JSR Podcast: Interview with William Link

Art Remillard

After you've finished the New Books in Religion podcasts, go head and download the latest from the Journal of Southern Religion, an interview with William A. Link about his new book, Links: My Family in American History.  Here is the book description:

Arthur Link (1920-1998) was one of the great historians of his generation, a prolific author with a wide following inside and outside the profession. For many years the foremost authority on Woodrow Wilson, he wrote a five-volume biography of the president and edited a sixty-nine volume edition of Wilson’s papers. Margaret Link (1918-1996), his wife and fellow North Carolinian, was the emotional core of the family. As an activist, she helped form an interdenominational crisis ministry in Princeton that reached out to the poor with counseling, clothing, and food, and she was a cofounder and president of the Association for the Advancement of Mental Health.

In Links, their youngest son--an accomplished and award-winning historian--offers a moving and unsentimental biography of two individuals who experienced the intense change and tumult of the South during the mid-twentieth century. Drawing from a rich trove of letters, interviews with friends and family, and unique insights, Link offers a highly detailed, evocative portrait of the coming of age and lifelong partnership of his parents. Links combines the objectivity and critical judgment of the professional historian with the subjectivity and deep emotional connection of the memoirist who participated directly in part of the story.

Among the many highlights of the podcast, Professor Link describes the religious leanings of his parents.  Perhaps not surprisingly, Arthur's faith tended to mirror that of Woodrow Wilson's, while Margaret's had a social gospel edge.  I was surprised, though, to learn that one famous Civil War historian was also a tenor in a Presbyterian church choir.  I won't spoil it for you...

There are more podcasts on the way.  Later this October, I'll be talking with Joshua Rothman about his new book, Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson.  Josh will tell us about the Mississippi cotton frontier's culture of irreligion and greed, while also recounting stories of the crafty bandits who masqueraded as Methodist circuit riders. Then, for November, I'm off to the annual meeting of the AAR in Chicago. There, I will speak with Mark Silk about religion and presidential politics, as well as Paul Harvey and others about the website companion for The Color of Christ.  

So there are plenty of great conversations on the way.  Stay tuned!