History Unplugged Podcast

History Unplugged Podcast

  • Overview
  • Episodes
Overview
himalaya
672 Episodes
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 long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.
see more
Episodes
672 Episodes

No paratrooper in the legendary “Band of Brothers” – a WW2 parachute rifle company part of the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army -- was more enigmatic than Ronald Speirs. Rumored to have gunned down enemy prisoners and even one of his own disobedient sergeants, he was one of World War II’s most storied soldiers, a controversial man whose ferocity and courage earned him the nickname “Killer.” But who was the real Ronald Speirs?Most accounts about him end in 1945, but today’s guest Jared Frederick, author of Fierce Valor: The True Story of Ronald Speirs and His Band of Brothers, unveil the full story of Easy Company’s longest-serving commander and, for the first time, tell of his lesser-known exploits in Korea, the Cold War and Laos. We explore how• Speirs was a complex, driven man, and not a dark caricature as some have imagined him• Speirs was deeply shaped by his whirlwind wartime romance with Edwyna. Theirs was a marriage that tragically ended in divorce after she discovered her first love was not dead, but a POW. Decades later, Speirs wrote about her, “I loved her and still do”• Speirs survived gut-wrenching Cold War assignments in Korea and grinding battles with the Chinese. These lesser-known exploits come to light fully for the first time in Fierce Valor As Easy Company’s most colorful and controversial figures, Spiers was a soldier whose ferocious courage in three foreign conflicts was matched by his devotion to duty and the bittersweet passions of wartime romance.

One of the biggest unresolved World War 2 debates is the Vatican’s complicity in the Holocaust – did Pope Pius XII sit back and do nothing as Nazi Germany exterminate 6 million Jews? Critics accuse him of a weakness for dictatorships and a distaste for Jews, a pushover that Mussolini and Hitler could easily intimidate. Defenders say he was a virtuous man who stood up to Nazis and their Italian fascist allies despite being threatened with kidnapping and assassination. He worked tirelessly and effective to prevent more Jews from being murdered. The question was little more than speculation for decades because the Vatican’s archives that cover World War 2 were closed. However, Pope Francis decided to open them recently, and today’s guest, David Kertzer, took immediate advantage of this opportunity. He’s the author of the new book “The Pope at War” and he shows us what went on behind the scenes at the Vatican during World War II and the Holocaust. We discuss secret negotiations t...

You and your ancestor from 1,000 years ago have almost nothing in common. Your clothes are different. Your worship rituals are different. Your thoughts about the opposite sex are definitely different. Almost the only similarity is that both of you are driven to obtain food. In fact, one could say that civilization itself began in the quest for food. In this episode, Professor Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific puts the subject of food and its importance in history on the table. Ken has studied widely on the types of cuisine that would be featured at a Roman feast, a medieval banquet, or a Renaissance Italian civic celebration. He’s ground Italian flour to make the sort of bread one would eat in Pompeii. He’s made stewed rabbit in a homemade clay pot the way an Elizabethean peasant would. He hasn’t tried field-mouse-on-a-stick (a popular Roman delicacy) but probably not for lack of trying. We discuss how Roman food reflected social rank, wealth, and sophistication; why the Middle Ages produced some of history’s most outlandish and theatrical presentations of food, such as gilded boars’ heads, “invented” creatures, mixing parts of different animals; and cooked peacocks spewing flames; modern foody gastronomy; and finally, one of my favorite desserts, Turkish Chicken pudding.

For those that have no living memory of JFK, it’s nearly impossible to think of his presidency as anything but a few preordained moments that move inevitably toward his tragic death: His 1961 inauguration marking a high point of the optimism of the post-war era in which Jackie Kennedy holds their infant son and JFK famously intones: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This is quickly followed by the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Kennedy’s challenge for the US to land on the moon by the end of the decade. But his assassination tragically cuts his life short, and the legend of JFK becomes frozen in amber. To get a sense of what it was actually like to live during the JFK presidency, we are joined by Mark Updegrove, author of Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency. Looking back on Kennedy’s strength and challenges as a man and leader from the lens of today, we eschew the Camelot myths and look at the textured portrait of a complicated leader, examining the major challenges JFK faced and the influential figures that surrounded him.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were two Lakota chiefs born in the final generation of Plains Indians who grew up in the manner similar to their ancestors: hunting herds of buffalo so large they seemed to cover the earth and moving freely with their nomadic tribes. But they always had contact with white settlers, first a trickle of fur traders and pioneers, then a flood of fortune seekers in 1874 Black Hills Gold Rush. The conflict came to a head in the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn, in which they crushed George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry. But what happened to them after this victory?Today’s guest is Mark Lee Gardner, author of The Earth is All That Lasts: Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the Last Stand of the Great Sioux Nation. We look at the their stories and how their victory over the U.S military also marked and the beginning of the end for their treasured way of life. And in the years to come, both Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, defiant to the end, would meet violent—and eerily similar—fates. They were two fascinating leaders struggling to maintain the freedom of their people against impossible odds.

Please enjoy this preview of the Vlogging Through History Podcast, hosted by Chris Mowery. In his show, Chris tells the story of the private soldier as much as it is the story of the great general. It is the story of the farmer in the field as much as it is the story of the man in the Oval office. Go to vloggingthroughhistory.com to enter a giveaway to mark the show's launch.

One of the most widely read books of the 20th century is Viktor Frank’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, described his psychotherapeutic method to endure the most hellish experiences imaginable. One must hold onto a purpose in life and immersively imagine that outcome. Many have used Frankl’s method, one of which was Harold Frank, a WW2 rifleman who survived a Nazi POW camp, a multi-day death march, thousands of tons of bombs detonating nearby, and starvation conditions that caused him to lose over 100 pounds.His combat began at D-Day in 1944: twenty-year-old PFC Harold Frank had moved as one with his battalion onto the shores of Utah Beach, pushing into France to cut off and blockade the pivotal Nazi-occupied deep-water port of Cherbourg. As a recognized crack shot with WW II's iconic American automatic rifle, Frank fought bravely across the bloody hedgerows of the Cotentin Peninsula. During the most intense fighting, Frank was ambushed and wounded in a deadly, nine-hour firefight with Germans. Taken prisoner and with a bullet lodged under one arm, Frank found himself dumped first in a brutal Nazi POW concentration camp, then shipped to a grueling work camp on the outskirts of Dresden, Germany, where the young PFC was exposed to the vengeance of a crumbling Nazi regime, the menace of a rapidly advancing Russian military—and the danger of thousands of Allied bombers screaming overhead during the firebombing of Dresden.Today’s guest is historian Mark Hager, author of The Last of the 357th Infantry: Harold Frank’s WWII Story of Faith and Courage. He builds on hundreds of hours of interviews with Frank, sharing the account of his journey as a child of the Great Depression to the bloody shores of the D-Day invasion, into the bowels of Nazi Germany, and back to the U.S. where as a young man Harold would spend years resolutely dealing with the lingering effects of starvation rations while determinedly building a new life—a life always mindful of the legacy of his POW experience and his faithful service in America’s hard-fought war against Nazi aggression.

In the late 1800s, there was an all-out sprint among inventors and tinkerers to create the first motion picture camera. The first across the finish line would get an incredibly valuable patent worth millions. The ultimate winner was an unassuming Frenchman named Louis Le Prince, who died before he could present his invention to the world, and some believe was murdered by Thomas Edison.n 1890, Louis Le Prince, before any of his competitors, was granted patents in four countries for his “taker” or “receiver” device, the product of years of furious, costly work. The device would capture ten to twelve images per second on film, a reproduction of reality that could be replayed limitlessly, shared with those on the other side of the planet with only a few days delay. But just a month before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared. Three and a half years later, Le Prince’s invention was finally made public – by his rival, Thomas Edison, who claimed to have invented it himself.To unravel this mystery, I am joined by Paul Fischer, author of The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies. Le Prince’s disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of cinema history, and Fischer discusses what he and other film theorists think might have happened to this famous inventor and creator of the motion picture. But most of all, we explore the impact Le Prince’s work has had on centuries of filmmakers, and why it is so important to restore Le Prince’s place in history.

The earliest cars were nothing more than horse buggies with motors (the first Oldsmobile was a horseless carriage with a one-cylinder engine plunked in). But once sturdier cars were invented and mass production made them cheap, the 20th century was forever defined by the automobile. It was the first industry to use the assembly line. People had unimaginable levels of freedom and mobility. Whole new industries and services sprang up, including motels, amusement parks, restaurant franchises, and fast food. Today’s guest is Eddie Alterman, host of the new podcast Car Show. He thinks all cars are great - even the awful ones (such as the Pontiac Aztek). But some cars, he says, transcend their "car-ness." Some cars have a story to tell us because changed how we drive and live, whose significance lies outside the scope of horsepower or miles per gallon. Such models include the Model T, Porsche 911, and even the Lunar Rover. Because some cars are more than just a pile of metal, glass, and rubber. Some cars are rolling anthropology.

