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Thursday, May 7, 2020


Published in 1999 by Wiley and Sons.

Roger Mudd, formerly of CBS and NBC news, interviewed five historians about their special topics of expertise. They are all solid interviews that allow the historians to tell why their topics are important. Mudd does a great job of letting the interviews flow along a natural conversational path, but he does interrupt with questions that ask for clarification or challenge a point.

The historians are: Gordon Wood discussing the American Revolution; James McPherson discussing the Civil War; Richard White discussing Westward Expansion; David McCullough discussing the Industrial Era; and Stephen Ambrose discussing World War II/Eisenhower/Nixon.

This was a lot like sitting down with a talented professor in a coffee shop and letting him/her go on about their favorite topic. They weren't lectures, but more like a conversation. I know the work of four of these five historians and have read quite a bit of McCullough, Ambrose and McPherson.

McPherson is my favorite of these three since he and I share a deep interest in the Civil War. I was surprised to learn that he came to study the Civil War later than I thought. McCullough's interview is interesting because of his wide-ranging interests. He discussed the Industrial Era, but he has done a lot of work outside of that time as well, including a great biography of Truman and a history of just the year 1776 during the American Revolution. Ambrose's interview very much felt like my previous impressions of Ambrose - great historian, occasionally a prickly personality.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5. Very enjoyable read. It can be found on Amazon.com here: AMERICAN HERITAGE: GREAT MINDS of HISTORY interviews by Roger Mudd.

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