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History on Fire

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Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.
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United States


Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.






EPISODE 28 Jack Johnson (Part 3): Nobody’s Slave

“He refused to allow anyone—white or black—or any laws and customs—to dictate his place in society or the manner in which he should live.” — Al-Tony Gilmore “This negro, in the eyes of many, has been persecuted. Perhaps as an individual he was. But it was his misfortune to be the foremost example of the evil in permitting the intermarriage of whites and blacks.” — Asst Atty. Gen. Harry Parkin “No brutality, no infamy, no degradation in all the years of Southern slavery, possessed such a...

Duration: 02:07:15

EPISODE 27 Jack Johnson (Part 2): The Fight

“And it was fast cars and whiskey Long legged girls and fun I had everything that money could bring And I took it all with a gun” — from the song I’ve Never Picked Cotton “Johnson did not care. He had no use for the bourgeois values of thrift and respectability.” —Randy Roberts “You don’t catch Jim Jeffries losing to a colored man.” — Jim Jeffries “Quite conceivably there had never been a more important athletic event in American history.” — Randy Roberts “Even those who have an...

Duration: 02:04:13

EPISODE 26 Jack Johnson (Part 1): Bad To The Bone

Back in the day when you could still pay your ticket on the spot in cash, a cop pulled over Jack Johnson for speeding. “Hey boy—said the cop—This is going to cost you $50!” Johnson handed him $100. The cop tried to protest he didn’t have change, but Johnson waved him off. “I will be coming back this same way, and I’ll be driving at the same speed, so I’m just paying you in advance.” “His story is one of the great dramas not just of American sports, but of all American history.” — New...

Duration: 01:44:18

EPISODE 25 Roman History with Mike Duncan

Mike Duncan is one of the pioneers of historical podcasting. His “History of Rome” is iconic. And his current “Revolutions” is equally compelling. In this episode, we sit down to chat about Roman history, Rome in cinema, the inevitable comparisons between Ancient Rome and the United States, the factionalism and corruption that brought down the Republic, the connection between ‘The Walking Dead’ + ‘Game of Thrones’ and Roman history, his upcoming book “The Storm Before the Storm,” and the...

Duration: 01:28:25

EPISODE 24 The Pirate Queen

“I never planted wheat and never will, so long as there are other harvests to be reaped with the sword.” —Robert E. Howard (from ‘Beyond the Black River’) “In the rough and violent world of seafaring, mariners could not afford to always abide by the niceties of the law or proper etiquette.” —Robert J Anthony “There is no greater calamity than not knowing what is enough”. —Tao Te Ching At the very beginning of the 1800s, a Chinese woman went from being employed as a prostitute in the...

Duration: 02:12:56

EPISODE 23 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 4): Tenochtitlan Or Bust

“After getting this information, he had the arms, feet, and heads of our unfortunate companions cut off, and sent them round to various towns of our allies and those who had made peace with us, with the message that he did not think one of us would be left alive to return to Texcoco. Then he offered their hearts and blood to his idols.” — Bernal Diaz “Eat the flesh of your brothers, for we are full. You can stuff yourselves with our leftovers.” —Mexica warriors addressing the...

Duration: 02:29:58

EPISODE 22 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 3): Tenochtitlan Syndrome

“And when we saw all those cities and villages built in the water, and other great towns on dry land, and that straight and level causeway leading to Mexico, we were astounded. These great towns and cues and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision from the tale of Amadis. Indeed, some of our soldiers asked whether it was not all a dream. It is not surprising therefore that I should write in this vein. It was all so wonderful that I do not know...

Duration: 02:28:00

EPISODE 21 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 2): The Dogs of War

“My advice is not to allow into your house someone who will put you out of it.” —Cuitlahuac “He added that we could look for no help or assistance except from God, for now we had no ships in which to return to Cuba. Therefore we must rely on our own good swords and stout hearts.” — Bernal Diaz “We knew that they had come determined to leave none of us alive except those who were to be sacrificed to their idols.” — Bernal Diaz In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by...

Duration: 02:09:26

EPISODE 20 The Conquest of Mexico (Part 1): People Of The Sun

“We came to serve God and get rich” — Bernal Diaz “Behold this torch which we will light and place between our armies. If you do not make haste and retreat before the torch is burned, you will die. We do not want you as guests.” — Maya warning to the Spaniards in 1518 “Do not lose your soul for the sake of an Indian woman” — Geronimo de Aguilar to Gonzalo Guerrero In the 1500s, two highly militaristic peoples fueled by religious ideologies requiring bloodshed clashed with one another....

Duration: 01:56:05

EPISODE 19 Featuring Dan Carlin

"If I can add some nuance and complexity and some context and compassion. If I can get people to think about walking a mile in the other guy's moccasins, or pretend like you want to, I can feel like I'm adding something that is unusual. And it's a little bit shocking and upsetting to me that it is unusual. When people say it's so refreshing, you wonder why it's refreshing to try to see the other person's viewpoint? Shouldn't that just be how we are?" — Dan Carlin “It’s an uplifting story...

