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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

Nazi Billionaires: The Business Dynasties That Built Hitler’s War Machine and Still Profit Today

5/26/2022
After the Allies defeated Germany in WW2, high-ranking Nazis and collaborators lived in a long, strange twilight. The lucky ones were recruited by the Allies (such as Wernher von Braun and his rocket science team who built America’s space program) but others either fled or tried to disappear back into German society. But many of the closest Nazi collaborators became scions of German industry. Today’s guest is David De Jong, author of the book Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of...

Duration:00:41:15

War Isn’t the Natural State of Human Affairs: It Shouldn’t Happen, and Most of the Time It Doesn't.

5/24/2022
War is assumed to be one of the chief features of human history. Plenty of ancient and modern writers back up this perspective (Plato said that only the dead have seen the end of war; John Steinbeck said all war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal, suggesting it was hard-wired into our brutish nature). But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? What if war isn’t the status quo? This is the argument made by today’s guest, who says prolonged violence between groups isn’t...

Duration:00:46:45

Western Religion of the 19th Century Competed with Darwin and Marx By Dabbling in Hinduism, Occultism, and Wellness

5/19/2022
We often think of the late nineteenth century in Western societies as an era of immense technological and scientific change, moving from religion to secularism, from faith to logic. But today’s guest, Dominic Green, author of The Religious Revolution: The Birth of Modern Spirituality, 1848-1898 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; April 19, 2022) religion in the past was much stronger, and much weirder, than we give it credit. Tsame period that introduced Darwin’s theory of evolution, democratic...

Duration:00:55:18

The 1541 Spanish Expedition Down the Amazon to Find the Imaginary “El Dorado” and Valley of Cinnamon

5/17/2022
As Spanish conquistators slowly moved through Latin America, they encountered levels of wealth that were unimaginable. Most famously, Incan Emperor Atahualpa was captured by Francisco Pizarro and paid a ransom of a room filled with gold and then twice over with silver. The room was 22 feet long by 17 feet wide, filled to a height of about 8 feet. Such events fired the imaginations of the Spanish, who created myths such as of El Dorado, the “gilded man” who, legend held, was daily powdered...

Duration:00:41:56

Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded in the Yugoslavian Mountains

5/12/2022
Late in 1944, thirteen U.S. B-24 bomber crews bailed from their cabins over the Yugoslavian wilderness. Bloodied and disoriented after a harrowing strike against the Third Reich, the pilots took refugee with the Partisan underground. But the Americans were far from safety. Holed up in a village barely able to feed its citizens, encircled by Nazis, and left abandoned after a team of British secret agents failed to secure their escape, the airmen were left with little choice. It was either...

Duration:00:32:25

The Way that Lincoln Financed the Civil War Led to Transcontinental Railroads, Public Colleges, the Homestead Act, and Income Tax

5/10/2022
The financing of the Civil War was as crucial to the shaping of American history as the Emancipation Proclamation and the defeat of the Confederacy. Not only did the Lincoln government establish a national banking system, they invented many things to deepen and broaden the government’s involvement in the lives of ordinary Americans—the transcontinental railroad, the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act (endowing land-grant colleges for the middle class), help for farmers, a government role in...

Duration:00:42:45

Lt. Sonia Vagliano Helped Liberate Concentration Camp Victims, Repatriate WW2 Refugees, All While Avoiding Landmines and Kidnapping

5/5/2022
Following the German occupation of France in 1940, French women moved deftly into the jobs and roles left by their male compatriots—even the role of soldier. One of the more notable such female soldiers was Lt. Sonia Vagliano, who was part of a team of young French women attached to a US First Army unit that arrived in Normandy two weeks after D-Day. From 1943 to 1945, Vagliano followed her unit from Normandy to Paris, through Belgium, and finally into Germany, where they cared for 41,000...

Duration:00:50:27

Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie: The Serial Killer Family Who Terrorized 1870s Kansas

5/3/2022
Lone-wolf serial killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy live in infamy – it’s a familiar archetype in true crime. But a family of serial killers is much less common, and the killing spree committed by the Benders in 19th century Kansas is likely the most famous murder case in American history that you’ve never heard of. This family became known as the Bloody Benders—a mother, father and their daughter and son—and their exploits were called the “little slaughterhouse on...

Duration:00:29:44

Benjamin Franklin – In the 200 Years After His Death – Funded New Businesses, Supported Boston and Philadelphia, and Play Pranks

4/28/2022
When Benjamin Franklin died on April 12, 1790, he made a final bet on the future of the United States -- a gift of 2,000 pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jump start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the accrued final payout in 1991 would be a windfall. Today’s guest is Michael Meyer, author of Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet. He traces the...

Duration:00:39:38

The Rise and Fall of 1970s Mob-Run Chicago

4/26/2022
In 1970s America, no city was arguable under more mafia control than Chicago. Murderers operated without fear of retribution. Getting an “innocent” verdict took nothing more than one bribe. Everyone got a cut of the action: policemen, aldermen, lawyers, cops, and judges. But it all came crashing down when a lawyer and fixer went undercover with the FBI to try to bring down one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the country. Today’s guest is Jake Halpern, host of the new podcast...

