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American History Tellers

Wondery

2.4K
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21.8K
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American History Tellers

American History Tellers

Wondery

2.4K
Followers
21.8K
Plays
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About Us

The Cold War, Prohibition, the Gold Rush, the Space Race. Every part of your life -the words you speak, the ideas you share- can be traced to our history, but how well do you really know the stories that made America? We’ll take you to the events, the times and the people that shaped our nation. And we’ll show you how our history affected them, their families and affects you today. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the Senator). From Wondery, the network behind Tides Of History, Fall Of Rome and Dirty John.

Latest Episodes

Introducing American History Tellers

American History Tellers. Our History, Your Story Premieres January 3rd.

2 MIN2017 DEC 13
Comments
Introducing American History Tellers

The Cold War - An Ideological War

For nearly 50 years, the United States and Soviet Union waged a global war of ideas fueled by politics, intrigue, and nuclear weapons. But how did the polarized ideologies of these two global powers threaten the existence of the entire world? This is Episode 1 of a six-part series on the Cold War. We’ll discover how the United States’ suspicion of communism not only led to a global stand-off, but threatened the freedom and democracy Americans so cherished at home. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Global Cold War,” by Odd Arne Wested. It’s an amazing dissection of the ideologies that dominated the Cold War. See also, “Many Are the Crimes,” by Ellen Schrecker, for an in-depth discussion of McCarthyism and the real world effects of the Red Scare. For more info about Bentley Glass, the geneticist under investigation at the beginning of the article, see Audra Wolfe’s article, The Organization Man and the Archive: A Look at th...

44 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - An Ideological War

The Cold War - Hearts and Minds

Forget trenches, infantry and tanks. The United States and Soviet Union fought the Cold War with ideas and information.Episode 2 describes the cunning of Soviet propaganda campaigns. The United States adapted those techniques for their own purposes, broadcasting an image of the nation as a beacon of hope and freedom through covert ops and jazz concerts alike - even if those at home were hurting or oppressed. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Total Cold War,” by Kenneth Osgood. It’s essential to understanding how propaganda shaped policy and vice-versa during the Cold War. Penny Von Eschen’s books, “Race Against Empire,” and “Satchmo Blows Up the World,” discuss at length the ways in which black American culture, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement both helped and hindered US foreign policy goals. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold War. Supp...

40 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - Hearts and Minds

The Cold War - Nuclear Fear

What is the United States to do when direct conflict with the Soviet Union promises almost certain annihilation? They turned to proxy wars and psychological warfare with the threat of nuclear weapons keeping both countries in check. Ever wondered how an atom bomb works? We’ll cover it in Episode 3 including the scientific concepts, the arms race and the problem of ensuring complete and absolute control over these weapons. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Raven’s Rock” by Garrett Graff. It goes into great detail about the secret plans our government made to ride out a nuclear holocaust. Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control” examines the ways the nuclear arsenal was required to function at 100% —and what happened the few times it didn’t. “Command and Control” was also made into a riveting documentary film. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold...

48 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - Nuclear Fear

The Cold War - The Nature of Risk

Americans were desperate to find hope in the shadow of the bomb. Miracle cures, cheap energy, and even brand new atomic gardens: the wonders of the atom were ours to discover! Right? Eager to explore nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes, Americans instead found the resulting radioactive fallout too dangerous. In Episode 4, we’ll talk about swim wear, baby teeth, and how America just couldn’t get friendly with the atom. Scott Kauffman’s “Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War Alaska” was inspired by Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech and essential reading for anyone interested in nuclear history. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold War. Support us by supporting our sponsors! ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHT

41 MIN2018 JAN 10
Comments
The Cold War - The Nature of Risk

The Cold War - The Long 1960s

America sent a man to the moon in 1969, and with Neil Armstrong’s first steps, the United States projected to the world an image of American power, wealth and achievement. But it was hardly just for bragging rights. The space race started under Kennedy to compete with the Soviets on a global stage, but it was under Johnson that its goals became domestic. NASA, Head Start, Medicaid and even the war in Vietnam were domestic social programs, used at least in part to alleviate poverty, provide jobs and desegregate the country. But the spending on these programs birthed a new political movement on the right demanding smaller government - and attracted the ire of progressives on the left who thought the money spent on rockets to be misdirected. Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam intensified, costing the nation far more than just money. For more on NASA’s efforts to desegregate the South, check out the book “We Could Not Fail,” by Richard Paul and Steven Moss. For more on the African Americ...

44 MIN2018 JAN 17
Comments
The Cold War - The Long 1960s

The Cold War - Last Man Standing

In the early 1970s, while trying to wind down the war in Vietnam, President Richard Nixon made overtures to Moscow and Beijing that would usher in a new era of the Cold War: Detente. But the thaw in relations didn’t last long - the Iran Hostage Crisis and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan set the old adversaries against each other once again. Throughout the Eighties, President Reagan took a hard line against the “Evil Empire,” ramping up military spending and rhetoric, and Americans were once again tense with nuclear anxiety. Until suddenly, it all changed. Support us by supporting our sponsors!

