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.
The Fight for the First U.S. Olympics | Let the Games Begin
In 1904, St. Louis was thrust into the national spotlight, as it played host to both the World’s Fair and America’s first Olympic Games. After a bitter fight over which American city would host, Olympic founder Pierre De Coubertin had disavowed the St. Louis games entirely, passing the torch to amateur sports magnate James Sullivan. But Sullivan brought controversial ideas to the Games -- especially in the form of a contest between “uncivilized” peoples called Anthropology Days.
Bad weather and a lack of international athletes hampered the Olympics further, and kept attendance low. Still, as the games continued, a handful of star athletes emerged, including a one-legged gymnast and a group of Native American women from Montana, who brought a revolutionary spin to the new sport of basketball.
The Fight for the First U.S. Olympics | A Tale of Two Cities
In the late 1800s, European fascination with the culture of ancient Greece, and a growing interest in physical education and fitness, led to the idea of resurrecting the Olympic Games of antiquity. A French nobleman named Pierre de Coubertin took up the cause, and under his leadership, the first international Olympiad took place in Athens in 1896.
Coubertin loved America, and wanted to bring his modern Games there. But finding an American city to host his sporting spectacle proved to be a competition in itself. Before the Games began, civic grudges and political backstabbing ignited a war between two rival cities, St. Louis and Chicago, over who would garner the glory of hosting the first U.S. Olympics.
Lost Colony of Roanoke | Searching for Traces
The mystery of what became of the first English colonists has baffled historians for centuries. But over the past decade, archaeologists have uncovered some compelling clues, including parts of a 16th century gun, and fragments of English pottery at a place called “Site X,” both of which suggest that the Roanoke colonists survived longer than previously documented.
In this episode, Lindsay discusses those findings with author and journalist Andrew Lawler. In his book, The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Lawler explores the latest archeological evidence, as well as some of the most persistent myths surrounding the fate of the Roanoke colonists.
The Walker Affair | The Last Filibuster
When he escaped Nicaragua in 1857, American filibuster William Walker was a failed despot responsible for the death of thousands of people and the destabilization of the region. But he returned to New Orleans with fanfare, greeted by cheering crowds and parades. In his public speeches around the South, Walker vowed to return to Central America to take back control of his empire. An uprising of British colonialists on the Honduran island of Ruatan gave him the opportunity he needed.
In 1860, Walker led 100 men on a daring invasion of the Fort of Santa Barbara outside the Honduran town of Trujillo. There he would make his last stand for his vision of an Anglo-Saxon slave state in Central America. And he would finally pay the price for his violent assaults on Latin American sovereignty.
Wondery Presents Business Movers | General Motors: Back from the Dead
Behind every successful business is a story. From Wondery and Lindsay Graham comes Business Movers, a weekly podcast that brings you the true stories of the brilliant but all-too-human businesspeople who risked it all. On the latest season, you'll hear the remarkable story of how General Motors crawled out of the grave and is now in position to lead the car industry into the future. How'd they pull off the comeback? The answer was Mary Barra, a woman who rose from engineer to executive in an industry typically dominated by men. She knew General Motors from the inside out. Mary would do anything to restore the company to power, but it would be the hardest fight of her life. This is just a preview of General Motors: Back from the Dead from Business Movers, but you can listen to the full episode at wondery.fm/businessmoversGM.
Lost Colony of Roanoke | The Vanishing
On April 26, 1587, 117 colonists sailed from England to establish a permanent settlement on the east coast of North America. After a long voyage fraught with storms and spoiled food, they landed on the island of Roanoke, in the Outer Banks region of what is now North Carolina.
Under the leadership of John White, the settlers built a fort and homes, but faced hunger and harsh conditions. At the end of the summer, White was forced to leave his family and his newborn granddaughter, Virginia, to sail back to England for more supplies. While he was there, war broke out between England and Spain, and he could not return for three long years. When he finally did, he found Roanoke completely deserted, with only a few puzzling clues left that have haunted historians ever since.
Enjoyable Spielberg-ian Take on American History
As entertaining and enjoyable as this history podcast is - supplemented by a very-talented host, Linsday Graham ("not that one") - it cannot avoid falling in the trap of a certain Ken Burns-like/Spielberg-ian infatuation with the mythological innocence of the movers and shakers that drive American historical events, no matter how unapologetically-destructive it is to its numerous nameless victims. This is a tenuous understanding which, nevertheless, should not distract from giving the podcast a listen. High production values and a delightful host make up for whatever its imperfections may be but I'm sure some historians (including this reviewer) may grumble.