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For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It's the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features lon ...
 
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Ottoman Lives

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Ottoman Lives

Parthenon Podcast Network

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The Ottoman Empire lasted for six hundred years and dominated the Middle East and Europe, from Budapest to Baghdad and everything in between. The sultans ruled three continents. But they didn't do it on their own. This podcast looks at the cast of characters who made the empire run: the sultan, the queen mother, the peasant, the janissary, the harem eunuch, the holy man, and the outlaw.
 
The Civil War was the most important event in American history. That's because it decided what kind of nation America would be and whether or not the promise of universal liberty would be fulfilled. And what decided the outcome of the Civil War was its battles. Hosted by history professors James Early and Scott Rank, this podcast explores the ten most important battles in the Civil War. It features every major conflict, from the initial shots fired at the Battle of First Bull Run to the end ...
 
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We are joined by James Early, the co-host of some of the best series on this show, including our Key Battles Series (World War One, the Civl War, the Revolutionary War) and Presidential Fight Club. James is here to discuss the War of 1812, a little war with a big impact. Although it was a sideshow for the British (that cared more about the Napoleon…
 
It Was Said, the 2021 Webby Award winner for Best Podcast Series, returns with a new season to look back on some of the most powerful, impactful, and timeless speeches in history. Written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author-historian Jon Meacham, this documentary podcast series takes you through another season of ten genera…
 
Looking at Colditz Castle, it was no surprise why the Nazi’s chose the towering fortress as their prison-of-war camp for the most defiant Allied prisoners. Perched high above a rocky outcrop with thick medieval walls of stone, the men who had escaped other camps would surely have no such luck here, living out the war under the watchful eye of their…
 
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson was a broken man. Reeling from the loss of his wife and humiliated from a political scandal during the Revolutionary war, he needed to remake himself. And to do that, he traveled. Traipsing through Europe, Jefferson saw and learned as much as he could, ultimately bringing his knowledge home to a young America. He wrote a t…
 
Frank Murphy was a public servant that achieved the highest levels of civilian success in the early 20th century. After serving in World War I, he served as mayor of Detroit, then as the top appointed U.S. official to the Philippines, then as Governor of Michigan, U.S. Attorney General, and ultimately as a Justice on the Supreme Court, appointed by…
 
Today we think of New York as the center of the twentieth century art world, but it took three determined men, two world wars, and one singular artist to secure the city’s cultural prominence. Pablo Picasso was the most influential and perplexing artist of his age, and the turning points of his career and salient facets of his private life have int…
 
The stories of King Arthur and Merlin, Lancelot and Guinevere, Galahad, Gawain, Tristan and the rest of the Knights of the Roundtable, and the search for the Holy Grail have been beloved for centuries and are the inspiration of many modern fantasy novels, films, and shows. These legends began when an obscure Celtic hero named Arthur stepped on to t…
 
Even before Mata Hari (née Margaretha Zelle) was executed by a French firing squad in 1917 for spying on behalf of the Germans, her life had already become legend. At her trial, prosecutors claimed that the world-famous exotic dancer had seduced countless men from both sides of the war (definitely true) and leaked intelligence that caused the death…
 
Many brave sailors arrived in North and South America long before Columbus, suggesting that trans-oceanic voyages could be accomplished centuries before his voyage. Some think that the Atlantic was crossed as far back as the Bronze Age. While written records of such voyages are often poorly sourced, archeology keeps rewriting the story about Old Wo…
 
On an afternoon in January 1865, a roaring fire swept through the Smithsonian Institution. The New York Times wrote that “the destruction of so many of its fine collections will be viewed as a national calamity.” Dazed soldiers and worried citizens could only watch as the flames engulfed the museum’s castle. Rare objects and valuable paintings were…
 
Tip the Empire State Building onto its side and you’ll have a sense of the length of the United States Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the most powerful in the world: the USS John F. Kennedy. Weighing 100,000 tons, Kennedy features the most futuristic technology ever put to sea, making it the most dangerous aircraft carrier in the world. Only one p…
 
No-fault divorce laws began spreading across the globe in the 1970s, in which neither party had to prove wrong-doing. Before this time, somebody had to prove that the other party breached the marital contract, typically through infidelity or desertion. Basically, it was shockingly difficult to get divorced. For a woman in the late 19th century, the…
 
In a remarkably short span of time, American children went from laboring on family farms to spending their days in classrooms. The change came from optimistic reformers like Horace Mann, who in the early 1800s dreamed of education, literacy, and science spreading throughout all levels of American society. But other supporters of universal education…
 
Europe’s Jewish population suffered during every stage of the Holocaust, but by the time the Third Reich occupied Hungary and targeted its Jews for deportation and extermination, the concentration camps had reached their most efficient form. Historian Geralt Reitlinger said the Hungarian Holocaust was “the most concentrated and methodical deportati…
 
