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.
Two Revolutions and the Constitution
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 enjoyed greater liberties and opportunities than any other people, including those in Britain.
Once they declared independence in 1776, the former British colonies in America needed their own rules for a new system of government. They drafted and adopted State constitutions. They needed cooperation between the States to fight the British, so the new States tried a confederation. It was too weak, so eleven years after declaring independence, the Framers devised a revolutionary federal and national constitution—the first major written constitution of the modern world.
The new State and federal constitutions and the system of law were deeply influenced by the British system, but with brilliant and revolutionary changes.
Today’s guest is James D.R. Philip, author of the book “Two Revolutions and the Constitutuion.” He describes how Americans removed the British monarch and entrenched their freedoms in an innovative scheme that was tyrant-proof and uniquely American. It was built on the sovereignty of the American people rather than the sovereignty of a king or queen.
So, as well as describing the American Revolution and the development of the American constitutions that came before the final Constitution, we discuss the revolutionary development of the English system of law and government that was a foundation of the American system.
Alfred Hubbard Was a 1920s Inventor, Bootlegger, and Psychedelic Pioneer Who Became the Patron Saint of Silicon Valley
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 this device by using it to power a boat on Seattle's Lake Union, though, at the time, heavy suspicions were cast about the legitimacy of his claims. From there, he joined forces with Seattle’s top bootlegger and, together, they built one of Seattle’s first radio stations. He was then involved in a top secret WWII operation, and even played a role in the Manhattan Project.
In the 1950s, he was one of the first people to try a new drug by the name of LSD, and helped pioneer psychedelic therapy. He was known as “The Johnny Appleseed of LSD,” as he introduced the drug to everyone from Aldous Huxley to early computer engineers in what is now known as Silicon Valley. He was a fraud, to be sure, but may have also been a genius. Famous California psychiatrist Oscar Janiger once said, "Nothing of substance has ever been written about Al Hubbard, and probably nothing ever should." And yet, there is little dispute regarding the fascinating scope of his adventurous life.
To explore his story is Brad Holden, author of the book “Seattle Mystic: Alfred Hubbard – Inventor, Bootlegger, and Psychedelic Pioneer”.
The Normans: A History of Conquest
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 had conquered England, Ireland, much of Wales and parts of Scotland. They also founded a new Mediterranean kingdom in southern Italy and Sicily, as well as a Crusader state in the Holy Land and in North Africa. Moreover, they had an extraordinary ability to adapt as time and place dictated, taking on the role of Norse invaders to Frankish crusaders, from Byzantine overlords to feudal monarchs.
Today’s guest, Trevor Rowley, author of The Normans: A History of Conquest, offers a comprehensive picture of the Normans and argues that despite the short time span of Norman ascendancy, it is clear that they were responsible for a permanent cultural and political legacy.
Electric City: Ford and Edison’s Vision of Creating a Steampunk Utopia
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 size of Manhattan, powered by renewable energy, and free of air pollution. And it would reshape American society, introducing mass commuting by car, use a new kind of currency called “energy dollars,” and have the added benefit (from Ford and Edison's view) of crippling the growth of socialism.
New cities – St. Petersburg; Ankara; Nev-Sehir; Cancún; Acapulco; Huatulco; Norilsk; Vladivostok; Fritz Lang’s Metropolis
The whole audacious scheme almost came off, with Southerners rallying to support what became known as the Ford Plan. But while some saw it as a way to conjure the future and reinvent the South, others saw it as one of the biggest land swindles of all time. They were all true.
To tell the story of this audacious plan is Thomas Hager, author of the new book “Electric City: The Lost History of Ford and Edison’s American Utopia. He offers a fresh look at the lives of the two men who almost saw the project to fruition, the forces that came to oppose them, and what rose in its stead: a new kind of public corporation called the Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the greatest achievements of the New Deal.
Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium
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 cure-all in everyday twentieth-century life, when medical practitioners and business people (reputable and otherwise) devised ingenious ways of commodifying the new wonder element, and enthusiastic customers welcomed their radioactive wares into their homes.
Lucy Jane Santos—herself the proud owner of a formidable collection of radium beauty treatments—is today’s guest. She’s the author of the new book “Half Lives,” which delves into the stories of these products and details the gradual downfall and discredit of the radium industry through the eyes of the people who bought, sold and eventually came to fear the once-fetishized substance.
An Alternate History of the Lincoln Assassination Plot
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 espionage and intelligence that originated in a government that hasn’t existed for 154 years.
But sometimes the best way to explore unanswerable questions is with a counterfactual story, or even an outright fiction. Frequent guest Sandy Mitcham (The Death of Hitler’s War Machine, Bust Hell Wide Open) is back with us today to discuss this topic by way of his new book “The Retribution Conspiracy.”
Sandy has couched his book in the form of a novel because there are some missing pieces. But he still provides an eye-opening account of spycraft and subterfuge in antebellum and Civil War America.
Recensioni dei clienti
A great window into history
This podcast is excellent as it combines deep dives into unusual historical topics with quick yet exhaustive replies to smaller questions. I absolutely recommend this podcast to anyone who has an interest in the many facets of history
makes history come alive!
great podcast, I was looking for something interesting, informative and fun: I found it