Cover image of Thomas Balcerski

Thomas Balcerski

6 Podcast Episodes

Latest 22 Jan 2022 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Episode artwork

Thomas Balcerski – Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King

History Author Show

October 18, 2021 – America’s only bachelor president has had whispers about his relationship with a certain vice president for almost two centuries. But were they more than friends, and why does the answer matter in 2021? Our time machine travels back to the pre-Civil War period, to delve into the personal lives of our 15th president, James Buchanan, and his roommate William Rufus King, the 13th vice president — a pair that has long been the target of snickering, insults — and more recently, of celebration. Our guide on this journey is a historian, not a gossip columnist. Thomas Balcerski and he brings us Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King. Tom is a presidential and political historian at Eastern Connecticut State University, as well as a contributor for CNN, NBC Connecticut, and Made by History, the Washington Post’s history blog. Find him on social media at Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Special thanks to presidential historian Louis Picone for submitting a video question for this interview. Louis has appeared on the History Author Show three times for his books Grant’s Tomb: The Epic Death of Ulysses S. Grant and the Making of an American Pantheon, as well as the bookenders Where the Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces and The President is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond.

1hr 3mins

18 Oct 2021

Episode artwork

136 C-SPAN's Presidential Historians Survey with Thomas Balcerski

The Age of Jackson Podcast

When C-SPAN conducted our first Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership in 2000, we worked with a team of nationally recognized historians to establish the survey's framework: Douglas Brinkley, Edna Greene Medford and Richard Norton Smith. They recommended the 10 qualities of presidential leadership and guided us on the survey's organization, execution and analysis of the results. While other advisers have joined for certain years, this core group has remained with us for each subsequent survey. In 2021, our fourth survey, we welcome the addition of Amity Shlaes. Our advisers' research and writing in American history span from the nation's founding to the late 20th century. For each survey cycle, our group of advisers assesses the leadership qualities, recommends additional participants and reviews the results tabulated by C-SPAN.

1hr 7mins

7 Aug 2021

Similar People

Episode artwork

15.A.) James Buchanan's life, legacy, and sexuality; an interview with Thomas Balcerski

[Abridged] Presidential Histories

Was James Buchanan secretly the nation's first gay president? Join me as I interview historian Thomas Balcerski, author of Bosom Friends, the intimate world of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, on the 150-year-old rumors about Buchanan's sexuality. We'll also dive into Buchanan's presidency and ask, what can we learn from a man widely considered one of the worst presidents we've ever had?Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/AbridgedPresidentialHistories)


1 Apr 2021

Episode artwork

This is William Rufus King w/ Thomas Balcerski - The Forgotten VP, His Role in The Compromise of 1850, His Relationship with James Buchanan and More

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

The 13th Vice President of the United States remains obscure. Where King's name does come up, it's often with the wrong picture. Or he's confused with Rufus King.  According to our guest, Thomas Balcerski, Associate Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut University, he should be in the discussion. Balcerski is author of Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King (Oxford University Press, 2019). We get into the Presidential Ratings Game too. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


18 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Episode artwork

Interview with Thomas Balcerski (Bosom Friends)

Presidencies of the United States

Year(s) Discussed: 1786-1868 Political partnerships are nothing new to American politics, but what happens when the domestic world and the political realm overlap? To examine that question and learn more about one of the most significant political partnerships in American history, I recently spoke with Thomas Balcerski, author of Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of … Continue reading Interview with Thomas Balcerski (Bosom Friends) →


12 Apr 2020

Episode artwork

"Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King" with Thomas Balcerski


In "Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King," Thomas J. Balcerski explores the lives of these two politicians and discovers one of the most significant collaborations in American political history. He traces the parallels in the men's personal and professional lives before elected office, including their failed romantic courtships and the stories they told about them. Unlikely companions from the start, they lived together as congressional messmates in a Washington, DC, boardinghouse and became close confidantes. Around the nation's capital, the men were mocked for their effeminacy and perhaps their sexuality, and they were likened to Siamese twins. Over time, their intimate friendship blossomed into a significant cross-sectional political partnership. Balcerski examines Buchanan's and King's contributions to the Jacksonian political agenda, manifest destiny, and the increasingly divisive debates over slavery, while contesting interpretations that the men lacked political principles and deserved blame for the breakdown of the union. He closely narrates each man's rise to national prominence, as William Rufus King was elected vice-president in 1852 and James Buchanan the nation's fifteenth president in 1856, despite the political gossip that circulated about them. Thomas J. Balcerski is an Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University. Description courtesy of Oxford University Press.


11 Nov 2019