On Ta-Nahisi Coates' recommendation, I've been listening to David Blight's Yale course on the Civil War through iTunes University.
Where to start? First off, let me wonder for a moment that I'm within spitting distance of 40, and finally coming to understand in an adult manner the transformative moment in American history. Let me wonder that I have not taken an American history class since high school, and that history in general is the last discipline in which I am inclined to just pick up a book. And not the least, let me wonder that Yale took the time to record this course and publish it for free so that I can download, gratis, to my phone 27 hours of lectures on the civil war.
The way my brain works, I'm a lot more productive with some noise in my ear, so I listen to a lot of podcasts, and when I don't, my wandering monkey mind wants to look at blogs, read the news, find anything possible to distract it from the task at hand. So I'm normally steeped in current events, but for the past week or so, I've been spending my spare time in the 19th century.
I am seeing parallels between the years leading up to the late unpleasantness and the current political rhetoric, but I find myself not fixating as much as I once did upon the political fluctuations of the moment. Actually, I find it quite refreshing to be reading about political crises that are so far in the past that there is nothing I can do about them.
Christie tells me she enjoys it, too.