A professor at the University of Georgia, Scott Reynolds Nelson is the author of several books and recently was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. But as he tells Colin, he was not interested in history as a young man enamored with comic books and computers. Still, history proved a much safer path than the one he was pursuing, one which might have ended him up in jail. In his work, Scott has combined economic history, social studies, and folklore. He is perhaps best known for his book on John Henry, which became the basis for not only a children’s book but a musical. As he tells Colin, Steel Drivin’ Man started as a mid-life crisis and middle finger to the profession. By breaking all the “rules,” he had great success.
Scott also talks about his books on the Civil War, how wheat led to the collapse of monarchs in Europe, and why his work on the panic of 1873 made him very popular during the depression of 2008-2009. On this episode, we cover everything from cyberpunk to the birth of rock and roll!