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American History Tellers

Author: Wondery

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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, 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.

111 Episodes
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American History Tellers. Our History, Your StoryPremieres January 3rd.
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 a lot of surprising moments. We’re fascinated with the scientists, engineers and innovators who changed the world for the better… and sometimes worse. These are the leaps of mankind, as they happened. Introducing American Innovations from Wondery. Hosted by Steven Johnson, listen and subscribe to our first arc, The Dynamo of DNA, wherever you’re listening to this right now.Support this show by supporting our sponsors!Squarespace - Get 10% off your domain when you use TELLERS at checkout at Squarespace.com. Ring - Save $150 on a Ring of Security kit when you visit them at Ring.com/TELLERS.
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 Journal. And then men behind them were the most famous newsmen in American History.William Randolph Hearst headed up the Journal and Hungarian immigrant Joseph Pulitzer ran the World.In their mad scramble for readers, they’d pioneer daring technologies and set new precedents for aggressive investigative coverage. They poured millions of dollars into the fight even when their advisors warned it could push them over the brink.And in the end, it very nearly did. This is just the beginning of this story. You can listen to the rest on Business Wars.Support us by supporting our show!Bombas - Save 20% when you visit them at Bombas.com/Tellers and enter the code Tellers at checkoutHello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week of meals when you visit them at hellofresh.com/tellers30 and enter tellers30 at checkoutZipRecruiter - Try ZipRecruiter for FREE by visiting ZipRecruiter.com/TELLERS
Introducing Legal Wars | 9

Introducing Legal Wars | 9

2018-10-1100:10:123

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 WARS puts you inside the jury box of some of the most famous court cases in American history. Subscribe to Legal Wars today at www.wondery.fm/legalwars
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 early automobile industry in the United States and a pioneer of the luxury car market. But when Leland’s vision proved too ambitious for the nascent American car market, Lincoln was purchased by the Ford Motor Company. The Ford acquisition would prove to be a game-changer for Lincoln. It provided the young company with a jolt of capital, marketing know-how, and a secret weapon: Henry Ford’s son, Edsel Ford, who possessed an uncanny sense of style and what customers wanted. He would lead the Lincoln to build an entirely new class of automobile: something “strictly continental.” Brought to you by the 2019 Lincoln MKC.
Ideas are coming at you every day from all directions. How can you process it all? You can start with The Next Big Idea. Host Rufus Griscom and legendary thought leaders Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Dan Pink, and Susan Cain, will be your personal “idea” curators. Open your mind and get ready for something big, because the right idea--at the right moment--has the power to transform your life. Listen now at http://wondery.fm/TNBIWondery
American Elections: Wicked Game is a new podcast from Lindsay Graham that will explore all 58 presidential elections, leading up to the big day in November 2020. From the inevitable election of George Washington in 1789, to Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory in 2016, we’ll attempt to discover if there ever was a “good ol’ days,” or if presidential politics have always been played dirty. Listen now at: wondery.fm/AmericanElectionsW
With the 2020 election looming, Many Americans are wondering how it got this bad, how we succumbed to rancor and invective, fake news and talking points. But maybe it's always been this way? American Elections: Wicked Game is a new podcast from host Lindsay Graham that looks at every American presidential election in our history--from George Washington's unanimous election in 1789, to Donald Trump's surprise electoral win in 2016. And as an introduction to the types of Wicked Games politicians have played in the past, this special episode of American History Tellers has Lindsay Graham talking with Steve Walters, writer of Wicked Game, and Greg Jackson and Ceille Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn't Suck. They've brought their favorite examples of politics played dirty, sharing the outrageous tales of deadly slander, a hoax that turns an election, and how one man went to bed thinking he lost, only to wake to a president.Link to AEWG: wondery.fm/americanelectionsNames of interviewees:Steven Walters, lead writer of American Elections: Wicked GameGreg Jackson, host of the podcast History That Doesn't Suck (https://www.historythatdoesntsuck.com/ )Cielle Salazar, head researcher of podcast History That Doesn't Suck (https://www.historythatdoesntsuck.com/ )  
On Dec. 4, 1881 the Los Angeles Times published its very first edition. And while the paper ran into severe financial trouble just a year after its founding, it nevertheless survived and over its 138 year lifespan has been at the forefront of some monumental stories in American history. But, the news industry today is vastly different and extremely divisive. So how did we get here? The LA Times' Steve Padilla has worked at the paper for 32 years and he joins us to look back at the roots of the journalism industry and newspapers and how we go to where we are today.Support us by supporting our sponsors!Quip - Go to GETQUIP.com/TELLERS to save on gift sets and to get your first refill FREE with a refill plan
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 the Bentley Glass Papers. Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was also crucial to our understanding of the Cold War.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTSquarespace - When you’re ready to launch your website, go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code TELLERS to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.Stamps.com - To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERSHello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week when you visit them at HelloFresh.com and enter the code Tellers30
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.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTSquarespace - When you’re ready to launch your website, go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code TELLERS to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.Stamps.com - To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERSHello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week when you visit them at HelloFresh.com and enter the code Tellers30
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 War.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTSquarespace - When you’re ready to launch your website, go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code TELLERS to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.Stamps.com - To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERSHello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week when you visit them at HelloFresh.com and enter the code Tellers30
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/AHTSquarespace - When you’re ready to launch your website, go to Squarespace.com and use the offer code TELLERS to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.Stamps.com - To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERSHello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week when you visit them at HelloFresh.com and enter the code Tellers30
Bonus | The Cold War Recap | 5

