American History Tellers


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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, th...Show More

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The Great Depression - The Crash | 1

37:31 | Feb 20th

The Roaring Twenties came to a screeching halt on October 29, 1929, with the collapse of the U.S. stock market. A year earlier, president Herbert Hoover had coasted to victory by promising the American people “a chicken for every pot” and “a car in e...Show More

Does History Repeat Itself? | 4

42:18 | Feb 13th

"Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it." On today’s show, we’ll consider what lessons we can draw from history, and what lessons we can’t. David Greenberg, a professor of history and media studies at Rutgers University, joins u...Show More

Prohibition - Down and Out | 6

43:08 | Mar 7th, 2018

Closing Time by Daniel Francis provides a good account of the border wars and smuggling across the northern border. Robert Rockaway’s article “The Notorious Purple Gang” details the gang’s origin as well as the Cleaners and Dyers War. For informati...Show More

J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI - The Department of Easy Virtues | 1

36:32 | Apr 10th

By the turn of the century, radical anarchists were becoming a growing -- and volatile -- political movement. As shifting workplace conditions exploited and endangered American workers, anarchists increasingly turned to violence to spur everyday citi...Show More

Introducing Over My Dead Body

06:03 | Apr 4th

A seemingly-perfect marriage, a nasty divorce, and then...a murder. The first season of Over My Dead Body, "Tally" is available to binge now. To hear the rest of this episode, go to wondery.fm/omdb

America's Anthem | 7

47:14 | Apr 3rd

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord.” That’s the opening line of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” written by Julie Ward Howe in 1861. Over the years, it’s become something of an unofficial national anthem for all manner of polit...Show More

The Great Depression: Justice and Infamy | 6

40:53 | Mar 27th

As legal challenges to his New Deal programs mounted, President Roosevelt and his attorney general devised dramatic reforms to the Supreme Court’s structure. The proposed changes would open new rifts between the president and conservative members of ...Show More

The Great Depression - Progress and Pushback | 5

41:53 | Mar 20th

After two of President Roosevelt’s closest advisors competed to create a new federal jobs program, the White House launched one of Roosevelt's keystone initiatives: the Works Progress Administration. Under this program, millions of Americans earned g...Show More

The Great Depression - Dust | 4

42:14 | Mar 13th

The Great Depression wasn’t the only crisis facing the country when Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933. Following a decade-long drought that had shriveled crops, massive dust storms were pummeling huge swaths of the Midwest, the Great Plains, and...Show More

Introducing Unknown History: 75 Years Since D-Day

15:18 | Mar 8th

This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the longest day in military history. For the first time, you can hear perspectives on the conflict from all sides on the podcast Unknown History. Bestselling historian Giles Milton shares stories from pi...Show More

The Great Depression - A New Deal | 3

45:42 | Mar 6th

With the country was still hobbled by the Depression, New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “New Deal” for the American people. That vow handed Roosevelt a contested Democratic nomination and helped him crush Hoover in the general el...Show More

The Great Depression - Brother, Can You Spare a Dime | 2

43:12 | Feb 27th

Factories have shut down, banks have failed, and millions are out of work. As the Depression worsens, public opinion sours toward President Hoover. Hoover’s allies attempt to counter criticism of the President by galvanizing anti-foreigner attitudes...Show More

Introducing One Plus One

10:39 | Feb 19th

Every great collaboration is a love story. It’s intense. Passionate. Along the way, there are flashes of love, hate, pride, ego, ambition, and brilliance. This is One Plus One, the show about the spark that drives two original thinkers to ultimate su...Show More

The 1968 Chicago Protests - I Regret Nothing | 3

44:56 | Feb 6th

A special series with Legal Wars. The whole world was watching, and that’s exactly what the defendants wanted. As the end of 1969 approached, the Chicago 8 had become the Chicago 7. Bobby Seale, a Black Panther, had been removed from the trial in a b...Show More

The 1968 Chicago Protests - The Trial of the Chicago 8 | 2

47:08 | Jan 30th

A special series with Legal Wars. In 1969, the war in the streets became a war in the courtroom. The trial of the Chicago 8 pitted the federal government against eight prominent anti-war activists. The charges: Conspiracy to incite a riot. But the ca...Show More

