869 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 • 3.5K 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.

    A Radical Abolitionist Youth Movement Consumed America in 1860, Elected Lincoln, Then Disappeared Completely

    A Radical Abolitionist Youth Movement Consumed America in 1860, Elected Lincoln, Then Disappeared Completely

    At the start of the 1860 presidential campaign, a handful of fired-up young Northerners appeared as bodyguards to defend anti-slavery stump speakers from frequent attacks. The group called themselves the Wide Awakes. Soon, hundreds of thousands of young white and black men, and a number of women, were organizing boisterous, uniformed, torch-bearing brigades of their own. These Wide Awakes—mostly working-class Americans in their twenties—became one of the largest, most spectacular, and most influential political movements in our history. To some, it demonstrated the power of a rising majority to push back against slavery. To others, it looked like a paramilitary force training to invade the South.

    Today’s guest, Jon Grinspan (author of “Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force That Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War”) examines how exactly our nation crossed the threshold from a political campaign into a war. We look at the precarious relationship between violent rhetoric and violent actions.

    • 43 min
    Socrates May Have Been Executed For Revealing Secrets of Athens’ Religious Rituals

    Socrates May Have Been Executed For Revealing Secrets of Athens’ Religious Rituals

    The influence of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates has been profound. Even today, over two thousand years after his death, he remains one of the most renowned humans to have ever lived—and his death remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries.
      
    There is another side to this story: impiety, lack of reverence for the gods, was a religious crime. From the perspective of the religious authorities of the time, the charge of impiety against Socrates was warranted. The priests did not tolerate scrutiny, even in the form of philosophical critique. To understand what happened and how it happened, we have to come to terms with the motives of the priests, and as importantly, Socrates’ motives in provoking them. His trial is perhaps first, but not last, great battle between philosophy and religion.

    To explore this mystery is today’s guest, Matt Gatton, author of “The Shadows of Socrates.” 

    • 43 min
    The Age of Discovery Through American-Indian Eyes

    The Age of Discovery Through American-Indian Eyes

    A millennium ago, North American cities rivaled urban centers around the world in size. So, when Europeans arrived in the sixteenth century, they encountered societies they did not understand, having developed differently from their own, and whose power they often underestimated. And no civilization came to a halt when a few wandering explorers arrived, even when the strangers came well-armed.

    To explore this overlooked history is today’s guest, Kathleen DuVal, author of “Native Nations.” For centuries after these first encounters, Indigenous people maintained an upper hand and used Europeans in pursuit of their own interests. In Native Nations, we see how Mohawks closely controlled trade with the Dutch--and influenced global markets--and how Quapaws manipulated French colonists.

    Power dynamics shifted after the American Revolution, but Indigenous people continued to control the majority of the continent. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa forged new alliances and encouraged a controversial new definition of Native identity to attempt to wall off U.S. ambitions. The Cherokees created new institutions to assert their sovereignty on the global stage, and the Kiowas used their preponderance of power in the west to regulate the passage of white settlers across their territory.

    • 44 min
    A Short History of the Sioux Wars (1862-1890)

    A Short History of the Sioux Wars (1862-1890)

    War, Conflict, Victory & Defeat. These are all aspects of life that some may have to face. This was true for the various groups of the Sioux Tribes. On today's bonus episode from "Key Battles of American History" join host James Early as he discusses the multiple wars that took place between 1862-1890, collectively known as "The Sioux Wars" 

    • 25 min
    The Deerfield Massacre: The Infamous 1704 Indian Raid That Left Hundreds Dead and More Captured

    The Deerfield Massacre: The Infamous 1704 Indian Raid That Left Hundreds Dead and More Captured

    In an obscure village in western Massachusetts, there lies what once was the most revered but now totally forgotten relic from the history of early New England—the massive, tomahawk-scarred door that came to symbolize the notorious Deerfield Massacre. This impregnable barricade—known to early Americans as “The Old Indian Door”—constructed from double-thick planks of Massachusetts oak and studded with hand-wrought iron nails to repel the flailing tomahawk blades of several attacking native tribes, is the sole surviving artifact from the most dramatic moment in colonial American history: Leap Year, February 29, 1704, a cold, snowy night when hundreds of native Americans and their French allies swept down upon an isolated frontier outpost and ruthlessly slaughtered its inhabitants.

