Donald L. Miller – Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy
American Presidents , Civil War / April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020 – In 1863, the Confederate States held a last stronghold on the Mississippi River: Vicksburg. Losing it, and the slavocracy would be sliced in half, mortally wounding their cause. Donald L. Miller musters us into the Grand Army of the Republic’s campaign to capture this city on its high bluff in Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy. Donald L. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College, and was awarded the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Prize for the outstanding book on the American Civil War in 2020. His previous books include City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, as well as a book we discussed in one of our very first interviews, Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America.           Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:19:34 — 182.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

S.C. Gwynne – Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War
Civil War / December 16, 2019

December 16, 2019 – Our time machine travels back to the death throes of the Confederate States of America with New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist S.C. Gwynne who brings us Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War. Click here for an excerpt — “Chapter One: The End of Begins.” You can also enjoy our History in Five Friday segment on our guest’s previous book, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, or pick up Empire of the Summer Moon, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in General Nonfiction that recounts the rise and fall of the Comanche. Learn more about our guest by visiting him at or @SCGwynne on Twitter. Sam Gwynne previously joined me in the fall of 2016, when we played four quarters with  a gridiron revolutionary in The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football. Find that interview in our archives at, iHeartRadio, iTunes, or wherever you listen to on-demand audio.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:04:07 — 146.8MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Jane B. Singer – The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder
Civil War / September 23, 2019

September 23, 2019 – What if your family name was infamous? What if you were the only loyal American in a clan where everyone — even your little, old grandmother — backed treason? Jane B. Singer introduces us to just such a man in The War Criminal’s Son: The Civil War Saga of William A. Winder. It’s the true story of Confederate General John H. Winder and his son, Union Captain William Andrew Winder, who served as prison commandants on opposite sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Jane previously joined us to chat about another book from the period, Lincoln’s Secret Spy: The Civil War Case That Changed the Future of Espionage. She is a Civil War scholar and author of The Confederate Dirty War, the basis of the History Channel special, Civil War Terror. Visit her online at, follower her on Twitter @JaneBSinger1, or toss her a like on Facebook at Jane Singer Author.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:09:01 — 158.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Joan E. Cashin – War Stuff: The Struggle for Human and Environmental Resources in the American Civil War
Civil War / March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019 – Our time machine travels back to the American Civil War for a look at the toll paid by civilians and the countryside trampled under the boots, hooves and wagon wheels of rampaging armies. We’re all familiar with the devastation wrought on soldiers, but after a century-and-a-half, those sacrifices have become romanticized — and battlefields once soaked with blood and littered with corpses, are now pristine national parks. Here to catalog the loss of ordinary citizens who didn’t wear Confederate butternut or Union blue, is Dr. Joan Cashin, noted historian and author of the first full environmental history of the conflict. It’s titled War Stuff: The Struggle for Human and Environmental Resources in the American Civil War. Joan earned a B.A. from The American University and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Today, she is a Professor of History at the Ohio State University in addition to her duties as editor of Our Common Affairs: Texts from Women in the Old South. Her previous books include A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier and First lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis’s Civil War. She also edited the book War Matters: Material Culture in the Civil War…

Jim Jordan – The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book
Civil War / January 14, 2019

January 24, 2019 – Our time machine transports us back to the Savannah, Georgia, of 1858, where we’ll meet Charles Lamar. Ignoring the law of the United States, Lamar organizes the transportation of hundreds of Africans aboard the yacht Wanderer. This criminal act strikes a hammer blow on the fault lines of America society, marking the first importation of human beings as slaves in four decades. Piecing together the true story with a treasure trove of newly discovered documents is Jim Jordan who brings us The Slave-Trader’s Letter-Book: Charles Lamar, the Wanderer, and Other Tales of the African Slave Trade. Jim Jordan researches and writes about the colonial, antebellum, and Civil War South. He’s the author of the novel Savannah Grey: A Tale of Antebellum Georgia, and its sequel, Penny Savannah: A Tale of Civil War Georgia. In 2018, he earned the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Counsel of the University System of Georgia’s Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia’s History. Visit him at If you enjoy Civil War diaries that shed new light on the conflict, check out these interviews in our archives: Theodore P. Savas — The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865….