A well-educated, outspoken member of a politically prominent family in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Josie Underwood (1840–1923) left behind one of the few intimate accounts of the Civil War written by a southern woman sympathetic to the Union. This vivid portrayal of the early years of the war begins several months before the first shots were fired on …
 
Privateers were a cross between an enlisted sailor and an outright pirate. But they were crucial in winning the Revolutionary War. As John Lehman, former secretary of the navy under President Ronald Reagan, observed, “From the beginning of the American Revolution until the end of the War of 1812, America’s real naval advantage lay in its privateers…
 
Five years after World War II ended, Winston Churchill said he was still amazed that the United States, which before WWII had a tiny military and was fully committed to isolationism, “were able not only to build up the armies and air force units, but also to find the leaders and vast staffs capable of handling enormous masses and of moving them fas…
 
An Asian and Asian American icon of unimaginable stature and influence, Bruce Lee revolutionized the martial arts by combining influences drawn from around the world. Uncommonly determined, physically gifted, and artistically brilliant, Lee rose to fame as part of a wave of transpacific globalization that bridged the nearly seven thousand miles bet…
 
Language not only defines humans as a species, placing us head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators, but it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries. How did different languages come to be? Why isn't there just a single language? How does a language change, and when it does, is that change indicative of decay or grow…
 
World War 2 was won due to Allied bravery, superior strategy, better technology, and more supplies. But the true unsung hero of the war effort is the Allied logistics network. The U.S. alone fed and supplied soldiers through a planet-spanning supply chain. It waged two wars on different continents at the same time. They kept supplied 98 divisions o…
 
Jack the Ripper’s serial killing spree of 1888 shocked the world, triggering panic from Paris to South America that he could strike anywhere, anytime. New Yorkers in particular were on high alert when local prostitute Carrie Brown, a.k.a. “Old Shakespeare,” was found brutally murdered in a seedy Manhattan hotel on the waterfront. NYPD Chief of Dete…
 
No paratrooper in the legendary “Band of Brothers” – a WW2 parachute rifle company part of the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army -- was more enigmatic than Ronald Speirs. Rumored to have gunned down enemy prisoners and even one of his own disobedient sergeants, he was one of World War II’s most storied soldiers, a controversial man whose fer…
 
One of the biggest unresolved World War 2 debates is the Vatican’s complicity in the Holocaust – did Pope Pius XII sit back and do nothing as Nazi Germany exterminate 6 million Jews? Critics accuse him of a weakness for dictatorships and a distaste for Jews, a pushover that Mussolini and Hitler could easily intimidate. Defenders say he was a virtuo…
 
You and your ancestor from 1,000 years ago have almost nothing in common. Your clothes are different. Your worship rituals are different. Your thoughts about the opposite sex are definitely different. Almost the only similarity is that both of you are driven to obtain food. In fact, one could say that civilization itself began in the quest for food…
 
For those that have no living memory of JFK, it’s nearly impossible to think of his presidency as anything but a few preordained moments that move inevitably toward his tragic death: His 1961 inauguration marking a high point of the optimism of the post-war era in which Jackie Kennedy holds their infant son and JFK famously intones: “Ask not what y…
 
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were two Lakota chiefs born in the final generation of Plains Indians who grew up in the manner similar to their ancestors: hunting herds of buffalo so large they seemed to cover the earth and moving freely with their nomadic tribes. But they always had contact with white settlers, first a trickle of fur traders and pio…
 
Please enjoy this preview of the Vlogging Through History Podcast, hosted by Chris Mowery. In his show, Chris tells the story of the private soldier as much as it is the story of the great general. It is the story of the farmer in the field as much as it is the story of the man in the Oval office. Go to vloggingthroughhistory.com to enter a giveawa…
 
One of the most widely read books of the 20th century is Viktor Frank’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In it, the author, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, described his psychotherapeutic method to endure the most hellish experiences imaginable. One must hold onto a purpose in life and immersively imagine that outcome. Many h…
 
In the late 1800s, there was an all-out sprint among inventors and tinkerers to create the first motion picture camera. The first across the finish line would get an incredibly valuable patent worth millions. The ultimate winner was an unassuming Frenchman named Louis Le Prince, who died before he could present his invention to the world, and some …
 
The earliest cars were nothing more than horse buggies with motors (the first Oldsmobile was a horseless carriage with a one-cylinder engine plunked in). But once sturdier cars were invented and mass production made them cheap, the 20th century was forever defined by the automobile. It was the first industry to use the assembly line. People had uni…
 
John F. Kennedy once told a presidential biographer that rating presidents from best to worst that it was impossible without a deep appreciation of the office. Perhaps even first-hand experience was necessary: "No one has a right to grade a president - even poor James Buchanan - who has not sat in his chair, examined the mail and information that c…
 
All of us have terrible regrets. Accepting that job that became dead-end. Marry someone from high school who ended up being a kleptomaniac with halitosis. Emptying out our life savings to invest in Logan and Jake Paul’s NFT collections Don’t you wish you could take it all back? While we can’t help you with your personal problems, we are pleased to …
 
