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The World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly

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Lewis H. Lapham, the founder and editor of Lapham’s Quarterly, interviews authors of new books of history. New episodes are released biweekly. laphamsquarterly.org.

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Lewis H. Lapham, the founder and editor of Lapham’s Quarterly, interviews authors of new books of history. New episodes are released biweekly. laphamsquarterly.org.

iTunes Ratings

132 Ratings
Average Ratings
125
3
2
1
1

Always interesting

By Joel Mielke - Sep 23 2019
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Lewis Latham’s questions get straight to the heart of the authors’ subjects. Worth listening to!

I could not praise it more.

By Nicknamesareuseless. - Apr 28 2019
Read more
A valuable tool in one’s intellectual journey.

iTunes Ratings

132 Ratings
Average Ratings
125
3
2
1
1

Always interesting

By Joel Mielke - Sep 23 2019
Read more
Lewis Latham’s questions get straight to the heart of the authors’ subjects. Worth listening to!

I could not praise it more.

By Nicknamesareuseless. - Apr 28 2019
Read more
A valuable tool in one’s intellectual journey.
Cover image of The World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly

The World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly

Latest release on Feb 14, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Episode 49: William Dalrymple

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Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company.

Sep 27 2019

51mins

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Rank #2: Episode 03: John Micklethwait

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In the sixteenth century 300,000 people lived in the imperial quarter of Beijing, which housed the bureaucracy of the Chinese state. At the time Europe had only three cities—London, Naples, and Paris—with as many residents. European governments were by contrast small and static. Over the past five hundred years, partly in response to the grand scale of government power in Asia and the Islamic world, Western nations have gone through a series of revolutions in government: from Thomas Hobbes’ imagining of the modern nation state to liberal reforms advocated by John Stuart Mill and William Gladstone and the advent of the welfare state.

Lewis Lapham talks to John Micklethwait, co-author, with Adrian Wooldridge, of The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, about the history of government in the West and rethinking the machinery of the state in the twenty-first century.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Apr 28 2017

39mins

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Rank #3: Episode 27: Barbara Ehrenreich

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Barbara Ehrenreich thought there was something strange going on with the smart middle-aged people she knew. They seemed to be obsessed with their bodies in a novel and unexpected way, exercising frequently, assessing the value of every bite they considered, and obeying every preventive measure offered by doctors. “I did not share this obsession, I will admit,” she says on this episode of The World in Time. Annual visits to the doctor, constant medical tests—it all felt futile, or at least unnecessary. “It's in my nature to question everything,” she explains, “so in each case…I would do some research, and see if this indeed did any good.” Her new book, Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, is a result of that research, and she discussed her findings, scientific and philosophical and cultural, with Lewis Lapham. And yes, Gwyneth Paltrow does come up.
Lewis H. Lapham talks with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer.

May 18 2018

30mins

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Rank #4: Episode 47: Ziya Tong

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with Ziya Tong, author of The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions That Shape Our World.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Aug 16 2019

46mins

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Rank #5: Episode 42: Greg Grandin

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with Greg Grandin, author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America.

May 03 2019

46mins

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Rank #6: Episode 24: Richard White

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The period of American history that extends from 1865 to 1896, Stanford historian Richard White writes in the introduction to The Republic for Which It Stands, “for a long time devolved into historical flyover country. Writers and scholars departed the Civil War, taxied through Reconstruction, and embarked on a flight to the twentieth century and the Progressives, while only rarely touching down in between. Such neglect has changed with recent scholarship that has revealed a country transformed by immigration, urbanization, environmental crisis, political stalemate, new technologies, the creation of powerful corporations, income inequality, failure of governance, mounting class conflict, and increasing social, cultural, and religious diversity.” In this episode of the podcast, Lewis H. Lapham and White try to dig into as many of these topics as they can, while discussing William Dean Howells’ role in capturing all these moments and whether it is fair to call the current moment the second Gilded Age.
Lewis H. Lapham talks with Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896.
Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Mar 02 2018

23mins

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Rank #7: Episode 13: Stephen Greenblatt

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve.

In a new book Pulitzer Prize–winning author Stephen Greenblatt takes up the tale of Adam and Eve, the world’s most famous origin story. Greenblatt tracks the tale from its creation, perhaps as a response to the Jews’ Babylonian exile, through its varied interpretations, from the time it was viewed symbolically (as it was by early Christian historians) to its acceptance as a literal event (by no less an authority than Saint Augustine) to its deep influence on Renaissance art and literature and its collision with the modern world, most consequentially with the thought of Charles Darwin.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Sep 13 2017

41mins

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Rank #8: Episode 33: Jim Holt

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with Jim Holt, author of “When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought.”

Aug 31 2018

39mins

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Rank #9: Episode 21: Eric Foner

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“History does not tell us what to do,” Civil War scholar Eric Foner says, but it does help us understand how the world got this way, as long as you aren’t stuck playing the Great Men greatest hits in your studies. But that’s what most of us learn: a litany of good or important deeds done by familiar names that turns history into a constellation of memorized details instead of a reckoning. This pockmarked understanding of the past, and the efforts to render history into more than a sunny yet useless bit of impressionism, is the theme of Foner’s Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History. The essays within were published in The Nation between 1977 and 2017 and often hit home the stickiness of the past. In a book review about public history and Confederate monuments, he asks, “Why, one wonders, has our understanding of history changed so rapidly, but its public presentation remained so static?”

