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For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features lon ...
 
The Ottoman Empire lasted for six hundred years and dominated the Middle East and Europe, from Budapest to Baghdad and everything in between. The sultans ruled three continents. But they didn't do it on their own. This podcast looks at the cast of characters who made the empire run: the sultan, the queen mother, the peasant, the janissary, the harem eunuch, the holy man, and the outlaw.
 
The Civil War was the most important even in American history. That's because it decided what kind of nation America would be and whether or not the promise of universal liberty would be fulfilled. And what decided the outcome of the Civil War was its battles.Hosted by history professors James Early and Scott Rank, this podcast explores the ten most important battles in the Civil War. It features every major conflict, from the initial shots fired at the Battle of First Bull Run to the end of ...
 
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All sparked movements in the name of liberating their people from their oppressors—capitalists, foreign imperialists, or dictators in their own country. These revolutionaries rallied the masses in the name of freedom, only to become more tyrannical than those they replaced. Much has been written about the anatomy of revolution from Edmund Burke to …
 
Robert E. Lee was one of the most confounding figures in American history. From Lee’s betrayal of his nation to defend his home state and uphold the slave system he claimed to oppose, to his traitorous actions against the country he swore to serve as an Army officer, to the ways he benefited from inherited slaves and fought to defend the institutio…
 
In a little-noted eulogy delivered shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Frederick Douglass called the martyred president “emphatically the Black man’s president,” and the “first to show any respect for their rights as men.” To justify his description, Douglass pointed not just to Lincoln’s official acts and utterances, like the Emancipati…
 
More than twenty years have elapsed since the United States last brokered a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. In that time, three presidents have tried and failed. Today’s guest, Martin Indyk—a former United States ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013—has experienced these poli…
 
Before Amsterdam, there was a dazzling North Sea port at the hub of the known world: the city of Antwerp. For half the sixteenth century, it was the place for breaking rules – religious, sexual, intellectual. Known as Europe’s Babylon, the once-humble Belgian city had an outsized role in making the modern world. In the Age of Exploration, Antwerp w…
 
Today is a group discussion in which the four guys that make up the Parthenon Podcast Network (Steve Guerra from Beyond the Big Screen, Richard Lim from This American President, James Early from Key Battles of American History, and Scott Rank from History Unplugged) discuss a beloved hypothetical that our listeners have separately asked each of us …
 
From politics to fashion, their style still intrigues us. WASPs produced brilliant reformers—Eleanor, Theodore, and Franklin Roosevelt—and inspired Cold Warriors—Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and Joe Alsop. They embodied a chic and an allure that drove characters like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby mad with desire. They were creatures of glamou…
 
In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place―in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. The earliest living things were no more than membranes stretched across microscopic gaps in rocks, where boiling hot jets of minera…
 
In the fall of 1789, George Washington, only six months into his presidency, set out on the first of four road trips as he attempted to unite what were in essence thirteen independent states into a single nation. In the fall of 2018, Nat Philbrick, his wife Melissa, and their dog Dora set out to retrace Washington’s route across the country. By fol…
 
In a stunning move, the armies of Nazi Germany annihilated the French military and captured Paris, the crown jewel of Europe, in a matter of a few weeks. As Adolf Hitler tightened his grip on the City of Lights, the shocked Allies regrouped and began planning for a daring counterattack into Fortress Europe. The longer the Nazis held the city, the g…
 
Frederick Bruce Thomas was born in 1872 to former slaves and spent his youth on his family’s prosperous farm in Mississippi. However, a resentful, rich white planter's attempt to steal their land forced them to escape to Memphis. And when Frederick's father was brutally murdered by another black man, the family disintegrated. After leaving the Sout…
 
The medieval world – for all its plagues, papal indulgences, castles, and inquisition trials – has much in common with ours. People living the Middle Ages dealt with deadly pandemics, climate change, mass migration, and controversial technological changes, just as we do now in 2021. Today’s guest, Dan Jones, author of POWERS AND THRONES: A New Hist…
 
At the beginning of World War II, military planners set out to form the most ruthless, skilled, and effective force the world had ever seen. The U.S. Marines were already the world’s greatest fighters, but leadership wanted a select group to conduct special operations at the highest level in the Pacific theater. And so the Marine Raiders were born.…
 
South Africa, despite abolishing apartheid in the 1990s, still stays very fraught with racial tension, making the United States' experience of 2020 pale in comparison. A series of settlements and wars from over a hundred years ago and over hundreds of years still ripple South Africa today with their effects. But South Africa didn't become what it i…
 
Kim Philby—the master British spy and notorious KGB double agent—had an incredible amount of influence on the Cold War. He became the mentor, and later, mortal enemy, of James Angleton, who would eventually lead the CIA. Philby was also in the running at one point to lead MI6, which would have made the Cold War very different. Philby's life and car…
 
This is an excerpt from an episode of This American President, a great history podcast that is the newest member of the Parthenon Podcast Network. You can find it at www.spreaker.com/show/this-american-president or wherever you listen to podcasts. He might look like an old man on the one-dollar bill, but George Washington was once a bona fide actio…
 
The biggest and most controversial historical debate in 2020 is the 1619 Project. Released last year in a special issue of the New York Times Magazine, it is a collection of articles which "aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States']…
 
It's no coincidence that the bird we eat for Thanksgiving and a Middle Eastern country are both called Turkey. One was named after the other, and it all has to do with a 500-year-old story of emerging global trade, mistaken identity, foreign language confusion, and how the turkey took Europe by storm as a must-have status symbol for the ultra-wealt…
 
One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wirele…
 
The British East India Company is perhaps the most powerful corporation in history. It was larger than several nations and acted as emperor of the Indian subcontinent, commanding a private army of 260,000 soldiers (twice the size of the British Army at the time). The East India Company controlled trade between Britian and India, China, and Persia, …
 
The history of exploration and establishment of new lands, science and technologies has always entailed risk to the health and lives of the explorers. Yet, when it comes to exploring and developing the high frontier of space, the harshest frontier ever, the highest value is apparently not the accomplishment of those goals, but of minimizing, if not…
 
The human race is about to go to the stars. Big rockets are being built, and nations and private citizens worldwide are planning the first permanent settlements in space. When we get there, will we know what to do to make those first colonies just and prosperous places for all humans? How do we keep future societies from becoming class segregated, …
 
The discovery of the New World irrevocably changed the economy of the Old World. Triangle trade, manufactured goods went from Britain to the Americas, which sent food staples to the Indies, which sent cash crops back to England. It also caused investment dollars to flood into exploration ventures. As far back as the 1500s, tracts of land were sold …
 
With private space companies launching rockets, satellites, and people at a record pace, and with the U.S. and other governments committing to a future in space, today’s guest Glenn Harlan Reynolds looks at how we got here, where we’re going, and why it matters for all of humanity. Reynolds is a law professor and former executive vice president of …
 
No decade transformed Western Civilization like the 1490s. Before then, Europe was a gloomy continent split into factions, ripe for conquest by the Islamic world. It had made no significant advances in science or literature for a century. But after a Spanish caravel named Nina returned to the Old World with news of a startling discovery, the dying …
 
Pundits on both the left and right proclaim our democracy is in crisis. This can be characterized by an eroding of civil institutions or politicians completely ignoring democratic norms by doing whatever is necessary to seek power and asking “where are the nuclear launch codes?” However, these challenges may not be so new. And the fault lines in ou…
 
Of all the WW2 spies who stole atomic secrets from the Manhattan Project, none were as successfully, or as unassuming as George Koval. He was a kid from Iowa who played baseball, and loved Walt Whitman’s poetry. But he was also from a family of Russian immigrants who spent years in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and was trained as a spy for the prot…
 
From his earliest days Winston Churchill was an extreme risk taker and he carried this into adulthood. Today he is widely hailed as Britain's greatest wartime leader and politician. Deep down though, he was foremost a warlord. Just like his ally Stalin, and his arch enemies Hitler and Mussolini, Churchill could not help himself and insisted on pers…
 
For the last third of the nineteenth century, Union General Stephen Gano Burbridge, also known as the “Butcher of Kentucky,” enjoyed the unenviable distinction of being the most hated man in Kentucky. From mid-1864, just months into his reign as the military commander of the state, until his death in December 1894, the mere mention of his name trig…
 
He was young, handsome, highly educated in the best English schools, a respected professional, and a first-class amateur athlete. He was also a serial killer, the Victorian equivalent of the modern-day Ted Bundy. His name was Montague Druitt—also known as “Jack the Ripper.” Druitt’s handiwork included the slaughter of at least five women of ill rep…
 
The United States is fraught with angst, fear, anger, and divisiveness due to our current political climate. How did we get here? And where are we headed? Before the American Revolutionary period, Americans thought that the British constitution was the best in the world. Under the British system and their colonial charters, free Americans already e…
 
Not many people have heard about Alfred Hubbard but he was one of the most intriguing people from the 20th Century. His story begins in 1919 when he made his first newspaper appearance with the exciting announcement that he had created a perpetual-motion machine that harnessed energy from the Earth's atmosphere. He would soon publicly demonstrate t…
 
The Norman’s conquering of the known world was a phenomenon unlike anything Europe had seen up to that point in history. Although best known for the 1066 Conquest of England, they have left behind a far larger legacy. They emerged early in the tenth century but had disappeared from world affairs by the mid-thirteenth century. Yet in that time they …
 
During the roaring twenties, two of the most revered and influential men in American business proposed to transform one of the country’s poorest regions into a dream technological metropolis, a shining paradise of small farms, giant factories, and sparkling laboratories. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s “Detroit of the South” would be ten times the s…
 
Of all the radioactive elements discovered at the end of the nineteenth century, it was radium that became the focus of both public fascination and entrepreneurial zeal. This unlikely element ascended on the market as a desirable item – a present for a queen, a prize in a treasure hunt, a glow-in- the-dark dance costume and soon became a supposed c…
 
How deeply was the Confederate Secret Service involved in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln? Did the Confederate Secret Service assassinate Abraham Lincoln?” There are some strong indications that it did, but the facts uncovered in researching this question only raise more questions than they answer. After all, we are dealing with an issue of espion…
 
Although now largely forgotten outside Russia, Boris Savinkov was famous, and notorious, both at home and abroad during his lifetime, which spans the end of the Russian Empire and the establishment of the Soviet Union. A complex and conflicted individual, he was a paradoxically moral revolutionary terrorist, a scandalous novelist, a friend of epoch…
 
You wouldn’t believe how these ninety-year-old WWII heroes come alive when you put a rifle in their hands. Andrew Biggio, a young U.S. Marine, returned from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq full of questions about the price of war. He went looking for answers from those who had survived the costliest war of all—WWII veterans. His book, the Rifle: Com…
 
Eleventh-century Spain was a violent borderland of Christian-Muslim bloodshed, but on the eve of the First Crusade, the two religions cooperated as much as they warred in Iberia. And who else to capture the heart of medieval Spain than Charlton Heston himself? Based on the real-life Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, who lived from 1043 to 1099 and was protago…
 
What happens when you cast Milla Jovovich as Joan of Arc, take away her combat finesse she displayed in the Resident Evil series, but have her embody the fringe historical theory that the Maid of Orleans did not follow God’s orders to liberate France but was actually a schizophrenic? Why 1999’s the Messenger, of course! Guest Steve Guerra joins Sco…
 
The most famous large-scale sea rescue in history is the Dunkirk evacuation. Here nearly 400,000 Allied soldiers were surrounded by the German army in 1940, and Winston Churchill said, "the whole root and core and brain of the British Army" had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. But they were rescued off the coast o…
 
Lope Martín was a little-known 16th century Afro-Portugese pilot known as the "Columbus of the Pacific"--who against all odds finished the final great voyage of the Age of Discovery. He raced ahead of Portugal’s top navigators in the notoriously challenging journey from the New World to Asia and back, only to be sentenced to hanging upon his return…
 
Conspiracy theories have always swirled around Brown Brothers Harriman, the oldest and one of the largest private investment banks in the United States, and not without reason. As America of the 1800s was convulsed by devastating financial panics every twenty years, the Brown Brothers Harriman quietly went from strength to strength, propping up the…
 
Humans love to drink. We have a glass or two when bonding with friends, celebrating special occasions, releasing some stress at happy hour, and definitely when coping with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. But when you consider the consequences—hangovers, addiction, physical injury, and more—shouldn't evolution have taught us to avoid it? And yet, our…
 
Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote and rugged existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they finally left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the most famous, the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Thei…
 
Russia’s revolutionaries, anarchists, and refugees of the 19th century found an unlikely place to scheme against the Czar. These political radicals, writers, and freethinkers -- exiled from their homeland -- found sanctuary both in Britain and on the Isle of Wight during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This tiny island off the coast o…
 
Many would assume that the most influential books in American History would be the Bible or the classical works that made the reading list for the Founding Fathers, like Vergil, Horace, Tacitus, , Thucydides, and Plato. But in reality, a canon of 13 simple best-selling self-help books from the Old Farmer's almanac to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Hig…
 
If we do not learn from the past, we're ultimately doomed to repeat it. While our society may not be on the decline just yet, everything eventually must come to an end. Sandwich Board guys with raggedly clothes are on to something, I guess? As a professor of Sociology, as well as the Founder and First President of the American Sociological Associat…
 
“ We’ve got a fire in the cockpit!” That was the cry heard over the radio on January 27, 1967, after astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee climbed into a new spacecraft perched atop a large Saturn rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a routine dress rehearsal of their upcoming launch into orbit, then less than a month away. A…
 
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