The 1968 Chicago Protests - The Battle of Michigan Avenue | 1

1:03:52 | Jan 23rd

A special series with our sibling show Legal Wars. The 1968 Democratic National Convention attracted demonstrators from all over the country. Thousands of students, Yippies, Peaceniks, and other protestors converged in Chicago to push for an end to t...Show More

1865 versus 2018 and Why History Matters | 7

41:21 | Jan 2nd

We live in historic times, but how do they compare to that other tumultuous era of American history — 1865 and the years following President Lincoln’s death and the end of The Civil War? Steven Walters, writer of Lindsay Graham’s new scripted podcast...Show More

Political Parties - The Reagan Revolution | 6

51:35 | Dec 26th, 2018

The year 1968 marked a watershed in American politics. Anti-war protests were roiling the country. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead in Memphis. Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s approval rating was plummeting. The assassin...Show More

Political Parties - The New Deal Coalition | 5

48:45 | Dec 19th, 2018

The 1929 stock market crash saw 14 billion dollars vanish in a matter of hours — and with it, the Republican party’s decades-long grip on American politics. As Americans lost their livelihoods, they turned to President Herbert Hoover for relief. But ...Show More

Political Parties - The Golden Age of the GOP | 4

51:55 | Dec 12th, 2018

As the Civil War came to a close, the government set its sights once again on the future of the United States. Working closely with a Republican President, the Republican Congress expected a swift and peaceful road to Reconstruction. But then, a mere...Show More

Political Parties - The Turbulent 1850s | 3

46:55 | Dec 5th, 2018

The United States won the The Mexican–American War in the 1840s, and with it vast new stretches of western land. But in the 1850s, the question of what to do with this land – and whether to allow slavery in the new territories or not – became a redni...Show More

Lindsay Graham's Newest Podcast: 1865

11:54 | Dec 3rd, 2018

April 15, 1865. President Lincoln is dead and the country in turmoil. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton takes control, determined to bring the assassin to justice. Heavily researched, this historical political thriller is an audio drama that explores A...Show More

History of the Lincoln Motor Company | 9

24:26 | Dec 1st, 2018

Named after one of the greatest U.S. presidents, the Lincoln Motor Company has become as ingrained in American culture as the Statue of Liberty. Founded by Henry Leland to produce plane engines during World War I, Lincoln became a key driver of the e...Show More

Political Parties - Jacksonian Democracy | 2

50:29 | Nov 28th, 2018

Andrew Jackson lost the 1824 presidential election to John Quincy Adams through what some called a “corrupt bargain” in the House of Representatives. The maneuver was masterminded by hot-headed but politically savvy Henry Clay, who with Adams, announ...Show More

Political Parties - A Tale of Two Parties | 1

47:54 | Nov 21st, 2018

In the earliest days of the United States, there was no such thing as an organized political party. George Washington, elected twice to the presidency unanimously in the Electoral College, warned the new nation against political factions, writing tha...Show More

Civil Rights - Interview with Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely | 7

41:44 | Nov 14th, 2018

We conclude our series on the American Civil Right Movement with an interview with a woman who was there, on the front lines of the fight. Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely is longtime civil rights activist and artist. She was a Freedom Rider, boarding...Show More

Civil Rights - The Unfinished Journey | 6

46:08 | Nov 7th, 2018

Seeking to build upon the gains of the early 1960s, Civil Rights activists pushed forward on a series of ambitious efforts. Voting rights activists returned to Alabama and again faced violent reprisal—this time televised for the country to witness. A...Show More

Introducing The City

05:21 | Nov 5th, 2018

The City tells true stories of how power works in urban America. Season 1 begins in Chicago, 1990. After years of disinvestment, highways are rebuilt, old buildings demolished, and new skyscrapers erected. All that rubble has to go somewhere, and it...Show More

Civil Rights - On The March | 5

50:38 | Oct 31st, 2018

As the Civil Rights movement entered the landmark years of 1963 and 1964, activists had faced many challenges - but had also won many victories. Now, they sought to launch new campaigns in Alabama and Mississippi and mass demonstrations in Washington...Show More

