HISTORY

Cornell University – PJ Mode Collection of Persuasive Cartography. Creative Commons.

After the Fall of France in 1940, nearly 340,000 allied troops were stranded at the French port of Dunkirk as the German military closed in. Churchill called what happened next a “miracle of deliverance.” Small civilian ships, along with military transports, brought the British army home. Of course, the story is now a blockbuster movie, which our guests say is pretty accurate. Thursday, historians John Broich and Matthew Booker join Doug to talk about the true story of Dunkirk.

Public Domain

The Salem witch trials haunt the American imagination as a time of extreme injustice. The story is most often told from the perspective of the accused and the accusers, but historian Richard Francis has spent years exploring the actions of Samuel Sewall. Sewall was among the judges who issued the harsh verdicts, but five years later, he became the only judge to issue an apology for his role in the trials. Richard Francis joins Doug to talk about Sewall, his idealism, and his conscience.

On the 4th of July, we're broadcasting our conversation with writer Nathaniel Philbrick about George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Arnold has long been regarded as the archetypal American traitor. But before he betrayed his country, he was actually one of Washington’s favorite and most trusted generals. In his book, Philbrick examines the complicated relationship between the two men. Ultimately, he says, it’s about their different reactions to a dysfunctional Congress that was driven by self-righteous opportunism. (Rebroadcast)

How to Be a Tudor

Feb 11, 2016

  To understand how our forebears lived, of course you’ll read period records, diaries and literature. There would still be things you wouldn’t fully grasp though, like how they smelled. So when historian Ruth Goodman wanted to understand 16th century English life, she “tudored.” She skipped bathing, brushed her teeth with soot, and slept on rushes. The result of her adventure is a new book called How to Be a Tudor, and Thursday, she joins Doug for a dawn-to-dusk guide to Tudor life.

Custer's Trials

Jan 11, 2016

Even in his lifetime, George Armstrong Custer was controversial. He was ambitious and flamboyant as well as courageous and talented. Though largely remembered for his death at the Little Bighorn, T.J. Stiles' paints a fuller picture of Custer's colorful and complicated life. Stiles says Custer lived at a “frontier in time.” He helped usher in the modern American era, but couldn't quite adapt to the modernity he helped create.  Stiles joins us Monday to talk about his new book "Custer's Trials."

At the center of author Richard Rubin’s latest book, The Last of the Doughboys, are several dozen extraordinary individuals, all more than a century old, all now passed away. They were the final survivors of the millions who made up the American forces that fought in World War I, 19th-century men and women living in the 21st century. Rubin’s book chronicles their remarkable stories and he joins us to to relate how the forgotten war and its forgotten veterans created the modern world. (Rebroadcast)

The Rocky Mountains have always posed a forbidding obstacle for travelers, but there’s one place where "God ran out of mountains," and passage is relatively easy.  For generations, Indians, fur traders, missionaries, and explorers moved through South Pass, a treeless valley in southwestern Wyoming. It’s a place rich with history and extraordinary tales, and it's the focus of historian Will Bagley's latest book. He joins us to explain how South Pass figured in the development of the American West. (Rebroadcast)

Friday on RadioWest the historian Will Bagley is with us to talk about his epic quest to chronicle the westward migration of American settlers. Bagley's book tells the story of the Overland Trails that brought more than half a million Americans to the far West of Oregon and California. It's the story of families and fortune hunters and the effect that all of it had the native people who for centuries had already been calling the West home. (Rebroadcast)