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History Unplugged Podcast

History Podcasts

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

Location:

United States

Description:

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.

Language:

English


Episodes

Robert E. Lee Was America’s Most Gallant, Decorated Traitor

1/13/2022
Robert E. Lee was one of the most confounding figures in American history. From Lee’s betrayal of his nation to defend his home state and uphold the slave system he claimed to oppose, to his traitorous actions against the country he swore to serve as an Army officer, to the ways he benefited from inherited slaves and fought to defend the institution of slavery despite considering slavery immoral, it’s a major undertaking to understand him in all his complexity. Today’s guest, Allen Guelzo,...

Duration:00:54:20

Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Contentious Path to Emancipation

1/11/2022
In a little-noted eulogy delivered shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Frederick Douglass called the martyred president “emphatically the Black man’s president,” and the “first to show any respect for their rights as men.” To justify his description, Douglass pointed not just to Lincoln’s official acts and utterances, like the Emancipation Proclamation or the Second Inaugural Address, but also to the president’s own personal experiences with Black people. Referring to one of his...

Duration:00:54:35

Henry Kissinger Used Cold Realpolitik to Create Order in the Middle East. Did it Work?

1/6/2022
More than twenty years have elapsed since the United States last brokered a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. In that time, three presidents have tried and failed. Today’s guest, Martin Indyk—a former United States ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013—has experienced these political frustrations and disappointments firsthand. To understand the arc of American diplomatic influence in the Middle East, Indyk returns to...

Duration:00:52:33

Europe’s Babylon: 16th-Century Antwerp was a City of Wealth, Vice, Heresy, and Freedom

1/4/2022
Before Amsterdam, there was a dazzling North Sea port at the hub of the known world: the city of Antwerp. For half the sixteenth century, it was the place for breaking rules – religious, sexual, intellectual. Known as Europe’s Babylon, the once-humble Belgian city had an outsized role in making the modern world. In the Age of Exploration, Antwerp was sensational like nineteenth-century Paris or twentieth-century New York. It was somewhere anything could happen or at least be believed:...

Duration:00:52:37

Parthenon Podcast Roundtable: Who Would You Eliminate From History? (And No, You Can’t Choose Hitler)

1/1/2022
Today is a group discussion in which the four guys that make up the Parthenon Podcast Network (Steve Guerra from Beyond the Big Screen, Richard Lim from This American President, James Early from Key Battles of American History, and Scott Rank from History Unplugged) discuss a beloved hypothetical that our listeners have separately asked each of us many times: if you could eliminate one person from our timeline, who would it be? And to force us to think outside of the box, we've eliminated...

Duration:00:51:48

WASPs: The Splendors and Miseries of an American Aristocracy

12/30/2021
From politics to fashion, their style still intrigues us. WASPs produced brilliant reformers—Eleanor, Theodore, and Franklin Roosevelt—and inspired Cold Warriors—Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and Joe Alsop. They embodied a chic and an allure that drove characters like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby mad with desire. They were creatures of glamour, power, and privilege, living amid the splendor of great houses, flashing jewels, and glittering soirées. Envied and lampooned, they had...

Duration:00:40:30

The Untold History of Earth: Hobbits Really Existed, Dinosaurs Had Feathers, and Yetis Roamed Our Planet

12/28/2021
In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place―in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. The earliest living things were no more than membranes stretched across microscopic gaps in rocks, where boiling hot jets of mineral-rich water gushed out from cracks in the ocean floor. Although these membranes were leaky, the environment within them became different from...

Duration:01:11:00

George Washington’s 1789 Road Trip Across the New United States

12/23/2021
In the fall of 1789, George Washington, only six months into his presidency, set out on the first of four road trips as he attempted to unite what were in essence thirteen independent states into a single nation. In the fall of 2018, Nat Philbrick, his wife Melissa, and their dog Dora set out to retrace Washington’s route across the country. By following Washington as he attempted to bring the country together, traveling as far north as Kittery Point, Maine, and as far south as Savannah,...

Duration:00:37:43

The Allied Race to Retake Paris in 1945 Before the Nazis Could Destroy It

12/21/2021
In a stunning move, the armies of Nazi Germany annihilated the French military and captured Paris, the crown jewel of Europe, in a matter of a few weeks. As Adolf Hitler tightened his grip on the City of Lights, the shocked Allies regrouped and began planning for a daring counterattack into Fortress Europe. The longer the Nazis held the city, the greater danger its citizens faced. By 1944, over 120,000 Parisians died, and countless more tortured in the city's Gestapo prisons and sent to...

Duration:00:29:45

The Son of Mississippi Slaves Who Fled to Russia and Brought Jazz to Istanbul

12/16/2021
Frederick Bruce Thomas was born in 1872 to former slaves and spent his youth on his family’s prosperous farm in Mississippi. However, a resentful, rich white planter's attempt to steal their land forced them to escape to Memphis. And when Frederick's father was brutally murdered by another black man, the family disintegrated. After leaving the South and working as a waiter and valet in Chicago and Brooklyn, Frederick went to London in 1894, then traveled throughout Europe, and decided to go...

