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Jeff Sharlets book

Jeff Sharlet’s book, “The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War”

Author and journalist, Jeff Sharlet, joins to talk about his time spent in Wisconsin while researching for his newest book, The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War.

Then Waukesha County Technical College President Richard Barnhouse joins to talk about the 100th anniversary of the school.

Guests: Richard Barnhouse, Jeff Sharlet

Check out this episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Jeff Sharlet Talks About His New Book

New York Times best-selling author, academic, and journalist, Jeff Sharlet, joins the show to talk about his new book The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War and the time he spent in Wisconsin while researching it. 

Jeff has spent over two decades following and writing about the religious conservative movement in America.  He is the author or editor of eight books, including The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, adapted into a Netflix documentary series, and This Brilliant Darkness. His reporting on LGBTIQ+ rights around the world has received the National Magazine Award, the Molly Ivins Prize, and Outright International’s Outspoken Award.

More on his newest book which sounds absolutely fascinating:

“An unmatched guide to the religious dimensions of American politics, Jeff Sharlet journeys into corners of our national psyche where others fear to tread. The Undertow is both inquiry and meditation, an attempt to understand how, over the last decade, reaction has morphed into delusion, social division into distrust, distrust into paranoia, and hatred into fantasies—sometimes realities—of violence.

Across the country, men “of God” glorify materialism, a gluttony of the soul, while citing Scripture and preparing for civil war—a firestorm they long for as an absolution and exaltation. Lies, greed, and glorification of war boom through microphones at hipster megachurches that once upon a time might have preached peace and understanding. Political rallies are as aflame with need and giddy expectation as religious revivals. At a conference for incels, lonely single men come together to rage against women. On the Far Right, everything is heightened—love into adulation, fear into vengeance, anger into white-hot rage. Here, in the undertow, our forty-fifth president, a vessel of conspiratorial fears and fantasies, continues to rise to sainthood, and the insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, killed on January 6 at the Capitol, is beatified as a martyr of white womanhood.

Framing this dangerous vision, Sharlet remembers and celebrates the courage of those who sing a different song of community, and of an America long dreamt of and yet to be fully born, dedicated to justice and freedom for all.

Exploring a geography of grief and uncertainty in the midst of plague and rising fascism, The Undertow is a necessary reckoning with our precarious present that brings to light a decade of American failures as well as a vision for American possibility.”

Waukesha County Technical College President Barnhouse on Its 100-Year Anniversary

WCTC President Richard Barnhouse joins to talk about Waukesha County Technical College’s year-long celebration to honor its 100th anniversary, the history of the school, and the current initiatives and programs. 

The school, originally called the Waukesha Vocational School, was established in the basement of Waukesha High School in 1923. With an initial enrollment of only 443 students, the college has since grown exponentially, with over 17,000 students now attending each year. 

Waukesha County Technical College is one of 16 institutions within the Wisconsin Technical College System, which has a total annual enrollment of over 270,000. The college now offers more than 170 areas of study, resulting in various degrees and credentials. 

To mark the centennial, WCTC has renamed its owl mascot, Oliver Lindholm Steele, in honor of the school’s first manual training instructor. WCTC will host numerous events throughout the year to engage the community and celebrate its reputation as a leader in workforce development. WCTC President Richard Barnhouse, Ph.D., expressed gratitude for the college’s accomplishments over the past century and is excited to build a foundation for the future.


Check out the schedule of events that is open to the public.

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