Theodore P. Savas – The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865
Civil War / August 27, 2018

August 27, 2018 – Our time machine whirls us back to the Civil War sickbed of 12-year-old LeRoy Wiley Gresham. This young voice of the Old South in Macon, Georgia — rendered an invalid after a mysterious accident, and ignorant of the tuberculosis marching him towards an early grave — left us the only diary of a male, teenage non-combatant. Savas Beatie LLC, “Publisher of Historical Titles of Distinction,” brings us this poignant, insightful and witty diary for the very first time, edited by Janet E. Croon. The book is The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865. Our guest is Theodore P. Savas — attorney, author, publishing consultant, agent, and the managing director of Savas Beatie. Ted acquired the diaries and did what historians thought impossible: Added a fresh   new voice to our understanding of the Civil War. On top of The War Outside My Window, LeRoy’s first-person description of spinal tuberculosis is also the only record of its kind in the world. You can deliver into that story in the companion book, I Am Perhaps Dying: The Medical Backstory of Spinal Tuberculosis Hidden in the Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham,…

John Sedgwick – Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation
Civil War , Native Americans / May 7, 2018

May 7, 2018 – Our time machine travels back to meet rival Cherokee chiefs in the decades leading up to and through the American Civil War, when the supporters of John Ross and The Ridge engaged in a blood feud that led to war, the infamous Trail of Tears, and the devastation of a once-proud nation encompassing what today is several southern states. Our guide on this journey is John Sedgwick who brings us Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation. John Sedgwick is the bestselling author of thirteen books, including War of Two — his acclaimed account of the Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr duel — two novels, and the family memoir In My Blood. You’ve seen his work in GQ, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The Atlantic. You can find him online at         Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:08:30 — 156.8MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Paula Tarnapol Whitacre – A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time
Civil War / January 15, 2018

January 15, 2018 – Our time machine travels back to the Union-occupied city of Alexandria, Virginia, to get an abolitionist woman’s perspective during America’s Civil War. Our guide on this journey is Paula Tarnapol Whitaker, author of A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time: Julia Wilbur’s Struggle for Purpose. Paula met up with us in Virginia at the Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, where we felt close to this woman ahead of her time. In the fall of 1862, with the Civil War raging, 47-year-old Julia Wilbur said goodbye to the family farm near Rochester, New York, and boarded a train to the capital of a divided nation. An ardent abolitionist, Wilbur spent most of the next several years in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C. Pushing back against the limitations women faced at the time, Julia Wilbur aided escaped slaves and hospitalized Union soldiers, later serving in the Freedman’s bureau as African-Americans made their first steps to full citizenship. Based on diaries, letters, and other primary sources, A Civil Life in an Uncivil Time introduces us to a woman who threw herself into a changing society, and helped bend it in the direction of liberty. You can…

Stephen Davis – All the Fighting They Want
Civil War / December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 – This week, our time machine travels back to the American Civil War in All the Fighting They Want: The Atlanta Campaign from Peach Tree Creek to the City’s Surrender, July 18-September 2, 1864. Our guide on this journey is Stephen Davis, a longtime Atlantan and Civil War enthusiast since the fourth grade. All the Fighting They Want serves as a companion to his previous paperback, A Long and Bloody Task: The Atlanta Campaign from Dalton through Kennesaw to the Chattahoochee, May 5-July 18, 1864. The books are part of the Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie LLC. Learn more about their titles at or on Twitter @SavasBeatieLLC. Stephen Davis has served as Book Review Editor for Blue & Gray magazine for more than twenty years, and you’ve seen his many articles in scholarly and popular journals. His previous books are 2001’s Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, Joe Johnston and the Yankee Heavy Battalions, and 2012’s What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 56:52 — 130.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Gene Barr – A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat from Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign
Civil War / May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017 – This week, for our 100th interview, our time machine visits some of the most heated fighting — political and on the battlefield — during the American Civil War. We’ll experience the great conflagration through the eyes of a soldier and his young love, whose father just happens to be a Democratic state senator, who begins to doubt Lincoln’s war effort as it drags on year after year. Letters aren’t rare from the American Civil War. But what is rare — very rare — is to have both sides of a correspondence preserved. Into this historical void steps today’s guest, Gene Barr, who benefited from the chance discovery of love letters from young Jennie Lindsay and her soldier in Union blue, Irish immigrant Josiah Moore. This treasure-trove also included pictures, and gives us a full picture of a romance that adds tremendously to the historical record. Gene Barr’s book is, A Civil War Captain and His Lady: Love, Courtship, and Combat From Fort Donelson through the Vicksburg Campaign. You can find him on Twitter @GeneBarr_55, or at       Podcast: Download (Duration: 45:27 — 104.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Noah Andre Trudeau – Lincoln’s Greatest Journey
Civil War / February 13, 2017