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Eric Foner, author of Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Jan 05 2018

37mins

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Rank #10: Episode 46: Rick Atkinson

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with the author of “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.”

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Jun 28 2019

50mins

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Rank #11: Episode 25: David Cannadine

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“Beyond any doubt the decades from the 1800s to the 1900s witnessed many extraordinary and traumatic challenges and wrenching and disorienting changes,” historian David Cannadine writes in the epilogue of Victorious Century, “as expressed and mediated through (among other things) the poetry of Wordsworth and Tennyson, the paintings of Turner and Landseer, the novels of Dickens and Eliot, and even Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas and Oscar Wilde’s brilliantly brittle plays.”

But “how far did the men (and apart from Queen Victoria, they were all men) who were ostensibly in charge of the affairs of the United Kingdom and the British Empire understand what was going on and know what they were doing?” The book chronicles many of these events hurtling by those supposedly orchestrating or managing them, starting in 1800 with Ireland being subsumed into the larger kingdom of Great Britain and ending with the general election in 1906, when the Liberal Party squashed the Conservatives for the last time. In this episode of The World in Time, Cannadine explains why he chose those dates as bookends and why the words of Karl Marx and the oft-quoted beginning of A Tale of Two Cities precede his book.

Lewis H. Lapham talks with David Cannadine, author of Victorious Century: The United Kingdom: 1800-1906.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Apr 20 2018

33mins

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Rank #12: Episode 28: Stephen Greenblatt

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Episode 28: Stephen Greenblatt by Lapham’s Quarterly

Jun 01 2018

28mins

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Rank #13: Episode 45: David Wallace-Wells

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This week on The World in Time, Lewis H. Lapham talks with David Wallace-Wells, author of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Jun 14 2019

46mins

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Rank #14: Episode 29: Steve Fraser

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One of America’s most enduring myths involves the fledging country’s supposed fortitude in refusing to import the class structures of its forebears. But, historian Steve Fraser says in the latest episode of The World in Time, “right now, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain that delusion.” Or, as he puts it at the beginning of his book Class Matters: The Strange Career of an American Delusion, “Class is the secret of the American experience, its past, present, and likely future. It is a secret known to all, but a source of public embarrassment to acknowledge. It lives on all the surfaces of daily life, yet is driven underground every time its naked self offends cherished illusions about how we deal with each other.”
Lewis H. Lapham talks with Steve Fraser, author of Class Matters: The Strange Career of an American Delusion.

Jun 15 2018

34mins

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Rank #15: Episode 30: Catherine Nixey

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Lewis H. Lapham talks with Catherine Nixey, author of “The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World.”

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Jun 29 2018

35mins

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Rank #16: Episode 09: Michael Kazin

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Why did World War I begin? Why did America enter the conflict? What place does the war hold in American historical memory? These are questions historian Michael Kazin asks his Georgetown University students, and many of them are stumped. When Woodrow Wilson plunged the country headfirst into its first European fight, he was met with resistance from nearly every corner of American society—in New York City, a women’s march for peace was organized along Fifth Avenue. Today there is no memorial on the National Mall to the American soldiers who fought in the war, but understanding the complex social, political, and economic forces that birthed the war—and American involvement in it—is more crucial than ever.

Lewis Lapham talks to Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914–1918.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Jul 20 2017

33mins

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Rank #17: Episode 15: Mark Kurlansky

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The history of paper is a story of technology following a need, argues Mark Kurlansky. The Chinese invented paper to keep records cheaply and easily in a bureaucratic society. It wasn’t until centuries later that the Arabs—adept at mathematics, astronomy, and accounting—had reason to adopt paper. Europeans, plagued by illiteracy, long knew of paper (Arab merchants regularly offered it for sale), but it wasn’t until a thousand years after its invention that Europeans, having adopted Arab innovations in math and science, imported paper to replace cumbersome and expensive parchment made of animal hides.

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Mark Kurlansky, author of Paper: Paging Through History.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Oct 12 2017

34mins

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Rank #18: Episode 10: Simon Winchester

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Until the fifteenth century the only sea that mattered (politically, socially, and economically) was the Mediterranean. As sixteenth-century European explorers set sail in search of land and opportunity, it was the Atlantic that carried them from old worlds to new. Since the middle of the twentieth century, argues Simon Winchester, it’s been the Pacific Ocean that dominates trade, travel, and scientific research, and it’s on, in, and under the Pacific that the future of the world will be forged.

Lewis Lapham talks with Simon Winchester, author of Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Aug 02 2017

39mins

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Rank #19: Episode 19: Gordon S. Wood

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John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. Reportedly Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives”—without realizing his former vice president had predeceased him. Despite the fact that the political colleagues faced off in one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns in American history, the pair ended their lives not only at the same time but as friends who had exchanged letters for years. But their previously acrimonious relationship as leading figures of our first political parties, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood points out in his new book, had an immense effect on the eventual shape of the United States’ political fault lines and culture.

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Gordon S. Wood, author of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Dec 08 2017

49mins

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Rank #20: Episode 14: Peter Frankopan

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Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads looks at the many ways the world connects itself, going well beyond trade routes to tell a story about the energies that shaped the course of history. In moving silk, spices, furs, gold, silver, slaves, religion, and disease on the Silk Road, the West became linked to people and ideas in the region between the Mediterranean and the Himalayas. It’s the origin, argues Frankopan, of our interconnected world.

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World.

Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Sep 26 2017

32mins

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