601 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 Scott Rank, PhD

    • History
    • 4.3 • 2.8K 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.

    Kim Philby: The KGB Mole Who Nearly Became the Leader of Britain’s MI6

    Kim Philby: The KGB Mole Who Nearly Became the Leader of Britain’s MI6

    Kim Philby—the master British spy and notorious KGB double agent—had an incredible amount of influence on the Cold War. He became the mentor, and later, mortal enemy, of James Angleton, who would eventually lead the CIA. Philby was also in the running at one point to lead MI6, which would have made the Cold War very different.

    Philby's life and career has inspired an entire literary genre: the spy novel of betrayal. Philby was one of the leaders of the British counter-intelligence efforts, first against the Nazis, then against the Soviet Union. He was also the KGB's most valuable double-agent, so highly regarded that his image is on the postage stamps of the Russian Federation even today.
    To delve into Philby’s life is today’s guest, Michael Holzman, author of the new book “Spies and Traitors: Kim Philby, James Angleton, and the Friendship and Betrayal that Would Shape M16, the CIA, and the Cold War.”

    Before he was exposed, Philby was the mentor of James Jesus Angleton, one of the central figures in the early years of the CIA who became the long-serving chief of the counter-intelligence staff of the Agency.

    James Angleton and Kim Philby were friends for six years, or so Angleton thought. Then they were enemies for the rest of their lives. This is the story of their intertwined careers and a betrayal that would have dramatic and irrevocable effects on the Cold War and US-Soviet relations, and have a direct effect on the shape and culture of the CIA in the latter half of the twentieth century.

    Spanning the globe, from London and Washington DC, to Rome and Istanbul, Spies and Traitors gets to the heart of one of the most important and flawed personal relationships in modern history.

    • 41 min
    George Washington: The First American Action Hero

    George Washington: The First American Action Hero

    This is an excerpt from an episode of This American President, a great history podcast that is the newest member of the Parthenon Podcast Network. You can find it at www.spreaker.com/show/this-american-president or wherever you listen to podcasts.

    He might look like an old man on the one-dollar bill, but George Washington was once a bona fide action hero. This episode explores our first president’s legendary exploits during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

    • 21 min
    Why the 1619 Project is Dangerous and Should Be Totally Rejected

    Why the 1619 Project is Dangerous and Should Be Totally Rejected

    The biggest and most controversial historical debate in 2020 is the 1619 Project. Released last year in a special issue of the New York Times Magazine, it is a collection of articles which "aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States'] national narrative.” More specifically, it claims that the United States is fundamentally and irrevocably racist. Slavery, not the Constitution or 1776, are at the core of American identity. It reviews slavery not as a blemish that the Founders grudgingly tolerated with the understanding that it must soon evaporate, but as the prize that the Constitution went out of its way to secure and protect.

    Specific claims include the following: the Revolutionary War was fought above all to preserve slavery, that capitalism was birthed on the plantation, and features of American society like traffic jams or affinity for sugar are connected to slavery and segregation.

    The project was condemned by historians from left to right. Prince historian Allen Guelzo said that “the 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory. And like all conspiracy theories, the 1619 Project announces with a eureka! that it has acquired the explanation to everything.” Fellow Princeton historian Sean Wilentz has circulated a letter objecting to the project, and the letter acquired signatories like James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, and James Oakes, all leading scholars in their field who object to very basic factual inaccuracies in the project.

    Despite the 1619 Project’s numerous historical inaccuracies, the project has spread like wildfire. The creator Nicole Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for Commentary. Hundreds of newspapers have endorsed it. Most concerning, public schools began incorporating into their curricula early this year. The Pulitzer Center helped turn the 1619 Project into a curriculum that’s now taught in more than 4,500 schools across the nation. It threatens to destroy civics education as it has been taught for generations in K-12 education. History teachers will abandon the narrative of the Civil War, emancipation, and the Civil Rights movement. Instead, they will ask students how societal structures perpetuate the enslavement of black people.

    Today’s guest is Dr. Mary Grabar, author of “Debunking The 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America.”

    She provides an extensive look at the divisive and false tactics used to associate America with the exact opposite values of its founding. I
    .
    Dr. Mary Grabar reveals the following statistics that alarmingly display how the divisive 1619 Project is uprooting the history and culture of American life

    This episode is different because I am explicitly endorsing the argument of this author and denouncing the 1619 project. I almost never do this because I don’t want to tell you, the listener, how to think. Rather, I let a guest present his or her arguments, make the case as best as possible, play devil’s advocate when needed, but ultimately provide the best historical raw material so that you, the audience, and be the judge.

    I’m making an exception with the 1619 project because I think the arguments are so poorly constructed, juvenile, and political in nature that they don’t deserve the dignity of being taken seriously. Normally, I would ignore such poorly crafted arguments, in the same way that I wouldn’t have on a guest who says that aliens built the pyramids, or that a German U-Boat sunk the Titanic. At the risk of being political, I think that the 1619 project is at the same intellectual level as UFO conspiracy theories. The problem is that it has elite support. But the effects of 1619 are seeping into public school curricula. The date of 1619 is entering public consciousness. This is only because of politics, because the political...

