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History in Five Minutes Podcast

History. Only Not Boring.

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HFM 155 | Why Did British Men Wear Powdered Wigs in the 1700s?

You’ve seen the look in historical dramas. You laughed at the foppish dandies that appear on Masterpiece Theater. In grade school you sneered at pictures of King George with his powdered wig, adjusting it ever so slightly while drinking a cup of tea with his pinky finger extended, wondering how he further extort colonists with new taxes. You didn’t know that we call important people “bigwig” due to the aristocracy tradition of fancy wigs. But where does the powdered wig come from? Why was such a peculiar look the sign of nobility in England during the 1500s-1700s? It all has to do with syphilis, head lice, the shame of male-pattern baldness, and the fashion tastes of Louis XIV. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible life of this fascinating man — one of the greatest leaders and statesmen of our time: Winston Churchill. You can get exclusive access to this new free online course studying the life of Churchill by going to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and signing up today. Almost a million people have taken Hillsdale’s renowned courses like Constitution 101,  American Heritage. As a history fan, you won’t want to miss this one. Get exclusive access to Hillsdale College’s new course on Winston Churchill right now. Go to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and sign up today.

7mins

29 Sep 2016

Rank #1

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HFM 127 | Damascus Steel: The Medieval Blade That We Still Can’t Top Today

Damascus swords, which were generally made in the Middle East anywhere from 540 A.D. to 1800 A.D., were sharper, more flexible and harder/stronger than other contemporary blades. According to legend, the blades can cut a piece of silk in half as it falls to the ground and maintain their edge after cleaving through stone, metal, or even other swords. However nobody knew exactly how it had been produced, and the last Damascus Steel had been produced in the early 1800s. How was the technology lost? This podcast is brought to you by Harry’s. Harry’s is an awesome and wonderfully disruptive razor company. It was started by two guys who wanted to create the most debonair shaving experience possible but at the best price. They bough a blade factory in German that has crafted some of the world’s highest quality blades for nearly a century. They cut out the middle man and offer an amazing shave and meticulous craftsmanship at less than half the price of a pack of Gillettes. I can personally vouch that using it is amazing. When using it, I feel like I am about to put on a tux and go gambling in Monte Carlo. Go to harrys.com, where you can get a starter set for only $15. That includes the razor, 3 blades and your choice of Harry’s shave cream or foam shaving gel. If you use my coupon code h5m, you will get another $5 off. That’s a month of a premium shave experience for $10, thanks to their free shipping policy. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

7mins

26 Oct 2015

Rank #2

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HFM 021 | Common Knowledge About Medieval History that is Incorrect, Part 1: With Tim O’Neill

Today special guest Tim O’Neill,  medievalist and Quora’s resident historian, explains that no educated person thought the earth was flat in the Middle Ages in the first of a three-part series on common knowledge about medieval history that is incorrect. If you would like to see Tim’s book review website Armarium Magnum, you can check it out by clicking here.  Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 21 (PDF)

8mins

1 Jul 2013

Rank #3

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HFM 154 | German POWs in the U.S. During World War II

Did you know that over 400,000 German POWs were settled in the United States during World War II? Did you know that they may have built some of the stone buildings that make up your town square? Or that they were responsible for bringing in America’s harvest in the fall of 1945 when most men were still off to war? Learn about this fascinating but understudied part of America’s history. Check out this episode of Radiolab to learn more about “Nazi Summer Camp.” WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible life of this fascinating man — one of the greatest leaders and statesmen of our time: Winston Churchill. You can get exclusive access to this new free online course studying the life of Churchill by going to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and signing up today. Almost a million people have taken Hillsdale’s renowned courses like Constitution 101,  American Heritage. As a history fan, you won’t want to miss this one. Get exclusive access to Hillsdale College’s new course on Winston Churchill right now. Go to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and sign up today.

11mins

21 Sep 2016

Rank #4

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HFM 123 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 6: Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the inspiration for Tony Stark. The 43-year-old native South African is also CEO of SpaceX, the first private rocket company able to send payloads to the International Space Station. On top of that he is the CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, which has produced a line of electric cars since 2008. Despite the cars running six figures, there is a months-long waiting list. He sells thousands of its Model S sedans per month and claims Tesla will sell a few million cars by 2025. If so, Musk will fulfill the dream of making electric cars a mass-market reality, which other car makers have failed to accomplish for over a century.  Learn how he does what he does in this podcast. Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here.  Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

10mins

25 May 2015

Rank #5

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HFM 128 | Europeans in the Far East Before Marco Polo

