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History Myths Buzzkilled

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 [...]

Benjamin Lay, Quakerism, and Anti-Slavery

We interview Professor Marcus Rediker about his new book, Benjamin Lay: The Quaker Dwarf Who Became the First Revolutionary Abolitionist. Benjamin Lay was one of the most famous anti-slavery protesters in colonial Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. He agitated against slavery and the slave trade in very unusual ways, and was eventually kicked out of his church, the Quakers, for his actions. He was also one of the pioneers of political boycotting of certain consumer goods. Professor Rediker tells the story of one of the most interesting men of the early 18th century, and learn why he deserves more [...]

WCW Alison Palmer

It's a Woman Crush Wednesday! Alison Palmer was a pioneer in gaining increased women's rights and human rights in the American State Department. While working there in the 1950s and 1960s, Palmer ran up against the glass ceiling when trying to advance in the civil service at the State Department. She found it almost impossible to become a foreign service officer, and was forced to remain in the clerical ranks until she sued the Department. She spent years in court, and wasn't fully vindicated until the mid-1970s. But the story's even more complicated than that. Listen and learn! ---- [...]

The Pentagon Papers

The Pentagon Papers Professor Phil Nash helps us explain the complicated and much-mythologized history of the Pentagon Papers, which is shorthand for the government-funded study of US involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. According to New York Times in 1996, the Pentagon Papers showed that the government had, "systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress." That secrecy and lying included hiding the expansion of US-led military action in south-east Asia to include Cambodia and Laos. Once leaked by Daniel Ellsberg and others, American newspapers, led by the New York Times, printed significant extracts from [...]

Computer Dating

Professor Marie Hicks joins us again, this time to discuss the yummy history of computer dating. Did it start with Operation Match at Harvard? Or was it a young entrepreneur in London? What were their reasons for thinking that computers could match people better than people could match people? And was the early history of computer dating as neat and clean as a computer punch card? Perhaps not! If you don't want Professor Buzzkill to fill in your profile for you, you'd better give this episode a listen!   --- Buzzkill Bookshelf   Joan Ball, Just Me (2014).   Joan [...]

Buzzkill Bookshelf

Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health (1964).

Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service On January 11, 1964, Luther L. Terry, M.D., Surgeon General of the United States, released Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee of the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. This was the first in the series that is now generally referred to as the Surgeon General’s reports.

“If You Don’t have Anything Nice to Say … ” Decorative Pillow.

A nice replica of Alice Roosevelt's throw pillow. Liven up your parties and literary salons with your wit!

Recapturing the Oval Office

Several generations of historians figuratively abandoned the Oval Office as the bastion of out-of-fashion stories of great men. And now, decades later, the historical analysis of the American presidency remains on the outskirts of historical scholarship, even as policy and political history have rebounded.

Andrew J. Huebner, Love and Death in the Great War (2018).

Tracks ideas of redemptive war across public and private spaces, policy and implementation, home and front, popular culture and personal correspondence. In beautifully rendered prose, Andrew J. Huebner merges untold stories of ordinary men and women with a history of wartime culture.

Max Brooks and Caanan White, The Harlem Hellfighters (2014).

From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters!

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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