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History Unplugged Podcast | American History, World History, World War 2, US Presidents, Civil War

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Hunting the President: Threats, Plots and Assassination Attempts, Part 1: FDR

1/22/2019
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In American history, four U.S. Presidents have been murdered at the hands of an assassin. In each case the assassinations changed the course of American history. But most historians have overlooked or downplayed the many threats modern presidents have faced, and survived. In this podcast series we will be looking at the largely forgotten—or never-before revealed attempts to slay America’s leaders. Such incidents include: How an armed, would-be assassin stalked President Roosevelt and spent...

Duration:00:45:59

Understanding the Rise of Islam Through Military History

1/17/2019
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How did an initially small religious movement envelope such enormous areas of the world? That is precisely what the community of believers under Muhammed did, conquering the Persian Empire and crippling the Byzantine Empire in a matter of decades, two global powers who were unable to do this to each other despite their best efforts. This episode looks at the rise of Islam, the most historically significant event of the early Middle Ages, through the perspective of military and social history.

Duration:00:53:20

Fugitive Slaves in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War

1/15/2019
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For decades after its founding, America was really two nations – one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this nation ultimately broke apart in the Civil War, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the “united” states was a lie. The problem of the 1850s - how (for southerners) to preserve slavery without destroying the Union, or (for northerners) how to destroy slavery...

Duration:00:32:23

Moral Panics and Mass Hysteria: The Dancing Plague, Salem Witch Trials, and The Tulip Market Bubble

1/10/2019
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One person's psychosis can be easily dismissed, but how do we account for collective hysteria, when an entire crowd sees the same illusion or suffer from the same illness? It's enough to make somebody believe in dark magic and pick up their pitchfork, ready to hang an accused witch. Sadly, such paranoia has led to many witch hunts in the past. In today's episode we look at some of the most notorious historical cases of mass hysteria and moral panics. But these cases don't only extend to...

Duration:00:54:25

How a Researcher Discovered That Her Grandparents Were in the Nazi SS

1/8/2019
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How would you react if you discovered that your family were deeply embedded within the Third Reich? Today I'm talking with Brazilian-born American Julie Lindahl about her journey to uncover her grandparents’ roles in the Nazi regime and why she was driven to understand how and why they became members of Hitler’s elite, the SS. In a six-year journey through Germany, Poland, Paraguay, and Brazil, Julie uncovers, among many other discoveries, that her grandfather had been a fanatic member of...

Duration:01:24:30

Teaser: Ottoman Lives Part 7—The Outlaw

1/5/2019
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Duration:00:08:20

James Holman Traveled Over 250,000 Miles in the Early 1800s. He Was Also Completely Blind.

1/3/2019
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He was known simply as the Blind Traveler. A solitary, sightless adventurer, James Holman (1786-1857) fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, helped chart the Australian outback—and circumnavigated the globe, becoming one of the greatest wonders of the world he so explored. Today I'm talking with Jason Roberts, author of one of my all-time favorite history books: A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's...

Duration:01:23:17

The History of Cannabis and Its Use By Humans

1/1/2019
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History is often looked at through the perspective of a very high-up official. We look at military history through the eyes of a general. We look at political history through the eyes of a president or prime minister. But what if we look at history through the perspective of drugs? Specifically, what if we look at history through the perspective of marijuana? This isn't as gonzo of an idea as you might think. In my days as an Ottoman historian I knew someone doing his thesis on opium...

Duration:01:04:08

Bonus Q&A on the Civil War Series with Scott & James

12/27/2018
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Two weeks ago we finished the 25-part series on the 10 most important battles in the Civil War. Some of you had follow-up questions. We ran a poll to so which ones were the most popular. In a recording of a live-streaming Q&A session, James and Scott answer the following questions: How many civilians died due to battles getting close to population centers (e.g., the Gettysburg battle site is close to the town)? What was going on with John Wilkes Booth during the Civil War? Were people at the...

