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History Myths Buzzkilled

Border Walls in History: Why Were They Built? Did They Work?

Current events seem to happen so fast these days, and the topics change so quickly, that it’s difficult for a history show to do sufficient research on a topic before it is replaced by something else as the hot topic in our media-obsessed age that seems to have the attention span of a gnat. Thank goodness I’ve got squadrons of historians here at the Buzzkill Institute to do all the heavy-lifting, research-wise. The issue of a border wall between the United States and Mexico not only continues to be a controversial, the popular discussion of that issue has been partly taken up with myths and misunderstandings and misstatements of fact regarding famous walls in history. “The Great Wall of China kept out the Mongols,” [...]

Woman Crush Wednesday! Irene Gut Opdyke

Seeing a German soldier killing an infant in 1942 was a transformative moment for Irene Gut, a young Polish nurse. She dedicated the rest of her wartime life to rescuing and hiding Jews, despite the some of the most harrowing circumstances imaginable. Listen to Professor Nash explain the life of a woman who truly deserves to be called “Righteous Among the Nations.” --- Buzzkill Bookshelf Irene Gut Opdyke (with Jennifer Armstrong), In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer Irene Gut was just 17 in 1939, when the Germans and Russians devoured her native Poland. Just a girl, really. But a girl who saw evil and chose to defy it. Her memoir is one of the most gripping of all Holocaust-rescue stories, and gives [...]

Birthright Citizenship

A while ago, in the late 20th century, I was a junior year abroad student in Europe, doing my best to find some direction in life. It was an especially high and noisy time for American patriotism. And I remember distinctly one night in the college bar being asked by a fellow student, what, if anything, made me proud to be an American. “Birthright citizenship” jumped out my mouth before I knew it. Not something vague like “freedom” or “world leadership.” “Birthright citizenship,” the fact that anyone born in the United States or its territories was automatically a citizen. I can’t remember how my drinking companion replied, or how we talked about it, but I was reminded of my reaction to [...]

New Map of Empire in British North America

After the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War in 1763, British America stretched from Hudson Bay to the Florida Keys, from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River, and across new islands in the West Indies. To better rule these vast dominions, Britain set out to map its new territories with unprecedented rigor and precision. Max Edelson’s The New Map of Empire pictures the contested geography of the British Atlantic world and offers new explanations of the causes and consequences of Britain’s imperial ambitions in the generation before the American Revolution. Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf S. Max Edelson, The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence After the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War in [...]

1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking

Professor Sarah Milov explains the political and medical environments in which the 1964 US Surgeon General’s Report on dangers of smoking appeared in 1964. In addition to the medical and scientific concerns in producing the report, there were significant non-medical concerns and obstacles to overcome. One of the most significant of these was the political ways in which the Report was treated, both inside and outside the government. Listen and learn! Check out Professor Milov's book "The Cigarette: A Political History" here. ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (1964). On January 11, 1964, Luther L. Terry, M.D., Surgeon General of the United States, released Smoking and Health: Report of the [...]

Dorothy Parker “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come and sit here by me.” Quote or No Quote?

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come and sit here by me,” is one of the best snarky-isms ever uttered. But who said it? Dorothy Parker? Joan Crawford? Lady Buzzkill? Hear the full story and learn what in the world Teddy Roosevelt, Nellie Taft, and Thomas Dewey have to do with it all? Listen and learn! ---- Buzzkill Bookshelf “If You Don't have anything nice to say ... come sit with me.” Decorative Pillow.

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