Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Mark Cheathem

Mark R. Cheathem is a professor of history at Cumberland University, where he also directs the Papers of Martin Van Buren. He is the author of The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson and several other books on the Jacksonian era, including Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party and Andrew Jackson, Southerner.

Recently I asked Cheathem about what he was reading. His reply:
I am currently reading John Fea’s Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump. As someone who grew up in the fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity, I have struggled to understand Trump’s appeal to people in my faith community. I still can’t say that I truly understand the appeal, but Fea does a good job of explaining the ways in which Trump’s ideas, policies, and rhetoric mesh with those of many evangelical Christians.

I also recently finished Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time, a novel about a man who ages so slowly that he has lived for centuries, yet still looks young. Whether intentional or not, Haig does a good job of highlighting the ordinariness of history. For example, the main character notes how terrible things smelled in centuries past. That fact is something that I point out to the students in my history courses who talk wistfully about wanting to live in past eras: you might think you want to live in eighteenth-century Boston, but I’m willing to bet your nose would tell you differently!
Learn more about The Coming of Democracy at the Johns Hopkins University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue