In Search of Monsters — The Historians’ Diagnosis

On this first episode of the second season of “In Search of Monsters”, host Chris Lydon is joined by three historians: Helen Thompson, Jackson Lears, and Robin Kelley. Each of these guests provide a unique historical perspective that is central towards understanding the current global landscape. 

Helen Thompson, professor of history at the University of Cambridge, describes the preeminence of oil in dictating world events throughout the 20th century, and the ongoing ramifications of the commodity towards the War in Ukraine. Jackson Lears, professor of history at Rutgers, then details the corrosive nature of the American-dominated 20th century, detailing how imperial overstretch contributed directly to our current disarray and uncertainty. Lastly, Robin Kelley, historian at UCLA, looks at the roots of 20th century fascism. Collectively, the historians put forth a mosaic of ideas emphasizing the need for restraint in American foreign policy thinking.

Listen to the full episode here:

Additionally, check out these related resources:

• “A winter energy reckoning looms for the west” – Helen Thompson in FT, August 19th, 2022

American Burlesque – Non-Resident Fellow Dan Bessner in Harper’s Magazine, July 2022.

Imperial Detritus: Henry Luce’s Dream Comes Undone – President Andrew Bacevich in TomDispatch, July 12th, 2022.

“The Forgotten Crime of War Itself” – Jackson Lears’ review of QI Non-Resident Fellow Sam Moyn’s book, “Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War”, April 21st, 2022.