Conversations About History, Volume 1, includes the following 5 carefully-edited Ideas Roadshow Conversations featuring leading historians. This collection includes a detailed preface highlighting the connections between the different books. Each book is broken into chapters with a detailed introduction and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:
1. Embracing Complexity - A Conversation with historian David Cannadine, Princeton University. This wide-ranging conversation includes an examination of different aspects of the societal role of both history and historians while rejecting the simplifying distortions of the historical record that we are regularly presented with. David also provides behind-the-scenes insights into several of his bestselling books, including The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences.
2. Science and Pseudoscience - A Conversation with Michael Gordin, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Princeton University. This thought-provoking conversation examines the strange case of Immanuel Velikovsky, author of the bestselling book “Worlds in Collision” that managed to provocatively combine unbridled scientific speculation with ancient myth, as a way of probing the often-problematic boundary between science and pseudoscience.
3. Enlightened Entrepreneurialism - A Conversation with Margaret Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA. Topics examined during this comprehensive conversation include Margaret Jacob’s motivations to become a historian and her comprehensive analysis of the history of the Industrial Revolution and interpretation of the major economic motivations on the ground, comparing daily life experiences in England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
4. The Consolations of History - A Conversation with Teofilo Ruiz, Professor Emeritus of History at UCLA. Teo Ruiz is a scholar of the social and popular cultures of late medieval and early modern Spain and the Western Mediterranean. He received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama for his “inspired teaching and writing”. This wide-ranging conversation provides captivating insights into his Cuban origins, how he became a professional historian, the challenges and excitement of teaching, and what the future might hold.
5. Herculaneum Uncovered - A Conversation with Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Director of Research and Honorary Professor of Roman Studies in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. This in-depth conversation covers Andrew Wallace-Hadrill’s groundbreaking archeological work done in Herculaneum and Pompeii, the politics of excavation, and life in the ancient Roman world.
Howard Burton is the founder and host of all Ideas Roadshow Conversations and was the Founding Executive Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy.