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New Books in Military History

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Interviews with Scholars of Military History about their New Books

373 Episodes
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Eric Lee's new book The Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler's Revenge, April–May 1945 (Greenhill Books, 2020) tells the story of the events leading up to the little-known revolt of Georgian Wehrmacht recruits against the Germans on the island of Texel, which was part of the Atlantic Wall fortifications off the Dutch coast. These Georgians had been captured as POWs and recruited into or “volunteered” for the Georgian Legion, a Wehrmacht unit made up of former Soviet Georgian troops, often given the choice to join or die. They served unreliably on the Eastern Front before being transferred to the West. There they plotted revolt against the Germans from 1944 in conjunction with Dutch Communist resistance fighters. The revolt was sparked in 1945, as Hitler was hiding in his Fuhrerbunker and the Red Army advancing on Berlin, by news the Georgians were going to be sent to the mainland in what would likely have been a deadly stand against the Allies. Unwilling to die for the Germans, the Georgian Wehrmacht soldiers launched a surprise revolt, slitting the throats of over 400 Germans on the island of Texel in a night. The revolt devolved into all out warfare as the Germans turned the sea batteries on the island and the Georgians took no prisoners while Dutch civilians were caught in the crossfire. The revolt ended when both Georgians and Germans surrendered to Canadian troops. Most of the Georgians were repatriated without reprisal to the USSR where they lived quiet lives. Eric Lee walks us through these events and discusses the legacy of the Texel revolt in the USSR and modern Georgia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced. John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
When Britain went to war in 1914, policemen throughout Great Britain found themselves called upon to perform an ever-increasing range of new tasks that reflected the expanded power of the British state in wartime. In Policing the Home Front, 1914-1918: The Control of the British Population at War (Routledge, 2018), Mary Fraser details the challenges these officers faced and how they worked to carry out their increased responsibilities in straitened circumstances. As Fraser notes, the war imposed new burdens upon the police from the start, as many men quit their posts in order to enlist in the armed forces. To compensate for their absence, auxiliaries were enlisted and women found themselves employed in policing for the first time. These officers were needed as the police were expected to perform a number of new duties, from the administration of wartime separation allowances to dealing with the expanded problems of prostitution, alcohol regulation and youth crime, many of which reflected an expectation by the government that the police could fill much of the void created by the absence of so many men who were serving at the front. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Charles Lord Cornwallis’s campaign through the southern American colonies came to an ignominious close on October 19, 1781, on an open field outside Yorktown, Virginia. At approximately noon, Cornwallis’s beleaguered soldiers, exhausted and low on provisions, emerged from behind their fortifications, laid down their arms, and delivered the earl’s sword to Continental General Benjamin Lincoln, a man whom Cornwallis had helped vanquish a little over a year before at the siege of Charleston. This dramatic reversal of fortune closed the door on a once aggressive British stratagem designed to end the American rebellion by dismembering its southern limbs one by one. Initial victories at Augusta, Savannah, Charleston, and Camden appeared to augur well for Cornwallis’s campaign. But what began with great promise in 1779 and 1780 soon ended in resounding defeat. After fighting Continental General Nathaniel Greene, Patriot partisans, and the Carolina backcountry throughout 1781, Cornwallis’s army was a spent force. Besieged at Yorktown, with no hope for relief, the earl was left with little choice but to surrender. Ever since, generals, historians, and popular culture have pilloried Cornwallis for his ostensibly inept handling of the southern campaign, and have laid responsibly for “losing” America firmly at his feet. But was the early truly to blame? Was Britain’s decision to move the seat of war to the southern colonies a sound strategy poorly executed, or simply a bad strategy? These questions form the analytical framework for Stanley D. M. Carpenter’s masterful strategic study, Southern Gambit: Cornwallis and the British March to Yorktown (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Numerous scholars, including Jeremy Black, Don Higginbotham, and most recently Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, have examined Cornwallis’s southern campaign from the British perspective. These scholars have pushed back against the traditional historiographic charge of gross incompetence on the part of senior British commanders, and have highlighted the myriad logistical, political, spatial, and temporal impediments the British faced in their pursuit of victory. "Southern Gambit" follows and expands upon this tradition, providing the first monograph-length work to analyze the campaign exclusively through a strategic lens. Carpenter, a former Command Historian and Professor of Naval Strategy and Policy at the US Naval War College, offers a new perspective on Cornwallis’s march through the South, as well as fresh insight into why the earl, despite his formidable tactical acumen, proved unable to defeat the master