Impressions of America: History Podcast
By Impressions of America
Welcome to Impressions of America, a podcast on modern American history, presented by Simon, Tobi and Vaughn. We cover the changing political discourse since the 1950s. From the Cronkite years to Trump. You can also follow us on Twitter @USAimpressions
The Big Short – with Felix Salmon
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by Felix Salmon from the Slate Money podcast to discuss the 2015 film The Big Short. We look at how the film depicts the events of the housing market crash of 2008 and discuss what the films gets right and what it gets wrong. And stay tuned to the end of the episode to find out what Vaughn thinks about trading water as a commodity.
May 08, 2022
George W. Bush – September 11th, Afghanistan, and Iraq
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn continue their series of episodes on President George W. Bush by looking at the events and immediate fallout of the September 11th terrorist attacks, as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
April 18, 2022
Will Smith, The Oscars, and Don't Say Gay Bill
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn discuss Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and dive into a brief history of the Oscars. They then discuss some other recent news stories, including Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, and Donald Trump hitting a hole in one. Also, Simon says nice things about Tobi and Vaughn, much to the shock of Tobi and Vaughn.
April 03, 2022
The Vietnam War and The Serpent Papers – with Jeff Schnader
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by novelist Jeff Schnader to discuss his Vietnam War era novel, The Serpent Papers.
March 19, 2022
George W. Bush and the 2000 Election
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn start their new mini-series of shows on the George W. Bush presidency by looking at the 2000 election and his battle with Al Gore to become president.
March 07, 2022
Marvel, the MCU, and Modern Cinema
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by Dominic Tunney to discuss the history of comic books, comic book movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how modern cinema has changed over the past two decades.
February 19, 2022
Masculinity at the End of History: Late '90s Cinema with Adam Nayman
Simon, Tobi, and Vaughn are joined by author and film critic Adam Nayman to look at the cinema of the late 1990s and in particular films such as Fight Club and The Matrix that portray the common theme of white men in comfortable office jobs rejecting their reality in search of a greater purpose.
February 06, 2022
Ellen Schrecker Interview - The Lost Promise
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by historian Ellen Schrecker to discuss her latest book The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s.
January 22, 2022
Favourite Films and End of Year Awards
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn each pick 2 films that meant a lot to them as a teenager, and then we hand out our first end of year Impressions Awards. We also briefly mention our new upcoming Star Wars podcast, and at the end of the show we celebrate Christmas and have Vaughn read from A Christmas Carol. You can follow our new Star Wars podcast on Twitter @JoyOfStarWars. The first episode will be available in January.
December 23, 2021
Professional Wrestling in America
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the history of professional wrestling in America. We chat about our own personal interest in wrestling when we were growing up, and then look at the history of the business, and in particular the growth of the WWE. We also discuss the links between politics and wrestling, and Vaughn explains the specific importance of wrestling to her when she was young.
December 05, 2021
Politics - Rudy Giuliani, JFK Jr., and Big Bird
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss various political stories, including the one-year anniversary of Rudy Giuliani’s press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, QANON and JFK Jr, and Big Bird owning the Republicans. Vaughn also breaks down Critical Race Theory and explains what it is and how Republicans are using it to win culture wars with Democrats.
November 07, 2021
Richard Nixon on Film
Simon and Tobi delve into the topic of Richard Nixon on Film and discuss 3 films that depict President Nixon at various points in his life, as well as looking at the larger media representation of Richard Nixon.
October 24, 2021
Los Angeles on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn head to Los Angeles for the final episode of the American on Film series (at least for now - more coming next year!). We start the episode with a brief modern history of the city from Vaughn, before we then dive into the 9 films we have selected that are set in the City of Angels. Also, one of the films selected in this episode features Tobi's favourite 2 minutes in film history.
October 10, 2021
Politics - Vaughn's Return and the American Hellscape
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss Vaughn’s visit to America and then dive into various news stories – including Biden and Afghanistan, the California Recall Election, and Trump eyeing the 2024 election. Also, Vaughn gets to talk about Star Wars.
September 26, 2021
Chicago on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn continue the America on Film series by looking at Chicago on Film. They discuss six films set in the Windy City, and Vaughn gives an overview of the modern history of the city at the start of the show. Also, our intro music has a Chicago themed remix thanks to Tobi.
September 05, 2021
John F. Kennedy and Religion – with Patrick Lacroix
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by author and historian Patrick Lacroix to discuss his book John F. Kennedy and the Politics of Faith. We look at Kennedy’s background, the role religion played in the 1960 election, his time in office, and the legacy of electing America’s first Catholic president. Also, Tobi declares his love for Joe Biden and Simon defends Richard Nixon’s honour.