Civil Rights - Prairie Fire | 4

41:12 | Oct 24th, 2018

As the Civil Rights movement entered the Sixties, a new generation of activists took the fore. Frustrated by the pace of progress but emboldened by strides made in the previous decade, students embraced “nonviolent direct action,” protest techniques ...Show More

Civil Rights - Jim Crow Fights Back | 3

42:57 | Oct 17th, 2018

After the Brown V. Board of Education ruling, civil rights activists had legal standing to desegregate schools. But doing so proved dangerous. The first black students to step into newly integrated schools faced extreme hostility from whites who felt...Show More

Introducing Legal Wars | 9

10:04 | Oct 11th, 2018

The courtroom can be a battlefield over money, people’s rights, and even their lives. For some cases, the consequences can affect us long after the verdict is read. Based on extensive interviews and court transcripts, Wondery’s new podcast LEGAL ...Show More

Strides Towards Freedom | 2

38:52 | Oct 10th, 2018

In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal, on a “separate but equal” basis. But for more than five decades, life for black and white Americans was seldom equal, but always separate. To fight segregation, the NAACP and others e...Show More

Civil Rights: New World A’Comin | 1

41:06 | Oct 3rd, 2018

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing the slaves in much of the South. But the road to freedom—true freedom—would take generations longer for most black Americans. In this new six-part series, we ...Show More

National Parks - Interview with Parks Superintendent Greg Dudgeon | 7

40:21 | Sep 26th, 2018

In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed into law the The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA. That act remains controversial even today, as it set aside 43,585,000 acres of new national parklands in Alaska, including the Gates of the Arct...Show More

National Parks - Fire and Ice | 6

44:32 | Sep 19th, 2018

Alaska: big, open, frozen and wild. In 1867, the acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire was widely derided as “folly.” Early explorers like John Muir saw its potential though, and clamored for its preservation in the face of increasing develop...Show More

Introducing American Scandal | 8

15:45 | Sep 18th, 2018

Since the founding of the United States, in every generation, in every field of business, politics, sports and society, we’ve watched in shock as corruption, deceit and desire bring down heroes, titans and those we thought we could trust. In the aft...Show More

National Parks - Playgrounds of the People | 5

40:40 | Sep 12th, 2018

In 1914, America’s National Parks had a problem: no one was using them. And those few that were faced unmaintained roads, trails strewn with garbage, and a lack of amenities that made it hard for the average American to enjoy themselves. One man had ...Show More

National Parks - The Great Disaster | 4

42:21 | Sep 5th, 2018

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 18, 1906, the city of San Francisco was torn apart by a huge earthquake–but it was the subsequent fires that did the most damage. As the city sought to rebuild, it also sought a more secure water supply,...Show More

National Parks - Rough Rider | 3

39:25 | Aug 29th, 2018

Put out to pasture, thinking his political career over, Theodore Roosevelt was atop a mountain when he heard the news: an assassin’s bullet would likely take President McKinley’s life, and make Roosevelt president. Upon his inauguration shortly afte...Show More

National Parks - Calling In The Cavalry | 2

39:46 | Aug 22nd, 2018

Yellowstone was our nation’s first national park. Its strange, wondrous landscapes were perfect for exploration - and exploitation. Upon Yellowstone’s discovery by white Americans, two races began: one to build a railroad to the park to capture its c...Show More

National Parks - The Business of Nature | 1

44:31 | Aug 15th, 2018

America's greatest National Parks are truly one of our country's greatest treasures. But many beautiful landmarks have ugly histories. Over the next few episodes, we’ll learn how good intentions sometimes lead to tragic and violent ends, and how in s...Show More

Revolution | Interview with Author Russell Shorto | 7

36:39 | Aug 8th, 2018

We've come to the end of our series on the American Revolution, but we can't say goodbye without saying hello to Russell Shorto. Russell adapted his book, Revolution Song, for this series on American History Tellers. If you were wondering why we ch...Show More

Revolution | The Populist | 6

40:38 | Aug 1st, 2018

Millions immigrated to the United States after it's founding, entranced with the promise of a better life. But the country they found was rough and tumble, less developed than the land they left, and had some serious issues. Last week we looked at sl...Show More