Duration:00:42:13

An Antebellum-Era Irish Maid’s Incredible Determination and Business Savvy Led to the Creation of the Kennedy Dynasty

4/21/2022
The Kennedys are remembered the vanguard of wealth, power, and style. But their story begins in 1840s Boston, when a poor Irish refugee couple who were escaping famine created a life together in a city hostile to Irish, immigrants, and Catholics, and launched arguably the most powerful dynasty in America’s history. The working class background and Irish ancestry JFK leveraged to connect to blue-collar voters referred to Patrick and Bridget, who arrived as many thousands of others did...

Duration:00:41:00

Six Kentucky Nuns Founded a Hospital in 1940s War-Torn India That Saved Hundreds of Thousands of Lives

4/19/2022
The year was 1947, and the mother superior of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth had managed to keep her order safe from the perils of World War II, and focused on the work at home in Kentucky. But when the opportunity came for a mission in one of the poorest regions of India—an area scarred by corruption and Partition violence—she saw in some of the younger nuns a keen desire to “serve the world by being fully part of it,” and to take their faith and healing skills abroad. What followed was...

Duration:00:50:00

A 1719 Prison Ship Transported Dozens of Women Accused of Sex Crimes to New Orleans. They Became the Founding Mothers of the Gulf

4/14/2022
In 1719, a ship named La Mutine (the mutinous woman), sailed from the French port of Le Havre, bound for the Mississippi. It was loaded with urgently needed goods for the fledgling French colony, but its principal commodity was a new kind of export: women. Falsely accused of sex crimes, these women were prisoners, shackled in the ship’s hold. They came from all walks of life: a disgraced noblewoman, a street vendor falsely accused of murder, a seamstress who became New Orleans’s first...

Duration:00:48:11

Introducing the Eyewitness History Podcast

4/13/2022
Please enjoy this preview of the Eyewitness History Podcast, hosted by Josh Cohen. This show features first-hand testimonials of people who witnessed first-hand events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, the Vietnam War, and much more. Learn more about the show and enter a giveaway contest for the first people to review the show by going to eyewitnesshistorypodcast.com

Duration:00:16:06

The Global Manhunt For The Confederate Ship That Sunk Union Supply Vessels, From the Caribbean to the South Pacific

4/12/2022
Naval warfare is an overlooked factor of the Civil War, but it was a vitally important part of overall strategy for North and South, especially from the perspective of the Union, which used naval blockages from the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River to deny critical resources to the Confederacy, forcing them the ultimately surrender. But the naval war was about much more than blockages. One Confederate ship managed to harass Union supply lines around the globe and sink dozens of merchant...

Duration:00:39:41

Most Historians Consider Warren G. Harding America’s Worst President. This One Thinks He Belongs in the Top 10

4/7/2022
Most historians think of Warren G. Harding as a jazz-age hedonist who was much more of an empty suit than a serious president. Once in the White House, they argue, the 29th president busied himself with golf, poker, and his mistress, while appointees and cronies plundered the U.S. government. His secretary of the interior allowed oilmen, in exchange for bribes, to access government oil reserves, including one in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, the namesake for the scandal that hangs over Harding’s...

Duration:00:38:29

Why the Information Revolution Would Happened in Europe Even Without the Printing Press

4/5/2022
After Johannes Gutenberg invented the moveable type printing press, Europe changed irrevocably. What happened was a shift in the generation, preservation and circulation of information, chiefly on newly available and affordable paper, which created an information revolution. But it wasn’t just the printing press that caused this. Today’s guest, historian and author Paul Dover, argues there would have been a revolution in information in early modern Europe even without Gutenberg’s invention....

Duration:00:55:02

Deeply-Held Religious Beliefs Can’t Be Easily Eradicated. That’s Why Stalin Co-Opted Russian Orthodoxy As a Ruler.

3/31/2022
The Russian Revolution is thought to have everything to do with the writings of Karl Marx. He predicted in the 19th century that history was marching inevitably toward a proletarian revolution and workers would overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist one. To many observers in Moscow, that’s exactly what was happening. But one Russian scholar disagrees. He believes the Russian Revolution had nothing to do with Marx and everything to do with, paradoxically, the Russian...

Duration:00:37:44

What “Dear John” Letters Tell Us About the Fragility of Wartime Relationships…and How They Unexpectedly Lead to Greater Camaraderie

3/29/2022
During World War II nearly one billion letters were sent to the front, but none struck more fear in the heart of the average soldier than the one that began with the following: “Dear John: I don’t know quite how to begin but I just want to say that Joe Doakes came to town on furlough the other night and he looked very handsome in his uniform, so when he asked me for a date…” Such is an example of the “Dear John” letters that World War II G.I.s received from sweethearts or wives at home who...

Duration:00:43:40

Cassie Chadwick Scammed the Gilded Age Elite Out of Millions and Convinced The World She Was Andrew Carnegie’s Bastard Daughter

3/24/2022
Of all the self-made millionaires of the Gilded Age (and there were many, such as John Rockefeller, son of a literal snake oil salesman who became the world’s first billionaire), nobody can rival bootstrapping tenacity of Cassie Chadwick. She was a drifter from Canada who set herself up as wife of a rich doctor in Cleveland before moving on to a much bigger con involving the richest man in the world, Andrew Carnegie. With little education, no financial training, and at a time when women...

Duration:00:52:01