Marco Polo is the most famous European explorer to the Far East, but he definitely wasn’t the first. His father and uncle came there years before. And they found a small colony of Europeans who lived permanently in China. Perhaps the most famous pre-Polo European in the Far East is William of Rubruck. This plucky monk did his best to convert the Great Khan to Christianity. He made his effort by debating Muslims and Buddhists as to which religion was the true one. See how that turns out in this week’s episode. This podcast is brought to you by Harry’s. Harry’s is an awesome and wonderfully disruptive razor company. It was started by two guys who wanted to create the most debonair shaving experience possible but at the best price. They bough a blade factory in German that has crafted some of the world’s highest quality blades for nearly a century. They cut out the middle man and offer an amazing shave and meticulous craftsmanship at less than half the price of a pack of Gillettes. I can personally vouch that using it is amazing. When using it, I feel like I am about to put on a tux and go gambling in Monte Carlo. Go to harrys.com, where you can get a starter set for only $15. That includes the razor, 3 blades and your choice of Harry’s shave cream or foam shaving gel. If you use my coupon code h5m, you will get another $5 off. That’s a month of a premium shave experience for $10, thanks to their free shipping policy. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

8mins

2 Nov 2015

Rank #6

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HFM 036 | Why Russian Revolutions of the 17th and 18th Century Were the Cause of the USSR – With Mark Schauss of the Russian Rulers History Podcast

What caused the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917? Was it the result of a few days of rioting getting out of control? Or is there a much deeper reason? Today we have Mark Schauss of the Russian Rulers History Podcast to discuss this question. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 36 (PDF)

12mins

7 Oct 2013

Rank #7

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HFM 143 | Why The Fall of Rome is Centuries Later Than You Think

Rome didn’t fall in 476 when Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. Nor did it fall in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople. Depending on how you define ‘Rome,’ it didn’t fall until the Napoleonic Wars. Or the end of hostilities following World War I. If you visit Turkey, you might meet somebody who still calls himself a Roman. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible life of this fascinating man — one of the greatest leaders and statesmen of our time: Winston Churchill. You can get exclusive access to this new free online course studying the life of Churchill by going to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and signing up today. Almost a million people have taken Hillsdale’s renowned courses like Constitution 101,  American Heritage. As a history fan, you won’t want to miss this one. Get exclusive access to Hillsdale College’s new course on Winston Churchill right now. Go to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and sign up today.

6mins

18 Jul 2016

Rank #8

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HFM 003 | The Five People with the Most Descendants Ever

In this  episode of the History in Five Minutes Podcast, we look into the lives of the people with the most descendants every. In five minutes we look into the lives of Charlemagne  Abraham, and one person that I guarantee you are related to. Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript for Episode 3 (PDF)

5mins

10 Oct 2012

Rank #9

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HFM 129 | The Step-by-Step Guide to Building a 13th-Century French Castle

In a remote forest clearing in Burgundy, France, a 13th-century castle is slowly being constructed using only the tools, techniques, and materials that would have been available to the builders of the day. It’s archaeology in reverse. What started out as an eccentric pipe dream is now an established enterprise, drawing in tens of thousands of visitors from around Europe every year. Learn what it took to build a castle in 13th-century France in this podcast episode. If you want to learn first-hand, go to Burgundy and check it out! This podcast is brought to you by Harry’s. Harry’s is an awesome and wonderfully disruptive razor company. It was started by two guys who wanted to create the most debonair shaving experience possible but at the best price. They bough a blade factory in German that has crafted some of the world’s highest quality blades for nearly a century. They cut out the middle man and offer an amazing shave and meticulous craftsmanship at less than half the price of a pack of Gillettes. I can personally vouch that using it is amazing. When using it, I feel like I am about to put on a tux and go gambling in Monte Carlo. Go to harrys.com, where you can get a starter set for only $15. That includes the razor, 3 blades and your choice of Harry’s shave cream or foam shaving gel. If you use my coupon code h5m, you will get another $5 off. That’s a month of a premium shave experience for $10, thanks to their free shipping policy. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

7mins

16 Nov 2015

Rank #10

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HFM 147 | The Real Story of the Scopes Monkey Trial