Duration:00:57:15

What the Middle Ages Can Teach Us About Pandemics, Mass Migration, and Tech Disruption

12/14/2021
The medieval world – for all its plagues, papal indulgences, castles, and inquisition trials – has much in common with ours. People living the Middle Ages dealt with deadly pandemics, climate change, mass migration, and controversial technological changes, just as we do now in 2021. Today’s guest, Dan Jones, author of POWERS AND THRONES: A New History of the Middle Ages looks at these common features through a cast of characters that includes pious monks and Byzantine emperors, chivalric...

Duration:00:54:38

Marine Raiders: The WW2 Special Forces Who Conquered Pacific Islands One Knife Fight At a Time

12/9/2021
At the beginning of World War II, military planners set out to form the most ruthless, skilled, and effective force the world had ever seen. The U.S. Marines were already the world’s greatest fighters, but leadership wanted a select group to conduct special operations at the highest level in the Pacific theater. And so the Marine Raiders were born. These young men, the cream of the crop, received matchless training in the arts of war. Marksmen, brawlers, and tacticians, the Marine Raiders...

Duration:00:34:15

The Boer Wars: The South African Conflict That Created Winston Churchill and (Possibly) Concentration Camps

12/7/2021
South Africa, despite abolishing apartheid in the 1990s, still stays very fraught with racial tension, making the United States' experience of 2020 pale in comparison. A series of settlements and wars from over a hundred years ago and over hundreds of years still ripple South Africa today with their effects. But South Africa didn't become what it is today by accident, though Europeans did settle it by accident ... at least at first. Over the 18th & 19th centuries, white settlements expanded...

Duration:01:19:57

Kim Philby: The KGB Mole Who Nearly Became the Leader of Britain’s MI6

12/2/2021
Kim Philby—the master British spy and notorious KGB double agent—had an incredible amount of influence on the Cold War. He became the mentor, and later, mortal enemy, of James Angleton, who would eventually lead the CIA. Philby was also in the running at one point to lead MI6, which would have made the Cold War very different. Philby's life and career has inspired an entire literary genre: the spy novel of betrayal. Philby was one of the leaders of the British counter-intelligence efforts,...

Duration:00:41:12

George Washington: The First American Action Hero

12/1/2021
This is an excerpt from an episode of This American President, a great history podcast that is the newest member of the Parthenon Podcast Network. You can find it at www.spreaker.com/show/this-american-president or wherever you listen to podcasts. He might look like an old man on the one-dollar bill, but George Washington was once a bona fide action hero. This episode explores our first president’s legendary exploits during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

Duration:00:21:02

Why the 1619 Project is Dangerous and Should Be Totally Rejected

11/30/2021
The biggest and most controversial historical debate in 2020 is the 1619 Project. Released last year in a special issue of the New York Times Magazine, it is a collection of articles which "aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States'] national narrative.” More specifically, it claims that the United States is fundamentally and irrevocably racist. Slavery, not the Constitution...

Duration:00:46:39

Rebroadcast: Turkey is Both a Bird and a Country. Which Came First?

11/25/2021
It's no coincidence that the bird we eat for Thanksgiving and a Middle Eastern country are both called Turkey. One was named after the other, and it all has to do with a 500-year-old story of emerging global trade, mistaken identity, foreign language confusion, and how the turkey took Europe by storm as a must-have status symbol for the ultra-wealthy.

Duration:00:21:48

The 160-Minute Race to Save the Titanic

11/23/2021
One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wireless operators on land and sea who desperately sent messages back and forth across the dark frozen North Atlantic to mount a rescue mission. More...

Duration:00:49:37

Age of Discovery 2.0, Part 6: Will SpaceX Control Mars Like the British East India Company Controlled the Indian Subcontinent?

11/18/2021
The British East India Company is perhaps the most powerful corporation in history. It was larger than several nations and acted as emperor of the Indian subcontinent, commanding a private army of 260,000 soldiers (twice the size of the British Army at the time). The East India Company controlled trade between Britian and India, China, and Persia, reaping enormous profits, flooding Europe with tea, cotton, and spices. Investors earned returns of 30 percent or more. With SpaceX building...

Duration:00:41:04

Age of Discovery 2.0, Part 5: Death Has Always Been an Inevitable Part of Discovery, Whether on Magellan’s Voyage or a Trip to Mars

11/16/2021
The history of exploration and establishment of new lands, science and technologies has always entailed risk to the health and lives of the explorers. Yet, when it comes to exploring and developing the high frontier of space, the harshest frontier ever, the highest value is apparently not the accomplishment of those goals, but of minimizing, if not eliminating, the possibility of injury or death of the humans carrying them out. To talk about the need for accepting risk in the name of...

Duration:00:43:46