732 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.

History Unplugged Podcast Parthenon

    • History
    • 4.2 • 169 Ratings

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.

    How Much Can One Individual Alter History? More and Less Than You Think

    How Much Can One Individual Alter History? More and Less Than You Think

    How far can a single leader alter the course of history? Thomas Carlyle, who promoted the Great Man Theory, says that talented leaders are the primary – if not the sole – cause of change. This view has been challenged by social scientists who understand that leaders are not only constrained by their societies, but merely products of them. Whatever this interplay between a personality and his society, it raises the question of whether dictators are as unconstrained as they seem, and if so, how do they attain that power?

    Today’s guest is Ian Kershaw, author of Personality and Power. We look at an array of case-studies of twentieth-century European leaders – some dictators, some democrats – and explore what was it about these leaders, and the times in which they lived, that allowed them such untrammelled and murderous power, and what factors brought that era in Europe to an end?

    • 42 min
    The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East

    The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East

    The most disruptive and transformative event in the Middle Ages wasn’t the Crusades, the Battle of Agincourt, or even the Black Death. It was the Mongol Conquests. Even after his death, Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire grew to become the largest in history—four times the size of Alexander the Great’s and stretching from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. But the extent to which these conquering invasions and subsequent Mongol rule transformed the diverse landscape of the medieval Near East have been understated in our understanding of the modern world.

    Today’s guest is Nicholas Morton, author of “The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Middle East.” We discuss the overlapping connections of religion, architecture, trade, philosophy and ideas that reformed over a century of Mongol rule. Rather than a Euro- or even Mongol-centric perspective, this history uniquely examines the Mongol invasions from the multiple perspectives of the network of peoples of the Near East and travelers from all directions—including famous figures of this era such as Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, Ibn Khaldun, and Roger Bacon, who observed and reported on the changing region to their respective cultures—and the impacted peoples of empires—Byzantine, Seljuk and then Ottoman Turks, Ayyubid, Armenian, and more—under the violence of conquest.

    • 42 min
    Weather Itself Was WW2's Fiercest Enemy: The Sinking of the USS Macaw

    Weather Itself Was WW2's Fiercest Enemy: The Sinking of the USS Macaw

    On January 16, 1944, the submarine rescue vessel USS Macaw ran aground at Midway Atoll while attempting to tow the stranded submarine USS Flier. The Flier was pulled free six days later but another three weeks of salvage efforts plagued by rough seas and equipment failures failed to dislodge the Macaw. On February 12, enormous waves nudged the ship backward into deeper water. As night fell and the Macaw slowly sank, the twenty-two sailors on board—ship's captain Paul W. Burton, his executive officer, and twenty enlisted men—sought refuge in the pilothouse but by the following afternoon, the compartment was almost entirely flooded. Burton gave the order to open the portside door and make for the foremast. Three men succeeded but most of the others were swept overboard. Five of them died, including Burton. Three sailors from the base at Midway also lost their lives in two unauthorized rescue attempts.

    Today’s guest is Tim Loughman, author of A Strange Whim of the Sea: The Wreck of the USS Macaw. He traces the ship's service from its launch on San Francisco Bay to its disastrous final days at Midway. It tells a war story short on combat but not on drama, a wartime tragedy in which the conflict is more interpersonal, and perhaps intrapersonal, than international. Ultimately, for Burton and the Macaw the real enemy was the sea, and in a deadly denouement, the sea won. Highlighting the underreported role auxiliary vessels played in the war, A Strange Whim of the Sea engages naval historians and students alike with a previously untold story of struggle, sacrifice, death, and survival in the World War II Pacific.

    • 34 min
    A Short History of War

    A Short History of War

    Some anthropologists once believed that humanity lived in a peaceful state that lacked large-scale warfare before the arrival of large civilizations and all its wealth inequality and manufacture of weapons. But archeological findings have shown over and over that warfare dates back as far as homo sapiens themselves (such as the Bronze Age Battle of Tollense River, about which we known nearly nothing, save that 5,000 soldiers fought each other with primitive weapons).
    Throughout history, warfare has transformed social, political, cultural, and religious aspects of our lives. We tell tales of wars—past, present, and future—to create and reinforce a common purpose.

    Today’s guest is Jeremy Black, author of “A Short History of War.” We examine war as a global phenomenon, looking at the First and Second World Wars as well as those ranging from Han China and Assyria, Imperial Rome, and Napoleonic France to Vietnam and Afghanistan. Black explores too the significance of warfare more broadly and the ways in which cultural understandings of conflict have lasting consequences in societies across the world.

    • 50 min
    Stories From 300 British Men Executed For Cowardice During WW1

    Stories From 300 British Men Executed For Cowardice During WW1

    Over 300 men were executed by the British Army for desertion and cowardice during the first World War. In this episode preview from Vlogging Through History, host Chris Mowery explores the process for executions and the stories of the men involved.

    To continue listening to Vlogging Through History, check out:
    Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3X3USwk
    Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3WX5A7E
    Parthenon: https://www.parthenonpodcast.com/vlogging-through-history
    Discover more episodes of Vlogging Through History:
    The History of the Medal of Honor: https://apple.co/3iqhU17 / https://spoti.fi/3vLt9V7
    The Tragic Lives of U.S. Presidents: https://apple.co/3Xa63Dm / https://spoti.fi/3VYHTdU
    Alvin York: An American Legend: https://apple.co/3GTHRjf / https://spoti.fi/3QpT3Hc

    • 13 min
    The 1911 McNamara Bros. Murder Trial was the OJ Simpson/Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Case of Its Time

    The 1911 McNamara Bros. Murder Trial was the OJ Simpson/Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Case of Its Time

    Considered by many to be one of the best-known criminal defense lawyers in the country, Clarence Darrow became nationally recognized for his eloquence, withering cross-examinations, and compassionate support for the underdog, both in and out of the courtroom.

    Though his fifty-year-long career was replete with momentous cases, specifically his work in the Scopes Monkey Trial and the Leopold and Loeb Murder Trial, Darrow’s Nightmare zeroes in on just two years of Darrow’s career: 1911 to 1913. It was during this time period that Darrow was hired to represent the McNamara brothers, two union workers accused of bombing the Los Angeles Times building, an incident that resulted in twenty-one deaths and hundreds more injuries.

    Along with investigative journalist Lincoln Steffens, Darrow negotiated an ambitious plea bargain on behalf of the McNamara brothers. But the plan soon unraveled; not long after the plea bargain was finalized, Darrow was accused of attempting to bribe a juror. As Darrow himself became the defendant, what was once his shining moment in the national spotlight became a threat to the future of his career and the safety of his family.

    Today’s guest is Nelson Johnson, author of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer: (Los Angeles 1911–1913). Drawing upon the 8,500-page transcript saved from the two trials, Johnson makes Darrow’s story come to life like never before.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
169 Ratings

169 Ratings

Caruso Haig ,

Who knew?

Your episode about the Titanic is spellbinding. Those ugly truths that haven’t seen the light are very much appreciated.
I’m hooked.

AKM751 ,

Limited worldview

Found as suggested for me but quickly realized this was not for me. This is deeply lacking in critical thought or understanding of any view outside that of a poorly educated white American. For a taste, the host refers to Indigenous peoples as “Indians.” If you are looking for a thoughtful history podcast, this is not it.

bestsariah ,

1619 Project

You probably lost a ton of subscribers after your 1619 podcast. Proudly racist is a weird look

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