    The sacking of Deerfield led to one of the greatest sagas of adventure, survival, sacrifice, family, honor, and faith ever told in North America. 112 survivors, including their fearless minister, the Reverand John Williams, were captured and led on a 300-mile forced march north, into enemy territory in Canada. Any captive who faltered or became too weak to continue the journey—including Williams’s own wife and one of his children—fell under the knife or tomahawk.

    Survivors of the march willed themselves to live and endured captivity. Ransomed by the King of England’s royal governor of Massachusetts, the captives later returned home to Deerfield, rebuilt their town and, for the rest of their lives, told the incredible tale. The memoir of Rev. Williams, The Redeemed Captive, became the first bestselling book in American history and published a few years after his liberation, it remains a literary classic.

    To discuss this event is today’s guest, James Swanson, author of “The Deerfield Massacre: A Surprise Attack, a Forced March, and the Fight for Survival in Early America.”

    • 38 min
    The Dangerous and Thrilling Life of a 19th-Century Whaler

    The Dangerous and Thrilling Life of a 19th-Century Whaler

    In mid-nineteenth century New England, Robert Armstrong was a young man with the world at his feet. His family was wealthy and gave him the opportunity to attend the nation’s first dental school. But Armstrong threw his future away, drinking himself into oblivion. Devoured by guilt and shame, in December 1849 he sold his dental instruments, his watch, and everything he possessed, and signed on for a whaling voyage leaving New Bedford for the South Pacific.

    His story was re-discovered when his great great grandson (Alex Brash) found a manuscript buried at the bottom of an old leather trunk, under a child’s dancing shoes and a grandfather’s WWI paraphernalia. Brash, today’s guest, re-published the account as “Whaler at Twilight,” the story of an American whaler who embarked on a harrowing adventure in the mid-nineteenth century in search of absolution and redemption.

    Decades later, Armstrong wrote an eloquent autobiographical account based on the logbooks he kept, chronicling his thrilling, gritty experiences during ten years away, including encounters with other whalers, beachcombers, Peruvian villagers, Pacific islanders, Maori warriors in New Zealand, cannibals on Fiji, and the impacts of American Expansionism. He also recounted his struggles with drink, his quest for God,In mid-nineteenth century New England, Robert Armstrong was a young man with the world at his feet. His family was wealthy and gave him the opportunity to attend the nation’s first dental school. But Armstrong threw his future away, drinking himself into oblivion. Devoured by guilt and shame, in December 1849 he sold his dental instruments, his watch, and everything he possessed, and signed on for a whaling voyage leaving New Bedford for the South Pacific.

    His story was re-discovered when his great great grandson (Alex Brash) found a manuscript buried at the bottom of an old leather trunk, under a child’s dancing shoes and a grandfather’s WWI paraphernalia. Brash, today’s guest, re-published the account as “Whaler at Twilight,” the story of an American whaler who embarked on a harrowing adventure in the mid-nineteenth century in search of absolution and redemption.

    Decades later, Armstrong wrote an eloquent autobiographical account based on the logbooks he kept, chronicling his thrilling, gritty experiences during ten years away, including encounters with other whalers, beachcombers, Peruvian villagers, Pacific islanders, Maori warriors in New Zealand, cannibals on Fiji, and the impacts of American Expansionism. He also recounted his struggles with drink, his quest for God,

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
3.5K Ratings

3.5K Ratings

Another Texas fan ,

Slow down please

I like your show very much. It would be great if you could slow down you’re speech , particularly when reading, so we can take in everything you’re saying. I tried listening at three-quarter time, but you sound drunk in that mode. 🤣

n60340z7 ,

Golden age of piracy

The February 27 episode was an example of the new DEI enhanced history

TildaJean ,

The program is very goid, but

The abrasive “Hey hon!” Commercials set my teeth on edge.

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