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History Myths Buzzkilled

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 [...]

“May You Live in Interesting Times” – Quote or No Quote?

Are we cursed to be living in interesting times? Would a boring era be easier on the Buzzkill blood pressure? And is “may you live in interesting times” actually an old Chinese curse, or is the history of the saying more complicated? We take you from Chinese folks tales in 1627 to 20th century British politicians in this episode of Quote or No Quote, trying to track down who said what when. Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf: Feng Menglong, Stories to Awaken the World: A Ming Dynasty Collection, Volume 3, Shuhui Yang (Translator), Yunqin Yang (Translator) (2014). This [...]

Why Was World Was II So Bad?

All wars are bad. But why was World War II so extreme? Coming less than 20 years after World War I (the most extreme war up until that time), the Second World War’s death toll is _conservatively_ calculated at 60 million people. And some estimates are higher than that. Professor Phil Nash joins us to explain why the death and destruction were so severe, and to give us grim statistics on some overlooked facts. These include: the number of civilian deaths outweighing military deaths, and the number of Allied deaths far exceeding Axis deaths. If this episode doesn’t bring [...]

Henrietta Lacks – Woman Crush Wednesday!

You may think it odd that I’m about to give you a Woman Crush Wednesday episode on someone who’s had a best-selling book written about her, a highway in Maryland named after her, who is the subject of academic conferences and articles, who’s had a high school named in her honor, and has a small planet that bears her name. And perhaps most notable of all, in our media-obsessed age, a 2017 Oprah Winfrey film made about her story. After all, these Woman Crush Wednesday shows are usually about women from history who should be better known, whose lives [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

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.

Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game

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 lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins.

Ron Stallworth, Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime.

Black Klansman is an amazing true story that reads like a crime thriller, and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back. During the months-long investigation, detective Ron Stallworth sabotaged cross burnings, exposed white supremacists in the military, and even befriended David Duke himself.

James Reichley, The Life of the Parties: a History of American Political Parties.

This classic work traces the decline of political parties resulting in divided government and an ineffectual political process―but he also shows us what it will take to restore the party system and how it could work to revitalize our democracy. Citizens disillusioned by years of political disarray will find much to reflect upon in Reichley's monumental analysis of the lessons of party history and our contemporary political predicament.

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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