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Entering a World of Paine with Harlow Giles Unger

On today’s show, veteran journalist and biographer Harlow Giles Unger talks to Jim Ambuske about revolutionary radical Thomas Paine, one of his predecessors in the newspaper business.

He is the author of the new book, Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence. It is the latest in a long line of Unger biographies about the founding generation.

Unger reveals a fascinating character in Paine, a man who never met a revolution he didn’t like.

He also shares with Ambuske about how his previous life as a journalist informs his approach to biography. 

You’ll get as much of a lesson in twentieth-century journalism as you will in eighteenth-century political radicalism.

About Our Guest:

A former Distinguished Visiting Fellow in American History at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Harlow Giles Unger is a veteran journalist, broadcaster, educator, and historian. He is the author of 27 books, including 10 biographies of the Founding Fathersamong them, Patrick Henry (Lion of Liberty); James Monroe (The Last Founding Father); the award winning Lafayette; and The Unexpected George Washington: His Private Life. Mr. Unger is a graduate of Yale University and has a Master of Arts from California State University. He spent many years as a foreign correspondent and American Affairs analyst for The New York Herald Tribune Overseas News Service, The Times and The Sunday Times (London), and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and he is a former associate professor of English and journalism.

About Our Host:

Jim Ambuske leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a focus on Scotland and America in an Age of War and Revolution. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  Ambuske is currently at work on a book entitled Emigration and Empire: America and Scotland in the Revolutionary Era, as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.