Rank #1: Why Your Favorite Presidents (Lincoln, Washington) Actually Screwed Up America—Brion McClanahan
May 19 2017
Rank #2: Common Knowledge About The Middle Ages That Is Incorrect, Part 1: Why the Middle Ages, Not the Renaissance, Created the Modern World
This episode is the first in a five-part series to explore a revisionist history of the Middle Ages, starting with the Roman Empire’s collapse in the fifth century. We will march through the accounts of Charlemagne’s reign, the Black Plague, the fall of Constantinople, and everything in between. It explores social aspects of the Middle Ages that are still largely misunderstood (i.e., no educated person believed the earth was flat). There was also a surprisingly high level of medieval technology, the love of Aristotle in the Middle Ages, and the lack of witch burnings (those were not popularized until the Thirty Years War in the Renaissance Period).
The Middle Ages were not a period to suffer through until the Renaissance returned Europe to its intellectual and cultural birthright. Rather, they were the fire powering the forge out of which Western identity was forged. The modern world owes a permanent debt of gratitude to the medieval culture of Europe. It was the light that illuminated the darkness following the collapse of Rome and remained lit into the world we inhabit today.
Feb 19 2019
Rank #3: The Causes of World War 1
Nov 30 2017
Rank #4: George Washington's Spies: The Culper Ring, Nathan Hale, and the Plot to Capture Benedict Arnold
Jan 02 2020
Rank #5: History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 1: Background to the Civil War
Sep 18 2018
Rank #6: Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and the Barbarian Empires of the Steppe—Kenneth Harl
Sep 04 2017
Rank #7: Why the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the Norman Conquest of England Changed Everything—Jennifer Paxton
Sep 25 2017
Rank #8: Lost Civilizations: Ancient Societies that Vanished Without a Trace, Part 1
This episode is the first in a three-part series that will look atf the greatest lost civilizations in history. Some were millenia ahead their neighbors, such as the Indus Valley Civilization, which had better city planning in 3,000 B.C. than any European capital in the 18th century. Others were completely myth-based, such as Plato's lost city of Atlantis, a technological advanced utopia that sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune"
Whatever the nature of their disappearance, these lost civilizations offer many lessons for us today -- even the greatest of societies can disappear, and that includes us.
Aug 30 2018
Rank #9: Has The Lost Colony of Roanoke Been Found?
What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? For four hundred years, that question has consumed historians and amateur sleuths, leading only to dead ends and hoaxes. However, Andrew Lawler thinks he might have found the answer.
Lawler, author of the book “The Secret Token,” talked with an archeologist working on one of the supposed destinations of the colonists and discovered that solid answers to the mystery were within reach. He set out to unravel the enigma of the lost settlers, accompanying competing researchers, each hoping to be the first to solve its riddle. In the course of his journey, Lawler encountered a host of characters obsessed with the colonists and their fate, and tried to determine why the Lost Colony continues to haunt our national consciousness.
Jul 23 2019
Rank #10: History of the Civil War in 10 Battles, Part 13: The Battle of Gettysburg
Nov 08 2018
Rank #11: Key Battles of the Revolutionary War, Part 1: The World of the American Revolution
Scott and James kick off this episode by talking about the global-level changes in society that made the Revolutionary War possible in the 1770s, and almost impossible anytime earlier. They have to do with changes in warfare and weapons, government/society, political philosophy, British governing policy, and the American colonies themselves.
Sep 17 2019
Rank #12: The History of Slavery, Part 1: Shackled and Chained in the Ancient World
Slavery goes back to the beginning of the agricultural revolution. It is universal yet localized to the particular conditions in the society that enslaves others. Some researchers think slavery is common across history in that it leads to the social death of a slave. Others think that slaves were treated rather well in the ancient world, and it was only the weaponized racism of recent centuries that turned the chattel slavery of Africans brought to the New World into such a cruel institution.
This episode is the beginning of a five-part series on slavery. We are looking at the origins of the practice, why it began, the work that slaves did, what was the “best” sort of work, and how they revolted. By looking into the past we will have a better understanding of this practice, and how much it resembles slaver in the modern world.
Jul 19 2018
Rank #13: The Revolution Before the Revolution: How 1776 Happened
But in 1776 the United States formally declared itself as a new nation in which all men were equal. They formed a continental army. And within a few years they defeated the world's best military force.
How did so much change in 10 years? To discuss this topic is today's guest Michael Troy, host of the American Revolution Podcast. His show is a chronological history of the Revolutionary War, and he gets deep into details (at the time of this recording the show was 75 episodes in and only up to the year 1775).
Mar 14 2019
Rank #14: The Real Oregon Trail: Beyond Dysentery and the Apple II Game
The real Oregon Trail sprang up in the 1830s, when America was going through the worst economic slump it would see until the Great Depression. A mixture of financial urgency and a sense of destiny--Manifest Destiny--convinced tens of thousands of Americans to trek over 2,000 miles from Missouri’s western edge to Oregon Country.
But how can families cross the desert? Or the Rocky Mountains? Or descend the Columbia River? And what about the British HBC’s hold on Oregon Country? Many tried this dangerous path, including fur traders, missionaries, explorers, and early wagon trains that dared to blaze this trail before its heyday of the 1840s-1860s.
Joined with us today to talk about the Oregon Trail is history professor and podcast Greg Jackson. He's the host of the show History That Doesn't Suck
Jun 27 2019
Rank #15: Dan Carlin of Hardcore History on Why the German Military Was Better in WW1 Than WW2
Sep 13 2017
Rank #16: Ulysses S. Grant Was (Mostly) Responsible For Winning the Civil War. Robert E. Lee Was Responsible For Losing It.
In this episode, I explore the research of the late Civil War historian Edward Bonekemper, who wrote many books challenging this thesis. He argues that Grant—far from being a bloodthirsty drunk who won by brute force alone—was the most successful Union or Confederate general of the war. Grant won the war by excelling in three theaters. He fought six Confederate armies, defeated all of them, and captured three of them. He succeeded for two years in the West with amazingly minimal casualties—particularly when compared with those of his foes. He conquered the Mississippi Valley and chased the Confederates out of Chattanooga and Tennessee.
Lee, in contrast, has been praised for his offensives against the Union Army of the Potomac, he was carrying out an aggressive strategy with aggressive tactics that were inconsistent with what should have been a Confederate grand defensive strategy. The Union, not the Confederacy, had the burden of winning the war, and the South, outnumbered about four-to-one in white men of fighting age, had a severe manpower shortage. Nevertheless, Lee acted as though he were a Union general and attacked again and again as though his side had the burden of winning and also had an unlimited supply of soldiers.
Apr 12 2018
Rank #17: Hollywood Hates History, Part 1: Kingdom of Heaven
(originally broadcasted on Beyond the Big Screen)
Aug 06 2019
Rank #18: Everything You Need to Know About D-Day: H-Hour, Weapons Info, and First-Hand Accounts from Soldiers, Beachmasters, and the French Resistanc
On June 6, as Operation Overlord went forward, roughly 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel, supported by seven thousand ships and boats, and landed on the coast of Normandy.The seaborne invasion included nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers. They established a beachhead from which the Germans were unable to dislodge them. Within ten days, there were half a million troops ashore, and within three weeks there were two million.
In this episode I take a comprehensive look at the largest amphibious assault in history
Jun 14 2018
Rank #19: Telling Japan’s Story in The Last Samurai, Letters From Iwo Jima, and Medal of Honor—Dan King
Oct 23 2017
Rank #20: Understanding the Rise of Islam Through Military History
Jan 17 2019