I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 October 2020

Heather Cox Richardson. As a matter of course, HCR always asks for questions before her History and Politics Chat on Tuesdays. On 6th October she received over 2000 questions! She started off by talking about the importance of not letting Trump control the conversation, which he certainly has been doing since being diagnosed with COVID. She said that Trump is taking up where Joseph McCarthy left off- a politician can blatantly lie, knowing that the lie will be reported, and that newspapers will print the lie because it is news. She also talked about voter suppression and the history of the Secret Service.

In her History of the Republican Party podcast of September 10, she looks at the election of 2000 that brought us George W. Bush (along with its hanging chads) and September 11. Ah- the irony of the Republican Party claiming that only the Republican Party could keep America safe from terrorists, when September 11 occurred on their watch (not unlike Trump now claiming that he is the Law and Order President when violence is occurring under his administration.) It was here that the practice of governing by ideology began, and the use of signing statements and evocation of a world other than the reality-based world took root.

America If You’re Listening. How Trump widened racial divides for political gain looks at Trump’s long history of racism. He took after his father Fred in his racism, and don’t forget his active role with the Central Park Five. Then there’s the AltR, and Charlottesville, and Black Lives Matter….

Women and Evacuation in the Second World War. This podcast comes from the excellent History West Midland website, which looks to have some really interesting material. In the four-part episode I listened to, historian Maggie Andrews talks about her 2019 book Women and Evacuation in the Second World War. We all have the mental picture of the children standing with their little cases, waiting to be evacuated, but this book looks at the experience of the mothers who packed those little cases; those who accompanied their children and those women who acted as foster mothers. Episode 1 Introduction to Evacuation sets the scene. The evacuation program was set into train even before war was declared, with a great deal of upfront planning that all fell apart completely when it was actually implemented. Then came the ‘phoney war’ war, when nothing happened and by Christmas, many of the children had returned to their homes. Then when the bombing started in earnest, there was a rush of evacuation, much of it initiated and arranged privately. Once the war was over, some children arrived home fairly quickly, others took months if not years. Some never returned home. Episode 2 Mothers Who Waved Goodbye had me in tears while striding around the park. The idea of a mother whose six children were being sent to six different homes cutting up her only towel into six (useless) pieces just seemed too sad. Episode 3 The Mothers Who Accompanied Their Children looks at the women who, in the first wave, accompanied their children as part of the school evacuation, and then when the bombing started, fled with their children hoping to find private accommodation in the country. Episode 4 Foster Mothers takes the other perspective: that of women who had their lives turned upside down by children, sometimes accompanied by their mothers, who came into their family homes. This is a really interesting, emotionally affecting series of podcasts about another time when people were told “we’re all in this together”, even though they weren’t. [I was tempted to get the book until I saw the price. I’m always disappointed when a book is published by academic publishers, who obviously think that only university libraries are likely to purchase it. But – oh good- the State Library of Victoria has it as an ebook.]

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