45 MIN2018 JAN 24
Comments
The Cold War - Last Man Standing

The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman

We’re closing out our series on the Cold War with two interviews with fascinating historians. First, we’re talking with Audra Wolfe, the author of Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America, and the writer of this first six-part series of American History Tellers. Then, we take a seat in the way-back machine with Patrick Wyman, host of the hit podcasts Fall of Rome and Tides of History. We’ll investigate how the Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union compares to another much earlier rivalry between ancient Rome and the Sassanid Persians. They might not have pointed nuclear warheads at each other, but the conflict was nonetheless tense and protracted. Support us by supporting our sponsors!

48 MIN2018 JAN 31
Comments
The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman

Prohibition - Closing Time

On January 17, 1920, the United States passed the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, ushering in a 13-year dry spell known as Prohibition. But how did a country that loved to drink turn its back on alcohol? How did two-thirds of both the House and Senate and three-fourths of State legislatures all agree that going dry was the way to get the country going forward? It had always been a long, uphill battle for the temperance movement, but towards the end of the nineteenth century, certain forces aligned: fears of industrialization, urbanization and immigration. Traditional American life was changing - fast - and many people looked for a scapegoat: the saloon. For more information on how Prohibition came to be, check out Professor David J. Hanson’s, “Alcohol Problems and Solutions,” a comprehensive, interactive site that outlines all the various stakeholders in the Noble Experiment. Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is a key text for learning more about...

41 MIN2018 FEB 7
Comments
Prohibition - Closing Time

Prohibition - Drying Out

When a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Lusitania on Friday, May 7th, 1915, Americans found two new enemies: Germany and the beer it was so associated with. Anti-German sentiment grew, and with it hostility to the breweries founded in the 19th century by German immigrants. Soon, the war effort and the temperance movement were linked: it was patriotic to abstain, and Prohibition became law. How did America cope? They swapped their stool at the bar for a seat at the soda shop, listening to new radios and the first ever baseball broadcasts. But Americans’ thirst wasn’t ever fully quenched: they turned to family doctors who prescribed “medicinal alcohol,” and then finally to the bootleggers, moonshiners and rum-runners who made, smuggled and sold hooch of all types, from top-shelf French cognac to homemade swill that might just kill you. For more about the Lusitania, check out Dead Wake: The Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Pr...

34 MIN2018 FEB 14
Comments
Prohibition - Drying Out

Latest Episodes

Introducing American History Tellers

American History Tellers. Our History, Your Story Premieres January 3rd.

2 MIN2017 DEC 13
Comments
Introducing American History Tellers

The Cold War - An Ideological War

For nearly 50 years, the United States and Soviet Union waged a global war of ideas fueled by politics, intrigue, and nuclear weapons. But how did the polarized ideologies of these two global powers threaten the existence of the entire world? This is Episode 1 of a six-part series on the Cold War. We’ll discover how the United States’ suspicion of communism not only led to a global stand-off, but threatened the freedom and democracy Americans so cherished at home. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Global Cold War,” by Odd Arne Wested. It’s an amazing dissection of the ideologies that dominated the Cold War. See also, “Many Are the Crimes,” by Ellen Schrecker, for an in-depth discussion of McCarthyism and the real world effects of the Red Scare. For more info about Bentley Glass, the geneticist under investigation at the beginning of the article, see Audra Wolfe’s article, The Organization Man and the Archive: A Look at th...

44 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - An Ideological War

The Cold War - Hearts and Minds

Forget trenches, infantry and tanks. The United States and Soviet Union fought the Cold War with ideas and information.Episode 2 describes the cunning of Soviet propaganda campaigns. The United States adapted those techniques for their own purposes, broadcasting an image of the nation as a beacon of hope and freedom through covert ops and jazz concerts alike - even if those at home were hurting or oppressed. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Total Cold War,” by Kenneth Osgood. It’s essential to understanding how propaganda shaped policy and vice-versa during the Cold War. Penny Von Eschen’s books, “Race Against Empire,” and “Satchmo Blows Up the World,” discuss at length the ways in which black American culture, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement both helped and hindered US foreign policy goals. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold War. Supp...

40 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - Hearts and Minds

The Cold War - Nuclear Fear

What is the United States to do when direct conflict with the Soviet Union promises almost certain annihilation? They turned to proxy wars and psychological warfare with the threat of nuclear weapons keeping both countries in check. Ever wondered how an atom bomb works? We’ll cover it in Episode 3 including the scientific concepts, the arms race and the problem of ensuring complete and absolute control over these weapons. For more information on the subjects and themes discussed in the episode, see the book “Raven’s Rock” by Garrett Graff. It goes into great detail about the secret plans our government made to ride out a nuclear holocaust. Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control” examines the ways the nuclear arsenal was required to function at 100% —and what happened the few times it didn’t. “Command and Control” was also made into a riveting documentary film. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold...

