BackStory show

BackStory

Summary: BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.

Podcasts:

 218: Close Encounters: UFOs in American History | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3790

BackStory is a weekly public podcast hosted by U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. We're based in Charlottesville, Va. at Virginia Humanities. There’s the history you had to learn, and the history you want to learn - that’s where BackStory comes in. Each week BackStory takes a topic that people are talking about and explores it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews, and conversations with our listeners, BackStory makes history engaging and fun.

 249: Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The History of America’s Wealthy Elite | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2794

It’s been ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers shook the world’s economy. Today Ed, Nathan and Brian explore the iconic figure of the American Millionaire, telling the story of one of the first African American Millionaires, delving into the ambiguities around Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy, and finding out that there is more to the board game Monopoly than just rolling the dice and passing “Go.”

 248: After Hurricane Maria: The History of Puerto Rico and the United States | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3185

In August of 2018, officials in Puerto Rico reported that over 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. One year after the disaster, Brian, Ed and Nathan take a look at the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Are Puerto Ricans really Americans in the eyes of the federal government?

 181: Fit to Print?: A History of Fake News | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2039

As we approach the midterm elections, concerns about fake news - widely circulated news stories that are inaccurate, misleading, or completely made-up – continue to dominate the headlines. The topics, targets, and sources of this content continues to expand, while labelling stories as “fake news” has become a commonplace tactic to blur the lines between fiction and reality. On this episode, Nathan, Joanne and Ed will look at other times in history when Americans had to be a bit more careful about what they read.

 247: Hot Enough For You? The History of Climate Change | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1889

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 is on pace to be the fourth hottest year on record. So, on this week’s episode, Nathan, Brian and Joanne talk about how Americans understood climate and weather in centuries past. They also explore how the invention of air conditioning changed America forever.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 246: In the Shadow of the Mushroom Cloud: A History of the Atomic Age | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3324

In 1942, American scientists created the first sustained, controlled nuclear reaction, under the bleachers of a football field. Needless to say, it was the beginning of a new era. On this week’s show, Brian, Joanne and Ed talk atomic power, and the indelible mark it left on American culture.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 187: A More Perfect Union? The Reconstruction Era | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2604

On this episode of BackStory, Ed, Nathan and Joanne explore the central questions of the Reconstruction era.

 245: The Battle for Charlottesville's Soul: One Year Later, A Community Looks Back | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2730

On August 11 & 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right” rally brought chaos, violence and death to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. To mark the anniversary, BackStory broadcasts an episode of “A12,” a new podcast series presented by historian, writer and podcaster Nicole Hemmer.  “A12” looks at the legacy of August 12th in Charlottesville and beyond. In it Hemmer, who witnessed the rally and attack, brings together city leaders, activists, scholars, and witnesses to make sense of all the forces surrounding the events. It’s a sprawling story, covering everything from Confederate statues to white nationalists to questions of policing and law. But it’s also an intimate one: a story of trauma, loss and healing. “A12,” a six-episode series, releases in full on Aug. 6. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 244: Elementary Mr. President: Sherlock Holmes, the Supreme Court and Dr. Spock | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2291

Ed, Joanne and Brian explore the history of filling vacant seats on the Supreme Court, discover the secret connections between 221B Baker Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and find out why the publication date of a successful child rearing manual is a Day that Changed America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 212: The Melting Pot: Americans & Assimilation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3686

This week, Brian, Joanne, and Nathan wrestle with a long-running tension in our country’s history: what it means to assimilate and “become American.” We’ll explore the 19th-century notions of who could become an American and the ways they were expected to change. Plus, we’ll discuss how much room there was for a hyphenated American identity in the past and if there is room today.

 Shore Thing: A History of the Beach | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3147

Summer’s here and BackStory has gone to the beach. Ed, Joanne, and Brian dip their toes into four tales from America’s shoreline. We’ll talk about race, health, and daringly provocative woolen swimsuits. And the hosts will add their own experiences of the beach as a weird, magical place.

 216: What’s in a Number? Thirteen in American History | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3002

The 13th of any month is more likely to occur on a Friday than any other day of the week and it's happened as many as three times in a single calendar year. So, why is it considered bad luck?  In this episode, Joanne, Nathan and Brian explore stories of superstition and the surprising roles the number 13 has played across American history.

 191: Saving American History | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2377

How is the history of a nation remembered? Well -- it all depends on what you keep. We’re talking about recipes, your old record collection, wedding dresses, newspapers, family letters or even your own personal diary. These are the types of documents future generations depend on to understand past American culture. On this episode, Joanne, Ed and Nathan talk about the people who decided to take it upon themselves to collect stuff they knew people would care about someday -- even if others thought they were weird.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

 242: Summer Reading List: 14 History Books You’ll Want to Read | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3219

What should you be reading this summer? BackStory’s hosts and special guests share their recommendations of the history page turners you should pack for the beach.

 241: The Camera Never Lies? History Through the Viewfinder | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2126

In the 21st century, we often assume that a picture captures what really happened in a given moment. But on this week’s show, Joanne and Brian look at the early days of photography - when Americans had to figure out how to ‘read’ images - and learn if photos should be trusted at all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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