August 21, 2021
George Soros and Hedge Funds – with Sebastian Mallaby
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by journalist and author Sebastian Mallaby to discuss billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros - from his early years in Hungary during WWII, through his career in the financial world, to his involvement in philanthropy and political donations which have made him a boogieman for Republicans.
August 07, 2021
Philadelphia on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn continue their America on Film series with Vaughn’s hometown of Philadelphia. Vaughn kicks off the show with a brief history of the city and then we go through six films that are set in Philadelphia. And yes, Rocky is one of them. Also, stay to the end for Vaughn's recommendations for Philly cheesesteaks.
August 01, 2021
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War - with Louis Menand
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Pulitzer Prize winning scholar and critic Louis Menand to discuss his latest book The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War. To help us we are also joined by returning guest Alex Sayf Cummings.
July 17, 2021
July 4th, Joe Biden and Patriotic Films
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn wish you all a happy July 4th, talk about Joe Biden’s first (roughly) 6 months in charge, and then discuss patriotic films. Also, Vaughn drinks and Simon loses track of Vaughn’s swearing.
July 04, 2021
The Fairness Doctrine - With Victor Pickard
Tobi is joined by Professor Victor Pickard to talk about the origins and unraveling of the Fairness Doctrine. They also discuss the origins of the FCC, the limits of media regulation in the mid 20th century and how the Fairness Doctrine was eventually removed.
June 19, 2021
Boston on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by friend of the show Jeff Lucia to look at Boston on Film, with a focus on six films that depict the city. This is the second episode of our America on Film series - our previous episode was on New York on Film.
June 12, 2021
New York on Film
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn start a new series of episodes looking at some key American cities on film. And we’re starting with New York! We each picked 3 films to talk about that capture the energy of New York, as well as discussing the city and the topic in broader terms. The intro to this episode features music and film clips from New York movies, including use of a montage from Movieclips Trailers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0_rHbGCpLU&list=LL&index=2&t=53s
May 30, 2021
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at the life and career of legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite, from his early years as a journalist covering the Second World War, through his time on television in the 1950s and onto becoming the news anchor for CBS in the 1960s where he reported on some of the biggest stories of the 20th century, including the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and the Moon landing. Also, can Vaughn connect Walter Cronkite to It’s a Wonderful Life? Find out at the end of this episode.
May 16, 2021
The New Conservatives - With Joshua Tait
Simon is joined by historian Joshua Tait to discuss the New Conservatives who came about after the Second World War. We talk about the origins of the movement, its key figures and what happened after the movement died. We also look at the Republican party of today and discuss Trump’s impact.
May 08, 2021
Star Wars: Attack of the Vaughn
It finally happened; Vaughn has got her episode on Star Wars! We look at the films and TV shows of the Star Wars universe and discuss how they reflect American history. We also go in depth on some of the key philosophical and political themes of Star Wars. Plus, make sure to stick around to the end of the episode to listen to some Star Wars hot takes from Vaughn (including her defence of the prequels).
May 02, 2021
Politics - Biden's First 100 Days and Republican Horror Stories
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss President Biden’s first 100 days in office and look at his successes and failures. We also look at the continued adventures of the Republican party and all the dreadful things they do. Also, how have the people of Scotland been doing without the Duke of Edinburgh around to lead them? Simon gives an update.
April 17, 2021
Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn each pick candidates for Conservative and Liberal Halls of Fame. Stay tuned to the end when they discuss which fictional characters would also make it in. Also, Tobi turned out to be the least cynical person on this topic - who saw that coming?
April 02, 2021
The West Wing with Dave Anthony
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by comedian, actor, screenwriter and podcaster Dave Anthony to discuss Aaron Sorkin's political TV drama The West Wing.
March 20, 2021
Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal with Michael Isikoff
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by investigative journalist Michael Isikoff to discuss his role in investigating the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Stay tuned to the end of the episode for the co-hosts discussing their thoughts on their trilogy of shows on Bill Clinton.
March 07, 2021
American Patriotism - With Ben Railton
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by author Ben Railton to discuss his latest book Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism. We also chat about wider themes of patriotism and nationalism, as well as discussing specific individuals, from Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump, to Colin Kaepernick and Ronald Reagan.
February 27, 2021
The Clinton Presidency
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at Bill Clinton’s time in office – specifically his first term, the 1994 mid-terms and the Republican Revolution. We also briefly look at the 1996 election, meaning Vaughn gets to discuss Ross Perot again. We also cover the Waco Siege and Tobi solves history.
February 13, 2021
The New Democrats with Alex Hochuli
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Alex Hochuli from the Aufhebunga Bunga Podcast to discuss the New Democrats and their rise in the late 80s and early 90s. We also chat with Alex about his new book The End of the End of History. Also, Vaughn gets to talk about her favourite subject: Ross Perot.
