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History Podcasts

A look at the foreign policy disasters of the United States and their long-term consequences, both for the people in question and for the world today.

A look at the foreign policy disasters of the United States and their long-term consequences, both for the people in question and for the world today.


United States


A look at the foreign policy disasters of the United States and their long-term consequences, both for the people in question and for the world today.




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Vietnam VIII: End of Indo-China

Here it is, the end of the last real battle of the French war: Dien Bien Phu. After this it’s just Geneva and the transition from French ignobility to American monstrosity. That all comes next time though. For now, maps. And you can, as always, click these for a larger view. The overview: The view … Continue reading Vietnam VIII: End of Indo-China →


Vietnam VII: Dien Bien Phu

Finally we’re here, at the end of the French War, at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Some cool show news: we’re registered for the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. Which means I filled out a form at For that process to get any further, you folks need to head to and nominate Safe … Continue reading Vietnam VII: Dien Bien Phu →


Vietnam VI: Learning Curve

And here we are, finally, finally making it to the end of the French War. We still have Dien Bien Phu and the denouement to wrap up, which we’ll do in the next episode, maybe in the fastest-ever-produced next episodes, so fingers crossed there. Like last time, I’m covering pretty much all the material that I’m … Continue reading Vietnam VI: Learning Curve →


Vietnam V: Giap and de Lattre

I’m trying something a little different with these show notes, especially since, with that interim show about Kennan already done, I don’t have any other story I want to be telling apart from the cast. So I’ve got a couple of supplementary things and then all the audio credits, but just giving you the videos … Continue reading Vietnam V: Giap and de Lattre →


Kennan and Cold War Policy

Like I said at the end of last episode, there were some broader Cold War issues that I wanted to talk about and some history that I wanted to churn through that didn’t quite fit into the framework of the longer shows. That’s because I want those longer ones to be narrowly focused on the … Continue reading Kennan and Cold War Policy →


Vietnam IV: The First Indochina War

We’re getting into the French War proper now, and we’ll make it almost all the way to the outbreak of the war in Korea by the end of this one. I’ve got some videos whose audio I couldn’t use, for various reasons, in the show itself, but that might serve to give all of us … Continue reading Vietnam IV: The First Indochina War →


SFD Short—Refugees

Hey folks, I thought I’d try something new with the show notes this time around and just give you the script. The only time I give this a real thorough proofread for typos, etc, is when I’m recording it, and I don’t stop to correct them, so keep that in mind. Before the script, as … Continue reading SFD Short—Refugees →


Vietnam III: The World at War

Well, we’re making time now, and I hope that keeps up. I’ve got some interesting stuff to show you today. First is the cover image for the show. That’s Ho Chi Minh on the left and Vo Nguyen Giap on the right along with their American OSS Deer Team advisors, who we’ll hear a fair … Continue reading Vietnam III: The World at War →


SFD Talk—Vietnam in the US Imagination

Hey folks, in lieu of notes this time, I’m going to give you the full outline that Rob and I were ostensibly working off in the show. Which should be enlightening, especially as we spend a lot of time talking about Syria instead of Vietnam. Ernie, unfortunately, caught that bug that seems to be circling the globe … Continue reading SFD Talk—Vietnam in the US Imagination →


Announcement—Vietnam Talk

Like it says in title, there’s no show this Monday, but there is going to be a show this week. Rob Morris, Ernie Piper, and I are going to be broadcasting another live show this Thursday from 11am to 2pm EST and this time rather than being tangentially related to what we do here, it’s right … Continue reading Announcement—Vietnam Talk →


Vietnam II: Ho Chi Minh

It’s a day late but nowhere near a dollar short (except, I guess, in terms of what I’m paid for these shows; in that case it’s several thousand behind: Ho Chi Minh’s entrance into our story. I don’t have a subsidiary story to tell in this set of notes, like I often enough did have … Continue reading Vietnam II: Ho Chi Minh →


SFD Talk — Unending Oil

I’m back from down south in Oaxaca, and I’ve got the cut-down of the show that Rob Morris and I did, along with my buddy Ernie Piper, about a month ago. I met Ernie during a very brief stint in Istanbul, and since then he’s been all over the Near East and Eastern Europe, writing … Continue reading SFD Talk — Unending Oil →


Peace Corps Chats

Hey folks— It’s a longish show where myself and some Peace Corps friends of mine talk about two of the last few shorts, Liberal Arts, Again and Land and Food and Capitalism. The audio isn’t anything I could have wanted, and the looseness isn’t everything I did want, but it’s the first of what may be … Continue reading Peace Corps Chats →


SFD Short—Political Cynicism

Hey Folks, We’re back to a mix of history and short shows, which means we’re back to quick intros on the smaller episodes. It looks like I’m finally going to pull together that shorts discussion with some of my old Peace Corps buddies this week, and if I don’t have Vietnam II out by Monday—I’m … Continue reading SFD Short—Political Cynicism →


Vietnam I: Ancient History

We're starting, literally, with the dawn of human history and carrying it all the way up to the 1700s. Like the folks over at Blank Check, we're connoisseurs of context, and to get Vietnam right in a way that the Americans didn't from 1946 to 1975, and in a way that even Ken Burns failed to get it in 2017, we've got to go way back.


Vietnam: A Plan

Writing on the first script starts in earnest this week, and I thought everybody deserved to know more or less where we’re headed. This episode gets into all that, and, for anybody following along, gets into some of the books that are going to be the backbones of the series: Ellsberg, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of … Continue reading Vietnam: A Plan →


SFD Short—Monopolies

It’s the last of all news shows, folks, and it’s barely newsy at all. We’re talking about monopolies in the American economy, which was, incidentally, the subject of Robert Reich’s last book, Saving Capitalism. The show explains itself, and as it promises, here’s some graphs for you: This is an Econ 101 graph of perfect … Continue reading SFD Short—Monopolies →


Diminished US Power—A Conversation with Rob Morris

I’m getting back on track after my internet outage, and as promised, here’s a make-up of a sort for those last couple of weeks. This is the show that Rob and I recorded back in December, and which went up earlier this week as the December news show on Patreon. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this … Continue reading Diminished US Power—A Conversation with Rob Morris →


SFD Short—The Point

Hey folks, Boy do we have some housekeeping. You probably noticed there hasn’t been a show the last two Mondays. That’s because fourteen full days ago, my internet went out, and it didn’t come back until pretty upsettlingly recently. I let everybody who’s checked the Facebook know, but if you’re just engaged with SFD through … Continue reading SFD Short—The Point →


Liberal Arts, Again

I’ve been saying, for longer than it was exactly true, that everything’s bad and it’s only getting worse. The world’s come around to my point of view though, and at least in the US, almost a year out now from the inauguration, it certainly seems to be going that way. The President’s interviews, when anybody … Continue reading Liberal Arts, Again →