April 24, 2017 – This week’s episode airs on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and features debut novelist Barbara Stark-Nemon’s ambitious novel, Even in Darkness. Spanning a century and three continents, Barbara tells the story of her real-life great-aunt, Kläre Kohler, from early years in a prosperous German-Jewish family, through an adulthood of love, two World Wars, a concentration camp, and an unconventional life in post-war Ge...

April 17, 2017 – This week, our time machine attends the Gilded Age performances of a man who heralded the Borscht Belt, Vaudeville, and paved the way for performers from Mel Brooks to Barbra Streisand and Jerry Seinfeld. He did so by performing Jewish characters — for the first time — with dignity, humor, and emotional depth. Born in 1849, M.B. Curtis gained worldwide fame — and as an immigrant himself, reached into hi...

April 10, 2016 – This week, our time machine visits the era of silent film stars with Laini Giles, author of The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow. Even if you’ve never heard of Clara Bow, you’ll stop and take notice the moment you saw her. She had “it,” which is something more than sex appeal, more than talent — an undefinable and mysterious quality that you can’t create, borrow, or steal. But Clar...

April 3, 2017 – This week, our time machine compares some of the Western world’s big thinkers. Centuries ago Plutarch, the Father of Biography, wrote Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans to reveal new insights about their careers by making comparisons. Robert Lloyd George applies this method to our time in A Modern Plutarch: Comparisons of the Greatest Western Thinkers, using the United States and United Kingdom, in place of Greece...

March 27, 2017 – This week, our time machine goes inside a succession of Nazi Concentration camps, and views them through the great Norwegian statesman, Odd Nansen. Editing Nansen’s diaries — written painstakingly and smuggled out of the camps — is Timothy J. Boyce, and the resulting book is From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps. As a friend of Norway’s royal family and son...

March 20, 2017 – This week, we meet a man born Albrecht Dittrich in East Germany, who infiltrated the U.S. as a KGB agent at the height of the Cold War — and in the decades since, Barsky’s life has taken all the twists and turns you’d expect from a fictional spy thriller. From ardent communist to patriotic American citizen. From unquestioning atheist, to agnostic, to the witnessing Christian he is today. Jack’s bo...

March 13, 2017 – This week, we step into the Tardis, and travel back in time to a United Kingdom facing a rebellion in the late 1600s. The leader of this uprising to seize the crown is Charles II’s illegitimate son, James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. He’s the sort of figure we love: One wronged by generations of falsehoods, until a dedicated historian tells the true story. That author is Dr. Anna Keay, and the book that sets ...

March 6, 2017 – This week, our time machine travels back to the earliest days of the United States, to what’s sometimes called the Second War of independence: The War of 1812. For the first time in this fight against Great Britain, Congress used the Constitution’s power to declare war, and for the last time, the men doing the fighting supplied their own weapons — an idea that seems incredible today, where the term ̶...

February 27, 2017 – This week, our time machine turns Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. We’re pedaling our way to the end of Black History Month, with a last stop on the basketball courts just off the coast of Massachusetts. Cultural critic and sportswriter Bijan C. Bayne is here to share his latest book: Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race and Class. The island off Cape Cod may not conjure up th...

February 20, 2017 – This week, we mark Presidents Day by putting some serious years and miles on the old DeLorean, starting with a visit to the Tidewater region of Virginia in the mid 1700’s, and ending over 200 years later across the ocean in Hawaii. In between, we’ll make a bunch of stops in Ohio, a handful in New York, and others scattered across the nation. Our guide on this journey is Louis Picone, author of Where the Pr...

EPISODES

Noah Andre Trudeau – Lincoln’s Greatest Journey

February 13, 2016 – This week’s episode falls on the day we observe Lincoln’s birthday, so our time machine travels back to the final days of the American Civil War, as Abraham Lincoln turns his weary eyes forward to ending the rebellion and pushing for his vision of a new, reunited United States. The Great Emancipator does so by leaving the White House for his longest break since the war began, and spending them wi...

Terry Kerber – Major Taylor: The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame

February 6, 2017 – This week, in honor of Black History Month, our time machine travels back in time to meet a forgotten American hero in the fight for equality — a hero, with a bicycle. You may never have heard of Marshall “Major” Taylor, but this son of an Indiana Civil War veteran was the most popular athlete in America and heralded throughout the world, back at the height of the Jim Crow era in the early 2...

Charles Leerhsen – Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (The Updated, Hall of Fame Episode)

January 30, 2017 – This week, we mark the anniversary of the first Baseball Hall of Fame class on January 29, 1936. In that year, Ty Cobb earned 222 ballots, just four votes short of a unanimous decision, so the date gave us a chance to revisit one of our earliest interviews, and a book we cited often as a journalistic high water mark for history. Joining us again to chat about the unfairly maligned Georgia Peach, is Charles Le...

Robert T. Hilliard – A Season on the Allegheny

January 23, 2017 – This week, our time machine turns on the four-wheel drive, as we hike into Allegheny National Forest, hunting for history. Established in 1923, the forest covers over half a million acres of the northwestern Pennsylvania foothills, and offers us the chance to experience the same sights, sounds and wildlife, as our forebears stretching back to the dawn of civilization. Joining us with his walking stick is auth...

Patricia Posner – The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story

January 16, 2017 – This week, our time machine travels back to one of the past’s darkest corners, to meet Victor Capesius. Before the war, he was a friendly neighborhood druggist in Romania. But as World War Two progressed, this ethnic German rose from anonymity, to infamy, standing at the side of Dr. Josef Mengele, The Angel of Death. Patricia Posner brings us the true tale of this Nazi SS officer in, The Pharmacist of A...

Margaret Creighton – The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World’s Fair

January 9, 2017 – This week, our time machine whisks us back the Pan-American Exposition, a Gilded Age world’s fair powered by the newly harnessed power of electricity. “The Pan” covered 350 acres near Niagara Falls, and heralded the wonders of the 20th Century. But it also featured lingering stereotypes of a pre-flight world, and the tragic assassination of President William McKinley — America’s m...

Hugh Howard – Architecture’s Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson

January 2, 2017 – Hello, Happy New Year! This week, our time machine turns tower crane, as best-selling author and historian Hugh Howard introduces us to two men whose vision for building shaped the 20th Century. His book is, Architecture’s Odd Couple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson. Conducting the interview is Thriller author and practicing architect Tom Grace, who previously interviewed Gerald Posner, author of G...

Peter Lion – The American St. Nick: A True Story

December 21, 2016 – We’re uploading our Monday, December 26, 2016, episode a little bit ahead of schedule — call it an early Christmas gift. Our guest is Peter Lion, who brings us The American St. Nick: A True Story. It’s the unique tail of a World War Two G.I., who ended up playing a big role in tiny Luxembourg. In the lull between the Nazi withdrawal and the Battle of the Bulge, Corporal Richard Brookins hel...

Edward T. O’Donnell – Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age

December 19, 2016 – This week, our time machine swerves Into the Past Lane. Our guest is, Edward T. O’Donnell, host of the Into the Past Lane podcast and author of Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age. You may not know who Henry George is, but his ideas swirled around the campaign for president throughout the recent election, and his approach to solving political and economic p...

Irene Levy Baker – 100 Things to Do in Philadelphia Before You Die

December 12, 2016 – This week, our time machine goes looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike, and finds it at the birthplace of Ben Franklin, the Constitution, and cheesesteaks. We previously visited the City of Brotherly Love for our interview at McGillin’s Olde Ale House est. 1860 and Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, with side trips to check out the Paoli Battlefield and to meet Simon Cameron, “Lincoln’s S...