Episode #53 A Conversation with Robert Lee Hodge

Tony Horwitz and Robert Lee Hodge on campaign. Photography by Philip Brandt George (c) 1996

Tony Horwitz and Robert Lee Hodge on campaign. Photography by Philip Brandt George (c) 1996

Those of you who have read the late Tony Horwitz’s Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, will certainly remember Mr. Robert Lee Hodge, who guided Horwitz through - among other things - the book’s fabled Civil Wargasm

Today I had the pleasure to speak with Robert Lee about his work in Civil War history, which you will note is quite extensive and goes far beyond peeing on uniform buttons. He has done a ton of work in historical film (he won a regional Emmy), archival research, and battlefield preservation - and we talked about it all.

We discussed:

  • Tony Hortwitz’s representation of living historians

  • Battlefield preservation, environmentalism, and historical “greenspace”

  • The decline of living history

  • Confederate battle flags and controversial monuments

We hit on all sorts of other things too…like journalism and the lack of nuance in historical debates online. I had always heard that Robert Lee was a fascinating guy, and this conversation confirmed it. Please listen and let me know what you think…I believe you will come away from this talk, as I did, with an understanding that despite our differences, we absolutely can sit down and have an honest conversation about the past. Like he says…perhaps we should think less about passion and more about compassion…that’s at least a place to start. To find out more about Robert Lee…check out his website.

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With compliments,

Keith