show episodes
 
Tune in for a more conversational discussion of history with historian Mark Bielski and his guests. We all know there was a war and who was president, but what about the spies, the intrigues, the deceptions and the backstories? What about learning about the occasional farcical or comedic decisions made by serious figures and their sometime tragic results? By telling the untold tales of our past, Mark Bielski is committed to making history come alive for future generations.
 
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show series
 
What was the environmental impact of the Civil War? Considering that a battle was a major man-made disaster, someone had to take care of the biological mess that resulted. Countless dead bodies of men, horses and mules and amputated limbs were left behind. Whole armies encamped and left spills of gunpowder, lead and other substances. Human and anim…
 
We return to a discussion of the Cold War and the origins of the conflict between superpowers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Mark pays special attention to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. This was the two-week confrontation that kept the world on edge and in fear of escalating tensions that could lead to nuclear war. American President J…
 
In continuing the Cold War Series, Steve Bourque joins Mark to discuss his experiences in the U.S. Army during those years. We get the perspectives of a young enlisted man stationed in western Europe during the Cold War. We also get to look at the situation from another vantage point—when he returned later as an intelligence officer. The tactical a…
 
We return to the Cold War with Part II of the Soviet Naval challenge. This time we cover surface operations and Mark speaks with Reid Senter who served in the Mediterranean. They discuss various aspects of serving in an Amphibious Ready Group, facing the Soviet Navy whose main interest was protecting the “Motherland,” and the Walker treachery. Reid…
 
Mark speaks with John Lindstedt, who was a junior officer serving aboard a nuclear submarine in the Cold War years. They discuss the qualifications and training involved, the constant readiness, and the differences between U.S. and Soviet vessels. They also highlight the ever-present threat of the Soviet Navy in the Mediterranean aided by the treac…
 
Dr. Barbara Brooks Tomblin discusses her recent book, Life in Jefferson Davis’ Navy. She addresses every aspect of the officers and men who served in the Confederate Navy—from the daily life of the sailors to the combat they endured. Through diaries, letters and newspaper accounts, we get a view of the wartime experiences on the gunboats, ironclads…
 
Combat veteran Mort Sheffloe continues his discussion with Mark about Mort’s WWII experiences in Normandy and Brittany in 1944. Mort talks about Operation Cobra and being shot by a German sniper near Brest. He talks about his near fatal wounding, medical evacuation and recuperation. This is Part II of a two-part episode, and completes our series on…
 
Continuing our series on D-Day and Operation Overlord in June 1944, Mark relives his visit to Normandy with WWII Veteran, Mort Sheffloe. They discuss Mort’s experiences in Normandy and Brittany in 1944 on Omaha and Utah Beaches and in various cafés. Mort describes the actions as well as his near fatal wounding by a German sniper’s bullet.…
 
On this 75th Anniversary of the D-Day, we continue with the discussion about launching the invasion and the beach landings on that day. Mark speaks with historian Marty Morgan and they give special attention to the Americans storming the formidable German positions at Omaha Beach and the fierce struggle that took place there.…
 
Renown Graphic novelist, Garth Ennis, visits with Mark to discuss his new release, The Night Witches, a book about the young women who flew night bombing raids for the Red Army in WWII. As the German army smashes deep in to the Soviet Union and the Red Army retreats in disarray, teenager Anna Kharkhova quickly grows into a hardened combat veteran f…
 
During the Civil War, April lived up to the moniker later bestowed by T.S. Eliot as the “Cruelest Month.” The start of hostilities at Fort Sumter in 1861 initiated the war that defined America and President Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 both occurred in April. The Battle of Shiloh and the Fall of New Orleans both in 1862, certainly proved to be c…
 
Mark returns to the Cold War in this interview with Admiral Thomas Brooks about his co-written book, "Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy." They discuss the man who led the Soviet Union's Navy for 30 years. He survived Stalin’s purges, fought the Nazis in WWII and engaged the American Navy in a tactical chess match until his reti…
 
Mark covers some key historical events that took place in March, the month that comes in “like a lion” and goes out “like a lamb.” We see that this may depend upon where and when. George Washington in 1777, may have felt threatened by the British lion. Or the British soldiers in the French and Indian War had a rough St. Patrick’s day at Fort Willia…
 
New Orleans during the Civil War is Mark’s topic. In 1861, the City of New Orleans prepared for an imminent invasion by Union forces. As crisis loomed, leadership, politics and military shortcomings became evident. A bright spot is the Confederate victory at Manassas in Virginia, where native-son P.G.T. Beauregard leads the army and the Louisiana b…
 
Mark reviews some significant events that occurred at this time of the year in history. We go from the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century to Europe’s worst winter in history in 1940. The Civil War was brewing as the states of the Deep South seceded to form the Confederacy in 1861 and the last battle of the War of 1812 that took place right downrive…
 
Cold War studies often focus on events in Europe. However, the Cold War quietly and sometimes loudly raged in the Middle East. Numerous political, religious and ethnic factions struggled for power while the U.S. and the Soviet Union maneuvered to exert influence and control in the region—whether behind the scenes or overtly. Mark asked Kate Tietzen…
 
I interview Joel Bius about his new book: Smoke Em If You Got “Em: The Rise and Fall of the Military Cigarette Ration. It is a treatise on the relationship between the American Military-Industrial complex and the cigarette. The book tells the story of how the cigarette and the soldier relationship evolved, developed and devolved during the twentiet…
 
