about things I’m passionate about, know nothing about, and had previously dismissed. And yet, every episode captivates my attention. As the great historian he is, Fea asks great questions and is well informed going into any interview. I’m grateful for his curation as I am able to enrich my own mind. If you are interested in the intersection of faith, history, and politics (and the occasional sports or Bruce Springsteen episode), this podcast is for you. His opening (and at times closing) monologues are some of the best analysis I hear in general. It’s truly a great podcast.

ReportThis505 ,

John Fea All Day

Prof. John Fea of Messiah College is a unique thinker and historical scholar who goes into the weeds concerning different topics like politics and religion. Speaking with his brash Jersey accent, Fea interviews intriguing guests and presents interesting historical points.

I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast because the way of improvement does indeed lead home!

bradapeters ,

Wonderfully informative!

as a high school AP US History teacher, Fea's podcast is very informative and interesting! I love the breadth of the topics, and this compelling conversations with the historians he invites on.

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