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History Myths Buzzkilled

Man Crush Monday – Tommy Flowers

June 5th, 1944. An undisclosed location in southern England. The planned Allied invasion of Normandy has been delayed by weather, and by concerns over German troop deployments on the northern French coast. A grumpy American general is weighing all the options. A courier rushes in and hands him an urgent notification of a decrypted German message. The general reads it, and pauses while the surety of his decision comes over his face. He turns to his officers and says, “we go tomorrow.” Dramatic enough for you? Well, you’ve probably guessed that the General was Dwight D. Eisenhower, making the [...]

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is nearly here. The holiday has a fascinating history of its own, but the ways people have thought about the origins and history of Mother’s Day provides us a great opportunity here at the Buzzkill Institute to talk about the complications of history and memory. But it also gives us the chance to show how the history of Mother's Day is closely tied up with such important 19th and 20th century historical issues such as: the American Civil War; international campaigns for disarmament; and peace movements from the late 1860s to the 1920s. And I hope you’ll [...]

Otto von Bismark, “Laws are like sausages. It’s is best not to see them being made.” Quote or No Quote?

Politics is a messy business, even in the best of times, and especially in the worst of times. Many people console themselves with this reality by quoting Otto von Bismarck, the 19th century Prussian politician who, among other things, was the the first Chancellor of the German Empire (from 1871 to 1890). He was also a strong believer in realpolitik, the idea that realism and practicalities should outweigh ideology and emotion in political decisions. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he often quoted as saying, “Laws are like sausages. It is best not to see them being made.” The analysis [...]

Americans Bailing Out the French

Did the United States really “bail the French out in two world wars,” or is it a blustering, bigoted myth? Professor Phil Nash joins us to discuss what actually happened in World Wars I and II, and whether the United States was “bailing out” the French or repaying a major debt from the American Revolution. Join us as we discuss all the issues. Lafayette, the Buzzkillers are here! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (2016). The remarkable untold story of how the American Revolution's [...]

Edith Hamilton Woman Crush Wednesday!

Alice Hamilton was a pioneer in occupational medicine and industrial toxicology. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that she was the most important person in helping to make the American workplace safer. She also campaigned for women’s rights, social and economic reform, and international peace. There are very few people who need more historical fame and glory than Dr. Alice Hamilton. Listen and be inspired! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Alice Hamilton M.D., Exploring the Dangerous Trades: the Autobiography of Alice Hamilton (1943). Alice Hamilton’s memoir’s gives a direct and personal view of the difficulties in finding the effects of [...]

Robert Kennedy’s 1968 Speech about Martin Luther King

Historian Ray Boomhower joins us to analyze the famous speech given by RFK in Indianapolis, on hearing about the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. It’s one of the most famous and touching speeches in modern American history, and is usually credited with keeping Indianapolis calm in the wake of that horrible tragedy. We talk about the background to the speech, what else contributed to Indianapolis’ peaceful reaction to what happened, and what part it played in the race for the 1968 Democratic Presidential Nomination. Listen and be inspired. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Ray Boomhower, Robert F. Kennedy and [...]

The Unknown Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King did so much more for American society, and wanted so much more from the US government and US elite, than most people realize. Popular history has airbrushed out far too much about his life and work. Professor Phil Nash reminds us of the importance of King’s work, especially during the forgotten period between his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech and his assassination in 1968. Listen and learn. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cornel West, The Radical King (2016).

MCM Robert Sherrod

Reporters and photographers rarely get discussed on this show. And that’s a pity because, in one way at least, reporters and photographers help provide a lot of the original material that historians use to study events and try to build up as full a picture as possible about the past. But one of the great dangers in relying too much on journalistic evidence in writing history is forgetting that those pieces of reportage were usually produced with a specific audience in mind — readers and consumers of news. In times of war, accurate news usually has to be cleared [...]

Civil War Medicine

We usually hear that surgery and medical treatment during the Civil War was backward butchery. But was it? Historian Nic Hoffman from Kennesaw State University tells us how complicated it really was. We discuss: medical care before the war; the shock of Civil War carnage and how medics initially reacted; and changes in medical treatment and surgery because of the War. Listen and learn! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2009). In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death in the Civil War changed [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Jack Copeland, Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers (2006).

Colossus: The secrets of Bletchley Park's code-breaking computers A must read for anyone curious about code-breaking or World War II espionage, Colossus offers a fascinating insider's account of the world's first giant computer.

Poetical Works of John Godfrey Saxe (Classic Reprint, 2018).

A collection of Saxe’s poems, including “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” Saxe was one of America’s most widely-read and quoted poet of the 19th century. This volume helps bring his talent back to light.

Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It (2017).

The remarkable story of how the American Revolution's success depended on substantial military assistance provided by France and Spain, and places the Revolution in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England.

Alice Hamilton M.D., Exploring the Dangerous Trades: the Autobiography of Alice Hamilton (1943).

Alice Hamilton’s memoir gives a direct and personal view of the difficulties in finding the effects of industrial toxic materials on workers’ health. One of the most important public health officials of the 20th century, Dr. Hamilton’s work saved thousands of lives and prevented even more cases of disease.

The Radical King (2016)

Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became perhaps the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than forty years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was. This revealing collection shows that Dr. King was every bit as radical as Malcolm X.

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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