Posted by Chris Gondek, Producer/Host of the Yale Press Podcast
Episode 4 turned out to be a theme show, and I say turned out because I don’t believe there was a conscious choice to pick a series of books built around a theme. Although the episode has been titled “America”, it could just as easily have been titled, “Democracy in America”, because each book took a look how American Democracy has functioned, with three of the books taking a hard look at the 19th century. The books also tend to comment on one another, though not explicitly. Richardson and Garfinkle both look at Lincoln and the Robber Barons, Brogan and Callahan both discuss the ramifications of having slaves in a free society, Richardson and Callahan both look at African-Americans and reconstruction; the books do fit together in a way that I would not have thought of when I began reading.
There, the high-minded thinking aside, I will tell you that, from a purely sound production point of view, if I never have to say the name “Alexis de Tocqueville” again, I will shed no tears. The raw sound files of the show contain so many examples of me stumbling over his name that it borders on the absurd. Also, I am aware that I pronounce it Toek-ville and Hugh Brogan pronounces it Tock-ville. He is right, but I couldn’t go back and edit it properly, so I left in my glaring mispronounciation in, to be listened to for all eternity. To all my French teachers throughout my life, I do apologise.