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September 13, 2018 at 8:37 am

NPR Interviews History’s Mattson on Play about Carter’s Malaise Speech

Dr. Kevin Mattson, standing in front of a brick wall

Dr. Kevin Mattson

Dr. Kevin Mattson, the Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University, appeared on Charlotte Talks on NPR affiliate WFAE.

Mattson’s appearance was part of the show’s coverage of a new play, “Confidence (and The Speech),” being performed in Charlotte, N.C.. Mattson was joining the play’s writer and director.

Mattson is the author of author of ‘What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?’ Jimmy Carter, America’s ‘Malaise,’ and the Speech That Should Have Changed the Country.

The NPR stations’ Chris Miller writes about the show’s episode:

Nearly four decades after President Carter’s “crisis of confidence” speech, a unique play being performed in Charlotte reimagines the infamous speech. Mike Collins talks with the play’s author and director, as well as an expert on that era of the Carter presidency.

Turmoil in the country. A “loss of a unity of purpose.” A “fundamental threat to American democracy.”

While that could easily describe the current political climate, it’s actually how President Carter described the state of the country in his July 1979 “crisis of confidence” address as America wrestled with an energy crisis, as well as the lingering bitterness of the Vietnam War and Watergate.

Listen to the interview on WFAE.

For more on Mattson’s research and teaching interests, visit his department profile.

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