John Wayne’s 1956 film The Conqueror was a historical biopic about Genghis Khan far worse than you can imagine. The All-American legend was in full Fu Manchu make-up and depicted the Great Khan as a Mongol madman. He was given Shakespear-esque dialogue that was as grandiose as it was misapplied to the Duke loose way of speaking (one example: “I fee…
 
The United States is the most heavily armed nation in the world, with an estimated 400 million guns in private hands. But few know that this legacy can be directly traced back to a handful of gunmakers who worked in the Springfield Armory of Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Their names became synonymous with American guns—Colt, Smith, Wesson, Winc…
 
Growing up in the 1930s in Memphis, Tennessee, Phil Larimore is the ultimate Boy Scout—able to read maps, put a compass to good use, and traverse wild swamps and desolate canyons. His other great skill is riding horses. Phil does poorly in school, however, leading his parents to send him to a military academy. After Pearl Harbor, Phil realizes he i…
 
Dozens of American leaders captured their party’s nomination for the presidency but never reached the Oval Office. How would history have changed if they had won? If Abraham Lincoln had lost to Stephen Douglas, a pro-slavery Democrat, in 1860, then Emancipation would be the last thing on his mind during the Civil War. If Richard Nixon had defeated …
 
In the 1930s, the biggest American media celebrities were four foreign correspondents: Dorothy Thompson, John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, and Vincent Sheehan. They were household names in their heyday, as famous as their novel-writing Lost Generation counterparts, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. They helped shape what Americans knew abou…
 
One of the worst natural disasters of the 20th century happened in 1990, when cyclone struck the most densely populated coastline on Earth in today’s Bangladesh. Over the course of just a few hours, the Great Bhola Cyclone would kill 500,000 people and begin a chain reaction of turmoil, genocide, war, and a U.S-Soviet standoff. The storm formed on …
 
After the Allies defeated Germany in WW2, high-ranking Nazis and collaborators lived in a long, strange twilight. The lucky ones were recruited by the Allies (such as Wernher von Braun and his rocket science team who built America’s space program) but others either fled or tried to disappear back into German society. But many of the closest Nazi co…
 
War is assumed to be one of the chief features of human history. Plenty of ancient and modern writers back up this perspective (Plato said that only the dead have seen the end of war; John Steinbeck said all war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal, suggesting it was hard-wired into our brutish nature). But what if the conventional wi…
 
We often think of the late nineteenth century in Western societies as an era of immense technological and scientific change, moving from religion to secularism, from faith to logic. But today’s guest, Dominic Green, author of The Religious Revolution: The Birth of Modern Spirituality, 1848-1898 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; April 19, 2022) religion i…
 
As Spanish conquistators slowly moved through Latin America, they encountered levels of wealth that were unimaginable. Most famously, Incan Emperor Atahualpa was captured by Francisco Pizarro and paid a ransom of a room filled with gold and then twice over with silver. The room was 22 feet long by 17 feet wide, filled to a height of about 8 feet. S…
 
Late in 1944, thirteen U.S. B-24 bomber crews bailed from their cabins over the Yugoslavian wilderness. Bloodied and disoriented after a harrowing strike against the Third Reich, the pilots took refugee with the Partisan underground. But the Americans were far from safety. Holed up in a village barely able to feed its citizens, encircled by Nazis, …
 
The financing of the Civil War was as crucial to the shaping of American history as the Emancipation Proclamation and the defeat of the Confederacy. Not only did the Lincoln government establish a national banking system, they invented many things to deepen and broaden the government’s involvement in the lives of ordinary Americans—the transcontine…
 
Following the German occupation of France in 1940, French women moved deftly into the jobs and roles left by their male compatriots—even the role of soldier. One of the more notable such female soldiers was Lt. Sonia Vagliano, who was part of a team of young French women attached to a US First Army unit that arrived in Normandy two weeks after D-Da…
 
Lone-wolf serial killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy live in infamy – it’s a familiar archetype in true crime. But a family of serial killers is much less common, and the killing spree committed by the Benders in 19th century Kansas is likely the most famous murder case in American history that you’ve never heard of. This fa…
 
When Benjamin Franklin died on April 12, 1790, he made a final bet on the future of the United States -- a gift of 2,000 pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jump start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme,…
 
In 1970s America, no city was arguable under more mafia control than Chicago. Murderers operated without fear of retribution. Getting an “innocent” verdict took nothing more than one bribe. Everyone got a cut of the action: policemen, aldermen, lawyers, cops, and judges. But it all came crashing down when a lawyer and fixer went undercover with the…
 
The Kennedys are remembered the vanguard of wealth, power, and style. But their story begins in 1840s Boston, when a poor Irish refugee couple who were escaping famine created a life together in a city hostile to Irish, immigrants, and Catholics, and launched arguably the most powerful dynasty in America’s history. The working class background and …
 
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