Paddy Hayes – Queen of Spies
Cold War / February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016 – Our time machine for this trip is tricked out like James Bond’s Aston Martin, and we’re speeding back to the height of the Cold War. Our driver on this journey is Paddy Hayes, who was kind enough to call into the show from Dublin, Ireland. His book is Queen of Spies: Daphne Park, Britain’s Cold War Spy Master. Until this book, no biography has been written about Daphne Park’s incredible contributions to the crown at a time when the intelligence services were still very closed to women. From helping prepare for the D-Day landings to shoring up the Falkland Islands’ defense, her adventures included being thrown into a pit, swimming the chilly Volga River to escape the KGB, and threats of execution. “I must have been arrested and condemned to be shot several times,” she said. “It was a hazard that I got used to.” Daphne Park was Britain’s top woman spy, the most senior lady in MI6, a spitfire who people said once met, was never forgotten.       Podcast: Download (Duration: 35:25 — 32.4MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

H5F: Matthew Hart – Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal
History in Five / February 26, 2016

February 26, 2016 – Today’s history author, Matthew Hart, brings us…gold.  No, he’s not making us rich.  It’s the title of his latest book: Gold: the Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal.  It follows in the footsteps of his previous book: Diamond – The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair. History in Five Friday. It’s the perfect way to kick off your modern weekend…with people from the past. Podcast: Download (Duration: 6:22 — 5.8MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Paul Kahan – The Bank War
American Presidents / February 22, 2016

February 22, 2016 – This week, we sling-shot around the sun at high warp, sending us tumbling back in time to the Summer of 1832 — and America, at war. It’s not a conflict over land or of arms, but over the fiscal system of the young republic. Our guide on this journey is Paul Kahan, and his book is The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance. The fight against the Second Bank of the United States may have been the most frustrating fight of President Jackson’s life, since — for once — he couldn’t end things by simply shooting or threatening to shoot his opponent in the face. Dr. Kahan holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University, an M.A. in Modern American History & Literature, and B.A.s in history and English. He’s also the author of two books on Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, and another titled, The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American History Critical Moments in American Industry. You can visit him at, or follow him on Twitter @Paul_Kahan.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 49:46 — 45.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

H5F: Michael Shelden – Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill
History in Five , World Leaders / February 19, 2016

February 19, 2016 – Today’s history author, Michael Shelden, is the author of Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill. You may recall hearing praise for Young Titan in our interview with Simon Read, author of Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondent. The Greatest Briton’s early life is often overlooked, with people understandably focusing on the image of him as a heroic figure, standing on the White Cliffs of Dover, shaking his fist in defiance at Hitler across the channel. But Churchill’s path of destiny was not a straight one. What can the way he dealt with the many bumps and curves in the road, teach us about how to deal with adversity in our own lives? For more on the Greatest Briton life before greatness, you can also hear us catch up with Sir Winston’s great-grandson, Jonathan Sandys, as he discusses the future Prime Minister’s youthful sense of destiny in: God & Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours. Simon & Schuster’s History in Five every Friday. It’s the perfect way to kick off your modern weekend…with people from the past.   Podcast: Download (Duration: 6:51…

Sheila Myers – Imaginary Brightness
Fiction / February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016 – Today’s destination is America in the 1870s, and our guest is Sheila Myers, author of the novel Ephemeral Summer, and associate professor at Cayuga Community College. Her latest novel is Imaginary Brightness: a Durant Family Saga. At the dawn of what Mark Twain would later dub the Gilded Age, the economy suffered a panic — what we’d call a depression — brought on, in part, by over-speculation in railroads. Dr. Thomas C. Durant, head of the Union Pacific Railroad, was one of those tycoons devastated by the crash. Imaginary Brightness tells the story of his children, William and Ella, whose world is turned upside down by the crash as they’re torn away from their privileged lifestyle in high society London, and stuck in the wilderness of upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains. You can follow Sheila @SheilaMMyers on Twitter, or visit her online at       Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:58 — 36.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

H5F: John Taliaferro – All the Great Prizes
History in Five / February 12, 2016

February 12, 2016 – Today’s author, John Taliaferro, pans the camera lens of history just to the side of two great American presidents to focus on a man who worked for both. The book is All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt. John Hay may not be a name that jumps out at people today, but he had a front-row seat with Abraham Lincoln in the early 1860s, and Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s. History in Five Friday. It’s the perfect way to kick off your modern weekend…with people from the past. Podcast: Download (Duration: 7:18 — 6.7MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

T.H. Breen – George Washington’s Journey
American Presidents / February 8, 2016

February 8, 2016 – Today, we’re riding in Great White Coach with the father of our country. Our teamster is author Timothy Hall Breen, and his book is George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation. Aware of the fragile and fractured nature of the new republic after independence, Washington resolves — in a day without maps or roads worthy of the name — to take the federal government to the people. Staying in simple inns rather than fine houses, and suffering through terrible food and bad treatment for his horses, Washington visited every one of the thirteen states, and left a candid assessment of his opinions, as well as funny moments with the people — and a few where he nearly died. Mr. Breen is the James Marsh Professor at-large at the University of Vermont and the author of eleven books on American history including, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence.  You can follow him @TimothyHBreen on Twitter.       Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:13 — 35.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

H5F: David Maraniss – Vince Lombardi
History in Five , Sports / February 5, 2016

February 5, 2016 – On this Friday before Super Bowl 50, we’re going to focus on the name etched into the victory trophy: Lombardi. Best-selling author and historian David Maraniss shares five key facts about the NFL’s greatest coach from his biography, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi. If you’d like to hear more about the history of football this Super Bowl week, catch our interview with John J. Miller, author of The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football. It’s the story of how the Rough Rider reformed the game, at a time when — as with today’s concerns about concussions — some were calling to ban the pigskin pastime. History in Five Friday. It’s the perfect way to kick off your modern weekend, with people from the past. Podcast: Download (Duration: 4:44 — 4.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

John J. Miller – The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football
American Presidents / February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016 – An advocate of the strenuous life, President Theodore Roosevelt saw sports as essential to developing physical fitness and character. So when 18 players died playing football in 1905, and people called to ban the game, TR leaped into action to reform the pigskin pastime. The game in those days resembled rugby much more than the game the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will play in Super Bowl 50. Joining us to discuss how we got from a time no forward pass, neutral zone or pads to the present day, is John J. Miller. His book is titled, The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football. John J. Miller is a correspondent for National Review, contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and author of four books including a novel, The First Assassin, and the non-fiction offering: Our Oldest Enemy — A history of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France. He’s also director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College — and a proud fan of his college team, the Michigan University Wolverines. You can follow him on Twitter @HeyMiller, like him at, or visit him at He also hosts a podcast you’ll want to check out if…