61 episodes

This is a historical show examining the momentous events and interesting people of the second decade of the 19th century, the 1810s. From Jefferson to Napoleon, from Iceland to Antarctica, historian Sean Munger will give you a tour of the decade's most fascinating highlights.

Second Decad‪e‬ Recorded History Podcast Network

    • History
    • 4.7 • 156 Ratings

This is a historical show examining the momentous events and interesting people of the second decade of the 19th century, the 1810s. From Jefferson to Napoleon, from Iceland to Antarctica, historian Sean Munger will give you a tour of the decade's most fascinating highlights.

    War and Peace

    War and Peace

    This is a crossover episode with the Green Screen podcast.
    Leo Tolstoy’s epic 1869 novel War & Peace is undeniably one of the great classics of world literature. Although it covers a considerable time period, its climactic episodes involve the Napoleonic Wars and specifically the French invasion of Russia in 1812. In this, a special crossover episode with Dr. Sean Munger’s other podcast Green Screen, Sean and guest host Cody Climer delve into the 2016 BBC miniseries adaptation of War & Peace, starring Paul Dano and Lily James, focusing specifically on its finale which deals with the Battle of Borodino, the 1812 French sack of Moscow and the aftermath.
    In this episode, you will revisit the French invasion of Russia in 1812 (a saga which made an appearance earlier in Second Decade, episodes 10-12) but this time we will see it specifically through the lens of modern cinema. While the 2016 miniseries is the focus, you’ll also compare and contrast this adaptation with previous versions of the novel, filmed in 1915, 1956, 1966-67 and 1972. As Green Screen is specifically about the environment, the environmental and ecological dimensions of the French-Russian war, and of Tolstoy himself, are emphasized. If this is your first exposure to Green Screen, we encourage you to check it out!
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Norway, Part II

    Norway, Part II

    After being sold out by the great European powers, especially Great Britain, as a sop to Sweden, the people of Norway felt angry and betrayed. The Norwegian nobility had united behind Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederick, who had promised to lead them to independence—but Christian Frederick’s revolution increasingly looked like a long shot, particularly in the face of resistance by Sweden’s regent, former Napoleonic general Jean Bernadotte. Nevertheless, Christian Frederick and his allies forged ahead, hoping to forge a new vision of the Norwegian nation and its sovereignty, even if full independence couldn’t be obtained. The result was Sweden’s last war and one of the most complicated political deals of the Napoleonic era.
    In this, the concluding part of a two-part series, Dr. Sean Munger continues the story of Norway’s tumultuous founding in the final months of Napoleon and how the political and constitutional ideas surrounding the independence movement came to have a legacy that lasted well into the 20th century. In this episode you’ll meet the conservative politician who thought Christian Frederick was moving too fast, his opposite number who thought it was going too slowly, a British diplomat who was taken with the idea of Norwegian independence, and you’ll encounter the complicated legacy of Jean Bernadotte—also known as Karl Johan—who is maybe the villain of the story, but maybe not. You’ll also take a brief stroll down Norway’s main drag in modern times, join dinner table conversation about Norway’s experience in World War II, and track the battles in the forts and fjords of the Scandinavian north. This is one of the more complex stories told on Second Decade.
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    • 59 min
    Norway, Part I

    Norway, Part I

    At the beginning of the Napoleonic era, Norway was not its own country, but rather the junior partner in the unequal combination of Denmark-Norway. Just before Bonaparte was defeated and exiled (for the first time), somehow Norway ended up detached from Denmark and "unified" with Sweden, in an act of diplomatic legerdemain that left the Norwegians fuming, the Swedes boastful and just about everyone else bewildered. As it turned out, the Norwegians decided not to take their wholesale selling-out lying down, and in 1814 an independence movement blossomed which, 91 years later, would become the basis of the modern nation of Norway that we know today. The story of this process is supremely complicated but quite interesting, featuring war at sea and on land, the intrigues of kings and princes, and a fundamental sea change in how nations are built and defined.
    In this episode of Second Decade, the first of a two-part series, historian Dr. Sean Munger takes you into the convoluted backdrop of Scandinavian politics in the Napoleonic era and how Norway came to be a distinct national and cultural entity. In this episode you'll learn a bit of European geography and medieval history; you'll find out what kind of craft the Danes decided to build to challenge the British Navy in a war that might otherwise have seemed hopeless; you'll meet a French field marshal who dreams of becoming Swedish royalty, a Danish crown prince who fancies the Norwegian throne, and a timber merchant and part-time diplomat who designed an independence movement from the ground up. Various other characters from the long story of the Napoleonic era make cameo appearances, including one-eyed, one-armed Lord Nelson submerged in a coffin of brandy and the little Corsican upstart himself, on his way down after the epic clowning he took in Episodes 10 through 12 of this podcast.
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    Free Webinar: How Historical is Indiana Jones? 22 December 2020
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    • 53 min
    Theo the Pipe Smoker

