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History in Five Minutes Podcast

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Historian and veteran Middle East journalist Michael Rank looks into the most exciting events and personalities of history in this podcast and explains them in five-minute episodes so that you can absorb the facts in the fastest way possible. Learn about the lives of Genghis Khan, Vlad Dracul, and Richard the Lionheart, and such events as the Crusades and the Black Death in these highly entertaining and informative episodes. Michael has sold thousands of books with his unique take on the past with such best-selling titles as "History's Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs From Emperor Caligula to Kim Jon Il," and he brings the same energy to this podcast. He focuses on world history, Roman history, military history, the history of the United States, the most famous rulers in history, biographies, biography of famous people, the most famous people in history, the most powerful rulers, medieval history, violent history, world history, United States history, and how to put all these pieces together. This is a great podcast if you know nothing about a topic and need a good launching point into a deeper study.




HFM 160 | Series Finale: The Final Episode of History in Five Minutes

Welcome to the end, my friends! I am powering down History in Five Minutes because I have launched a new and better show called History Unplugged. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or Android Here's an overview of History Unplugged: Every Tuesday through Friday I release a short episode of 5-10 minutes in length. It's basically the same thing you've come to know and love (0r hate) from History in Five Minutes. Every Monday I release a longform interview with a book author, history...

Duration: 00:06:39

H5M 159 | The Man Who Avoided Drowning on the Titanic By Getting Drunk

The sinking of the Titantic was one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. Over 1,000 passengers lost their lives on the supposedly unsinkable ship. But the chief baker didn't. He managed to survive in the frigid waters for four hours while most died of hypothermia after 15 minutes. How? By downing two bottles of whisky and getting completely drunk. This episode is brought to you by a new show Presidents Are People Too – an original audio series available on Channels in the Audible...

Duration: 00:08:20

H5M 158 | Churchill’s “Operation Vegetarian”

Our guest today is Giles Milton, the host of the Unknown History Podcast. Winston Churchill was not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was perfectly happy to consider chemical warfare against the Axis powers. One plan involved turning an entire island into vegetarians. What did this plot mean, and how would he enact it? Giles explains many things in this episode, such as: What exactly was "Operation Vegetarian"? What was the result of this experiment? How did the development of the Atomic...

Duration: 00:08:29

H5M 157 | Churchill’s Most Controversial Cousin

Our guest today is Giles Milton, the host of the Unknown History Podcast. We all have an embarrassing relative. Maybe that embarrassing relative is us. But Winston Churchill's cousin took it to a new level. She had love affairs, one of which threatened to create an international incident. Giles gets into all sorts of interesting stories in this episode. Here are some of the things he touches on: Who was Clare Sheridan and why did she gain attention in 1920? What about the rumors regarding...

Duration: 00:08:04

HFM 156 | Churchill’s Affinity for Chemical Weapons

Our guest today is Giles Milton, the host of the Unknown History Podcast. Giles is going to talk all about Churchill's affinity for chemical weapons, something I didn't even know was a thing. He answers all sorts of questions in this interview. Questions like: Did Churchill ever actually go forward with the use of chemical weapons? What happened to the victims of the attack in Russia? How did the weather dampen the effect of the poisonous gas? What did Churchill do with the remaining...

Duration: 00:08:56

HFM 155 | Why Did British Men Wear Powdered Wigs in the 1700s?

You've seen the look in historical dramas. You laughed at the foppish dandies that appear on Masterpiece Theater. In grade school you sneered at pictures of King George with his powdered wig, adjusting it ever so slightly while drinking a cup of tea with his pinky finger extended, wondering how he further extort colonists with new taxes. You didn't know that we call important people "bigwig" due to the aristocracy tradition of fancy wigs. But where does the powdered wig come from? Why was...

Duration: 00:07:25

HFM 154 | German POWs in the U.S. During World War II

Did you know that over 400,000 German POWs were settled in the United States during World War II? Did you know that they may have built some of the stone buildings that make up your town square? Or that they were responsible for bringing in America's harvest in the fall of 1945 when most men were still off to war? Learn about this fascinating but understudied part of America's history. Check out this episode of Radiolab to learn more about "Nazi Summer Camp." WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE...

Duration: 00:11:51

HFM 153 | Teddy Roosevelt’s Near-Death Journey Through the Amazon

Teddy Roosevelt was not afraid to tempt death. He hiked the Matterhorn during his honeymoon. He arrested outlaws on the Dakota Frontier. He hunted rhinos in Africa. But his most dangerous journey came after his failure in 1912 to retake the presidency as a third-party candidate on the Bull Moose ticket. He choose to shake off the blues in an extremely dangerous journey to South America. Roosevelt did not merely want a repeat of his African safari: a well-provisioned hunt to a foreign land...

Duration: 00:08:41

HFM 152 | How Teddy Roosevelt Gave a 90-Minute Speech After Being Shot

Theodore Roosevelt was hell bent on becoming president in 1912. He ran as a third-party candidate for the Progressive Party, a splinter group of Republicans dissatisfied with William Howard Taft. He was so committed to winning that he gave a 90-minute speech...immediately after being shot in the chest by a would-be assassin. How did he do it without passing out? What did his audience think as he bled out before their eyes? WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ...

