DiscoverAmerican History TellersHistory Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1
History Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1

History Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1

Update: 2018-05-105
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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.

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Prohibition - We Want Beer | 7
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 organizations sprang up in the decade before, anti-Prohibition organizations appeared in every city. But, a constitutional amendment had never been repealed before. The anti-Prohibition leagues realized they needed someone bigger than a governor or mayor to repeal this. They went after the Presidency.For a deeper understanding of the interplay between beer, taxation and the history of Repeal, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Brew by Maureen Ogle is essential reading.  Kenneth D. Rose’s American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition provided insight into Pauline Sabin’s work, as did David J. Hanson’s comprehensive resource, Alcohol Problems and Solutions.Those who want to do a deeper dive into the 1932 DNC and the mob’s involvement, you can read more in the article from Salon, Corruption for Decades. Lisa McGirr’s The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State also explores the relationship between the New Deal and Repeal. For more on Cox’s Army, check out The Bonus Army: An American Epic by Paul Dixon and Thomas B. Allen.Andrew Barr’s Drink: A Social History of America contains a great chapter about the failure of controls and the legacy of prohibition in state liquor laws and the relationship between California’s wine industry and repeal is well documented in When the Rivers Ran Red by Vivienne Sosnowski. To catch up with the bartenders who are bringing back pre-Prohibition cocktails, David Wondrich’s Imbibe is required reading.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTZola - Get a free $50 credit towards your wedding registry when you visit them at Zola.com/TellersSleep Number - Save up to $600 on your new mattress during the Spring Clearance Event. Find your local store by visiting them at SleepNumber.com/Tellers
Prohibition - Down and Out | 6
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 information about the link between Prohibition and organized crime in Chicago, Gus Russo’s The Outfit and Get Capone by Johnathan Eig are invaluable sources. Al Capone’s Beer Wars by John J. Binder is a fantastic re-assessment of the period that sorts out some of the fact from fiction, in a highly mythologized period. For more on the Increased Penalties Act, Michael Lerner’s Dry Manhattan, is a good resource used for this podcast, as is Daniel Okrent’s Last Call. Robin Room’s The Movies and the Wettening of America is the source for the section on Hollywood’s move away from temperance.Kenneth D. Rose’s American Women and the Repeal of Prohibition provided insight into Pauline Sabin’s work, as did David J. Hanson’s comprehensive resource, Alcohol Problems and Solutions. The Washington Post’s recap of The Man in the Green Hat exposé is available here. 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/tellersZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHT
Prohibition - Poisoning the Well | 5
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-immigrant rhetoric with violence. As the number of speakeasies continued to grow, and states continued to buckle down, suppliers couldn’t keep up. Quality went down. Most bootleg alcohol from the time had elements of stuff that would kill you. But people everywhere still wanted to drink - and they would go to any length to get one.Almost everyone could see there was a problem with how Prohibition was actually playing out, but no one could agree what the solution was.No Place of Grace by T. J. Jackson Lears is a fantastic book to learn about the roots of modernism and anti-modernism in American culture. Allan Levine’s The Devil in Babylon also explores these themes, specifically how these impulses played out in 1920’s America.For more on the author of Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street by Richard Lingerman is a great read. And to understand the relationship between the Ku Klux Klan and Prohibition, Paul Angle’s Bloody Williamson: A Chapter in American Lawlessness and Thomas Pegram’s articles and books, including One Hundred Percent American are essential reading. Again, Lisa McGirr’s The War on Alcohol explores these topics quite thoroughly and connects them to the rise of the modern state. A few different articles have delved into the dirty political campaigns of the 1920s, including this good summary by Mental Floss.Support us by supporting our sponsors:ZipRecruiter - To post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE, just go to ZipRecruiter.com/AHTStamps.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 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
Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3
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

Prohibition - Speakeasy | 3

2018-02-2100:35:4913

Prohibition - Drying Out | 2
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 - Drying Out | 2

2018-02-1400:33:0813

Prohibition - Closing Time | 1
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 - Closing Time | 1

2018-02-0700:42:1931

The Cold War - The Long 1960s | 6
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
The Cold War - Nuclear Fear | 3
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
The Cold War - Hearts and Minds | 2
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
The Cold War - An Ideological War | 1
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
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History Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1

History Through Innovation | Interview with Steven Johnson | 1