John F. Kennedy once told a presidential biographer that rating presidents from best to worst that it was impossible without a deep appreciation of the office. Perhaps even first-hand experience was necessary: "No one has a right to grade a president - even poor James Buchanan - who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that came across his desk, and learned why he made his decisions.”While JFK’s view will never stop historians from ranking U.S. presidents from best to worst, he makes a good point that historical figures likely had good reasons for what they did, even if the end result was failure and their reputations were left in tatters. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act or Thomas Jefferson’s failure to provide justice equally (even though he enshrined the equality of all in America’s founding documents) are explainable and understandable, even if they aren’t excusable. To explore this theme further is today’s guest is Jon Meacham, host of the new podcast, Reflections of History. Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, and several other biographies, presidential or otherwise. We discuss the lasting legacies of Jefferson, Jackson, and other presidents who rose or fell to the moment. We also discuss which historical figures should get greater recognition, whether the aftermath of the Titanic gives us ideas on how to mourn national tragedies, and the greatest accomplishments of the 20th century, including, but not limited to, NATO, vaccines, the Space Race, and Jackie Robinson breaking down baseball’s color barrier and accelerating the Civil Rights Movement.

123...68
Got questions? We've got the answers
  • What is Himalaya?
    Himalaya is an audio platform that delivers the inspiration and knowledge you need to achieve your most ambitious goals. In just 10 minutes a day, you’ll learn the secrets of happiness, success, and more from some of the world's highest achievers and thought leaders. From our powerful life stories to high-impact courses, you'll find what you need to get inspired and get ahead.
  • Is there a free version that I can try out?
    By default, you’ll have 7 days after signing up before you are charged. You may also be given some promo codes with a longer free trial period. During the free trial period (7 days or longer), you will have full access to all paid content in Himalaya Learning.
  • How can I redeem a promo code?
    You can edit your promo code on the checkout page. Go to https://www.himalaya.com/premium/us and select "Start 7-day free trial". You need to register your account or log in to your account before you go to the checkout page. Click “Have a promo code to apply?” and replace the default promo code with the code you have.
  • Why do you need my credit card?
    In order to verify your identity, we require credit card validation upfront. We'll never charge your card until the free trial period is over. And unless you'd like to cancel, no further action will be needed on your part to begin recurring monthly payments as an official Himalaya listener! If you ever have any questions about payments or charges, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@himalaya.com. We’ll help you solve your problem as fast as we can.
  • How do I cancel my free trial?
    1. On desktop: Go to https://www.himalaya.com; click your username on the upper right corner, and select “Membership” from the drop-down list; Click your active membership, then click on "Next Billing Date >" and "Cancel Subscription" 2. On Android mobile: In the app, go to "account" and choose the “member details” page, then choose to unsubscribe; 3. On iOS mobile: If you initially subscribe on the web, you cannot cancel it on the iOS mobile app. You need to follow the instructions for cancellation on desktop; if you subscribe via the iOS mobile, you can also turn off the automatic renewal via the iTunes/Apple ID settings.
  • How do I cancel my subscription?
    Subscribed from the Website?
    You can click here to unsubscribe. If you cancel the subscription during the trial period, it will not automatically renew; if you cancel the subscription after successful renewal, the next deduction cycle will not automatically renew.
    Subscribed from IOS or Android apps?
    You can cancel the subscription through Apple or Google Play settings. If you cancel the subscription 48 hours before the expiration of the trial period, the subscription will not be automatically renewed; if you cancel the subscription after successful renewal, the next deduction cycle will not be automatically renewed. You can find detailed information on how to unsubscribe from the link below:Cancel a subscription from Apple  Cancel a subscription from Google Play

With Himalaya APP

Listen On-The-Go
Audio courses turn your chore time into productive learning moments. No need to sit down and get locked in front of a screen
Short & Sweet
Each course is composed of lessons about 5 mins long and designed to be bite-sized to make the learning schedule flexible for you
Accomplish More
Get ahead by learning first-hand insights and knowledge from some of the world's sharpest minds and industry leaders.
app store
google play