    • 46 min
    Rebroadcast: Turkey is Both a Bird and a Country. Which Came First?

    Rebroadcast: Turkey is Both a Bird and a Country. Which Came First?

    It's no coincidence that the bird we eat for Thanksgiving and a Middle Eastern country are both called Turkey. One was named after the other, and it all has to do with a 500-year-old story of emerging global trade, mistaken identity, foreign language confusion, and how the turkey took Europe by storm as a must-have status symbol for the ultra-wealthy.

    • 21 min
    The 160-Minute Race to Save the Titanic

    The 160-Minute Race to Save the Titanic

    One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wireless operators on land and sea who desperately sent messages back and forth across the dark frozen North Atlantic to mount a rescue mission. More than twenty-eight ships would be involved in the rescue of Titanic survivors along with four different countries.

    At the heart of the rescue are two young Marconi operators, Jack Phillips 25 and Harold Bride 22, tapping furiously and sending electromagnetic waves into the black night as the room they sat in slanted toward the icy depths and not stopping until the bone numbing water was around their ankles. Then they plunged into the water after coordinating the largest rescue operation the maritime world had ever seen and thereby saving 710 people by their efforts.
    The race to save the largest ship in the world from certain death would reveal both heroes and villains. It would begin at 11:40 PM on April 14, when the iceberg was struck and would end at 2:20 AM April 15, when her lights blinked out and left 1500 people thrashing in 25-degree water. Although the race to save Titanic survivors would stretch on beyond this, most people in the water would die, but the amazing thing is that of the 2229 people, 710 did not and this was the success of the Titanic rescue effort.

    We see the Titanic as a great tragedy but a third of the people were rescued and the only reason every man, woman, and child did not succumb to the cold depths is due to Jack Phillips and Harold McBride in an insulated telegraph room known as the Silent Room. These two men tapping out CQD and SOS distress codes while the ship took on water at the rate of 400 tons per minute from a three-hundred-foot gash would inaugurate the most extensive rescue operation in maritime history using the cutting-edge technology of the time, wireless.

    To talk about this race against time is frequent guest Bill Hazelgrove, author of the new book One Hundred and Sixty Minutes: The Race to Save the RMS Titanic.

    • 49 min
    Age of Discovery 2.0, Part 6: Will SpaceX Control Mars Like the British East India Company Controlled the Indian Subcontinent?

    Age of Discovery 2.0, Part 6: Will SpaceX Control Mars Like the British East India Company Controlled the Indian Subcontinent?

    The British East India Company is perhaps the most powerful corporation in history. It was larger than several nations and acted as emperor of the Indian subcontinent, commanding a private army of 260,000 soldiers (twice the size of the British Army at the time). The East India Company controlled trade between Britian and India, China, and Persia, reaping enormous profits, flooding Europe with tea, cotton, and spices. Investors earned returns of 30 percent or more.

    With SpaceX building reusable rockets and drawing up plans to colonize Mars, could we be seeing a new British East India Company for the 21st century? The idea isn't that far-fetched. In the terms of service for its Starlink satellite internet, one clause reads the following: "For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement."

    To answer the question of whether or not space tycoons will be able to control the Moon or Mars is today's guest is Ram Jakhu, an associate professor at McGill University and a researcher on international space law.

    In this episode we discuss:

    -- How the East India Company’s control over India foreshadows SpaceX’s control over Mars and what happens when a corporation effectively controls a nation (or in this case, a planet)
    -- Laws that apply to seasteading and their relevance to space colonies
    -- Why some military strategists think space will inevitably be the new warfighting domain, and whether or not this is true
    -- The past and future of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, an international treaty that prevents any country from claiming sovereignty over outer space or any celestial body

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
2.8K Ratings

2.8K Ratings

zsoltron1981 ,

You finally revealed the Woke left.

Are used to comment on Scott, that he brought in woke historians and played along with Them.This last episode finally changed my opinion about Scott. I criticize Scott for teetering on Woke left, but at the same time crediting him for giving great history lessons. I am happy now that Scott understands that there are people Who will butcher history for their own narratives. The last episode was great and the 1619Project is a farce. Great work and keep it up Scott. I will keep listening to your history podcast.

shaw121976 ,

Disappointed.

Have listened to a few episodes. Nothing too spectacular or engaging. Decent enough to cover the drone of a road trip. Then I played the 1619 project episode. Was hoping for actual dialogue and conversation around it so I could gain a better understanding based on some sort of fact. Of course 1619 was from a left perspective, but to have a far right guest dissect it seems pretty dishonest. When the lady dropped Marxism into the conversation, I stopped and looked her up. After having her as a guest, there is no way I believe the host has any type of objectivity now. Plenty of other history podcasts out there to try.

Just another mol Eliza ,

Horrible take

The 1619 thing was absolutely ridiculous. It's dangerous to try to tell the story of america through the eyes of blacks brought here under slavery?

Im out; out of all your podcasts. Forever. You can console yourself im sure by painting yourself as the victim of cancel culture for your unbelievably bad take while you write your next hot podcasts "why do leftists hate white people and why does everyone pick on godking trump"

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