Examining Woodrow Wilson’s Presidency

By Professor Buzzkill / April 5, 2016 /

The curious case of Woodrow Wilson Professor Phil Nash joins us once again to bust US history myths. This time it’s about President Woodrow Wilson. How much of a progressive was he? What were his real attitudes towards race? How much idealism did he pump into his policies on foreign affairs? How effective was he…

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Grigori Rasputin: The Mad Monk

By Professor Buzzkill / March 31, 2016 /

The myth of the mad monk I love the Russian Revolutionary period in the early twentieth century, Buzzkillers. It’s one of those exciting and dramatic episodes of modern history that has everything: an out-of-touch and strange royal family, fiery politicians of various stripes trying to reform things, oppressed people rising up, and a mad, but…

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Chief Seattle’s Famous Speech

By Professor Buzzkill / March 29, 2016 /

Lost in translation “Quotations” from Chief Seattle (c.1786-1866), particularly those that have an ecological tone, appear on posters, photographs, and monuments. These “quotes” are used almost everywhere that people want to express the idea that Native Americans had natural wisdom about the land and that the tragedy is that it was taken away from them.…

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The Myth Surrounding “Amazing Grace”

By Professor Buzzkill / March 22, 2016 /

Did you know the author of “Amazing Grace” was once a slave trader? Amazing Grace, the hymn published by the Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725-1807) in 1779, is one of the most popular selections in Christian songbooks, and one of the most recognizable songs in the world. By one reasonably reliable account, it is sung…

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St. Patrick’s Day Myths

By Professor Buzzkill / March 17, 2016 /

Is St. Patrick’s Day more of an American tradition? What can possibly be wrong with St. Patrick’s Day? Not much, except that there’s very little historical basis behind stories about St. Patrick. And there’s certainly no historical basis for excess drinking, green beer, and the Chicago River turned green. Or is there? The Professor becomes…

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USS Indianapolis

By Professor Buzzkill / March 1, 2016 /

The story behind the ship, its crew and its captain Our episode on the Atomic Bomb has had a tremendous response! Buzzkillers from around the world have been emailing, Facebooking and Tweeting like crazy for the last week. We’ve heard from veterans, veterans’ families, scientists, and other historians. They’ve enlightened us with their own stories…

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“Washington Crossing the Delaware”

By Professor Buzzkill / February 25, 2016 /

“Americans will cross a frozen river to kill you in your sleep on Christmas.” -Unknown The painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1851) by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816-1868) is one of most iconic images in the American cultural consciousness. On Christmas night in 1776, the General, faced by a hostile and half-frozen Delaware river, mustered 13 men into…

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The Atomic Bombs

By Professor Buzzkill / February 23, 2016 /

Mic dropping bomb myths The development and use of the atomic bombs during World War II was one of the most controversial historical events of the 20th century. Should it have been used? What were the alternatives? Was it an immoral act? Myths run alongside these questions, Buzzkillers, and we can get close to good…

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The Many Myths about Rosa Parks

By Professor Buzzkill / May 12, 2015 /
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Jeanne Theoharis

“The Only Tired I was, was Tired of Giving In” The general story we’re all taught about Rosa Parks was that she was a meek and mild housewife who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in 1950s Alabama because she was just tired after a long day at work. She was…

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