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Final Episode: The Rat Pack - Author Shawn Levy

*Special note: This will be the last episode of "History Personified." After a 20-month run, it's time. Listen to the beginning and end of this episode for more details. Thank you for all the support!* For some, the Rat Pack, made up of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop were a lesson in excess. For others, they were the consummate example of cool. And for still others, they could only be surmised in one word: fun. Regardless of your perspective,...


The Relationship Between MLK and Malcolm X - Professor David Howard-Pitney

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were, for years, at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to their approach to solving civil rights problems experienced by African-Americans. Malcolm, a disciple of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, preached that blacks should seek to attain their rights "by any means necessary," including violence, while King subscribed to the Mahatma Gandhi version of non-violent protesting. In their later years, they saw eye-to-eye more, mostly due...


The Goat Castle Murder - Author Karen L. Cox

*Special thanks to Steve Blizin of the "Drift & Ramble" Old West storytelling podcast for taking care of the audio issues with this episode* The Goat Castle murder case is a tale of eccentrics, a recluse, a killing, an attempted robbery, goats, other livestock, African-Americans in the Jim Crow south, racism, and a push for justice that resulted in injustice. Author Karen L. Cox joins the show to delve into the details, painting a picture of 1930's Mississippi that will shock, disappoint,...


The 1987 Atlanta Prison Riot - Author Mark S. Hamm

After a little more time off to move to Tennessee and get settled in, "History Personified" is back, and we're looking at a long-forgotten, politically-motivated true crime history event...are you ready? On Nov. 20th, 1987, the federal Bureau of Prisons said it would deport about 2,500 Cubans detained in federal penitentiaries. These men had been in the U.S. since arriving after the Mariel boat lift, and had been incarcerated for various offenses, including some jailed for not having...


The Relationship Between John Adams & Thomas Jefferson - Author Gordon S. Wood

On this week's episode of "History Personified," I take a deep look at the intriguing relationship between American Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon S. Wood. Adams and Jefferson came from very different backgrounds. Adams was from Massachusetts, and his family was blue collar and working class. Jefferson, meanwhile, was a Southerner whose family was much more aristocratic. They both became involved in the burgeoning American...


The Vietnam War's Battle of Ia Drang, Part II - Author Mike Guardia

On this week's episode, we interview author/biographer Mike Guardia about the life and career of Lt. Gen. Hal Moore. Gen. Moore is best known as the lieutenant colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965, during the Vietnam War. He would later be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the U.S. military's second highest decoration for valor. In addition, Gen. Moore would be portrayed by Mel Gibson in the celebrated war film,...


The Vietnam War's Battle of Ia Drang, Part I - Journalist Joe Galloway

Journalist Joe Galloway was a journalist who covered the Vietnam War early on, and specifically the Battle of Ia Drang. But he didn't just write about it...he was right there in the thick of the action. In fact, in 1998, he was awarded a Bronze Star for helping to rescue a badly wounded soldier while under enemy fire. To say that Galloway has a unique perspective on the Vietnam War would be an understatement. In the first of this two-part series on the Battle of Ia Drang, I speak with Mr....


"Manhunt: Unabomber" - Former FBI Agent Jim Fitzgerald

Ted Kaczynski, who would become known as the Unabomber, was a mathematical genius who could seemingly never find his place in society. Angry, isolated, and truly alone, he embarked on a campaign of terror utilizing his calling card, the mail bombing. One of the people most responsible for bringing him down was then-FBI agent Jim Fitzgerald. A "History Personified" alum, Fitz is bringing the story behind the new Discovery Channel eight-part mini-series, "Manhunt: Unabomber," starring Sam...


The Lincoln-Douglas Debates - Author Harold Holzer

Abraham Lincoln is known as "The Great Emancipator," and is credited with freeing American slaves in 1863. But just five years earlier, Lincoln, in a debate, said regarding blacks, "He is not my equal in many respects." Regardless of the context of that statement, and others made during that time, Lincoln would be viewed as a racist by today's standards. During Lincoln's debates with Stephen A. Douglas, as they vied for an Illinois senatorial seat, both candidates made statements that...


U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Part II - Author/Historian H.W. Brands

Ronald Reagan is viewed as one of the most influential U.S. Presidents in history. Loved by many, hated by many, results and consequences from his policies are still being felt in America today. What is his legacy now? How will he be viewed in the years to come? On part II of our series on the life and presidency of Ronald Reagan, we conclude with the Oval Office years of "The Great Communicator." Author/historian H.W. Brands discusses Reagan's early years, including the release of the...


