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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

George Washington Became Great Because He Spent Years in the Political Wilderness as a Washed-Up Has-Been

4/15/2021
By age twenty-two, George Washington was acclaimed as a hero. As a commander of the Virginia Regiment, he gave orders to men decades older than himself. He was good at most things he tried and his name was known throughout British North America and England. Yet his military career came to ashes when he was twenty-seven. He tumbled down in power and was reduced to arguing on a law in the Virginia House of Burgesses of the banning of pigs running loose. His life is a story of careful...

Duration:00:28:49

The Nazi’s Granddaughter -- Discovering War Crimes in Your Family's Past

4/13/2021
This episode looks at a deathbed promise from a daughter to a mother, which leads the daughter on a journey to write about her grandfather who was a famous war hero. But this journey had a terrible destination: the discovery that he was a Nazi war criminal. Today’s guest is the daughter -- Silvia Foti – author of the book “The Nazi’s Grandaughter." Her mother was dying and she wanted to preserve family history, so she asked Sylvia to write a book about Foti’s grandfather, Jonas Noreika, a...

Duration:00:22:48

The 15-Hour Work Week Was Standard For Nearly All of History. What Happened?

4/8/2021
There’s nothing in human DNA that makes the 40-hour workweek a biological necessity. In fact, for much of human history, 15 hours of work a week was the standard, followed by leisure time with family and fellow tribe members, telling stories, painting, dancing, and everything else. Work was a means to an end, and nothing else. So what happened? Why does work today define who we are? It determines our status, and dictates how, where, and with whom we spend most of our time. It mediates our...

Duration:00:25:32

Low Troop Morale Can Literally Destroy a Nation. That’s Why the USO Was Formed in 1941.

4/6/2021
A standing army is the most powerful force in a nation, but it can also threaten its very survival. That’s because you're taking a group of young men – those who are typically the core of your workforce and paying them to spend a majority of their time on bases doing nothing all day. Not only that, but you also pay them for the privilege. And if they get disgruntled or bored, riots, coups, or even revolutions can break out. The U.S. military has always understood the importance of troop...

Duration:00:48:14

Defining Treason – Why Are Founding Fathers Heroes But Confederate Leaders Not?

4/1/2021
There is perhaps no other accusation as damning as ‘traitor.’ The only crime specifically defined in the Constitution, the term conjures notions of Benedict Arnold, hundreds of thousands of Civil War deaths, and our own worst fears about living in a country so starkly divided between Red and Blue. Clearly this tern needs clarification. That’s what today’s guest, UC Davis law professor Carlton F.W. Larson, author of ON TREASON: A Citizen’s Guide to the Law , is here to do. He offers an...

Duration:00:24:53

“Fire Eaters” of the Confederacy: The Foot Soldiers of the South Who Made Secession Possible

3/30/2021
The story of the American Civil War is typically told with particular interest in the national players behind the war: Davis, Lincoln, Lee, Grant, and their peers. However, the truth is that countless Americans on both sides of the war worked in their own communities to sway public perception of abolition, secession, and government intervention. In north Alabama, David Hubbard was an ardent and influential voice for leaving the Union, spreading his increasingly radical view of states' rights...

Duration:00:38:54

Witnessing The Final Destruction of Hitler’s War Machine

3/25/2021
By mid-February 1945, the Wehrmacht had finally reached strategic bankruptcy. In January and February alone, it had lost 660,000 men. The Home Army lacked the weapons (including small arms) and ammunition to equip new divisions. In January, against a monthly demand for 1,500,000 tank and anti-tanks rounds, production fell to 367,000. Despite this hopeless position, with Russia within seventy miles of Berlin, Hitler planned another offensive in Hungary, using the 6th SS Panzer Army, which...

Duration:00:25:12

The USS Plunkett: The Unsinkable Navy Destroyer That Fought at Manzio, D-Day, and Southern France

3/23/2021
The USS Plunkett was a US Navy destroyer that sustained the most harrowing attack on any Navy ship by the Germans during World War II, that gave as good as it got, and that was later made famous by John Ford and Herman Wouk. Plunkett’s defining moment was at Anzio, where a dozen-odd German bombers bore down on the ship in an assault so savage, so prolonged, and so deadly that one Navy commander was hard-pressed to think of another destroyer that had endured what Plunkett had. After a...

Duration:00:30:37

How Ex-Slaves Built New Lives for Themselves – and America – After the Civil War

3/18/2021
After the massive devastation of the Civil War, America tried to rebuild itself, leading to the era of Reconstruction. Many hoped the South would peaceably re-enter the Union, slaves would enjoy full liberty as American citizens, and the United States would emerge stronger. But it didn’t happen this way.Thousands of freed slaves were kicked out of plantations, lived as war refugees, and arrested on charges of vagrancy. Others died of disease or starvation. Radical Republicans sought...

