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History Myths Buzzkilled

Recapturing the Oval Office

Professor Brian Balogh from the University of Virginia enlightens us about how historians have studied the US Presidency since the 1950s. It’s certainly had its ups and downs, and many historians abandoned the study of the presidency during the 1970s. Rather than just track the fall and rise of presidential history, Professor Balogh explains that the widening of historical fields will “bring the presidency back in” to mainstream historical study. Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman (eds.), Recapturing the Oval Office: New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency (2015). Several generations of historians figuratively [...]

Love and Death in the Great War

Professor Andrew Huebner joins us to discuss his fascinating new examination of the what World War I meant for Americans. Was it to “make the world safe for democracy” or was it for home and family. Find out! ---- Andrew J. Huebner, Love and Death in the Great War (2018). Americans today harbor no strong or consistent collective memory of the First World War. Ask why the country fought or what they accomplished, and "democracy" is the most likely if vague response. The circulation of confusing or lofty rationales for intervention began as soon as President Woodrow Wilson secured [...]

Henry Johnson – Man Crush Monday!!

William Henry Johnson eventually became one of the most decorated soldiers in World War I. His medals and military decorations came only eventually, however. He acted bravely and heroically in the Argonne Forest in May, 1918, killing multiple German soldiers and saving an American comrade, all the while being heavily wounded himself. The French military awarded him the Croix de Guerre, their highest honor. Johnson’s heroism was not recognized by the American military and American government until much later. Find out how much later, and why there was such a delay, listen to this Man Crush Monday episode! ---- [...]

How Did World War I End?

Did World War I end with a bang or a whimper? Prof Phil Nash joins us to discuss the complicated road to the armistice of November 11, 1918. A dozen countries were involved, the Russian Revolution intervened, and the US military provided fresh troops for the Triple Entente of Britain, France, and Russia. And the German alliance gradually fell apart. But there’s so much more than that! Listen and learn. ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Paul Kendall, Armistice 1918: Voices From The Past (2017). At 11.00 hours on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent across the battlefields of Europe. After [...]

Martin Niemöller, “First They Came…” – Quote or No Quote?

Usually, on these Quote or No Quote episodes, we analyze things attributed to famous people that they didn’t say at all. Sometimes there are famous quotes that have been mangled, changed, or so greatly taken out of historical context that they might as well be considered misquotes. And occasionally, we talk about quotes that are genuine, but whose background illuminates a great deal more about the quote author, and the times in which they lived, than is usually realized. Today I’d like to talk about a quote, a kind of poem, that has become very famous since the end [...]

Hate Crimes in US History

One of the things that makes the recent hate crimes in the United States so shocking and outrageous is that they seem to go against the grain of American life. They’re out of character, and un-American. But, if I can paraphrase what one fellow historians, David Silkenat, said recently, “The citizen in me hates what is happening in America now. The historian in me knows that this has always happened in America.” In the wake of everything that happened last week, several of you have asked me about the history of hate crimes in the United States, and if [...]

Did Teddy Roosevelt Save American Football?

In the wake of over a dozen football-related deaths in 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in, and threatened football leaders that if they didn’t make the game safer, he’d ban it. They implemented reforms, and Rough Rider Teddy gets the credit for saving American football from itself. But is that what happened, or is it far more complicated and historically interesting than that? In today’s show, let’s explore how the American style of football started and developed, why it was so violent, and why it was reformed in the early 20th century. It only takes a cursory look at [...]

Woman Crush Wednesday! Maria Bochkareva

It’s a Woman Crush Wednesday! Maria Bochkareva’s life reflects almost all of the tumultuous period of the Russian Revolution (1917-1922). During World War I, she fought, and eventually led, the “1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death.” She then connected with the White forces in the Russian Civil War, did diplomatic work for them in the US and Britain, and returned to Russia to fight in 1918. Professor Nash joins us to discuss her fascinating career! --- Maria Botchkareva, Yashka: My Life as a Peasant, Exile and Soldier; A Biography and History of Russia in WW1, and the Bolshevik Revolution [...]

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 [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Recapturing the Oval Office

Several generations of historians figuratively abandoned the Oval Office as the bastion of out-of-fashion stories of great men. And now, decades later, the historical analysis of the American presidency remains on the outskirts of historical scholarship, even as policy and political history have rebounded.

Andrew J. Huebner, Love and Death in the Great War (2018).

Tracks ideas of redemptive war across public and private spaces, policy and implementation, home and front, popular culture and personal correspondence. In beautifully rendered prose, Andrew J. Huebner merges untold stories of ordinary men and women with a history of wartime culture.

Max Brooks and Caanan White, The Harlem Hellfighters (2014).

From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters!

Paul Kendall, Armistice 1918: Voices From The Past (2017).

The story of the efforts to bring the war to a conclusion, and those final days and hours of the First World War, are told in the words of the politicians, soldiers and newspaper columnists who were there at the time.

Matthew D Hockenos, Then They Came for Me: Martin Niemöller, the Pastor Who Defied the Nazis (2018).

A nuanced portrait of courage in the face of evil, Then They Came for Me puts the question to us today: What would I have done?

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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