From Book to Film to TV10.12.2012 | Faculty, Culture and Society
October marks the release of a University of Dayton history professor's new book and the national television debut of a documentary he produced.
Larry Schweikart's A Patriot's History of the Modern World: From America's Exceptional Ascent to the Atomic Bomb: 1898-1945, was released Oct. 11. It is the first of a two-volume work that is a follow up to Schweikart's New York Times No. 1 best-seller A Patriot's History of the United States.
In the book, Schweikart and coauthor Dave Dougherty offer a conservative perspective on America's half-century rise on the world stage, re-examining the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring '20s, the crash of 1929, the deployment of the atomic bomb and other critical events in global history.
"The book describes how American exceptionalism made the U.S. a world power and how the forces of progressivism have sought to undermine that power," Schweikart said. He said the book defines the four elements of American exceptionalism as Christian religion, common law, private property rights and a free market economic system.
"It really requires all four elements," he said. "Wherever we've tried to facilitate new democracies without all of these elements, we've seen some success, but it's never been complete success."
Just 10 days after the release of the new book, on Oct. 21, the first of more than 50 PBS stations in 17 states will begin airing Rockin' the Wall, a documentary about rock 'n' roll music's role in ending the Cold War and bringing about the dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
The feature-length film, which premiered two years ago in Dayton, is based on a chapter in Schweikart's 2010 book 7 Events that Made America America. Schweikart said additional PBS stations are expected to air the documentary throughout the next year. A complete schedule is available at http://www.rockinthewall.com.
The film is scheduled for commercial release on Netflix, Dish Network and in retail stores in January, though it is available now online at the Rockin' the Wall website.
Rockin' the Wall is told from the perspective of rock musicians who played on both sides of the Iron Curtain and from survivors of Communist regimes who recalled the lifeline that rock music provided. Schweikart's message is that behind the Iron Curtain, where the mere act of expressing one's individuality constituted a potential act of revolution, music provided a unifying force and helped the anti-communist struggle gain ground.
Artists featured in the film include Robby Krieger of The Doors, David Paich of Toto and Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets.
Portions of the film were shot on the University of Dayton campus, at St. Paul's Orthodox Church in Dayton and at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Following completion of the film, Schweikart launched Rockin' the Wall Motion Picture Studios in Dayton. Four films are currently in the works, with two in pre-production, including a sequel to Rockin' the Wall and a dark thriller about a beautiful hit woman.