U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Part I - Author/Historian H.W. Brands

"Reagan"...it's a name that inspires love and hatred at the same time. To some, he was the savior of conservative politics. To others, he was a symbol of greed and dishonesty. What's fact? What's fiction? Regardless, no one can deny that "The Great Communicator" had a major impact on the 1980's, and an immense influence on the 1990's and beyond. On this first episode of a two-part series on #POTUS Ronald Reagan, I chat with noted author and historian H.W. Brands on the man's formative...


Old West Outlaw Jesse James - Author Mark Lee Gardner

Old West outlaw Jesse James is still being talked about 135 years after his death at the young age of 34. Many myths surround this legendary criminal, with many still viewing James as a modern-day Robin Hood of sorts. A defender of the Southern way of life, he is a product of the Civil War in many ways. His lust for blood started early, and combined with his passion for the high life, Jesse James wreaked havoc across the South and Midwest for years. He suffered personal tragedy along the...


Comic Legend Red Skelton - Author Wes Gehring

For seven decades, Red Skelton, regardless of if it was radio, TV, burlesque, vaudeville, films, a nightclub, or casino, always did his best to entertain his fans and make them laugh. "The Red Skelton Show" was a television staple for many years, outlasting many comparable programs. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in radio and TV...Red Skelton seemingly had the career few would ever even aspire to. Yet, the man who brought "Freddie the Freeloader" to the masses...


Three Stooges' Moe Howard - Joan Howard Maurer

It's a very special mini-episode of "History Personified" this week, and I had the honor of speaking with Joan Howard Maurer, the daughter of the Three Stooges' Moe Howard. In honor of his 120th birthday, we chat about her famous father, how he was at home, how his on-screen persona differed from his private life, his love of the fans, and his legacy. Moe and the Stooges are remembered this week in a special four-day series of short films, features, and a rarely-seen documentary all being...


Wrestling Legend Jerry "The King" Lawler - Podcast Co-Host Glenn Moore

Professional wrestling, for better or worse, is part of the fabric of Americana, and still has millions and millions of fans worldwide. On this week's episode, I discuss the life and career of the legendary Jerry "The King" Lawler with Glenn Moore, Lawler's co-host on the new "Dinner with the King" podcast. While you may or may not be a wrestling fan, Lawler never had an issue with crossing over to the mainstream. Whether it was rubbing shoulders with William Shatner, who inducted Lawler...


Drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar, Part II - Author Shaun Attwood

It's the conclusion of our two-part series on Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, as author Shaun Attwood, who wrote "Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos," joins us once again. In this episode, Shaun talks about Pablo's final years, his fall from the top of the drug game, and his death. So many people wanted Pablo dead by the time he was shot that it's hard to say for sure who really killed him. What is clear is that his legacy is as controversial as his life was, as some remember him as more...


Drug Kingpin Pablo Escobar, Part I - Author Shaun Attwood

Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar built an empire on a mix of intimidation, bribery, politicking, torture, and murder, and leveraged it to become one of the wealthiest men on the earth. He came from nothing, rose to the top of the crime world, and seemingly had it all. Yet, he left a trail of broken lives, broken promises, and broken hearts in his wake. In part one of a two-part series on Escobar, we discuss his life and time with author Shaun Attwood, who wrote "Pablo Escobar: Beyond...


John Wilkes Booth - Author Terry Alford

John Wilkes Booth might be the most infamous man, the most notorious criminal, in American history. The man that pulled the trigger that ended the life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, was also a celebrated and famous actor who came from a family of noted performers. In fact, his father, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., might have been the most famous thespian of their day. So what drove this man, who had all the fame and fortune anyone could have wanted in the 1860s, to participate...


Canadian Serial Killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka - "1995" Podcast Host Kathy Kenzora

Canadian serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka have been compared to America's Bonnie and Clyde, but there really is no comparison between the two. The crimes that Bernardo and Homolka committed horrified the world, including assaulting, violating, and killing her sister, but how did they arrive there? Joining us for this week's episode is "1995" podcast host and former journalist Kathy Kenzora. Working for a Toronto radio station, Kenzora covered the trial extensively, sharing a...


History of White House Chefs - "Soul Food Scholar" Adrian Miller

For the first time in the history of "History Personified," we're having a return guest! The "Soul Food Scholar," Adrian Miller, is back on the show. Last time, he talked about the history of soul food. This time, he's relating the history of White House chefs. Did you know most White House head chefs have been African-Americans? Adrian talks about how that came to be, while relating interesting anecdotes along the way. The "Soul Food Scholar" talks about FDR's last meal before he died (a...


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