January 23, 2021
Politics - January 6th - Storming of the Capitol
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the events of January 6th where Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. We also look at what it means for America to see Washington, D.C. under attack. Later in the episode we look at the Georgia runoff election results and what they mean for President-elect Joe Biden. And finally we wildly speculate on what these events may mean for the future of the Republican party.
January 07, 2021
A Very Merry Impressions Christmas Special
In this special Christmas episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at Vaughn’s PHD thesis on post-war Christmas films and later in the episode they play some Christmas games, including Vaughn deciding the greatest Christmas film ever made. Also, is Australia a legitimate country? Tobi has some thoughts.
December 19, 2020
Carter, Bush and Trump - One-term Presidents
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at the three most recent presidents to lose an election - Jimmy Carter in 1980, George H. Bush in 1992 and Donald Trump in 2020. Also, Simon goes on a journey to understand whether Ross Perot was a Himbo or not.
December 13, 2020
Malcolm X (1992) Film Review
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by writer and friend of the show Moises to discuss Spike Lee's 1992 film Malcolm X starring Denzel Washington.
December 01, 2020
Politics - Trump Loses the Election
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn react to Joe Biden being projected as the winner of the 2020 election. This episode also looks at some of the key states in the election, Trump's reaction to Biden being declared the winner and Rudy Giuliani's visit to Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
November 08, 2020
Politics – The 2020 Election with Angie Maxwell
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by returning guest Angie Maxwell to look at the 2020 election, including the key swing states, polling numbers, and the increase in early voting.
November 01, 2020
Wall Street (1987) Film Review with Felix Salmon
Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Felix Salmon to discuss the 1987 film Wall Street. Felix is the chief financial correspondent at Axios and host of Slate Money.
October 10, 2020
Reagan and the 1984 Election - With Peter Robinson
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Peter Robinson, a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, to discuss the 1984 election. Also stick around to the end of the episode where we give some thoughts on our trilogy of shows on Ronald Reagan.
September 27, 2020
Politics - The RNC and another bad week for Donald Trump
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look back at all the fun from the RNC and discuss The Atlantic article on Donald Trump's comments about American soldiers.
September 05, 2020
Politics - DNC, Biden, Harris and Trump
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as well as Kamala Harris being picked as the VP candidate. They also look ahead to the Republican National Convention and discuss another interesting week for President Trump. Here is the link to the article mentioned in the episode on voting options in every state https://impressionsofamerica.com/2020/08/15/voting-options-in-every-state/
August 23, 2020
The Christian Right
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn look at the Christian Right in the second episode of their trilogy of shows on Ronald Reagan. This episode explores the political and social climate that lead to evangelicals forming an alliance with the Republican party and the role religion played in Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign. We also look at Reagan's response to the AIDS crisis and the role religion has played in politics in the decades following Reagan.
August 09, 2020
Bonus Episode - Website Launch, The President Is Missing, Too Much and Never Enough
To celebrate the launch of our new website www.ImpressionsOfAmerica.com we've done a bonus episode focusing on Vaughn's Book Corner - featuring The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson and Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump. A special thanks to Tim Fransen for creating the website.
July 31, 2020
Politics - The Never Trump Movement with Adam H. Johnson from Citations Needed Podcast
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Adam H. Johnson from Citations Needed Podcast to discuss the Never Trump Movement.
July 18, 2020
The Californian Ideology with Richard Barbrook and Alex Sayf Cummings
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by Richard Barbrook and Alex Sayf Cummings to discuss the "Californian Ideology", an essay co-authored by Richard in 1995 which was a critique of dotcom neoliberalism.
July 05, 2020
Ronald Reagan - The Hollywood Years
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn kick-off their trilogy of shows on Ronald Reagan by looking at his career in Hollywood and the politics of the time, including HUAC's Hollywood hearings.
June 21, 2020
Politics - George Floyd - Racism, Murder and Protests - With guest Rasheed (@phreedomjawn)
In this special episode we're joined by Rasheed (@phreedomjawn) to discuss the events going in in America right now around the death of George Floyd and the protests that have been taking place all around America.
June 06, 2020
Politics - The President Is Missing But Here Comes Klobuchar
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss the novel The President Is Missing, written by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. They also talk about Klobuchar being vetted for Vice President and another lively few days for Trump.
May 22, 2020
Black Panther Party - With Bill Fletcher Jr. and Trevor Beaulieu
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn are joined by special guests Bill Fletcher Jr. and Trevor Beaulieu to discuss the Black Panther Party.
May 11, 2020
Politics - Biden's VP, Trump the Travelling Salesman and Mitt Romney Breaking News
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and Vaughn discuss who might be Biden's pick for VP, what the hell is going on in America right now, the possible death of Kim Jong-un and near the end of the episode there's some "Breaking News" on Mitt Romney and who he is backing in the 2020 election.