48 MIN2018 JAN 3
Comments
The Cold War - Nuclear Fear

The Cold War - The Nature of Risk

Americans were desperate to find hope in the shadow of the bomb. Miracle cures, cheap energy, and even brand new atomic gardens: the wonders of the atom were ours to discover! Right? Eager to explore nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes, Americans instead found the resulting radioactive fallout too dangerous. In Episode 4, we’ll talk about swim wear, baby teeth, and how America just couldn’t get friendly with the atom. Scott Kauffman’s “Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War Alaska” was inspired by Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech and essential reading for anyone interested in nuclear history. Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold War. Support us by supporting our sponsors! ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHT

41 MIN2018 JAN 10
Comments
The Cold War - The Nature of Risk

The Cold War - The Long 1960s

America sent a man to the moon in 1969, and with Neil Armstrong’s first steps, the United States projected to the world an image of American power, wealth and achievement. But it was hardly just for bragging rights. The space race started under Kennedy to compete with the Soviets on a global stage, but it was under Johnson that its goals became domestic. NASA, Head Start, Medicaid and even the war in Vietnam were domestic social programs, used at least in part to alleviate poverty, provide jobs and desegregate the country. But the spending on these programs birthed a new political movement on the right demanding smaller government - and attracted the ire of progressives on the left who thought the money spent on rockets to be misdirected. Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam intensified, costing the nation far more than just money. For more on NASA’s efforts to desegregate the South, check out the book “We Could Not Fail,” by Richard Paul and Steven Moss. For more on the African Americ...

44 MIN2018 JAN 17
Comments
The Cold War - The Long 1960s

The Cold War - Last Man Standing

In the early 1970s, while trying to wind down the war in Vietnam, President Richard Nixon made overtures to Moscow and Beijing that would usher in a new era of the Cold War: Detente. But the thaw in relations didn’t last long - the Iran Hostage Crisis and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan set the old adversaries against each other once again. Throughout the Eighties, President Reagan took a hard line against the “Evil Empire,” ramping up military spending and rhetoric, and Americans were once again tense with nuclear anxiety. Until suddenly, it all changed. Support us by supporting our sponsors!

45 MIN2018 JAN 24
Comments
The Cold War - Last Man Standing

The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman

We’re closing out our series on the Cold War with two interviews with fascinating historians. First, we’re talking with Audra Wolfe, the author of Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America, and the writer of this first six-part series of American History Tellers. Then, we take a seat in the way-back machine with Patrick Wyman, host of the hit podcasts Fall of Rome and Tides of History. We’ll investigate how the Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union compares to another much earlier rivalry between ancient Rome and the Sassanid Persians. They might not have pointed nuclear warheads at each other, but the conflict was nonetheless tense and protracted. Support us by supporting our sponsors!

48 MIN2018 JAN 31
Comments
The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman

Prohibition - Closing Time

On January 17, 1920, the United States passed the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, ushering in a 13-year dry spell known as Prohibition. But how did a country that loved to drink turn its back on alcohol? How did two-thirds of both the House and Senate and three-fourths of State legislatures all agree that going dry was the way to get the country going forward? It had always been a long, uphill battle for the temperance movement, but towards the end of the nineteenth century, certain forces aligned: fears of industrialization, urbanization and immigration. Traditional American life was changing - fast - and many people looked for a scapegoat: the saloon. For more information on how Prohibition came to be, check out Professor David J. Hanson’s, “Alcohol Problems and Solutions,” a comprehensive, interactive site that outlines all the various stakeholders in the Noble Experiment. Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition is a key text for learning more about...

41 MIN2018 FEB 7
Comments
Prohibition - Closing Time

Prohibition - Drying Out

When a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Lusitania on Friday, May 7th, 1915, Americans found two new enemies: Germany and the beer it was so associated with. Anti-German sentiment grew, and with it hostility to the breweries founded in the 19th century by German immigrants. Soon, the war effort and the temperance movement were linked: it was patriotic to abstain, and Prohibition became law. How did America cope? They swapped their stool at the bar for a seat at the soda shop, listening to new radios and the first ever baseball broadcasts. But Americans’ thirst wasn’t ever fully quenched: they turned to family doctors who prescribed “medicinal alcohol,” and then finally to the bootleggers, moonshiners and rum-runners who made, smuggled and sold hooch of all types, from top-shelf French cognac to homemade swill that might just kill you. For more about the Lusitania, check out Dead Wake: The Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Pr...

34 MIN2018 FEB 14
Comments
Prohibition - Drying Out
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