Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American History before 1870

One of the best sources for new history podcasts to try is one that discovered my blog before I discovered it. I was checking the referrals to my blog when I ran into a 'trailfire' on history podcasts. The maker of the trail keeps a close eye on my blog, as I can see from some of the podcast descriptions that are identical to mine, but he also finds new stuff, I hadn't heard of before. So I keep an eye on him as well. And dear creator of this trailfire, if you read this, please contact me.

New Home in the Far WestOne of the podcasts I have found though his trail is American History before 1870. The trail comment reads: "These podcasts coordinate with Hist 1301, offered by Dr. Gretchen Ann Reilly at Temple College, in Temple, TX. Dr. Reilly makes American History fascinating!" I can only agree. And I can add: not only does she make it fascinating, she also makes it accessible and yet maintains a high level of factuality and insight.

The secret to her success is a very simple and straightforward formula. In stead of recording her live lectures, she lectures privately, producing a monologue style podcast. She makes sure her issues are no longer than 15 minutes. Very little post-production is done. If the lecture takes more than 15 minutes, which usually is the case, she breaks them up in chunks. This is done almost mid sentence, which requires some adapting from the listener. However, the clarity of Ms. Reilly's voice and the careful structure of her monologue make the work mesmerizing.

I will be going through the whole series and am excited to have discovered two more podcasts she has done: History 2311 and 2312, which address western civilization, the first till 1600 and the second after 1600. Those are the next on my list.

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Shadowspun said...

She also does US History after 1877. LOL The lecture switches do take some getting used to, especially when the next sentence sounds just right enough to be in the just-ending lecture.

Unknown said...

You are so right.
By the way, there is also a lecture series from Berkeley on US history after 1870: http://anneisaman.blogspot.com/2007/11/us-history-from-civil-war-to-present.html