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 the history of American football to raise questions about the history of serious and deadly injury in America’s favorite sport. Native Americans played all sorts [...]
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 (2018) Yashka is the autobiography of Maria Botchkareva, a young Russian woman who bravely took up arms first against the Germans in World War One, [...]
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 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 [...]
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 campaign? How he stands on the issues or how he stands up to the camera? The Selling of the President is the enduring story of [...]
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 of the most influential biographies of the Twentieth Century.
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 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 [...]