Christmas during wartime, just as in life, shines with a different glow than that in more peaceful years. Luxuries are often non-existent and even basics are scarce but soldiers and civilians find ways to celebrate. This week on History with Mark Bielski, I look at the holidays in difficult times from the crowning of William the Conqueror in 1066 t…
 
Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, died in New Orleans in December 1889. Mark talks with Mrs. Gladys LeBreton, whose grandfather was a friend of Davis’. As a child, Mrs. LeBreton’s mother lived in the home where Davis stayed and was there when he passed away. Mrs. LeBreton relates the story of his final days.…
 
Mark’s guest is Robert J. Laplander about his book Finding the Lost Battalion: Beyond the Rumors, Myths and Legends of America’s Famous WWI Epic. They discuss his deep research in the story of the soldiers and their commander, Charles Whittlesey and their grueling ordeal by fire in the Argonne Forest. This definitive work follows these men of the 7…
 
We reprise the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Historian Hal Stearns. Recorded at Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Oregon, it gives a detailed narrative overview of that incredible explorative journey. But first Mark responds to a comment from a listener about General George B. McClellan; then as an added attraction, we close with a short hi…
 
We review some significant November events in history from WWI to the American Revolution as well as the American Civil War and WWII. We include the First Battle of Ypres in 1914 and the 1918 Armistice that ended the bloodshed of WWI as well as the last action of the Civil War with the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah and a brief glimpse at one of t…
 
Professor Gary Sheffield offers insightful analysis of the end of WWI. One of Britain’s foremost experts on WWI returns to discuss America’s participation in the Great War, the conclusion of hostilities, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 and the Versailles Treaty. Mark draws from Professor Sheffield’s new release of "The First World War," published…
 
We go back to Good Friday April 1865 and President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford's Theatre in Washington. Later that night, assassin John Wilkes Booth, on the run and in desperate need of medical attention for his broken leg, stopped at the home of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd in Southern Maryland. Mark visits the home and grounds, now a museum, wi…
 
Professor Gary Sheffield, one of Britain’s foremost experts on WWI, discusses his new edition book The First World War, published in association with the Imperial War Museum. Mark and Professor Sheffield review the War up until the end and American involvement in 1918. They cover the major events in the great cataclysm as well as some lesser known,…
 
A look at some autumn events in WWII and the Civil War, as well as WWI and the American Revolution. We include the 1918 Meuse-Argonne offensive by the America Expeditionary Forces and the French army. Launched against the Germans on the Western Front, this final campaign led to the Armistice. We also look at the momentous events that took place at …
 
Jack Mountcastle returns to discuss the momentous battle of Antietam in September 1862. It was the single bloodiest day of warfare in American history. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, emboldened by the victory at Second Manassas in August 1862, had crossed into Maryland. Near the little town of Sharpsburg, they clashed with the Union Arm…
 
Mark speaks with authors Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic about their new book, Indianapolis, a study of the worst sea disaster in U.S. Naval history. Published by Simon & Schuster, Indianapolis is the story of the ship that delivered the atomic bomb in 1945, then was sunk by Japanese torpedoes. It relates individual stories of the sailors, their ordea…
 
Mark has a conversation with Vince Dooley about his book, The Legion’s Fighting Bulldog: The Civil War Correspondence of William Gaston Delony. Through the letters of Delony and his wife Rosa, we get human insights into the struggles of the war both on the battlefield and at the home front. Coach Dooley is an avid student of history, and well-known…
 
On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with renowned travel blogger Megan Starr, whom we spoke to a few months back about Kiev. But this week, we’re talking in person, in Kazakhstan, at the site of the memorial to the Great Kazakh Famine, a historical event which not many people know about in the West but looms large in the hist…
 
Mark’s guest is Steve Bourque, whose new book: Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France takes on a subject often ignored in historical accounts. Bourque explores the effects of Allied air attacks on French towns and infrastructure in 1944 as part of the D-Day Invasion and war with Nazi Germany. In discussing the book, they examine the differ…
 
General Jack Mountcastle joins Mark to discuss the battle of Second Manassas, the major Confederate victory in August 1862 that gave Lee the thrust to invade Maryland that September. He also details the extensive tour he leads for Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours that covers Manassas as well as the other key events in the Eastern theatre. We explor…
 
This week’s episode is something a little different. I am in Isyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, covering the World Nomad Games, a festival of sports that’s sort of like the Olympics for nomadic peoples. The sports, though, are way more interesting than, say, basketball. My first interview this episode is with the co-captain of the American Kok Boru team (I’ll e…
 
A look at some August events in WWII and the Civil War, including the Siege of Leningrad, the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the infamous Quantrill’s Raiders and Nathan Bedford Forrest’s raid on Memphis. We also preview upcoming fall episodes that cover Antietam, the Allied Bombing of France in 1944, and a new WWI book by one of Britain’s foremos…
 
Last year, Alex Cruikshanks came on the show to talk about Belgrade, a really detailed and wide-ranging episode. And we had such a great time, he’s back again to talk about more recent history in Yugoslavia, specifically the brutal massacre at Srebrenica. Yugoslavia, as anyone who was alive in the 1990s knows, was falling apart in the early part of…
 
Every city has that one landmark that seems like a tourist trap and practically begs you not to visit. For me, that was the CN Tower in Toronto. I didn’t go near it the first time I visited the city, and the second time, this past July, I planned to steer clear. But it turns out the joke was on me, as the CN Tower is an amazing building with a funn…
 
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