Duration:01:07:46

What Would the Real St. Nicholas Drink? Here's What an Ancient History Professor Thinks

12/24/2018
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Ever wondered what cocktail a fourth-century bishop from Asia Minor would order? That would be an obscure question to ask if the bishop in question weren't the historical basis for the Santa Claus myth. But since we are dealing here with Nicholas, bishop of the Greek City of Myra, we will delve into the question of what would be the favored drink of a cleric who gave gifts in secret while also getting into fistfights with followers of Arianism. In this special Christmas episode I'm talking...

Duration:00:45:22

How Ancient Europeans Circumnavigated Africa, Explored Iceland, and Sent Goods all the Way to Japan

12/20/2018
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What is the greatest extent of classical European reach, and how did they affect or influence the culture of the known world in that period? In today's episode I answer this question—which was submitted by Karl, a listener from Norway. Greek and Roman civilization got much further afield than it had any right to. Forget about Alexander's Hellenistic Revolution reaching all the way to India in the fourth century BC. There's evidence of ancient fleets circumnavigating Africa, Greek explorers...

Duration:00:41:35

What if George Custer Had Survived the Battle of Little Bighorn?

12/18/2018
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George Custer, if he is remembered at all, is a cautionary tale of hubris. He grossly underestimated Sitting Bull's forces at the Battle of Little Big Horn and he was killed in one of the American military's worst defeat in its history. This defeat clouds his legacy, which up until then was quite remarkable. During the Civil War he was known as a daring and highly successful cavalry officer. Called the "Boy General" of the Union Army, he whipped the Union army's cavalry corp into shape at...

Duration:00:45:48

Teaser: Ottoman Lives Part 6—The Holy Man

12/15/2018
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Subscribe today for access to all premium episodes! https://patreon.com/unplugged

Duration:00:07:13

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 22: How the Civil War Lives on Today

12/13/2018
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In this very final episode, James and Scott discuss the lasting effects of the Civil War and why it is the single most important event in the history of the United States. The Revolutionary War may have answered the question of whether America would become an independent nation, but the Civil War answered the question of what kind of nation it would be.

Duration:01:08:46

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 21: What Became of the Men Who Wore the Blue and the Grey

12/11/2018
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In this epilogue episode James and Scott talk about the Union and Confederate generals whom we've gotten to know so well after the war finished. They became presidents, professors, bankrupt businessmen, assassination victims, and everything in between.

Duration:00:59:29

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 20: The Naval War

12/6/2018
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The Civil War is now finished but our series is not. Scott and James discuss an aspect of the Civil War that for the most part didn't tie into our main discussion: the naval war. Learn how battles occurred on American Rivers, gulfs, shorelines, and even as far away as Alaska.

Duration:00:52:03

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 19: African Americans in Uniform

12/4/2018
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As the Civil War came to an end, a big question remained for the North and eventually the reunited United States. What would become of its African-American residents? Would they be given full legal rights or only partial? This question was largely answered by the contributions of African-Americans in uniform. Scott and James talk about their story in this episode.

Duration:00:59:36

Teaser: Ottoman Lives Part 5—The Peasant

12/1/2018
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Subscribe today for access to all premium episodes! https://patreon.com/unplugged

Duration:00:08:42

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 18: The Overland Campaign

11/29/2018
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We're nearing the end of our Civil War series. It's 1864. Lincoln is re-elected, and Sherman's March to the Sea obliterated the Confederacy's industrial base. But work remains for General Grant. He must contend with his greatest foe, Robert E. Lee. Now that Grant was directing the operations of the Army of the Potomac, Northern expectations were high. Southern expectations were also high. Grant had three objectives: 1) Tie Lee down (Grant told Meade “Wherever Lee goes you will go also.”); 2)...

Duration:00:50:22

History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 17: Sherman's March to the Sea

11/27/2018
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From November to December 1864, Gen. Sherman led over 60,000 soldiers from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia in a scorched earth campaign to completely demoralized the Southern war effort. Sherman explained that they needed to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.”

Duration:00:58:47