The American Future

Through his books and doc­u­men­taries, Simon Schama, a British born his­to­ri­an, has cov­ered a lot of fer­tile ground. The French Rev­o­lu­tion, the slave trade, the pow­er of art, Rem­brandt, ear­ly mod­ern Dutch cul­ture, the his­to­ry of Britain — Schama has cov­ered it all. And now he has pulled a Toc­queville on us. He spent the bet­ter part of a year trav­el­ing across Amer­i­ca, siz­ing it up, and pro­duc­ing a lengthy TV doc­u­men­tary (now avail­able on DVD) and a relat­ed book (not avail­able in the US yet) called The Amer­i­can Future: A His­to­ry. His analy­sis of Amer­i­ca, of its past and its future, takes into account sev­er­al major themes: reli­gion, immi­gra­tion, land and resources, and war. In this recent con­ver­sa­tion with Bill Moy­ers, Schama talks at length about Amer­i­ca and where it finds itself today. The first 15 min­utes focus on Oba­ma and the chal­lenges he faces. The remain­ing part gets into themes dis­cussed in The Amer­i­can Future. You can access it here: iTunesFeedWeb Site.

P.S. I am real­ly sor­ry about the frus­trat­ing down­time this morn­ing. My host­ing ser­vice — Dreamhost — had some “issues.” Hope­ful­ly this was an excep­tion.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.