If you’ve seen the 1960 Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind, you know about the Scopes Monkey Trial. In this real-life 1925 case, John Scopes was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The case became an enormous media sensation. It was reported on like a boxing match, science vs. fundamentalism. But oddly enough, Scopes was not originally brought to trial by any fundamentalists. The trial was deliberately staged to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held. Scopes was unsure whether he had ever actually taught evolution, but he purposely incriminated himself so that the case could have a defendant. Learn how the Scopes Monkey Trial was at its core a small town’s attempt at a publicity stunt that took on a life of its own. WANT FREE ACCESS TO AN ONLINE COURSE ABOUT WINSTON CHURCHILL? READ BELOW This episode is brought to you by Hillsdale College. They would like to invite you to learn more about the incredible life of this fascinating man — one of the greatest leaders and statesmen of our time: Winston Churchill. You can get exclusive access to this new free online course studying the life of Churchill by going to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and signing up today. Almost a million people have taken Hillsdale’s renowned courses like Constitution 101,  American Heritage. As a history fan, you won’t want to miss this one. Get exclusive access to Hillsdale College’s new course on Winston Churchill right now. Go to Hillsdale.edu/h5m and sign up today.

7mins

15 Aug 2016

Rank #11

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HFM 071 | What Archeology Tells us about Old Testament Jericho

And the walls came tumbling down! Or did they? Today we step into the world of archeology and look at the evidence for and against the Biblical account of Israel’s conquest of the city of Jericho. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

7mins

26 May 2014

Rank #12

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HFM 052 | The Norman Invasion of 1066: Why England Took 400 Years to Assimilate its Own Kings

When the Normans invaded England in 1066, they did not assimilate into the culture quickly. In fact, becoming fluent in the language took the kings and aristocracy nearly 400 years! What kept them so stuck in their old customs, and what caused them to finally learn English? Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 52 (PDF)

8mins

13 Jan 2014

Rank #13

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HFM 055 | Dark Ages in History, Part 1: 1177 B.C. and the Late Bronze Age Collapse

Did you know there was a Dark Ages before the Dark Ages? There was such an event in 1177 BC, and it was so monumental that it inspired Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes Click here to check out Eric Cline’s book “1177: The Year Civilization Collapsed” TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 55 (PDF)

8mins

3 Feb 2014

Rank #14

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HFM 004 | The Three Most Insane Rulers in History

In this  episode of the History in Five Minutes Podcast, we look at the exploits of the three most insane rulers in history: Ottoman Sultan Ibrahim I, Emperor Caligula, and Turkmenbashi, the former president of Turkmenistan. They are exchange unique snowflakes of craziness, and we will look into their particular exploits. Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript for Episode 4 (PDF)

6mins

15 Oct 2012

Rank #15

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HFM 033 | Alexander the Great, Part 1: Myths about Alexander’s Life

It’s almost impossible to separate Alexander the man from Alexander the myth, but we’ll give it a try. Was he really tutored by Aristotle and cut a knot in half with his sword? Yes. Did he impregnate 300 Amazonian woman to create a master race? Hopefully not. Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 33 (PDF)

8mins

16 Sep 2013

Rank #16

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HFM 079 – History’s Greatest Spies, Part 4: Nancy Wake (1912-2011): The “White Mouse” of the French Resistance

Nancy Wake was a World War II spy and saboteur who operated behind enemy lines to organize the French Resistance, helping soldiers and escaped prisoners flee the country. She was a high-society hostess-turned-decorated-war hero who led a guerrilla army of seven thousand men, blew up German supply depots and even killed a man with her bare hands. German intelligence dubbed her the “White Mouse” for her ability to elude capture. She may have looked like a Hollywood starlet, but between 1940 and 1943 she saved the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers. Wake was the most decorated woman in World War II.  Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

21 Jul 2014

Rank #17

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HFM 121 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 4: Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt won the presidency twice, was the first American to earn a belt in judo, hunted, wrote numerous books, and read four hours a day even during the busiest moments of his political life. For good measure he also won a Nobel Peace Prize and visited the Panama Canal works, making him the first sitting president to leave the United States. How did he do it all? Learn more in this podcast episode.  Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here.  Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

8mins

7 May 2015

Rank #18

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HFM 042 | Why Medieval Peasants Worked a Lot Less Than You Think

We all know that working conditions were far more terrible in the past than today. There were no rights for laborers, and people routinely dropped dead from their jobs. But is that truth or a myth? If we take a look at the average day of a medieval peasant, it is enough to make us jealous — minus the bubonic plague, of course. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes TRANSCRIPT Click here to download the transcript to Episode 42 (PDF)

7mins

11 Nov 2013

Rank #19

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HFM 118 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 1: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was nothing if not diversified in his talents. The Founding Father was a printer, scientist, inventor, diplomat, postmaster general, educator, philosopher, entrepreneur, library curator, and America’s first researcher to win an international scientific reputation for his studies in electrical theory. He even made contributions to knowledge of the Gulf Stream.  How did he accomplish so much? Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History by clicking here. Like this podcast? Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

8mins

4 May 2015

Rank #20