A history teacher pushes the student to memorize facts and dates. In the process they often instill a life long perception that history is as dead and boring as an insurance seminar about actuary tables. A historian provides relevance. They illustrate how the events of 1920 play a role in the events of 2021.
Did you know that in 1918 and 1919 Americans rebelled against the wearing of face masks during a global pandemic? Did you know that influenza blunted President Wilson’s role in the establishment of the League of Nations? Did you know that as a result, harsh reparations were imposed upon Germany and this provided fertile ground for the rabid nationalism espoused by Adolph Hitler?
Did you know that Studebaker celebrated its centennial in 1952? Did you know that the company founded its automobile manufacturing on the production of an electric car designed by Thomas Edison? Did you know that the Wood’s Dual Power introduced in 1917 was the world’s first production hybrid automobile?
Did you know that the motto “In God We trust” resulted from an act of Congress passed on April 22, 1864? Did you know that the Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892, but ‘under God” was not added until 1954?
A gifted historian is also a teacher and an entrancing storyteller. They are also an artist that masterfully presents history as a seamless flow of interconnected events. This is accomplished by dusting off the bones, adding flesh and bringing history to life.
History teachers are common. Historians are a rarity. A gifted historian, the artist, is a rarity. They are as scarce as a cool breeze in the Mojave Desert during the month of August. Seldom is a generation blessed with more than a gifted historian or two. Ken Burns is an example of the gifted historian.
I am a storyteller. And I am a bit of a historian. As to being gifted, well, that is not for me to decide.
But I do derive tremendous satisfaction from bringing history to life. And I suffer from an incurable obsession to instill a fascination for history. That, my friends is at the foundation of Jim Hinckley’s America.
Telling people where to go. Inspiring road trips. Blending this with living history. Each and everything that I do is built on these pillars.
To date this passion to free people from the perceptions of history instilled in high school has manifested in nineteen books. The topics have been diverse. Ghost Towns of the Southwest. The Big Book of car Culture. Travel Route 66. Checker Cab Manufacturing Company: An Illustrated History. The Route 66 Encyclopedia.
And it has led me to push beyond my comfort zona and harness new technologies. This is made manifest in the Sunday morning Coffee With Jim program that is live streamed on the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, our YouTube channel, the use of Zoom for presentations, and 5 Minutes With Jim, our audio podcast.
But wait until you see what we have planned for the future! A weekly live interactive audio program. A new video series. New partnerships. And a new book!