Revolution | The Free Man | 5

38:50 | Jul 25th, 2018

The Revolution was fought for freedom, at least in name. Calls for freedom filled the air. No taxation without representation! Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! The Marquis de Lafayette, who had fought valiantly at Washington's side throu...Show More

Revolution | The Independent Woman | 4

41:17 | Jul 18th, 2018

In 1788, the hot gossip in posh British circles was all about France and America. For their friends across the channel, the popular uprising against King Louis XVI seems to be heading toward Revolution. And for their unruly cousins across the Atlanti...Show More

Revolution | The Iroquois Diplomat | 3

39:05 | Jul 11th, 2018

It’s 1786. For two years the city of Philadelphia has been celebrating its independence. For citizens of this brand new country, life is parties, meetings, debates and festivals - sometimes all blended together. But it wasn’t fun and games for everyo...Show More

Revolution | The Empire Builder | 2

42:42 | Jul 4th, 2018

In 1776, the British Under Secretary of State for the American Colonies was giddy. The Americans needed to be punished like children for their bad behavior. “Roman severity,” he called it, and then when he crushed the rebellion, the American children...Show More

Revolution | The Virginia Planter | 1

39:05 | Jun 27th, 2018

It’s 1754, and the British had developed thirteen colonies along the eastern seaboard of the American continent. You may be familiar with them. But what you may not know is that a skirmish between the British and French settlers, who colonized a stri...Show More

Hearst vs Pulitzer - The Headless Torso | 2

42:17 | Jun 20th, 2018

If you lived in an American city at the turn of the century, you got all of your news from a single source: the daily newspapers. No where was that more true than New York City; in the City, two papers ruled them all. You had the World and the Journa...Show More

The Space Race| Photo Finish | 4

43:29 | Jun 6th, 2018

JFK said that nothing in the 1960s was "...more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space..." than getting a man to the moon and back safely. As the Apollo 11 flight neared, the entire nation waited, enraptured....Show More

The Space Race | Taking the Lead | 3

43:05 | May 30th, 2018

In times of crisis, Americans had always put their confidence in their country’s superiority in power, technology and leadership. America had never failed them. And in 1961, hope and faith in their country burned brighter than ever as NASA prepared t...Show More

The Space Race | Playing Catch Up | 2

41:43 | May 23rd, 2018

Information sharing was normal in the global scientific community, but when it came to rockets, normal rules didn’t apply. If the details got passed along to civilian scientists, there was no telling where that intel might end up… But for many Ameri...Show More

The Space Race | Starting Gun | 1

42:14 | May 16th, 2018

Remember Werner von Braun? We talked a little bit about him in our Cold War series. He was in charge of the German rocket program in World War II. First used to lob missiles and bombs all over Europe, von Braun always dreamed of something better for ...Show More

History Through Innovation - Interview with Steven Johnson | 1

43:13 | May 10th, 2018

The phone in your hand is more powerful than all of the computers that put a man on the moon, combined. In the age of supercomputers, driverless cars, and mail-order DNA testing it’s easy to forget that the journey to these incredible innovations was...Show More

The Age of Jackson - Manifest Destiny | 6

45:05 | May 2nd, 2018

“Manifest Destiny” is a uniquely American idea. The phrase captured the sense of inevitability—and entitlement—many citizens still feel. But in the 19th century this idea consumed American’s thought and identity. In the minds of white settlers movin...Show More

The Age of Jackson - The Little Magician | 5

39:19 | Apr 25th, 2018

During the last years of Jackson's presidency, the economy flourished. The national debt was paid in full, industry and agriculture boomed. But when Martin Van Buren assumed the presidency, he inherited an economic disaster. The divide between rich a...Show More

The Age of Jackson - Great White Father | 4

39:44 | Apr 18th, 2018

During his political rise, Jackson distinguished himself with his ability to exact ruthless military victories over indigenous people. As President Native Americans felt the brunt of this power. Whatever his achievements during his lifetime, his lega...Show More

Bonus | Age of Jackson Recap | 4

10:49 | Apr 18th, 2018

Catch up on what we covered in The Age of Jackson. New episodes of American History Tellers come out every Wednesday.

