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History Myths Buzzkilled

Nixon’s 1968 October Surprise

Richard Nixon was already known as “Tricky Dick” long before the Presidential Election of 1968. But would he do anything so tricky as to negotiate with a foreign country against American interests in order to get elected? Professor Nash comes to the Buzzkill Bunker to explain all the shenanigans of the 1968 election, and whether the Nixon and his team crafted an October Surprise to win in November. This story is full of intrigue, drama, and dread. Listen in! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: John A. Farrell, Richard Nixon: The Life (2018). From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of [...]

The 1968 Presidential Election

1968 was a dramatic, upsetting, and confusing year in many parts of the world. The American Presidential Election was equally strange and unusual. Protests, riots, assassinations, major political parties in turmoil, and a segregationist third party candidate. All in the shadow of the Vietnam War. No election before or since has been so tumultuous. How did the country survive? Professor Phil Nash explains it all in this episode! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President: The Classical Account of the Packaging of a Candidate What makes you cast your ballot? A Presidential candidate or a good [...]

Gandhi: “An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind” – Quote or No Quote?

Did Gandhi say “and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”? If he didn’t, where did it come from? The Bible? The Canadian House of Commons? Movie script writers? And is there something more significant in how this phrase has come down to us as an essential Gandhi-ism? Listen and learn with your eyes open, Buzzkillers! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Louis Fischer, Life of Mahatma Gandhi. Fischer was an American journalist who knew Gandhi well and understood his unique strategy of satyagraha, or passive resistance, which earned him the admiration of millions throughout the world. This was one [...]

Traveling While Black: Guides to African American Motoring

20th century automobile travel was supposed to represent freedom, but what else did it represent? Professor Cotten Siler joins us to discuss the difficulties and hazards of traveling in the United States faced by African-American motorists in the 20th Century, especially during the height of segregation and Jim Crow. Specifically, we learn how important guides like the Negro Motorist Green Book and the popular Travelguide: Vacation and Recreation Without Humiliation were to the reality of “travelling while black.” --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Cotten Seiler, Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America How did automobile use become so [...]

Ada Lovelace – Woman Crush Wednesday!

As Lady Buzzkill and I can tell you, it’s tough to be born to wealth and privilege. The constant socializing, serving on the boards of charities and non-profits, being invited to an endless number of weddings and events by everybody who’s anybody, and on and on. In the face of these massive temptations to live the easy life of privilege, it takes a stainless steel backbone and a stupendous sense of civic responsibility to do the kind of humanitarian work we do here at the Buzzkill Institute. Our Woman Crush Wednesday this week overcame the same sorts of pressures [...]

The Monopolists and the History of Monopoly

Journalist Mary Pilon joins us to discuss the history of the game Monopoly and its wonderful twitsts, turns, complications, and lawsuits! It all starts during The Depression and doesn't stop until the 21st Century! Make sure to listen, and tell a playing partner about the show!! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game (2016). The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's [...]

Man Crush Monday! Ron Stallworth, First African-American KKK Member

Something arrived in the mail the other day that reminded me of a party I went to in LA five or six years ago. It may have been Hollywood, or it may have been Santa Monica (I can’t remember). Lady Buzzkill and I were out there, socializing with our west coast set (you know, the George Clooney crowd) when I heard a shout from across the room. “Prof!,” came the shout, “Prof baby!” I looked over my martini and who was it but my old Buzzkill buddy, Spike Lee. Hadn’t seen him for a few years, but, as Lady [...]

U.S. Political Parties

I got so sick of idiots posting completely ahistorical things about American Political Parties on Twitter and Facebook, that I called Professor Nash in for an emergency episode. We were able to diagnose the interpretative problems, stop the bleeding, and heal the wound. We explain why political parties have had the same name, but totally different attitudes and policies over the centuries of US history. This episode is necessary listening for the elections coming up this year! Listen and be enlightened! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf James Reichley, The Life of the Parties (2000). This classic work traces the decline of [...]

Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army

Professor Colin Woodward joins us to discuss the importance of slavery in the minds of Confederate soldiers, as well as its effects on military policy and decision making. He tells us about the Rebels’ persistent belief in the need to defend slavery and deploy it militarily as the war raged on. Slavery proved essential to the Confederate war machine, and Rebels strove to protect it just as they did Southern cities, towns, and railroads. Listen and learn, Buzzkillers! ---- Colin Woodward, Marching Masters: Slavery, Race, and the Confederate Army during the Civil War (2014). In Marching Masters Colin Woodward [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

John A. Farrell, Richard Nixon: The Life

Richard Nixon: The Life From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. We live today, John A. Farrell shows, in a world Richard Nixon made.

Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President: The Classic Account of the Packaging of a Candidate

The Selling of the President: The Classic Account of the Packaging of a Candidate The Selling of the President is the enduring story of the 1968 campaign that wrote the script for modern Presidential politicking—and how that script came to be.

Louis Fischer, Life of Mahatma Gandhi

Life of Mahatma Gandhi Fischer was an American journalist who knew Gandhi well and understood his unique strategy of satyagraha, or passive resistance, which earned him the admiration of millions throughout the world. This was one of the most influential biographies of the Twentieth Century.

Cotten Seiler, Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America

Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America How did automobile use become so vital to the identity of Americans? Republic of Drivers looks back at the period between 1895 and 1961, from the founding of the first automobile factory in America to the creation of the Interstate Highway System, to find out how driving evolved into a crucial symbol of freedom and agency

Sydney Padua, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer.

Presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime—for the sake of both London and science.

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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