During a special ‘Ask Glenn Anything’ episode on New Year’s eve, Glenn opened the doors to the Mercury Studios for a Q&A with a live audience. One woman wanted to know where Glenn developed his interest in collecting and sharing history. He started to really share history stories on FOX News, but the origins of his obsession started much, much earlier.
Mary: Hi. I was curious as to when you started your interest in the American history, collecting all the materials that you’ve collected, finding things where you can open your information, and it makes what people try to make it, how it looks in the politically correct situation?
Glenn: When did I start having an interest in that?
Mary: Yeah, I watched your show when you first were on FOX.
Glenn: Yeah, it was around that time. I’ve told the story before. It started with my daughter. My daughters hated history, hated it, and back in the 1990s when I first sobered up, I realized I was a nincompoop. I didn’t know anything, and so I went back to school. I could only afford one semester, and I went back to school. I was lucky enough to get into an Ivy League school.
I sat there with the professor, and I listened, and I questioned. He told me all these things to read, and I read them, and I kept asking questions. And he said, “Mr. Beck, who are you reading?” And I told him. And he said,
“Don’t read that guy. You’ll get all screwed up. Don’t read that guy.” And I said okay. He said, “Read this guy.” Okay.
Next week, I came, and I raised my hand, and I said I’d like to know the answer to this question. He said, “Mr. Beck, didn’t you ask me that last week?” And I said yes. And he said you told me you were reading this guy. And I said yes. And he said, “Well, didn’t I tell you not to read him?” “Yes, you did.” “Didn’t I tell you to read so-and-so?” I said, “Yes, and I did, but I’d like to know exactly why this other guy is wrong. I don’t understand why you say he’s wrong.” It’s not good enough for me just to say oh, well, you’re a professor, so you know.
Well, he had not had a 33-year-old guy, you know, as an underclassman, and he just realized holy cow. I mean, the underclassmen loved me. I will never forget, it was during finals, and they just all looked so tired, and one of them came to me and said, “Could you just do that thing you do every day today?” We never talked. I mean, I was this weird oddball in the class. And I said, “What is that weird thing that I do every time?” And they said, “You know, you just get him talking, just get him talking about stuff.” They just went to sleep. I was a sponge. I was so hungry for the information.
Same time, my kids are younger, they’re coming back from school, and one of my kids, actually, I said, “What did you learn?” And one of my kids said, “I don’t know. That was on the teacher’s time,” meaning the teacher…I have my time at school, and I get to do what I want, and then the teacher has their time, and whatever they’re talking about, I’m not really paying attention.
And they were always tuning out in history because they were always memorizing dates and everything else. But because I was searching at the time, I was falling in love with these stories. I was falling in love with…wait a minute, wait a minute, Columbus, they knew, they knew 400, 500 years before, you know, 2,000 years before Columbus that the world was round? How did we lose that information? What happened?
How would they find out when they didn’t circumnavigate? They took wells, and they measured the sunlight in wells? What? And how was that lost? And so I was fascinated by the story. I couldn’t tell you necessarily the names of the people and the dates of the people, but I knew the story, and so every day when I’d pick them up from school, I’d tell them another story. Both my kids graduated and took majors in history. They hated history. They learned to love the story.
And so when my daughter went to school and she told me that American history, she wouldn’t take American history because it was just too ugly, brutal, and bloody, but she was going to take ancient Roman and Greek history. I said good luck with that; that’s pristine and beautiful. But it shook me to the core, and I remember, I mean, you can imagine, you know, my house might have some artifacts and some, you know, red, white, and blue stuff occasionally.
I will never forget, we have this flag from the 1800s. It’s enormous, and it was hanging from our banister in our house in Connecticut. And it just kind of went down almost two stories, and we had a painting of George Washington right by it. I walked into that room, and she had just told me in the kitchen, “Dad, I don’t want to take American history. It’s too ugly.”
I walked out of that room, and I walked into the foyer of our house, and I saw all that history. I stopped, I actually cried a little bit, and I came back and I said, “If you feel that way about American history, growing up in this house, what chance does anyone else have?” And she said to me, “You don’t know American history, Dad. You just know all the wrong ra, ra, red, white, and blue, you know, good stuff. You don’t know the bad stuff.”
And I said, “Maybe that’s true, but you don’t know the good stuff. I will go out, I will prove you wrong.” We proved each other wrong, because there’s a lot of really bad stuff, but where I think I won in the end is once you know the bad stuff and you put it back in its place and you go okay, wow, really dark, really bad, what do you do with it?
We as a society have just dumped it. That doesn’t help, because you’ll repeat it. You’ve got to put that into its place and say…that’s why we do the book Miracles and Massacres, Dreamers and Deceivers. You have to have that, because history is not all ra, ra. It’s ugly. It’s brutal all the way along, but it’s that brutality, it’s the winter that makes you welcome the spring. Back in a minute.