Jon Meacham: I grew up on Missionary Ridge which is a Civil War battlefield. It’s how Sherman basically got to Georgia by breaking Braxton Bragg’s lines there at the end, as you say, of the active civil rights period. So there were two pieces of history unfolding when I was growing up more or less in the ‘70s. One was the omnipresence of the Civil War; and the other was the difficult after pains of the Civil Rights Movement. I was a child in Chattanooga when there was a race riot there. I remember watching smoke come up from buildings burning downtown. So things that were large and national and historic felt quite personal to me. And I think that tactile sense led me to an interest.
Recorded on: 7/3/07