115 episodes

The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.

American History Tellers Wondery

    • History

The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.

    California Water Wars - Los Angeles and the Future of Water | 6

    California Water Wars - Los Angeles and the Future of Water | 6

    UCLA environmental historian Jon Christiansen discusses Los Angeles, it's never-quenched thirst for water, and what that means for the future.

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    • 42 min
    Introducing The Dollop

    Introducing The Dollop

    The Dollop is a comedic history podcast hosted by Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. Each episode centers around an unusual event or person from history selected for its humorousness and peculiarity. 

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    • 6 min
    California Water Wars - Collapse | 5

    California Water Wars - Collapse | 5

    With the failure of the Watterson brothers’ banks, the Owens Valley community was forced to abandon its fight for water rights against the city of Los Angeles. William Mulholland, the Los Angeles water department superintendent, could finally breathe a little easier. The city now had full control over its water supply for the foreseeable future. 

    But he would discover that some things can’t be foreseen. Construction had finished in 1926 on the last of the nineteen dams that lined the aqueduct. Standing 200 feet tall, the St. Francis dam held back billions of gallons of water. But by spring of 1928, troubling cracks were beginning to appear in the dam’s surface. The events of March 12, 1928, would lead not only to a terrible catastrophe, but would forever change the way the citizens of Los Angeles thought about William Mulholland -- the man who brought them water.

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    • 41 min
    California Water Wars - We Who Are About to Die Salute You | 4

    California Water Wars - We Who Are About to Die Salute You | 4

    After years of letting their water be used by the city of Los Angeles, the farmers and ranchers of the Owens River Valley decided to fight back. What would come to be known as California’s Civil War would mark the 1920s with a series of attacks and reprisals between the valley and the city two hundred miles south. 

    With Los Angeles sending agents north to buy more land and secure yet more water rights, valley residents decided to take matters into their own hands. After several attacks damaged portions of the aqueduct, causing water to stream uselessly down into the valley, the city realized it had a desperate problem on their hands.

    But all was not well with the citizens of the valley, as a long-running family feud threatens to tear apart the Owens Valley community from within.




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    • 39 min
    California Water Wars - “There It Is—Take It” | 3

    California Water Wars - “There It Is—Take It” | 3

    By 1912, the Los Angeles aqueduct project was nearing completion. But as it approached the finish line, fears were growing among the public of a vast conspiracy, fanned by socialist Job Harriman. With the formation of the Aqueduct Investigation Board, engineer William Mulholland found his methods and his purpose suddenly under a microscope. Land deals from nearly a decade ago would threaten to derail the entire project, just a year shy of its completion.

    As the roaring Twenties loomed, Los Angeles would grow exponentially. But far north, in Inyo County, the ranchers whose water had been taken from them were gearing up for the first of many retaliations.

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    • 39 min
    California Water Wars - Building the Dream | 2

    California Water Wars - Building the Dream | 2

    By 1907, the city of Los Angeles had found a solution to its water problem. Two hundred miles north in the Owens River Valley was a never-ending source of water. Los Angeles Water Department superintendent William Mulholland set about constructing one of the largest public works projects the state of California has ever seen. But first, he would have to convince the voters of Los Angeles to approve the project. And then, he would have to build it himself. 

    For five years construction crews filed into the desert, building a massive aqueduct system that would ferry the water all the way to the thirsty city. Along the way, Mulholland would encounter problems with bureaucrats, bad food, and dynamite. With the project hurtling towards completion, serious doubts would be raised about graft and self-interest. Was the Los Angeles aqueduct really just about water? Or was it set to make a handful of rich men even richer?

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    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

N2 C ,

Fanstatic take on US history

Really enjoying the series, and like how each you really get the feel of being immersed in the time period.

UPDATE - 5 October 2019
I have been listen to the Tulsa Race Massacre. A very difficult listen that is making my blood boil with every episode, but so beautifully written and delivered. Though I am born and bred in the UK, I have always been interested in US history. And though I thought I knew a lot with the civil war, civil rights movement, etc. was still beyond horrified to listen to what humans can do to each other and live with.

Thank you so much for bringing this atrocity to a wider audience. Still stunned that people born in Tulsa are not aware of their history.

Finlay Grogan ,

Good series but England/Britain....

I echo Phil Riversider, this is a very enjoyable series but very disappointed that the author uses England and Britain interchangeably when one was hoping for an educated podcast without a hint of ignorance.

coxabey ,

Simply awesome

Wondery always produce great podcasts but this is the jewel in the crown. The detailed research and fascinating topics make this a must-listen for anyone who wants greater insight into the big trends of American history

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