Bonus | The Cold War Recap | 5

2018-01-1700:25:3617

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 Episode 5.
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 American women who worked as human computers for NASA, overcoming discrimination and sexism to change history, we recommend the book “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Lee Shetterly.Finally, Audra Wolfe’s book, “Competing with the Soviets,” was crucial to our overall understanding of the Cold War.Thank you for our sponsors:Squarespace - Get 10% off your website when you use the code TELLERS at checkout. Visit them at: www.squarespace.comZola - Sign up for a registry today and receive a $50 credit when you visit them here: www.zola.com/TellersQuip - Starting at just $25, you can buy a new toothbrush and get your first refill pack free when you visit them here: www.getquip.com/tellers
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:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTeHarmony - Get a free month when you sign up for a 3-month membership if you enter TELLERS at checkout when you go to eHarmony.com
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:Squarespace- Get 10% off your website when you use the code TELLERS at checkout. Visit them at: www.squarespace.comSleep Number- Visit sleepnumber.com/biggame and get $52 off your purchase of $100 or more. Stamps.com- To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERS
Prohibition - Closing Time | 1

Prohibition - Closing Time | 1

2018-02-0700:41:3748

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 Prohibition and how it came about. And, to narrow in on New York, itself, Michael Lerner’s Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City is a tremendous resource.The bootlegger character was based on a real story, A Bootlegger’s Story: How I Started, which ran in the New Yorker in 1926.For more on the Atlanta race riots and how they connect to Prohibition, check out this story on NPR, in which professor Cliff Kuhn describes his research. To learn more about the intersection between race and the policing of Prohibition, Lisa McGirr’s The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State is invaluable.Further references can be found in America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops by Christine Sismondo.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTHello Fresh- Get $30 off your first week when you visit them at HelloFresh.com and enter the code Tellers30Quip- Starting at just $25, you can buy a new toothbrush and get your first refill pack free when you visit them here: www.getquip.com/tellers
Prohibition - Drying Out | 2

Prohibition - Drying Out | 2

2018-02-1400:33:5026

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 Prohibition has more information on medicinal alcohol and how it was prescribed by doctors. To learn more about medicinal beer, this article by Beverly Gage for The Smithsonian is excellent.The 1991 study “Alcohol Consumption During Prohibition” by Jeffrey A. Miron and Jeffrey Zwiebel, is considered the definitive study about how much people actually drank during the noble experiment. For more information on how Prohibition played out in the early days, 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.To read more about Americans behaving badly in Cuba and other places during Prohibition, check out Wayne Curtis’s And A Bootle of Rum: A History of the World in Ten Cocktails, as well as Matthew Rowley’s Lost Recipes of Prohibition. And, to learn more about rum-runners, Daniel Francis’s book, Closing Time: Prohibition, Rum-Runners and Border Wars is an excellent reference.Further references can be found in America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops by Christine Sismondo.Support this show by supporting our sponsors: Squarespace - Save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain when you use promo code TELLERS at Squarespace.comTripping - Save time and money while booking your next vacation at Tripping.com/tellersSleep Number - During the ultimate sleep number event save 50% on the ultimate edition bed at your local Sleep Number store. Find the one nearest you at SleepNumber.com
Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3

Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3

2018-02-2100:35:4728

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 drinking establishments popped up across the nation: speakeasies.Forced underground, these new types of saloons operated under new rules, too. Women drank right alongside the men, and both black and white patrons danced together to Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, all while local cops shrugged or were paid off to look the other way.But the Feds hadn’t turned their backs on the bootleggers. They went undercover, arresting thousands in stings that some claimed were entrapment. Increasingly, Federal agents took the job of enforcing Prohibition seriously. They had to; the business of illicit alcohol was growing dangerous – and violent.To learn more about Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith and the problems involved in the enforcement of Prohibition, check out Professor David J. Hanson’s, “Alcohol Problems and Solutions,” is an excellent resource.If you want to read more about the raids on Prohibition-era speakeasies in New Orleans, this “Intemperance” map by Hannah C. Griggs is an amazing resource that shows every single raid over in that city. For New York speakeasies, Michael Lerner’s Dry Manhattan is a thorough investigation of that city. Queen of the Nightclubs by Louise Berliner is also a fun read.To learn more about Harlem and the generation gap in the 1920s, Terrible Honesty by Ann Douglas is required reading.Support this show by supporting our sponsors: Keeps - Get a month of treatment for free when you visit them at Keeps.com/tellersStamps.com- To get a 4-week trial PLUS postage AND a digital scale without long-term commitments, go to Stamps.com, click on the Microphone at the top of the homepage and type in TELLERSAudible - Get your first audio book free with a 30-day trial when you visit them at Audible.com/tellers
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Comments (97)

Sid Leake

I love your storytelling. This Clay Co KY feud was something I'd never heard about. How dramatic. your stories are told with a presence that puts the listener at the scene. Marvelous. Sid Leake Sugar Land, TX

Jan 18th
Reply

John Benatti

like the podcast but the wall street suicides has been disproven

Jan 7th
Reply (1)

WatchDawg

I would like to keep listening but the deep voiced man saying a woman's words doesn't work for me. Same can be said for the women on Wonderys podcasts that do men or boys voices. It's creepy.

Dec 23rd
Reply

Jeremy Lewthwaite

the wrong podcast has been uploaded

Dec 16th
Reply

Prof. Farnsworth

I'm on the fence. I like the history, but can't help the feeling there is an agenda here as well. I'm also trying to figure out why when there is a part where the dialogue is for a male character there is a woman acting it out. Is this some leftist push to say men are bad?

Dec 15th
Reply

Jodi Bishop-Phipps

I was looking forward to hearing about the Kentucky blood Feud. And then I got some type of weird business Wars. I hope it gets fixed.

Dec 12th
Reply (1)

oh Jojo

Loved the episode after I got over the confusion lol

Dec 11th
Reply (1)

Wright Howard

what is this? Tune in to get American history tellers and I end up with an episode of business wars in the midst of a series

Dec 11th
Reply

Frank

I usually enjoy a good story and I love history but these podcasts are so depressing it makes me want to drink battery acid. I know that there are bad things that happened in the past and I know if you have a big enough bank roll you can get away with murder (literally) but is there any way you can start putting some sort of positive spin on your stories?

Dec 3rd
Reply

Chuck Mayper

I see parellels to those who see speech they may not are agree with as hate speech.

Nov 26th
Reply

Ophelia Onobrakpeya

the more I learn about this, the angrier I get.

Nov 8th
Reply (1)

Chris Smith

great series !!!

Oct 7th
Reply

Jim Eiden

Fantastic insights. The Great Depression episodes are riveting. Going to listen to the Prohibition ones next.

Oct 1st
Reply

Ashley Falkenstein

This was a great episode. I love learning more about history.

Sep 30th
Reply

Jeffery Rowe

Wont play

Sep 25th
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Steven Weseman

This approach to history lessons has been very helpful in getting my two sons to take an interest in history. I am grateful.

Sep 24th
Reply

Dutch Maroon

n.t

Sep 19th
Reply

Richard Lynd

Finally the near-worship of progressives begins on this otherwise fairly objective show. What FDR did is only a good thing when you believe that the federal government should have such an enormous influence on daily life. This is one reason our government deficits are out of control and why dependence on government is at an all-time high. Please go back to the objective tone of past episodes.

Sep 12th
Reply

Jimmy Rourks

stupid

Jul 25th
Reply (4)

Joshua Reddick

Soooo happy this is out. I'm a Oklahoman and they never thought us any thing about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school. it's something they do t speak about. so I'm extremely excited to learn more! keep up the good work.

May 29th
Reply
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