55 episodes

This is the stuff they never taught us in history class.
Ever wonder why famous historical figures like Aaron Burr, George McClellan, Douglas MacArthur, Cato the Younger, Julius Caesar, and many others fell from the great heights to which they had ascended to end up in death or disgrace?
History's Trainwrecks explores the self-destructive tendencies of historical figures who lose everything even when the prize of a lifetime is in reach, often costing them a treasured place in history.
History is full of trainwrecks, and we can’t look away.
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History's Trainwrecks Stacey Roberts

    • History
    • 4.8 • 16 Ratings

This is the stuff they never taught us in history class.
Ever wonder why famous historical figures like Aaron Burr, George McClellan, Douglas MacArthur, Cato the Younger, Julius Caesar, and many others fell from the great heights to which they had ascended to end up in death or disgrace?
History's Trainwrecks explores the self-destructive tendencies of historical figures who lose everything even when the prize of a lifetime is in reach, often costing them a treasured place in history.
History is full of trainwrecks, and we can’t look away.
Support the show with a one-time gift! or Help keep Trainwrecks on the tracks with a paid membership!
Subscribe to History's TrainwrecksSupport this show http://supporter.acast.com/historys-trainwrecks.

Help keep trainwrecks on the tracks. Become a supporter at https://plus.acast.com/s/historys-trainwrecks.



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    055 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part VI

    055 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part VI

    As Christmas, 1776 approached, it sure looked like the cause of American liberty was going to find a lump of coal under the tree.
    The British had taken New York and had George Washington's army on the run. They had a massive force pointed right at Philadelphia, the American capital. The Continental Congress had placed their hopes in one man to swoop in and save them.
    And it was NOT George Washington.
    This gave General Charles Lee the idea that he could be the man of the hour, and then take George Washington's job away from him.
    As long as he didn't run out of time.
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    • 21 min
    054 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part V

    054 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part V

    1776 was a great year for Charles Lee. He had overseen the defensive preparations in New York, Virginia, and North Carolina. The British didn't attack those places, which Charles called a win. He successfully led the defense of Charleston, South Carolina against a British assault, which he also put in his win column. 
    Then he was ordered to New York, which was under serious threat from the British, and where he would be, for the first time in his Revolutionary War service, under the command of someone else. 
    This wasn't one of Charles's strong suits. But his luck was holding, and he was greeted in New York as the savior of the cause. 
    George Washington's luck, on the other hand, was pretty bad. The British had him trapped between a massive army and navy, and the Continentals were suffering major setbacks. Plus, he had to listen to the cheers of his men when the most battle-tested general in the army showed up. 
    But George's luck was going to change come December. He was going to have a great Christmas. 
    Charles Lee, on the other hand, was not. 
    If you've enjoyed this episode, please rate the show on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast outpost. Click here to support our Patreon page, which is a great way to keep the trainwrecks on the tracks and get access to fun bonus content.
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    • 22 min
    053 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part IV

    053 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part IV

    Brand new Major General Charles Lee was looking pretty darn indispensable in the early days of the American Revolution.
    After the British abandoned Boston, their next move was unclear. The Continentals believed that the next attack would either hit Canada, New York City, or the Southern colonies.
    It is worth noting that new General Charles Lee was appointed to each of these commands. He became the early Revolution's troubleshooter.
    And there was a lot of trouble to shoot.
    There were British Loyalists, runaway slaves, poorly equipped and trained Continental militia, and civilian governments who didn't seem to realize that the British were about to rain hell and damnation down on them.
    If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
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    • 18 min
    052 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part III

    052 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part III

    If Charles Lee was alive today, he would be considered a master networker.
    That guy knew EVERYBODY.
    As we’ve seen in prior episodes, Charles was pals with a few kings and kings-in-waiting like Stanislaus of Poland, Frederick I of Prussia and his son, future king Frederick Wilhelm, as well as Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. He wasn’t a fan of King George III, but still managed to get a meeting with him.
    Like any modern-day Wall Street capitalist on the make, Charles Lee could ALWAYS get the meeting.
    With all these movers and shakers on his side, Charles was a front-runner for one of the top jobs in the upcoming war with Britain: Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. 
    But there was ANOTHER fellow who also wanted the job, and he was willing to overlook the fact that Charles still owed him fifteen bucks from that time he and his dogs mooched at Mount Vernon and made Martha mad.  
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    • 16 min
    051 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part II

    051 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part II

    Major General Charles Lee was a complainer.
    It didn’t start when he joined the Continental Army in 1775. Charles was predisposed to crabbiness. His father was a British major general and his mother was descended from landed gentry. He was the youngest child, and the only son to survive to adulthood. A place of stature had been carved out for Charles, and he meant to have it.
    He pursued a career in the British Army and served in the colonies during the French and Indian War, where he met George Washington and Thomas Gage. When the war was over he went adventurin', getting into duels, hanging out with kings, and sticking it to the Ottoman Empire, which is always a good idea. 
    But his complaining, about his superiors in the army and THEIR superior, King George III, meant that England was a bit too hot for Charles. So he and his little dog went to America to see what kind of trouble they could get into. 
    Which in part meant, just maybe, being appointed commander of the Continental Army instead of George Washington. 
    Click here to support the show and thanks for listening!
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    • 17 min
    050 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part I

    050 - The Men Who Would Be Washington, Part I

    Was George Washington truly America's indispensable man? 
    John Adams thought so, and lots of later historians agreed. Washington had the qualities the country needed at the time - dignity, gravitas, and integrity. He was perceived to be above the kind of petty squabbles that would doom the newborn republic. 
    But things very nearly didn't go his way. After his defeat at the Battle of New York in 1776, the war, and with it the Revolution, was nearly over. 
    Had Washington not managed to get things back on track, there were a few other commanders who would have been quite happy to take the top spot. 
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    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

DC3Amsterdam ,

A New Favorite

I found Trainwrecks via the Presidency’s podcast and was intrigued by the hosts questions , analysis, and thought process. Having binged all episodes to date I’m clearly hooked.

Episodes are approximately 20 minutes and Stacy (the host) has several stories running in parallel (along with single episodes on various topics) ranging from Ancient Rome to Theadore Rosevelt and a host of others that make it as if you have several history podcasts going at once. Train Wrecks is well written and presented. I’m looking forward to hearing what’s next.

SethSutherland ,

I’m Hooked

I just started listening to History’s Trainwrecks and I’m already hooked. Stacey does a fantastic job telling the stories that we never learned in school about some of the most famous people in history. You’re sure to learn something new when listening to this show!

Sir Bear-Hands ,

On the right track with a great view of those who went off the tracks

This podcast is on the right track with a great view of those who went off the rails. While this podcast follows a similar format to many others in the history space, History's Trainwrecks is a concise ride through the near greats of history. Most episodes are 20 minutes or less but leaving you wanting more, and the multi-part series of different figures / perspective keep me coming back.

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