    Theo the Pipe Smoker

    The bodies of dead human beings can tell us a lot about the past, but most human remains from the distant past tend to be rich or important people. A discovery in Basel, Switzerland in 1984 proved an exception to this rule when a number of skeletons were recovered from a forgotten graveyard for the city’s poor. One particular set of bones entranced researchers because of two strange notches found in his front teeth. An exhausting effort to identify the man known only as “Theo the Pipe Smoker” would eventually involve a worldwide search for his relatives, sophisticated DNA analysis, and possibly unearth evidence of a 200-year-old murder.
    In this episode of Second Decade, historian Dr. Sean Munger will profile the Theo case, the physical evidence from his bones, the historical questions raised by his discovery, and the possible identities that he might have had. In doing so you’ll get a glimpse of life among Basel’s underclass, a world of bakeries, tanneries, factories and dead-end jobs where disease was rampant and economic survival precarious. You’ll meet the two men who are the most likely candidates for being Theo, who surprisingly died on the same weekend in 1816 but whose life stories are markedly different. We may not be able to reach a full resolution of the mystery of Theo, but the journey is illuminating.
    History Classes Online at Sean's Website
    Free Webinar on the Vietnam War, 17 November 2020
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    • 49 min
    Heritage Lost

    Heritage Lost

    America was growing rapidly in the 1810s, and growth meant building. Buildings of all kinds, from churches, markets and houses to banks and government offices, were sprouting up everywhere. Only a tiny fraction of the many buildings constructed between 1810 and 1820 still survive today, and the loss of the majority—through demolition, development, decay, accident, neglect, or deliberate destruction—represents a staggering loss of architectural heritage and history. Though many buildings have been lost, traces of some remain, through photographs, drawings, eyewitness accounts, memories, and, in a few lucky cases, some physical artifacts. These traces tell tantalizing and compelling stories of what the built environment of the Second Decade was like, and, by extension, glimpses of the lives of the people who lived and worked within it.
    In this unique, stand-alone episode of Second Decade, historian Sean Munger will profile 9 specific buildings, constructed between 1808 and 1820 and which no longer exist, that represent a piece of the architectural heritage of the decade. You’ll visit Federal-style mansions in Rhode Island, an Ohio courthouse built to try to lure politicians to a frontier boomtown, a market and exhibition hall at the center of Boston, more than one Southern plantation built by slave labor, a farmhouse that remained frozen in time for nearly two centuries, and several others. The stories of these buildings, the people who built them and why they were lost represent only a small portion of the enormous wealth of historical and architectural heritage of America that is now gone forever.
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    • 48 min
    Year Without Summer, Part III

    Year Without Summer, Part III

    The mysterious weather and climate anomalies of the Year Without Summer did not end with the coming of fall or the end of the calendar year 1816. The Tambora effect—the chilling of the world’s climate by volcanic dust from the 1815 mega-eruption—lingered long after that. The failure of summer crops in many parts of America, Europe and the world meant a lean and hungry winter for millions of people. And for many of them, the brutally cold winter of 1816-17 was much colder and more harrowing than any they had ever lived through before, or would again.
    In this episode, the final in this minseries, you’ll shiver along with missionaries and Indians on the frontier; you’ll learn about some of the bizarre theories that people advanced for what was causing the events, such as an “electrical fluid” around the Earth supposedly linked to earthquakes; and you’ll meet a very eccentric Scotsman whose obsession with weather, sparked by the 1816 anomalies, utterly consumed his life for the next half century. This episode contains threads that connect to various other SD installments, including Episode 6 (Jefferson in Winter), 7 (Volcano), 24 (New England’s Cold Friday), and 25 (The Man in the Buffalo Fur Suit).
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    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
156 Ratings

156 Ratings

Johnnycool5526853 ,

Well Worth Your Time

I found this podcast when looking for information about the year without a summer. Those episodes were so good I ended up going to the start of the podcast’s run and listening to all the episodes in order. Highly recommended!

Jules76:-} ,

Delightful podcast!

This podcast is so packed with information that I’ve listened to most episodes twice. I always learn something new with each episode, as the topics are incredibly well researched. It’s such a fascinating time period to focus on. It makes me so happy when a new episode pops up! Thank you for the education Sean!

TheCobb13 ,

Amazing

Was never a history buff until this podcast! Thank you

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