The Age of Jackson - King Mob | 3

37:05 | Apr 11th, 2018

From the beginning, Jackson's administration was riddled with controversy. Citizens mobbed the White House on inauguration day, breaking furniture and fine china. They were only lured out with alcohol. And then there was the "Petticoat Affair." His S...Show More

The Age of Jackson - Good Feelings | 2

36:02 | Apr 4th, 2018

In the summer of 1817, President James Monroe toured the country in an effort to unite the ever-growing United States, torn between bitter political battles that overshadowed national conflict. To Monroe, the nation seemed ready “to get back into ...Show More

The Age of Jackson - Washington Burns | 1

39:07 | Mar 28th, 2018

In August 1814, the White House burned. A fire that would eventually consume the entire nation in Civil War was already burning. This is Antebellum America. This is the adolescence of the United States, when the country grew at tremendous speed, and...Show More

Wondery Presents: Safe For Work | 1

11:28 | Mar 23rd, 2018

We wanted to take a moment to present a new show that focuses on you. Subscribe and listen to Safe For Work on Apple Podcasts, wherever you're listening to this or visit wondery.fm/safeforwork

Prohibition - Interview with Lillian Cunningham | 8

37:06 | Mar 21st, 2018

Do you know the record for the longest ratification period of any constitutional amendment? Lillian Cunningham did. She’s an editor with the Washington Post, host of two outstanding American History podcasts, Presidential and Constitutional, and she’...Show More

Prohibition - We Want Beer | 7

42:40 | Mar 14th, 2018

The people had spoken: They wanted beer, and they wanted it now, but not just for drinking. Protestors wanted the jobs that came with breweries, and the country was desperate from the money that could come from alcohol taxes. As quickly as temperance...Show More

Introducing This Is War | 1

10:43 | Mar 13th, 2018

A raw look at the combat and homecoming experience from American veterans who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This Is War” chronicles the trials of combat vets both abroad and at home. Subscribe today: wondery.fm/thisiswar

Prohibition - Poisoning the Well | 5

37:39 | Feb 28th, 2018

The rise of the speakeasy was one of many unintended consequences of Prohibition - and others were much deadlier. Not coincidentally, at the same time Prohibition was taking effect, the Klu Klux Klan rose to power. They combined Prohibition’s anti-...Show More

Bonus | Prohibition Recap | 4

17:47 | Feb 26th, 2018

It's another bonus episode of American History Tellers! Missed episodes 1-3? You can catch up here. If you already listened to those episodes, you may hear something new...

Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3

36:41 | Feb 21st, 2018

While Prohibition was successful in closing the saloon, it didn’t quench America’s thirst. Enterprising bootleggers found more ways to provide more alcohol to parched Americans – so much that there was finally enough supply to meet demand. New drinki...Show More

Prohibition - Drying Out | 2

35:08 | Feb 14th, 2018

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...Show More

Prohibition - Closing Time | 1

43:48 | Feb 7th, 2018

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 an...Show More

Introducing Business Wars | 1

10:46 | Feb 6th, 2018

Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Sometimes the prize is your wallet, or your attention. Sometimes, it’s just the fun of beating the other guy. The outcome of these battles shapes what we buy and how we live.  Business Wars gives yo...Show More

The Cold War - Interview with Audra Wolfe and Patrick Wyman | 8

50:30 | Jan 31st, 2018

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 t...Show More

The Cold War - Last Man Standing | 7

47:38 | Jan 24th, 2018

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 Crisi...Show More

The Cold War - The Long 1960s | 6

45:21 | Jan 17th, 2018

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 Kenne...Show More

Bonus | The Cold War Recap

25:11 | Jan 17th, 2018

Welcome to a special bonus episode of American History Tellers! We wanted to remind you what we covered in Episodes 1 through 4, so if you’re new to this show, welcome! If you’re all caught up (gold star for you!) then you can skip right on to Episo...Show More

The Cold War - The Nature of Risk | 4

40:12 | Jan 10th, 2018

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, America...Show More

The Cold War - Nuclear Fear | 3

44:37 | Jan 3rd, 2018

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...Show More

The Cold War - Hearts and Minds | 2

39:07 | Jan 3rd, 2018

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...Show More

The Cold War - An Ideological War | 1

42:22 | Jan 3rd, 2018

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? Th...Show More

Introducing American History Tellers

02:30 | Dec 13th, 2017

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