47 episodes

The Can't Make This Up History Podcast interviews historians and the authors of unique and unbelievable history.

The Can't Make This Up History Podcast Can't Make This Up History Podcast

    • History

The Can't Make This Up History Podcast interviews historians and the authors of unique and unbelievable history.

    Hunting Whitey with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge

    Hunting Whitey with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge

    James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger Jr. is one of the most infamous organized crime leaders in modern American history. As leader of Boston's Winter Hill Gang, Bulger would eventually earn a place at #1 on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Bulger went on the run in 1994 and became a ghost for the law enforcement agencies tasked with finding him.
     
    Today, I am joined by bestselling authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge to talk about their new book, Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture and Killing of America's Most Wanted Crime Boss. Casey and Dave both have backgrounds in journalism and have developed a dynamic partnership writing about topics related to the Boston area. In today's true crime episode, the three of us discuss Whitey Bulger's criminal career, his 16 years spent as a fugitive, and the breaks in the case that ultimately led to Bulger's arrest in 2011.
     
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 29 min
    Bonus Episode - Alternate Histories #5: Fast Girls

    Bonus Episode - Alternate Histories #5: Fast Girls

    Today on Alternate Histories, I am joined by Elise Hooper. "A New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, where she teaches history and literature. The Other Alcott was her first novel." Elise and I discuss her new novel, Fast Girls. 
    "In the 1928 Olympics, Chicago’s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women’s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America’s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.
    Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.
    From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish, and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates, but she dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.
    These three athletes will join with others to defy society’s expectations of what women can achieve. As tensions bring the United States and Europe closer and closer to the brink of war, Betty, Louise, and Helen must fight for the chance to compete as the fastest women in the world amidst the pomp and pageantry of the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin." 
    Learn more about Elise Hooper and her work at https://www.elisehooper.com
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 16 min
    Radium Girls with Kate Moore

    Radium Girls with Kate Moore

    Radium is an element that appears in 88th spot on the periodic table. It is radioactive with a half-life of 1600 years and the radiation in produces as it decays produces a low level light through a process known as radioluminescence. Today, radium is considered the most hazardous of the radioelements and is handled only in controlled and contained environments.
    My guest today is Kate Moore. Kate is a book editor, actress, theater director, and bestselling author. She joins me on the podcast today from her home in the U.K. to discuss her book, Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women. In Radium Girls, Kate dives into America's early fascination with radium and profiles the tragic lives of several 1920s women whose job painting with luminescent radium paint led to horrific medical problems and an uphill legal battle to seek justice from the factories that knowingly exposed them to hazardous materials.
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 39 min
    Bonus Episode - Alternate Histories #4 : The Joyce Girl

    Bonus Episode - Alternate Histories #4 : The Joyce Girl

    Today on Alternate Histories, I am joined by UK writer and novelist Annabel Abbs. "Annabel has a degree in English Literature from the University of East Anglia and a Masters in Marketing from the University of Kingston After fifteen years running a consultancy, she took a career break to bring up her four children, before returning to her first love, literature. Her debut novel, The Joyce Girl, won the 2015 Impress Prize for New Writing and the 2015 Spotlight First Novel Award, and was longlisted for the 2015 Caledonia Novel Award and the 2015 Bath Novel Award." She joins my from her home in London via Zoom to discuss The Joyce Girl: A Novel of Jazz Age Paris. 
    "The review in the Paris Times in November 1928 is rapturous in its praise of Lucia Joyce’s skill and artistry as a dancer. The family has made their home in Paris—where the latest ideas in art, music, and literature converge. Acolytes regularly visit the Joyce apartment to pay homage to Ireland’s exiled literary genius. Among them is a tall, thin young man named Samuel Beckett—a fellow Irish expat who idolizes Joyce and with whom Lucia becomes romantically involved. 
    Lucia is both gifted and motivated, training tirelessly with some of the finest teachers in the world. Though her father delights in his daughter’s talent, she clashes with her mother, Nora. And as her relationship with Beckett sours, Lucia’s dreams unravel, as does her hope of a life beyond her father’s shadow. 
    With Lucia’s behavior growing increasingly erratic, James Joyce sends her to pioneering psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Here, at last, she will tell her own story—a fascinating, heartbreaking account of thwarted ambition, passionate creativity, and the power of love to both inspire and destroy. 
    The Joyce Girl creates a compelling and moving account of the real-life Joyce Girl, of unrealized dreams and rejection, and of the destructive love of a father."
    Learn more about Annabel Abbs at www.annabelabbs.com 
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 18 min
    The Contact Paradox with Keith Cooper

    The Contact Paradox with Keith Cooper

    Are we alone in the universe?
    Since humans first gazed up into the cosmos, we have tried to answer to this question, sometimes using theology and sometimes philosophy. In our literature, particularly in the science fiction genre, we have speculated what contact with otherworldly beings could look like. In recent centuries, we have used science and our ever-increasing advances in technology to look out into the heavens and search for tell-tale signs that someone else is out there.
    Studying the stars for alien life has a long and interesting history, most notably with the founding of SETI (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) nearly sixty years ago. My guest today is Keith Cooper, author of The Contact Paradox: Challenging Our Assumptions in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, who joins me to discuss the history surrounding academic efforts of "seeking out new life and new civilizations." Keith has a background in astronomy and astrophysics and has served as the Editor of Astronomy Now since 2006. His articles on cosmology, planetary science, astrobiology, and related disciplines have appeared in Sky & Telescope, Physics World, and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In our conversation, Keith and I discuss early searches for ET intelligence and the origins of the SETI program, what SETI has done to listen for signals from other worlds, and the controversy surrounding the idea of whether or not we should respond if we do indeed intercept an alien signal. Keith and I then dive into our own evolutionary history to speculate on how life might have evolved elsewhere, and we explore examples from Earth's history of first contact between cultures to see what lessons we might be able to apply to first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. 
    Check out the massive selection of sci-fi comics, books, toys, and games available at Things from Another World!
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 58 min
    Lady from the Black Lagoon with Mallory O'Meara

    Lady from the Black Lagoon with Mallory O'Meara

    The Creature from the Black Lagoon was always my favorite classic monster movie growing up. The "creature" is certainly one of the most original and iconic monsters to ever grace the silver screen. But did you know that it was designed by a woman? Millicent Patrick was a makeup artist, animator, special effect designer, and an actress, but unfortunately her contributions to the horror film genre have largely been forgotten. My guest today is Mallory O'Meara and she has written the first biography of Millicent's life and career in Hollywood, The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Millicent Patrick. Mallory is an award-winning author, co-host of the literary podcast Reading Glasses, and she works in the horror movie industry as a screenwriter and producer. Today, Mallory and I discuss Millicent's unique childhood, how she entered Hollywood, and how the film industry failed to recognize her achievements.   
    If you've never experienced this classic film or want to revisit it, you can rent or buy The Creature from the Black Lagoon from Amazon Prime Video.
    This podcast is part of Straight Up Strange Productions. Check out www.straightupstrange.com for more shows like this one.

    • 28 min

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