The World in Time

Greg Grandin

Friday, May 03, 2019

Colorado River, Mouth of Kanab Wash, Looking West, by William Bell, 1872. The Minneapolis Institute of Art, Gift of W. John and Elizabeth Driscoll.

“We’ve gone from ‘Go West’ to ‘Go Away,’ ” Greg Grandin tells Lewis H. Lapham at the beginning of this episode of The World of Time. “And that’s the arc of the book.” Grandin, a professor of history at Yale University and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, traces how the idea of the frontier has changed along with America in his book The End of the Myth. He introduces some of the story and its characters—including Frederick Jackson Turner, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, and Donald Trump—on the podcast, ending on how the idea of a frontier morphed into a wall. “It’s America’s new myth, a monument to the final closing of the frontier,” he writes. “It is a symbol of a nation that used to believe that it had escaped history, or at least strode atop history, but now finds itself trapped by history, and of a people who used to think they were captains of the future, but now are prisoners of the past.”


Lewis H. Lapham talks with Greg Grandin, author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America.


Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Discussed in this episode

More Podcasts

Night Scene on the Volga, Alexei Kondratievich Savrasov. The Met.

February 02, 2018

The World in Time:

Victor Sebestyen

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Victor Sebestyen, author of Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror. More

April 28, 2017

The World in Time:

John Micklethwait

Lewis Lapham talks to John Micklethwait about rethinking the machinery of the state in the twenty-first century. More

Barricades during the Paris Commune, near the Ministry of Marine and the Hotel Crillon, 1871. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959.

September 01, 2017

The World in Time:

Peter Brooks

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Peter Brooks, author of Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The Story of a Friendship, a Novel, and a Terrible Year. More

December 21, 2018

The World in Time:

Alan Rusbridger

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Alan Rusbridger, author of Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now. More

June 01, 2011

The World in Time:

What a Prince

Lewis Lapham talks with historian Miles Unger about the Florentine father of modern political science. More

March 02, 2018

The World in Time:

Richard White

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865–1896. More