April 26, 2020
Ayn Rand with Ben Sixsmith
Simon and Tobi are joined by writer Ben Sixsmith to discuss the life and work of Russian-American author Ayn Rand.
April 12, 2020
Politics - Vaughn of the Dead - Biden, Trump and Coronavirus
In this episode, we introduce our new co-host Vaughn and then discuss the Democratic primary race, Trump and the Coronavirus.
March 22, 2020
Josh Levin Interview - Linda Taylor - The Welfare Queen
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and our new co-host Vaughn are joined by Slate writer and executive editor to discuss Josh's book “The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth”.
March 01, 2020
Nixon and Watergate with Justin Sherin (@dick_nixon)
In this episode, Simon and Tobi are joined by Justin Sherin (@dick_nixon on Twitter) to look at the Watergate scandal and the attempted cover up by Richard Nixon and those close to the President.
February 16, 2020
Nixon's Visit to China with Nate Bethea
In this episode, Simon and Tobi are joined by Nate Bethea to discuss Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China.
December 07, 2019
Richard Nixon 1968 - Law and Order
In this episode, Simon and Tobi look at the 1968 Presidential election between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace, and specifically the issue of Law and Order which dominated the election.
November 10, 2019
Vice Film Review
In this episode, Simon and Tobi are joined by Taeil (@Judge_T234 on Twitter) to discuss the 2018 film Vice film, which looks at the life of Dick Cheney. We also chat about Taeil's own experience of being a Marine over in Iraq.
October 27, 2019
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood Review
In this episode, Simon and Tobi review and discuss the recently released Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.
October 06, 2019
The John Birch Society - With Julian from QAnon Anonymous
In this episode, we discuss the far-right, anti-communist group the John Birch Society with Julian from the QAnon Anonymous podcast.
September 22, 2019
Politics: Spicer, Sanders and the Mooch
In this episode, recorded for our sister podcast Impressions of America:Politics, Simon and Tobi chat about 3 former Trump staffers: Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders and Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci.
September 08, 2019
The Long Southern Strategy with Angie Maxwell
In this episode we chat with Angie Maxwell, co-author of The Long Southern Strategy. We discuss the history of the Southern Strategy and dive into the coded language of the Republicans when discussing race, the role of Southern white women in the strategy and the large role Christianity plays in shaping the identity of southern politics. We also look ahead to 2020 and how the extreme views of Trump's Republican party could help turn Texas blue.
August 24, 2019
Ralph Steadman Interview
In this episode, Simon, Tobi and friend of the show Steve Lawes are joined by legendary illustrator Ralph Steadman to discuss Ralph's life and career, working with Hunter S. Thompson and the role of political art in society. And as always on the show, the topic of Richard Nixon is never far away.
July 02, 2019
Interview with Matt Christman - Discussing The Weather Underground
In this episode we chat with Matt Christman from Chapo Trap House to discuss the radical left militant group The Weather Underground and the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s. We also discuss the current Democratic party and its failure to embrace the Left.
June 23, 2019
Advert - Impressions of America: Politics
A 2 minute advert for our sister podcast Impressions of America: Politics
June 02, 2019
Glam Rock and the 1970s - Simon Reynolds Interview
In this episode we interview music journalist, critic, and author Simon Reynolds and discuss his book Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, as well as wider social themes connected to music and pop culture.
April 21, 2019
Kevin Mattson Interview - Jimmy Carter and the Malaise Speech
In this episode, Simon and Tobi are joined by author and historian Kevin Mattson to discuss Kevin's book "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?': Jimmy Carter, America's 'Malaise,' and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country".
December 07, 2018
Network (1976) Film Review
In this episode, Simon and Tobi review Network, the 1976 classic film and also discuss television news, 70s economics and the growth of corporate influence during the 20th century.
October 06, 2018
The New Left - with Doug Rossinow
In this episode we are joined by historian and author Doug Rossinow to discuss the New Left in America during the 1960s and 70s.
August 20, 2018
The Liberal Consensus - with Kevin Schultz
In this episode, we talk with Professor Kevin Schultz about the liberal consensus, as well about as his latest book Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties.
July 28, 2018
The Podcast About the Podcast
In this bonus episode, Simon and Tobi discuss everything from The Simpsons and The Social Network, to Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, as they talk about their own backgrounds, why they started the podcast and the future plans for the show.
May 28, 2018
William F. Buckley Jr.
In this episode, we look at the life of William F. Buckley Jr. and his impact on American politics, media and political discourse. We delve into the National Review, his debates with Gore Vidal and the legacy of Buckley, as well as his connections to Donald Trump and the modern GOP.
May 20, 2018
The Post (2017)
In our debut episode, we review The Post (2017) and look at how the film depicts Katharine Graham, Richard Nixon and the Pentagon Papers. We also discuss the origins of the podcast's name.
April 02, 2018