strategist Nathaniel Greene. Moreover, in "Southern Gambit," Carpenter has produced a work possessing undeniable relevance to current US strategic planners. It is a requisite read for both scholars of the American Revolution and today's military professionals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In her spellbindingly brilliant new book, Dying to Serve: Militarism, Affect, and the Politics of Sacrifice in the Pakistan Army (Stanford University Press, 2020), Maria Rashid conducts an intimate and layered ethnography of militarism and death in Pakistan, with a focus on the lives, aspirations, and tragedies of soldiers and their families in rural Punjab. How does the Pakistani military’s regulation and management of affect and emotions like grief authorize and sustain the practice of sacrificing the self in service to the nation? Rashid addresses this question through a riveting and at many times hauntingly majestic analysis of a range of themes including carefully choreographed public spectacles of mourning, military regimes of cultivating martial subjects, fissures between official scripts and unofficial unfoldings of grieving, anxieties over the representation of maimed soldiers, and ambiguities surrounding the appropriation of martyrdom (shahādat) for death on the battlefield. Theoretically incisive, ethnographically charged, and politically urgent, Dying to Serve is a landmark publication in the study of South Asia, Pakistan, and modern militarism that is destined to become a classic. It is also written with lyrical lucidity, making it an excellent text to teach in a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on modern Islam, South Asia, religion and violence, gender and masculinity, affect studies, and theories and methods in anthropology and religion. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In her new book Duty Beyond the Battlefield: African American Soldiers Fight for Racial Uplift, Citizenship, and Manhood, 1870-1920 (Southern Illinois University Press, 2020), Le’Trice D. Donaldson investigates how African American soldiers used their military service to challenge white notions of an African American second-class citizenry and forged a new identity as freedom fighters, demanding the rights of full citizenship and manhood. Donaldson identifies the often-overlooked era between the Civil War and the end of World War I as the beginning of black soldiers’ involvement in the long struggle for civil rights. Donaldson interrogates the association between masculinity and citizenship and the ways in which performing manhood through military service influenced how these men struggled for racial uplift. Following the Buffalo soldier units and two regular army infantry units from the frontier and the Mexican border to Mexico, Cuba, and the Philippines, she investigates how these locations and the wars therein provide windows into how the soldiers’ struggles influenced black life and status within the United States. Duty beyond the Battlefield demonstrates that from the 1870s to 1920s military race men laid the foundation for the “New Negro” movement and the rise of Black Nationalism that influenced the future leaders of the twentieth century Civil Rights movement. Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson is an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Stout and the author of A Voyage through the African American Experience. She is also the creator and co-editor of The Blerdy Report a blog dedicated to all things Black and nerdy in film, television, and the comic universe. You can find her on Twitter @eboninerd and on Instagram @letrice_blackladynerd Dr. Isabel Machado is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Memphis. Her forthcoming book uses Carnival as a vehicle to understand social and cultural changes in Mobile, Alabama (USA) in the second half of the 20th century. Her new research project is an investigation of different generations of artists and performers who challenge gender normativity in Monterrey, Nuevo León (Mexico). She also works as an Assistant Producer for the Sexing History podcast.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education. Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New York and the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (Georgia). Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this interview we discuss Fight Fight (Braveship Books, 2018), book 3 of the Raven One series. In Fight Fight, former aviator Kevin Miller explores the next big fight in the South China Sea when errors and miscalculations on the grandest scale drive the world’s greatest maritime powers into conflict. From aboard a nuclear powered super-carrier in the center of the maelstrom readers get a front row seat to the action as well as the planning and deliberation that goes into waging war. In Fight Fight the reader experiences the angst of a pilot about to catapult into the night sky and the frustration of being at the end of a long decision-making whip. Captain Miller also successfully paints the fog of modern war where near instant communications and extremely effective sensors give the decision-makers the illusion of knowledge. As an avid fan of military fiction, I have had an itch for this particular type of book since the Late Tom Clancy left the literary field. Consider the itch scratched. In the interview we also discuss the wider strategic and tactical realities that would face US Naval forces in any campaign in the South China Sea, and the policy decisions that effect that environment. Captain Kevin Miller, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, is a former tactical naval aviator and has flown the A-7E Corsair II and FA-18C Hornet operationally. He commanded a carrier-based strike-fighter squadron, and, during his career, logged over 1,000 carrier-arrested landings, made possible as he served alongside outstanding men and women as part of a winning team. Captain Miller lives and writes in Pensacola, Florida. Fight Fight is the third novel in his Flip Wilson series. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Why did the Allies win World War II? In the this podcast of Arguing History, Professor of History Emeritus at Exeter University, Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, discuss the the respective roles of military resources vs. fighting quality in the Second World War. One view has it that while the Germans were tactically and operationally superior to the Allies, they simply could not overcome the Allies' superiority in terms of men and materiel. But what role did improvements in Allied military training and tactics during the course of the war prove an equally important variable? Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jeremy Black, professor of history at Exeter University, is one of the most insightful historians of military strategy from early modernity to the present day. In his most recent book, Military Strategy: A Global History (Yale University Press, 2020), he sets out to demonstrate the ways in which strategic thinking has changed over time, paying attention to the changes in technology, ideology and ambition by which it has been shaped. This is a compelling account of a complex and various subject. Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Adam H. Domby, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Charleston, has written a rigorous analysis of American political memory as it connects to the Civil War and long shadow of the Confederacy. The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory (University of Virginia Press, 2020) unpacks a variety of threads all connected to the Lost Cause ideology, and all based on falsehoods. These dimensions of the ideology include Domby’s examination of the history of dishonest claims to confederate pensions by white veterans, and also the accusations of fraud associated with claims made by former slaves and free people of color for much smaller pensions. The False Cause digs into the historical claims made about the heroics demonstrated on the battlefield during the Civil War. In this context, The False Cause unpacks the myth that the Confederate army was one of the best ever, and these heroic claims, many of which were made at least forty years after the war itself, are not the only heroic assertions made in context of the Lost Cause ideology. Domby also explores the “soldiers who weren’t” – the enslaved individuals who were compelled to accompany their masters to war, and were then transformed, within this constructed political memory, into Black Confederates, which is yet another myth within the ideology. The book begins with an extremely topical component of the Lost Cause ideology and political memory, the monuments to confederate soldiers that were built long after the war, and that have become contemporary political lightning rods. Through all of these cases, Domby weaves the thread of how each particular area was used to buttress white supremacy and to re-narrate or re-cast the Civil War itself and those who engaged in it. Issues of white masculinity and grievance are embedded within the mythology and are also unpacked in context of these heroic declarations. This is an important historical examination that leads the reader through the facts and the subsequently created mythologies, which continue to shape and impact American politics and historical understandings. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Obedience is integral to the military, to society, and to communities. To bring individuals together to work cohesively and successfully towards a common goal, be it seizing an objective on the battlefield, creating an enduring political or social project, or simply running a local soup kitchen, obedience must be present. But how many of us, whether soldiers or civilians, ever stop to consider just what obedience is? Is obedience a core military virtue? Is it a core civilian virtue, and if so why? Why should soldiers or citizens be obedient? When should they be disobedient? And how might or should conflicting or overlapping obediences influence the conduct of modern American citizen-soldiers? These questions are the driving force behind Pauline Shanks Kaurin's nuanced, insightful meditation on the nature of obedience, On Obedience: Contrasting Philosophies for the Military, Citizenry, and Community (Naval Institute Press, 2020). Dr. Kaurin convincingly argues that our current understanding of obedience is incomplete. While legal and pragmatic definitions abound, few have substantively addressed obedience's moral dimensions. Kaurin offers a welcome corrective to this oversight, forcefully advocating for the cultivation of "critical obedience" in the military, in civil society, and in our communities. An important wok in the field of military ethics, On Obedience provides a robust framework for thinking not only about our future as soldiers and citizens, but about how obedience, as a social and cultural factor, shaped our shared political and military past. Pauline Shanks Kaurin holds a PhD in Philosophy from Temple University, with a specialization in military ethics, just war theory, and applied ethics. Currently, she is a Professor of Professional Military Ethics at the US Naval War College. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The opposing powers had already suffered casualties on a scale previously unimaginable by October 1914. On both the Western and Eastern fronts elaborate war plans lay in ruins and had been discarded in favour of desperate improvisation. In the West this soon resulted in the remorseless world of the trenches; in the East all eyes were focused on the old, beleaguered Austro-Hungarian fortress of Przemysl. The great siege that unfolded at Przemysl was the longest of the Great War. In the defence of the fortress and the struggle to relieve it Austria-Hungary suffered some 800,000 casualties. Almost unknown in the West, this battle was one of the great turning points of the conflict. If the Russians had broken through in the Fall of 1914, they could have invaded Central Europe and probably knocked Austria out of the war. But by the time the fortress fell in March 1915, the Russian’s strength was so sapped they could go no further. In The Fortress: The Siege of Przemysl and the Making of Europe's Bloodlands (Basic Books, 2020), Professor Alexander Watson, Professor of History at the University of London, prize-winning author of Ring of Steel, has written one of the great epics of the First World War. Comparable to Stalingrad in 1942-3, Przemysl shaped the course of Europe's future. This book, described by Sir Christopher Clark, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, as a ‘splendid book’, is a must read for both layman and scholar alike. It is based upon voluminous archival research and is without a doubt the definitive treatment of the subject. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Austerlitz, Wagram, Borodino, Trafalgar, Leipzig, Waterloo: these are the battles most closely associated with the Napoleonic Wars. But how did this period of nearly continuous warfare affect the world beyond Europe? The immensity of the fighting waged by France against England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia, and the immediate consequences of the tremors that spread from France as a result, overshadow the profound repercussions that the Napoleonic Wars had throughout the world. In his new book The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History (Oxford University Press, 2020), Professor Alexander Mikaberidze of the department of History at Louisiana State University, argues that the Napoleonic Wars can only be fully understood with an international context in mind. France struggled for dominance not only on the plains of Europe but also in the Americas, West and South Africa, Ottoman Empire, Iran, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Taking specific regions in turn, Professor Mikaberidze discusses major political-military events around the world and situates geopolitical decision-making within its long- and short-term contexts. From the British expeditions to Argentina and South Africa to the Franco-Russian maneuvering in the Ottoman Empire, the effects of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars would shape international affairs well into the next century. Skillfully narrated and deeply researched, here at last is the complete global history of the period, one that expands our contemporary view of the Napoleonic Wars and their role in laying the foundations of the modern world. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In her fascinating and remarkable new book Faithful Fighters: Identity and Power in the British Indian Army (Stanford University Press, 2019), Kate Imy explores the negotiation of religious identity, military service, and imperial power in the context of twentieth century British India. How were preconceived British imperial notions of religion and loyalty to the state attached to indigenous South Asian communities frustrated by the way Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Nepali Gurkha (Hindu and Buddhist) soldiers engaged the state and performed their political and religious identities as part of the British Indian army. Faithful Fighters is a powerful and brilliant meditation on the impossibility of modern colonial power to canonize religion and religious identity. The six chapters of this book examine a range of archives, themes, theaters, and actors including tensions surrounding the valorization of Sikh loyalty and controversies shadowing the Kirpān (sword), the cooptation of pan-Islamic sentiments for British imperialism, suspicions and sexual desires invested in the figure of the Pathan, Nepali Gurkhas, caste hierarchies, and rituals of purification, debates of food and religion in the military, projects of nationalism through military academies, and masculinity, fascism, and Hindu nationalism. This thoroughly researched and multidisciplinary book will attract and interest scholars from a range of fields including South Asian history, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, Military History, and Cultural Studies. Beautifully written, and populated with enticing narratives and images, it will also be a delight to teach in a variety of classes. SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at sherali.tareen@fandm.edu. Listener feedback is most welcome. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Germany’s winter campaign of 1941–1942 is commonly seen as the Wehrmacht's first defeat. In Retreat from Moscow: A New History of Germany's Winter Campaign, 1941-1942 (FSG, 2019), David Stahel argues that it was in fact their first strategic success in the east. The mismanaged Soviet Counteroffensive became a phyrric victory as both sides struggled with strategic leadership and supply. German generals, caught between Stalin's hammer and Hitler's anvil, found loopholes in increasingly irrational orders to hold at all costs. Drawing on official war diaries, journals, memoirs, and correspondence, Stahel's latest installment in his reevaluation of the eastern front delivers a vivid account that challenges what you thought you knew about the war in the Soviet Union. David Stahel is the author of five previous books on Nazi Germany's war against the Soviet Union. He completed an MA in war studies at King's College London in 2000 and a PhD at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2009. His research primarily concentrates on the German military in World War II. Dr. Stahel is a senior lecturer in European history at the University of New South Wales, and he teaches at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Ryan Stackhouse is a historian of Europe specializing in modern Germany and political policing under dictatorship. His forthcoming book Enemies of the People: Hitler’s Critics and the Gestapo explores enforcement practices toward different social groups under Nazism. He also cohosts the Third Reich History Podcast and can be reached at john.ryan.stackhouse@gmail.com or @Staxomatix. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Who or what originated and/or caused the Great War from breaking out in July 1914? Was it Serbia with its expansionist and aggressive designs on Austria-Hungary? Was it Austria-Hungary itself, unnecessarily plunging itself and the rest of Europe in a futile effort to keep together its tottering Monarchy? Was it Tsarist Russia? Attempting to both expand its influence in the Balkans at the expense of both Austria and Germany and at the very same time, seeking to bolster its own tottering monarchy by showing its aggrieved public that Mother Russia was backing the cause of its down-trodden, Slavic brothers. Was it Kaiserreich Germany? Aiming in the famous thesis of 20th-century German historian Fritz Fischer, to launch a Great War to establish itself as the hegemonic power on the European continent? A war which its military leaders stated repeatedly, Germany could only win if war occurred in the next few years. Was it France? Aiming in conjunction with its Russian ally to start a war with the aim of regaining the two lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. Was it Liberal England? Hoping for the final success of the policy of ‘encirclement’ of Germany, commenced by Edward VII? The origins of the Great War is one of the most fascinating and enthralling subjects in modern History. Which oceans of ink, almost (but not quite) matching the oceans of blood spilled during the war itself, have been devoted to the subject. From the immediate outbreak of the war to the centenary anniversary in 2014, master historians have researched and written on it. Now to bring the topic to the audience of New Books Network, are Jeremy Black, Emeritus Professor of History at Exeter University, without a doubt, the most prolific historian writing in the Anglophone world and Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society. Please listen to this most interesting of podcast. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In his new book Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation (Custom House, 2019), Steve Vogel tells the astonishing true story of the Berlin Tunnel, one of the West’s greatest espionage operations of the Cold War—and the dangerous Soviet mole who betrayed it. Its code name was “Operation Gold,” a wildly audacious CIA plan to construct a clandestine tunnel into East Berlin to tap into critical KGB and Soviet military telecommunication lines. The tunnel, crossing the border between the American and Soviet sectors, would have to be 1,500 feet (the length of the Empire State Building) with state-of-the-art equipment, built and operated literally under the feet of their Cold War adversaries. Success would provide the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service access to a vast treasure of intelligence. Exposure might spark a dangerous confrontation with the Soviets. Yet as the Allies were burrowing into the German soil, a traitor, code-named Agent Diamond by his Soviet handlers, was burrowing into the operation itself. . . Betrayal in Berlin is a heart pounding account of the operation. He vividly recreates post-war Berlin, a scarred, shadowy snake pit with thousands of spies and innumerable cover stories. It is also the most vivid account of George Blake, perhaps the most damaging mole of the Cold War. Drawing upon years of archival research, secret documents, and rare interviews with Blake himself, Vogel has crafted a true-life spy story as thrilling as the novels of John le Carré and Len Deighton. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The story of Chesapeake pirates and patriots begins with a land dispute and ends with the untimely death of an oyster dredger at the hands of the Maryland Oyster Navy. From the golden age of piracy to Confederate privateers and oyster pirates, the maritime communities of the Chesapeake Bay are intimately tied to a fascinating history of intrigue, plunder, and illicit commerce trading. In Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars (The History Press, 2020), Jamie L. H. Goodall introduces infamous men like Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and “Black Sam” Bellamy, as well as lesser-known local figures like Gus Price and Berkeley Muse, whose tales of piracy are legendary from the harbor of Baltimore to the shores of Cape Charles. Rob Denning is Associate Dean for Liberal Arts at Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Campus. He received his Ph.D from The Ohio State University, where he researched environmental policymaking in California during Ronald Reagan’s terms as governor. Rob hosts Working Historians, a podcast about the various career opportunities open to students with history degrees. He can be reached by email at rdenning13@gmail.com or on Twitter @DrRobHistory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (2)

Andre Granger

lc

Dec 18th
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Mark Powelson

Fascinating insights! A whole new dimension of the Civil War. How the need for food and wood literally changed the landscape. The ravaged lands as the war's legacy.

May 14th
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