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History Myths Buzzkilled

1919: a Year in the Life of the United States

1919 was one of the most tumultuous years in American history. Economic struggles, labor unrest, the Red Scare, anarchist bombings, and race riots plagued the country. 1919 saw the end of the Progressive Era, the beginning of anti-immigration laws, an attempt to “return to normalcy,” and the approach of the much-heralded “Roaring 20s.” But is 1919 so easily defined by the well-worn phrases? Professor Nash joins us to explain all! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Ann Hagedorn, Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 Written with the sweep of an epic novel and grounded in extensive research into contemporary documents, Savage Peace is a striking portrait of American democracy under stress. It is the surprising story of America in the year 1919.

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall seemed to define Cold War tension and opposition in stone. From 1961 to 1989 it divided East Berlin from West Berlin, and was the focal point of potential Soviet vs. US confrontation. But the history of why it was built and how the citizens of Berlin lived with it is rife with myth and misunderstanding. Professor Philip Nash joins us to explain it all. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Frederick Taylor, The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989 In the definitive history on the subject, Frederick Taylor weaves together official history, archival materials, and personal accounts to tell the complete story of the Wall's rise and fall. A physical manifestation of the struggle between Soviet Communism and American capitalism that stood for nearly thirty [...]

Harriet Tubman, “I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.” Quote or No Quote?

November 1st sees the release of the long-awaited film, “Harriet,” loosely based on the life and work of the famous abolitionist and civil rights pioneer, Harriet Tubman. Of course, Tubman is best known for her work with the Underground Railroad, the informal but extensive network of guides and safe-houses that helped conduct fugitive Southern slaves to freedom in the North, in Canada, and free territories. Advanced word has reached us here at the Buzzkill Institute that, like most films, “Harriet” mixes history and legend, myth and memory, and fact and fiction. We hope to bring you more shows on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, but for this Quote or No Quote episode, we’ve chosen the famous: “I freed thousands of slaves. I could have [...]

Teddy Roosevelt and American Sports

Professor Ryan Swanson explains the complex history of the relationship between President Theodore Roosevelt and the modernization of American sports culture. We learn about TR’s “tennis cabinet,” his fitness programs, and his role as the “invigorator in chief.” But we also learn about TR’s dislike of the rising professionalization of sports, and about the proper role of sports in American life. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Ryan Swanson, The Strenuous Life: Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of the American Athlete In full and intricate detail, featuring an amazing cast of characters from the worlds of politics, athletics, entertainment and more, this is the story of how President Theodore Roosevelt helped shepherd in an American sports and fitness revolution.

Winston Churchill: “An empty taxi pulled up and out stepped Clement Attlee” Quote or No Quote?

As many of you know, Lady Buzzkill can’t stand me. Sometimes I can’t blame her, though. Imagine what it must be like watching a history-based movie or TV series with me. I go ballistic at every false historical reference, and start yelling at the TV. Even I admit that it must get annoying. But I believe in my very soul that my outrage was morally-justified the other night. We were catching up on episodes of The Crown, the Netflix series that’s supposed to be about Queen Elizabeth II. In terms of allocated screen time, however, it’s practically wall-to-wall Churchill, with brief scenes of the young Queen thrown in, almost as an afterthought. It’s as if the series producers knew they could never sell a British [...]

The “First” Woman to Cast a Vote – Woman Crush Wednesday!

One woman was a scholar, who cast her vote 30 seconds after the polls opened in 1893, in the town of Fielding in New Zealand. One woman was described by her local newspaper as "a gentle white-haired housewife, Quakerish in appearance,” and cast her vote in 1870 in Laramie, Wyoming. One woman was a shop owner in the cotton-mill town of Chorlton-Upon-Medlock near Manchester, who voted in a special 1867 by-election for a Member of the British House of Commons. We seem to be obsessed with firsts. The first person on the moon. The first person to fly an airplane. The first person to accomplish any number of sporting feats. So who was the first woman to cast a vote? Here in the United States [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf


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