Duration: 01:34:04

EPISODE 18 The War for the Black Hills (Part 3): Last Stand

"It made my heart bad. After that, I killed my enemies with the hatchet.” — Lakota leader Gall, upon finding out his family had been killed “If we’ve got to die, let’s die here like men." — Lieutenant Luther Hare "We were terribly alone on that dangerous hilltop. We were a million miles from nowhere. And death was all around us.” — Charles Windolph “Only Earth and the Heavens last long, Uncle. If we four can stop the soldiers from taking our camp, our lives will matter little.” —...

Duration: 02:18:56

EPISODE 17 The War for the Black Hills (Part 2): The Long Defeat

“…And together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.” — J.R.R. Tolkien “I shall have glory by this losing day.” — William Shakespeare “Oyate kin ninpi kta ca lecamu yelo” (“I do this so that the people may live.”) — Lakota song “My mind was occupied mostly by such thoughts as are regularly uppermost in the minds of young men. I was eighteen years old, and I liked girls.” — Wooden Leg To the Lakota people, the Black Hills of South Dakota were — and still are — "the...

Duration: 02:04:50

EPISODE 15 Ted Roosevelt (Part 3): The Man In The Arena

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” — Theodore Roosevelt He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo. He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate. He once took a bullet to the chest shot at point blank range, and rather than going to the hospital went to deliver a 90 minute speech. He survived tragedies that would break lesser men. He...

Duration: 01:24:54

EPISODE 14 Ted Roosevelt (Part 2): The Strenuous Life

“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” he said. “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities—all these are marks, not ... of superiority but of weakness.” — Theodore Roosevelt He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo. He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate. He once...

Duration: 01:51:36

EPISODE 13 The Rough Rider and His Demons (Part 1)

“You must still have chaos in yourself to be able to give birth to a dancing star” —Friedrich Nietzsche “History as well as life itself is complicated—neither life nor history is an enterprise for those who seek simplicity and consistency.” — Jared Diamond He was the first American to receive a brown belt in Judo. He won the largest percentage of the vote ever by a third-party candidate. He once took a bullet to the chest shot at point blank range, and rather than going to the hospital...

Duration: 02:02:49

EPISODE 11 Caravaggio (Part 1): Light and Darkness

During a visit to a church in Sicily, a priest offered Caravaggio holy water. Caravaggio asked the old priest what it was for. “It will cancel your venial sins, my son,” replied the priest. “Then it’s no use—Caravaggio commented—My sins are all mortal.” Gilles Lambert about Caravaggio and his friends: “They provoked the Papal police, hung around with the many Roman women of easy virtue, drank excessively and frightened the bourgeoisie.” He was the greatest artist of his age, and also an...

Duration: 02:04:45

EPISODE 10 Crazy Horse (Part 4)

“In your presence they feel small, and their baseness glimmers and glows against you with hidden vengeance.” — Friedrich Nietzsche “Let me go, my friend—you have hurt me enough.” — Crazy Horse In this last chapter of the Crazy Horse series, we’ll see Crazy Horse hunting miners in the Black Hills, a Lakota leader shaking hands with one hand while holding his guts in with the other, fighting at Slim Buttes, cutting horses open and hiding babies inside them to keep them from freezing,...

Duration: 01:20:46

EPISODE 9 Crazy Horse (Part 3)

“Hold on, my friends! Be strong! Remember the helpless! This is a good day to die!” — Crazy Horse Everything we have seen so far in Crazy Horse’s life was a warm-up. In Episode 9, things really heat up: leadership, a legend in intertribal warfare, a bison apocalypse, Black Buffalo Woman, a bullet in the face, heartbreak sets up home in Crazy Horse’s tepee, drowning pain into an ocean of blood, taking on the Northern Pacific Railroad, round one with George Armstrong Custer, the thieves’...

Duration: 01:41:17

EPISODE 8 Crazy Horse (Part 2)

“There were many bullets, but there were more arrows—so many that it was like a cloud of grasshoppers all above and around the soldiers”— Fire ThunderIn Episode 8, we pause the blow by blow narration of Crazy Horse’s life to focus on the larger context: the war between Lakota & Cheyenne and the United States in the mid-1860s. In this episode: things heat up with battles at Platte River Station and Red Buttes, “the yellow metal that makes the wasichus crazy”, just for fun Crazy Horse lets...

Duration: 01:46:03

EPISODE 6 The Duel

On July 11, 1804, the vice-president of the United States (Aaron Burr) and the first Secretary of the Treasury (Alexander Hamilton) decided to settle their grievances by drawing their pistols and trying to shoot each other dead. This is the story of the events leading Burr and Hamilton to stop exchanging words and begin exchanging lead. Also in this episode: the good old days when killing people in a duel was no obstacle to gaining high political office (just ask Andrew Jackson), Abraham...

Duration: 01:41:52

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