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History Myths Buzzkilled

Immigration to the United States

The history of immigration to the United States is very complicated, Buzzkillers! Millions of people came from all over the world to the United States, and there are almost as many myths about immigration as there were immigrants. What did it mean to come to the United States "legally" during the high points of the history of immigration to the United States? When did the government try to restrict immigration and how did they do that? Professor Buzzkill's new episode explains all!

Albert Einstein: “A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing.” Quote or No Quote?

Ah yes, Albert Einstein. Perhaps number 3 or number 4 on the all time mis-quoted list. No, he didn’t say that thing about the disappearance of bees, and the disappearance of bee pollination being the sign that animal life on the planet, especially humans, was doomed within four years. No, he didn’t say “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” And, as we’ve shown in an earlier episode of Quote or No Quote, he didn’t say “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” But people keep crediting [...]

The Nadir of African-American Life, 1865-1930

1865. The Civil War is over. Slavery has been abolished. The country is “reconstructing” itself. This should have meant that the lives of African-Americans improved during this period. But it didn’t. 1865-1930 is often called the “nadir of African-American life.” Not only did they gain very little economic or social benefit from the end of slavery, white Southerners built up a system of race oppression that still stains American consciousness. Listen as Professor Phil Nash explains it all! [/fusion_text]

Elizabeth Magie – Woman Crush Wednesday!

The board game Monopoly seems too complicated to have had one single inventor, right? Well, no. Elizabeth Magie invented it in the first few years of the 20th century, and called it The Landlords Game. But the original game was anti-landlord, and embodied many aspects of communitarianism. Find out about it, about Elizabeth Magie, and how it became “Monopoly” on this Woman Crush Wednesday! [/fusion_text]

U.S. Reconstruction

U.S. Reconstruction The Reconstruction period (1865-1877) after the Civil War was at least as complicated as the war itself. It’s also been fraught with different historian interpretations over the generations. Professor Phil Nash joins us to untangle what happened and put the strands back together to understand the history of the period and the people involved. [/fusion_text]

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 [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

David Gerber, American Immigration (2011)

. A fascinating and even-handed historical account that puts the long history of calls for stronger immigration laws and the on-going debates over the place of immigrants in American society.

Alexander Pope, The Major Works (2009).

This edition represents the single most comprehensive anthology of Pope's works. The Duncaid, The Rape of the Lock, and Imitations of Horace are presented in full, together with a characteristic sample of Pope's prose, including satires, pamphlets, and periodical writing.

James Allen, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (2000).

Lynching images are some of photography's most brutal, surviving to this day so that we may now look back on the terrorism unleashed on America's African-American community and perhaps know our history and ourselves better. The almost one hundred images reproduced here are a testament to the camera's ability to make us remember what we often choose to forget.

Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game (2017).

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.

Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction (2015).

This masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history remains the standard work on the wrenching post-Civil War period—an era whose legacy still reverberates in the United States today.

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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