On the Unregistered Podcast with Thaddeus Russell

I had the supreme honor and pleasure of talking with a brother from another mother, Thaddeus Russell who wrote this book.

This book is a sheer joy for me as it gives these sharp, smart, hilariously surprising and refreshing interpretations of American history. His book grew out of frustration with both the Great Men of History — presidents, wars, corporations— and it's so called improvement, the Great People of History — civil rights leaders, important women, productive African-Americans. For Russell, both models focus on people who want power and ascribe to disconcertingly similar forms of good behavior, good citizenship, good workers (eeesh!). And hence neither talk about pleasures — sex, booze, music, leisure — or more involved understandings of freedom.

This is what interests him: freedom and pleasure. So Russell looks and focuses elsewhere — to the pleasures of sex and booze and jazz and so to prostitutes, slackers, drunkards, and gangsters. And finds that it's these people who have, for the most part, defined and created the American freedoms we cherish such as having sex (other than in marriage) and weekends off from work.

That's all I'll say for now. I highly recommend it for the supreme and all too rare pleasure of reading someone who's lit up and talking about things you think you know but in such a fresh, generous, and surprising way.

And if you read his story about his run-in with academia, you'll begin to understand my excitement over crossing paths with him.

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