Duration: 00:06:34

HFM 151 |When Teddy Roosevelt Arrested Three Boat Thieves

Perhaps no president has as many unbelievable stories about his life than Teddy Roosevelt. He was an amateur boxer. He was the first American politician to learn judo. He summited the Matterhorn during his honeymoon. He joined an expedition to log data about an unchartered river in the Amazon. But perhaps no story matches his pursuit of three boat thieves in the Dakotas in the 1880s. Learn how Roosevelt travelled 300 miles in the bitter cold to arrest three thieves... all to prove to other...

Duration: 00:12:11

HFM 150 | The Story of the Donner Party

Gather around the campfire, children, and learn about the most ghoulish story from America's pioneer days. What really happened to the party led by George Donner and his brother Jacob when they set out for California in 1846? When the party was trapped in feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, how long did they hold out before devouring the dead? Was anyone killed for their flesh? Listen to this episode and learn why you should never travel on an untested mountain pass late in the...

Duration: 00:11:30

HFM 149 | Cannibalism During the Crusades

References to acts of cannibalism are sprinkled throughout many religious and historical documents, such as the reports that cooked human flesh was being sold in 11th-century English markets. But the world’s first cannibal incident reported by multiple, independent, first-hand accounts took place during the Crusades by European soldiers. These first-hand stories agree that in 1098, after a successful siege and capture of the Syrian city Ma’arra. Some accounts say that soldiers ate the...

Duration: 00:12:38

HFM 148 | Cannibalism in History

It is the most gruesome activity that a human can do. It is the most ancient of taboos. Stories of the Donner Party, Jamestown, and the Franklin Expedition make for ghost stories today. But the real question is not why cannibalism occurs in humans. It is why it doesn't occur. Eating dead humans has clear benefits. Like cows, chickens, turkeys, and other animals that we love to feast on, humans are made of meat. Shoving all that tasty meat in a hole in the ground during a funeral ceremony...

Duration: 00:11:23

HFM 147 | The Real Story of the Scopes Monkey Trial

If you've seen the 1960 Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind, you know about the Scopes Monkey Trial. In this real-life 1925 case, John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The case became an enormous media sensation. It was reported on like a boxing match, science vs. fundamentalism. But oddly enough, Scopes was not originally brought to trial by any fundamentalists. The trial was...

Duration: 00:07:36

HFM 146 | Did Anyone Actually Wear Chastity Belts?

According to legends of the Middle Ages, knights used the chastity belt on their wives as an anti-temptation device before embarking on the Crusades. When the knight left for the Holy Lands on the Crusades, his Lady would wear a chastity belt to preserve her faithfulness to him. However, there is no reliable evidence that chastity belts existed before the 15th century. Any reference to them is likely symbolic or a satirical drawing. Were they ever in use at all? If not, how did the legend...

Duration: 00:07:17

HFM 145 | George Washington Was Really the 9th President of the United States?

"George Washington was the First President of the United States." This is the most basic fact that an American school child can learn. But he wasn't the first. Nor the second. He was actually the ninth president of the United States. How can that be? It all has to do with the ad hoc, make-it-up-as-you-go nature of the United States government between the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the signing of the Constitution in 1789. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON...

Duration: 00:07:34

HFM 144 | Columbus Wasn’t As Wonderful – Or As Terrible – As You’ve Heard

Depending on which account you hear, Columbus was either the bravest explorer of the early Renaissance or a mass murdered who subjected the indigenous population of the new world to death or slavery. Learn in this episode how Columbus was both and neither of these descriptions. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible life of this fascinating...

Duration: 00:10:11

HFM 143 | Why The Fall of Rome is Centuries Later Than You Think

Rome didn't fall in 476 when Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. Nor did it fall in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople. Depending on how you define 'Rome,' it didn't fall until the Napoleonic Wars. Or the end of hostilities following World War I. If you visit Turkey, you might meet somebody who still calls himself a Roman. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE...

Duration: 00:06:40

HFM 142 | The Enormously Misunderstood Heresy Trial of Galileo

Few episodes in history are so misunderstood as the condemnation of Galileo. His trial has become a stock argument to show the fundamental clash between science and dogmatism. Turns out the whole affair was actually a giant clash of egos, with churchmen and scientists on both sides of the argument. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible...

Duration: 00:12:09

HFM 141 | Why Does the US Celebrate the 4th of July the Way It Does?

Why do Americans celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks? Are we trying to take the National Anthem as literally as possible, creating "Bombs Bursting in Air"? Or is there another reason? Much of the trappings of the Fourth of July date back to Renaissance Italy, and even further back to Imperial China. But the actual form of the holiday came into existence even before America itself. Listen to learn more. LEARN HOW TO GET THE PERFECT SHAVE This episode is brought to you by Harry’s....

Duration: 00:09:12

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