Duration:00:31:27

George Washington’s Final (And Most Important?) Battle Was Uniting America By Building a New Capital

3/16/2021
George Washington is remembered for leading the Continental Army to victory, presiding over the Constitution, and forging a new nation, but few know the story of his involvement in the establishment of a capital city and how it nearly tore the United States apart. Robert P. Watson, today’s guest and author of “George Washington’s Final Battle” discusses how the country's first president tirelessly advocated for a capital on the shores of the Potomac. Washington envisioned and had a direct...

Duration:00:49:44

Lessons Companies Should Learn From Mobsters' Business Practices

3/11/2021
Every day, iconic brands like J.C. Penny, Sears, Kodak, and Blockbuster vanish. As entire lawful industries are disrupted out of existence, how have some organized criminal syndicates endured for nearly a century - despite billions of dollars of law enforcement opposition and ruthless rivals dedicated to their demise? In Relentless, Zimmerman and Forrester combine seventy-five years of Nobel Prize-winning economics research with insights from criminal prosecutors to examine how the Sinaloa...

Duration:00:32:31

All of Human History, Civilization, and Culture Converge in One Place: Turkish Food

3/9/2021
Napoleon once commented that if the Earth were a single state, Istanbul (nee Constantinople) would be its capital. The general clearly knew his geography: Istanbul is the meeting point of Europe and Asia to the East and West, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the North and South, the convergence of the Silk and Spice Roads, and the pit stop for pilgrims going to Mecca or Jerusalem. The point is that in the pre-modern period, any soldier, merchant, or pious person had to pass through the...

Duration:00:38:59

The Forgotten Fourteenth Colony of British North America

3/4/2021
British West Florida—which once stretched from the mighty Mississippi to the shallow bends of the Apalachicola and portions of what are now the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana—is the forgotten fourteenth colony of America's Revolutionary era. The area's eventful years as part of the British Empire form an overlooked but important interlude in our American history which is corrected with the publication of the new book "Fourteenth Colony" by today's guest Mike...

Duration:00:45:24

How to Recover Family Treasure The Nazis Plundered in the 1940s

3/2/2021
Today's guest recently went on a quest to reclaim his family’s property in Poland and found himself entangled with Nazi treasure hunters. He is Menachem Kaiser, author of "Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure." Kaiser’s story is set in motion when the author takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland. Soon, he is on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building,...

Duration:00:40:18

How 9 Former Slaves Started a Proto University in Alabama in 1867

2/25/2021
Alabama State University is well known as a historically black university and for the involvement of its faculty and students in the civil rights movement. Less attention has been paid to the school's remarkable origins, having begun as the Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Alabama, founded by nine former slaves. These men are rightly considered the progenitors of Alabama State University, as they had the drive and perseverance to face the challenges posed by a racial and political culture...

Duration:00:52:45

The Pen or the Sword? How Lincoln and John Brown Disagreed on Achieving Emancipation

2/23/2021
John Brown was a charismatic and deeply religious man who heard the God of the Old Testament speaking to him, telling him to destroy slavery by any means. When Congress opened Kansas territory to slavery in 1854, Brown raised a band of followers to wage war. His men tore pro-slavery settlers from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords. Three years later, Brown and his men assaulted the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, hoping to arm slaves with weapons for a race war...

Duration:01:11:00

How States Got Their Shapes

2/18/2021
Why do Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states share a boxy, sharp-edged shape while East Coast state borders look like the fever dream of an impressionist painter? Much of it has to do with when these states came into existence, and whether their borders were set by an 18th century land surveyor, a 19th century committee that wanted to balance the size of free states and slave states, or a 20th century government panel basing their decisions on aerial photography.

Duration:00:29:21

Great News! Frequent Guest James Early Has Launched His Own Podcast - Key Battles of American History.

2/17/2021
Frequent History Unplugged guest James Early (co-host of Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WW1, and Presidential Fight Club) now has his own podcast! It's called Key Battles of American History, and you can find it by going to keybattlesofamericanhistory.com. This episode has a short snipped of one of his most recent episodes on the great WW1 film "All Quiet on the Western Front." Check it out on the podcast player of your choice.

Duration:00:18:57

When to Let the Past Die: The Case of Obersalzberg and Denazification

2/16/2021
In this episode, we’ll look at Obersalzberg--a region that became a secret headquarters for the Nazi Party in WW2 that was later completely destroyed by the Allies and Germany to denazify it--and what it means to cleanse a region from its past. For example, Is it right to destroy monuments or should they be kept no matter what, even if they celebrate a regrettable history?

Duration:00:27:19

The Mountain Man Was Once Considered To Be The Purest Distillation of the American Spirit

2/11/2021
For a 100-year period, from the 1880s to 1980s, if you asked an American which profession was the purest expression of the nation's spirit, they wouldn't answer with soldier, baseball player, or astronaut. Rather, they would answer with "mountain man." That's because American history taught that the nation's identity developed from the friction between civilization and the frontier. And nobody did more to conquer the frontier then mountain men, a group of trappers who went out into th...

Duration:00:30:01