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How Should We Tell The Story Of America?

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Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels CC0: https://bit.ly/31y3mSu

America’s origin story is often depicted as an optimistic struggle toward equality with citizens who will one day be united by culture and identity. In reality, the tale of America is nuanced; a history full of internal conflict and forgotten narratives.

In “Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood,” author Colin Woodard reexamines the United States through the eyes of five of its well-known 19th-century figures.

How do these characters see America differently and why do their versions of the past vary so much? How can their accounts help explain myths about the country's origin and evolution?

What examples of American historical mythology are still operating in today's world and what are the implications? Are the same conflicting ideologies that led to the Civil War contributing to nation’s current state of upheaval?  

What forces help shape Americans' understanding of the country's history? Who or what is responsible for widely shared mythologies about the United States and its heroes? 

Guest: Colin Woodard, author of "Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood" and state and national affairs writer for the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, July 1.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.