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History Myths Buzzkilled

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 [...]

Edith Hamilton Woman Crush Wednesday!

Alice Hamilton was a pioneer in occupational medicine and industrial toxicology. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that she was the most important person in helping to make the American workplace safer. She also campaigned for women’s rights, social and economic reform, and international peace. There are very few people who need more historical fame and glory than Dr. Alice Hamilton. Listen and be inspired! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Alice Hamilton M.D., Exploring the Dangerous Trades: the Autobiography of Alice Hamilton (1943). Alice Hamilton’s memoir’s gives a direct and personal view of the difficulties in finding the effects of [...]

Robert Kennedy’s 1968 Speech about Martin Luther King

Historian Ray Boomhower joins us to analyze the famous speech given by RFK in Indianapolis, on hearing about the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. It’s one of the most famous and touching speeches in modern American history, and is usually credited with keeping Indianapolis calm in the wake of that horrible tragedy. We talk about the background to the speech, what else contributed to Indianapolis’ peaceful reaction to what happened, and what part it played in the race for the 1968 Democratic Presidential Nomination. Listen and be inspired. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Ray Boomhower, Robert F. Kennedy and [...]

The Unknown Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King did so much more for American society, and wanted so much more from the US government and US elite, than most people realize. Popular history has airbrushed out far too much about his life and work. Professor Phil Nash reminds us of the importance of King’s work, especially during the forgotten period between his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech and his assassination in 1968. Listen and learn. --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cornel West, The Radical King (2016).

MCM Robert Sherrod

Reporters and photographers rarely get discussed on this show. And that’s a pity because, in one way at least, reporters and photographers help provide a lot of the original material that historians use to study events and try to build up as full a picture as possible about the past. But one of the great dangers in relying too much on journalistic evidence in writing history is forgetting that those pieces of reportage were usually produced with a specific audience in mind — readers and consumers of news. In times of war, accurate news usually has to be cleared [...]

Civil War Medicine

We usually hear that surgery and medical treatment during the Civil War was backward butchery. But was it? Historian Nic Hoffman from Kennesaw State University tells us how complicated it really was. We discuss: medical care before the war; the shock of Civil War carnage and how medics initially reacted; and changes in medical treatment and surgery because of the War. Listen and learn! --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2009). In This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death in the Civil War changed [...]

Churchill, “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.” Quote or No Quote?

With the popular film, The Darkest Hour, getting even more attention now because Gary Oldman won the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill, I have even more reason than usual to point out bogus Churchill quotes. But I thought I'd talk about something that Churchill actually said, and that was a well-known saying in his day, to show how certain phrases that were certainly commonplace in the late 19th century and early 20th century, have been Churchill-ized by people after World War II. On the 13th of May 1940, Churchill gave first speech to the [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

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?

Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson, Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America (2004).

The mother of Emmett Till recounts the story of her life, her son’s tragic death, and the dawn of the civil rights movement—with a foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

John Sayle Watterson, College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy (2002).

Shows how college football in more than one hundred years has evolved from a simple game played by college students into a lucrative, semi-professional enterprise. With a historian's grasp of the context and a novelist's eye for the telling detail, Watterson presents a compelling portrait rich in anecdotes, colorful personalities, and troubling patterns.

Yashka: My Life as a Peasant, Exile and Soldier; A Biography and History of Russia in WW1, and the Bolshevik Revolution

Yashka is the autobiography of Maria Botchkareva, a young Russian woman who bravely took up arms first against the Germans in World War One, and then opposed the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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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