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History Myths Buzzkilled

Coming Close to Nuclear War

How close has the world come to nuclear war in the past several decades? How many accidents, miscommunications, and misunderstandings have brought us to the brink of annihilation? Professor Phil Nash joins us to explain how many times we’ve been on the brink of nuclear war, what happened in these incidents, and what mistakes were made. You’ll be very surprised (and made uneasy) at how many times simple human error brought the world close to nuclear war. Take a deep breath, Buzzkillers, and listen with the lights on! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the [...]

Melvin Purvis – Man Crush Monday!

Melvin Purvis, head of the Chicago Division of the young FBI, is usually overshadowed by the character of J. Edgar Hoover. But who did the real work of capturing or killing Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger. Professor Nash joins us to discuss G-Man Melvin Purvis and where he belongs in the history of American law enforcement. Listen in! Buzzkill Bookshelf Alston Purvis, The Vendetta: Special Agent Melvin Purvis, John Dillinger, and Hoover's FBI in the Age of Gangsters (2009). Alston Purvis recounts the story of his father, Melvin Purvis, the iconic G-man and public hero made famous by [...]

Canadians Burning the White House, 1814

Canadians Burning the White House Oh Canada, you ransacked through the town searching for a Timmy’s you burned the White House down Yes indeedy, it’s July 1st — Canada Day! The day that celebrates that glorious time in 1867, when the various provinces of Canada became a confederation in the British Empire. It was later called Dominion Day, and then officially Canada Day in 1982. But it’s an especially yummy day to talk about Canada and Canadians here at the Buzzkill Institute. That’s because, during a recent discussion with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Trump responded to Trudeau’s [...]

WWII Internment in the United States

Government internment of “enemy aliens” during World War II has been a controversial topic ever since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Not only is the history much more complicated than is popularly known, the various policies applied at the time were very complicated, and often contradictory. In this episode we talk about how Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans, and German-Americans were treated during the 20th Century’s darkest years. Here are some resources about Internment: Dorothea Lange's Photographs of Japanese-American Internees: Japanese-American Internment: Italian-American Internment: Stephen Fox, The Unknown Internment: An Oral History of [...]

Immigration to the United States

The history of immigration to the United States is very complicated, Buzzkillers! Millions of people came from all over the world to the United States, and there are almost as many myths about immigration as there were immigrants. What did it mean to come to the United States "legally" during the high points of the history of immigration to the United States? When did the government try to restrict immigration and how did they do that? Professor Buzzkill's new episode explains all!

Albert Einstein: “A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing.” Quote or No Quote?

Ah yes, Albert Einstein. Perhaps number 3 or number 4 on the all time mis-quoted list. No, he didn’t say that thing about the disappearance of bees, and the disappearance of bee pollination being the sign that animal life on the planet, especially humans, was doomed within four years. No, he didn’t say “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” And, as we’ve shown in an earlier episode of Quote or No Quote, he didn’t say “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” But people keep crediting [...]

The Nadir of African-American Life, 1865-1930

1865. The Civil War is over. Slavery has been abolished. The country is “reconstructing” itself. This should have meant that the lives of African-Americans improved during this period. But it didn’t. 1865-1930 is often called the “nadir of African-American life.” Not only did they gain very little economic or social benefit from the end of slavery, white Southerners built up a system of race oppression that still stains American consciousness. Listen as Professor Phil Nash explains it all! [/fusion_text]

Elizabeth Magie – Woman Crush Wednesday!

The board game Monopoly seems too complicated to have had one single inventor, right? Well, no. Elizabeth Magie invented it in the first few years of the 20th century, and called it The Landlords Game. But the original game was anti-landlord, and embodied many aspects of communitarianism. Find out about it, about Elizabeth Magie, and how it became “Monopoly” on this Woman Crush Wednesday! [/fusion_text]

U.S. Reconstruction

U.S. Reconstruction The Reconstruction period (1865-1877) after the Civil War was at least as complicated as the war itself. It’s also been fraught with different historian interpretations over the generations. Professor Phil Nash joins us to untangle what happened and put the strands back together to understand the history of the period and the people involved. [/fusion_text]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Eric Schlosser, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (2014).

Based on newly declassified archives and paced like a thriller, Command and Control catalogues a series of accidents and near misses, celebrates the heroic efforts of scientists, military planners and ordinary servicemen and women to avert disaster - and warns that our nuclear arsenals are by no means safe today.

Alston Purvis, The Vendetta: Special Agent Melvin Purvis, John Dillinger, and Hoover’s FBI in the Age of Gangsters (2009).

Alston Purvis recounts the story of his father, Melvin Purvis, the iconic G-man and public hero made famous by his remarkable sweep of the great Public Enemies of the American Depression.

Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812: a Forgotten Conflict (2012).

A myth-shattering study of the War of 1812 that will inform and entertain students, historians, and general readers alike.

Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II (2016).

Racism and war hysteria led to one of the darkest episodes in American history. But by recovering the past, Infamy has given voice to those who ultimately helped the nation better understand the true meaning of patriotism.

David Gerber, American Immigration (2011)

. A fascinating and even-handed historical account that puts the long history of calls for stronger immigration laws and the on-going debates over the place of immigrants in American society.

Buzzkill Book Shelf

Buzzkillers! Here are the books that we have featured on certain episodes. We highly recommend them!

American History, British History, and World History Myths Busted by Professor Buzzkill

Don’t forget to check-in every week for new history myths being busted.

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