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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

How a WW2 Soldier Persevered Through Concentration Camps, Death Marches, and Starvation

7/5/2022
One of the most widely read books of the 20th century is Viktor Frank’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, described his psychotherapeutic method to endure the most hellish experiences imaginable. One must hold onto a purpose in life and immersively imagine that outcome. Many have used Frankl’s method, one of which was Harold Frank, a WW2 rifleman who survived a Nazi POW camp, a multi-day death march, thousands of tons...

Duration:00:45:10

Did Thomas Edison Murder The Real Inventor of the Motion Picture Camera and Steal His Invention?

6/30/2022
In the late 1800s, there was an all-out sprint among inventors and tinkerers to create the first motion picture camera. The first across the finish line would get an incredibly valuable patent worth millions. The ultimate winner was an unassuming Frenchman named Louis Le Prince, who died before he could present his invention to the world, and some believe was murdered by Thomas Edison. n 1890, Louis Le Prince, before any of his competitors, was granted patents in four countries for his...

Duration:01:21:19

Cars Are the Id of the Countries that Built Them. What Do The Model T and Pontiac Aztek Tell Us About the US?

6/28/2022
The earliest cars were nothing more than horse buggies with motors (the first Oldsmobile was a horseless carriage with a one-cylinder engine plunked in). But once sturdier cars were invented and mass production made them cheap, the 20th century was forever defined by the automobile. It was the first industry to use the assembly line. People had unimaginable levels of freedom and mobility. Whole new industries and services sprang up, including motels, amusement parks, restaurant franchises,...

Duration:00:41:49

Making Sense of America’s Worst Moments: Jon Meacham on Understanding -- But Not Excusing -- Slavery and the Indian Removal Act

6/23/2022
John F. Kennedy once told a presidential biographer that rating presidents from best to worst that it was impossible without a deep appreciation of the office. Perhaps even first-hand experience was necessary: "No one has a right to grade a president - even poor James Buchanan - who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made his decisions.” While JFK’s view will never stop historians from ranking U.S. presidents from best...

Duration:00:37:23

Parthenon Roundtable: Which Single Event Would You Eliminate From History

6/21/2022
All of us have terrible regrets. Accepting that job that became dead-end. Marry someone from high school who ended up being a kleptomaniac with halitosis. Emptying out our life savings to invest in Logan and Jake Paul’s NFT collections Don’t you wish you could take it all back? While we can’t help you with your personal problems, we are pleased to let you know that the hosts of the history programs that make up Parthenon Podcasts are here to get rid of some of the worst events in history...

Duration:01:04:59

The Worst Movie Ever Made Cast John Wayne as Genghis Khan and Exposed the Cast to Nuclear Radiation

6/16/2022
John Wayne’s 1956 film The Conqueror was a historical biopic about Genghis Khan far worse than you can imagine. The All-American legend was in full Fu Manchu make-up and depicted the Great Khan as a Mongol madman. He was given Shakespear-esque dialogue that was as grandiose as it was misapplied to the Duke loose way of speaking (one example: “I feel this Tartar woman is for me, and my blood says, take her.”) It was a film so embarrassing that it disappeared from print for over a quarter...

Duration:00:46:45

The Arsenal of Democracy: How the Revolver and Repeating Rifle Democratized Gun Ownership and Armed the United States

6/14/2022
The United States is the most heavily armed nation in the world, with an estimated 400 million guns in private hands. But few know that this legacy can be directly traced back to a handful of gunmakers who worked in the Springfield Armory of Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Their names became synonymous with American guns—Colt, Smith, Wesson, Winchester, and Remington among them – and they made firearms portable, powerful, rapid firing, and distinctly American. They also created the...

Duration:00:58:12

Seeking Hitler’s Horses: How a WW2 Infantryman Rescued Equines Caught Up Germany’s “Super Horse” Breeding Program

6/9/2022
Growing up in the 1930s in Memphis, Tennessee, Phil Larimore is the ultimate Boy Scout—able to read maps, put a compass to good use, and traverse wild swamps and desolate canyons. His other great skill is riding horses. Phil does poorly in school, however, leading his parents to send him to a military academy. After Pearl Harbor, Phil realizes he is destined for war. Three weeks before his eighteenth birthday, he became the youngest candidate to ever graduate from Officer Candidate School...

Duration:00:57:28

Almost President: Stephen Douglas, Thomas Dewey, and Other Failed Candidates That Would’ve Altered History Most by Winning

6/7/2022
Dozens of American leaders captured their party’s nomination for the presidency but never reached the Oval Office. How would history have changed if they had won? If Abraham Lincoln had lost to Stephen Douglas, a pro-slavery Democrat, in 1860, then Emancipation would be the last thing on his mind during the Civil War. If Richard Nixon had defeated JFK in 1960, then the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs Invasion, and Space Race could have also turned out very differently. To explore these...

Duration:00:38:38

4 Foreign Correspondents Spent the 30s Warning About European Fascism. Why Didn't More Listen?

6/2/2022
In the 1930s, the biggest American media celebrities were four foreign correspondents: Dorothy Thompson, John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, and Vincent Sheehan. They were household names in their heyday, as famous as their novel-writing Lost Generation counterparts, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. They helped shape what Americans knew about the world between the two World Wars by landing exclusive interviews with the epic political figures of their day, including Hitler, Mussolini,...

Duration:00:47:53

In 1970, a Cyclone Killed 500,000 in Pakistan, Triggered a Genocide, and Nearly Started a Nuclear War.

5/31/2022
One of the worst natural disasters of the 20th century happened in 1990, when cyclone struck the most densely populated coastline on Earth in today’s Bangladesh. Over the course of just a few hours, the Great Bhola Cyclone would kill 500,000 people and begin a chain reaction of turmoil, genocide, war, and a U.S-Soviet standoff. The storm formed on warm ocean currents of the Indian Ocean. By the time it made landfall, it was about the size of Texas, creating a 20-foot storm surge. Survivors...

Duration:00:44:48

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