Paul Kahan – The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant
American Presidents / June 17, 2019

Jun 17, 2019 – We welcome a familiar passenger back our time machine. It’s Dr. Paul Kahan, who we last chatted with about his book Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War. Prior to that, he entertained and enlightened us with The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance. We put together a video trailer for that book, to share some of the illustrations and political cartoons of the time. 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, as well as The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American History Critical Moments in American Industry . You can learn more about today’s guest at, or follow him on Twitter @Paul_Kahan.           Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:06:03 — 151.2MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Winston Groom – The Allies: Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II
American Presidents , World Leaders , WWII / December 17, 2018

December 17, 2018 -Our time machine welcomes aboard Winston Groom, acclaimed author of Forrest Gump, for a seat at the conference table with the Big Three. The book is The Allies: Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill and the Unlikely Alliance That Won World War II. It’s a fresh look at the interactions between these very different men as they navigated the fight against Hitler and the inevitable stresses of a culture clash between democracy, empire, and dictatorship. Winston Groom is a master storyteller, and it’s with that eye he approaches The Allies. Born in the nation’s capital and raised in Alabama, he is also a Vietnam veteran and former journalist. His novels include Shrouds of Glory, Better Times Than These and As Summers Die, as well as Forrest Gump and its sequel, Gump & Co. His non-fiction work includes Conversations with the Enemy: The Story of PFC Robert Garwood, which earned a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Podcast: Download (Duration: 55:20 — 126.7MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

David Pietrusza – TR’s Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy
American Presidents / October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018 – Our time machine travels back to America’s experience in the Great War through the eyes of former president and hero of the Spanish-American War Theodore Roosevelt, whose four sons suited up to fight over there. Leading us through basic training is David Pietrusza, author of TR’s Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, The Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy. In David Pietrusza’s book, we get a fleshed-out picture of the former Rough Rider — older, suffering in the aftermath of his ill-fated Brazilian expedition, and blind in one eye, but still scrapping for a fight and taking on President Woodrow Wilson. You have seen David Pietrusza’s work everywhere great history is found. He has written or edited a footlocker full of best-selling, award-winning books, including those on the pivotal presidential election years 1920, 1932, 1948, 1960. He’s been called one “of the best historians in the United States,” “one of the great political historians of all time,” and “the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns.” Visit him online @DPietrusza on Twitter and     If you’re into the Roosevelts, enjoy these features from our archives: Tim Brady – His Father’s Son: The Life of…

Robert W. Merry – President McKinley: Architect of the American Century
American Presidents / November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017 – This week, our time machine visits the Gilded Age to witness William McKinley’s rise to the White House. Little remembered or misremembered today, at the time of his assassination in 1901, the Civil War veteran was the most popular president since Abraham Lincoln, and nothing like the caricature portrayed by mid-20th Century authors. Robert W. Merry sets the record straight in President McKinley: Architect of the American Century. You’ve seen Mr. Merry was editor of The National Interest from 2011 to 2013, and previously served as a Washington correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and executive editor of the Congressional Quarterly. He’s now editor at The American Conservative. You’ve seen his work everywhere from the New York Times to National Review, and seen his appearances on shows like Meet the Press. His previous book resurrected another overlooked president: A Country of Vast Designs, on James K Polk, and Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians. Also mentioned this week: Our interview with Candice Shy Hooper, author of Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War–for Better and for Worse.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:09:42 — 159.5MB)Subscribe: Apple…

Ron Shafer – The Carnival Campaign
American Presidents / September 11, 2017

September 11, 2017 – his week, our time machine travels back to 1840 for a belt of hard cider courtesy of presidential candidate — William Henry Harrison. A hero in the War of 1812, “Old Tippecanoe” and served in a variety of public offices, before winning the Whig nomination and making a bid for the presidency with Virginia Democrat John Tyler. In 2017, we expect the atmosphere of a Coney Island summer to surround our campaigns. We demand style and charisma. Well, 1840 is when it all began. The big money, wild rallies, self-promotion, slogans and stagecraft. Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter Ronald G. Shafer tells this colorful story in his book, The Carnival Campaign: How the Rollicking 1840 Campaign of “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” Changed Presidential Elections Forever. You can check out our guest online at or follow @Ron Shafer1 on Twitter.       Podcast: Download (Duration: 59:24 — 135.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Louis Picone – The President Is Dead!
American Presidents / July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017 – This week, the old-time machine leads a funeral procession, starting at George Washington’s crypt at Mount Vernon and ending over 200 years later paying out respects to Gerald R. Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Returning for a second time-travel adventure is Louis Picone, author of: The President is Dead! The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond. We previously caught up with Louis on Presidents Day at the Church of the Presidents in Long Branch, N.J. to talk about his book, Where the Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces. This time, we met at another gem of presidential Jersey Shore history: The Township of Ocean Historical Museum, which calls itself “an open door to history.” If love walking in the final steps or baby steps of our presidents, be sure to like Louis Picone at, where he actively shares his enthusiasm for the men who’ve served in America’s highest office.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 57:16 — 131.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Tim Brady – His Father’s Son: The Life of General Ted Roosevelt, Jr.
American Presidents , WWII / June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017 – This day after this episode airs is June 6th, the anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944. This week, our time machine hits those bloody beaches of Normandy, where we’ll meet the oldest man and highest-ranking officer to go ashore with the first wave: General Ted Roosevelt, Jr. As the oldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, Ted had the name, the looks, the expectations — and the pressure that literally gave him headaches as a young man. So how did Ted avoid the pitfalls of that upbringing, to attain success in business, laurels in the First World War, and that crowning moment on D-Day, actions which earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor? Here to introduce us to the younger Theodore Roosevelt is Tim Brady, author of His Father’s Son: The Life of General Ted Roosevelt, Jr. Tim Brady is a Peabody Award-winning writer whose works include Twelve Desperate Miles and A Death in San Pietro. He has written a number of PBS documentaries, and helped develop the series Liberty! The American Revolution. Check out his author pages at Amazon and Penguin Random House.       Podcast: Download (Duration: 48:13 — 110.4MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts |…

Jim Foley – Church of the Presidents in Long Branch, N.J.
American Presidents / May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 – This week, our time machine visits a small Jersey Shore town with big White House history. The spot is The Church of the Presidents in Long Branch, a spot where seven commanders-in-chief vacationed in the Gilded Age. They started coming to the beach with the man who crushed the Confederacy, General Ulysses S. Grant, and continued through five of the next six — Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley. The last man to attend services, also served as New Jersey governor: Thomas Woodrow Wilson. In the Victorian Era, the sea air was believed to have such rejuvenating powers, that President Garfield was brought to a cottage across from the Church of the Presidents, after being shot by the unhinged Charlie Guiteau. Unfortunately, the cure failed, and Garfield died nearby on September 19, 1881. Presiding over this week’s journey is Jim Foley, president of the Long Branch Historical Museum Association, headquartered at the Church of the Presidents. You can read more about their work to preserve the history of this New Jersey history gem, at, and keep tabs on their historical events such as their cocktail party fundraiser in…

David A. Nichols – Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy
American Presidents , Cold War / May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017 – This week, our time machine touches down at the height of the Red Scare, in the Oval Office of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose public stance of ignoring Senator Joseph McCarthy’s descent into demagoguery — refusing even to mention his name — has long been cited by historians as proof that the old World War Two general just didn’t care. Some even dared call the former Supreme Allied commander, a coward. After his death, Ike’s strategy would be revealed and dubbed “the hidden hand.” He felt that to attack McCarthy straight-on would raise his statue within the Republican party and the nation, and ultimately be counterproductive. The book that sets the record straight is Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy, by David A. Nichols, a leading expert on the Eisenhower presidency. You can dig into our guest’s other works and thoughts on history, on Twitter @DavidANichols8.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 51:32 — 117.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Louis Picone – Where the Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces
American Presidents / February 20, 2017

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 Presidents Were Born: The History & Preservation of the Presidential Birthplaces. From George Washington to Barack Obama, the book shares insights and history of the homes, highways and hospitals of the first 43 men who’ve served as our commander-in-chief. Louis and I are both from the Garden State of New Jersey, we decided to meet up at one of the hidden presidential jewels of the Jersey Shore. It’s the Church of the Presidents in Long Branch where seven commanders-in-chief worshiped, more than anywhere outside the nation’s capital. In a future episode, we’ll visit the chapel (now home to the Long Branch Historical Museum Association) to hear more about Presidents Grant, Hayes, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, Wilson and Garfield — who passed away…