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 with General Ulysses S Grant’s command at City Point — known today as Hopewell — 130 miles south of the nation’s capital. Our guide on this trip is Noah Andre Trudeau who brings us, Lincoln’s Greatest Journey: Sixteen Days that Changed a Presidency, March 24 – April 8, 1865. Mr. Trudeau is the author of several books on the Civil war. His first, Bloody Roads South, which won the Civil War Round Table of New York’s prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award, and his fourth, Like Men of War — a combat history of black troops in the Civil War — earned the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation’s Jerry Coffey Memorial Book Prize. You can browse all his works at         Podcast: Download (Duration: 46:32…

Paul Kahan – Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War
Civil War / October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016 – This week, our time machine has a familiar face in the passenger seat. It’s Paul Kahan, who joined us previously to discuss The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance. You can catch that interview at History or wherever you’re listening now, and you enjoy the video we produced illustrating the political and journalistic changes occurring at the time of the Bank War. Paul joins us again to discuss his latest work, Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War. From abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania — no easy feat in the notoriously fractious Keystone State — Simon Cameron served as senator, and ultimately Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War as the nation tore itself apart over slavery, at the outset of the Civil War. You can visit this week’s guest at, or follow him on Twitter @Paul_Kahan, and check out his subject at the The John Harris – Simon Cameron Mansion in Harrisburg, PA.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 58:12 — 53.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Candice Shy Hooper – Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives
Civil War / June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 – Today, we’re spinning back in time to the days when America tore itself apart: The Civil War. But we’ll be talking about a different sort of union, exploring the bond between the men who led the northern armies, and the women by their sides in Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War — for Better and for Worse. With 70,000 books on the war produced since its end, it’s incredible that Candice Shy Hooper is the first author to map the wartime travels of Julia Grant, Nelly McClellan, Jessie Fremont, and Ellen Sherman. But to borrow the chapter title from today’s book: “The woman who is known only through a man is known wrong.” Candice is just the person to give us the full picture of these engaging figures, and how they interacted with their powerful husbands and Abraham Lincoln as president. You can learn more at           Podcast: Download (Duration: 50:54 — 46.6MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Jim Leeke – Matty Boy
Civil War , Youth / August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 – In our last episode of August, we introduce you to our first History Author Show correspondent: Amanda Read. Amanda Read grew up across the States and overseas as an Army brat before her family settled on Fair Hill Farms in Alabama. She graduated from Troy University Magna Cum Laude in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in History and a minor in Political Science. She’s done voice-over work on previous shows, performing dramatic readings from war diaries and the letters of First Lady Dolley Madison. Amanda has a love of old fashioned things, from dipping pens to vintage dresses. She even dresses her horse in period tack. She is passionate about two historical figures in particular: Isaac Newton and Harvey Wiley. Keep up with Amanda’s wide range of work at,, or on Twitter @SincerelyAmanda. While we’re meeting Amanda, we also enjoy her first interview: A chat with Jim Leeke, author of Matty Boy: A Civil War Novel for Young Readers. Amanda seemed perfect for this conversation. She not only counts both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee as ancestors, but she’s the eldest of nine children. We’ll also hear from Jim Leeke again…

Jane Singer – Lincoln’s Secret Spy
American Presidents , Civil War / August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 – “What is worse? A confederate con man claiming he was Lincoln’s spy throughout the Civil War, or the Union veteran who pursed his claim all the way to the Supreme Court?” That’s the central question of Jane Singer’s book, Lincoln’s Secret Spy: The Civil War Case that Changed the Future of Espionage. In it, she introduces us to William Alvin Lloyd. Con man, bigamist, charlatan, Lloyd hobbled out of the defeated Confederacy and into the capital of the newly re-United States with a claim that made people listen: The government owed him money for serving as Abraham Lincoln’s covert operative. John Wilkes Booth had shot down the Great Emancipator just a month earlier in April 1865, and couldn’t refute the story. So, armed with Lincoln’s signature on a travel pass and a skill for duping people — including no less than Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who was at the president’s side when he died — Lloyd teamed up with lawyer Enoch Totten, who’d served in the Union Army during the conflict. The story of their conspiracy to defraud the American people is brought to us by my guest, Jane Singer, and her co-author, John Stewart….