Sep 7, 2020 – On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda sought to break the American union, aiming at what they saw as fatal flaws in our democratic system. Two decades later, the man who was governor of the Empire State on that day of infamy dares to ask, “Did the terrorists win?” In this episode, the 53rd governor of New York, George E. Pataki, joins us to discuss Beyond the Great Divide: How a Nation Became a Neighborhood, co-author...

Aug 24, 2020 – What if your grandparents had narrowly escaped a genocide that left one million people dead, just because they shared your faith and ethnic background? That’s part of the Karayanis family story, in the mass murder of Greeks by Ottoman Turkey that followed the Great War. Our guide back to the 20th Century’s first genocide, is Greek-Australian Aris Tsifidis, who brings us The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey: Sur...

August 10, 2020 – Lizzie Borden has been testified against by generations of children in a nursery rhyme, and continually convicted in the court of public opinion. But did she swing the axe that whacked her parents, or didn’t she? We dig into the 1893 murder trial with first-time author Cara Robertson. She brings us The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story. Based on transcripts of the proceedings, newspaper accounts, unpublished re...

July 27, 2020 – Video killed the radio star, and the talkies killed Vaudeville, but some legends adapt to changing times. In this episode, we meet one such innovator, who made a series of leaps from New York City’s Hippodrome to Hollywood, with many entertaining stops and in between. Born in the San Francisco of 1883 as Katherine Gertrude Hay, Gertrude Hoffman broke into show business as a mimic, copying highbrow performances from ...

July 13, 2020 – He’s the ultimate Civil War baby gone bad, born in 1866 with the modest handle of Robert Leroy Parker. So how did that dirt-poor son of a Mormon farmer grow up into a horse thief, rustler, and bank robber who ran with the Wild Bunch? Charles Leerhsen explores the origin story of a famous outlaw who never killed a soul in Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw. If you’re familiar with sensationaliz...

June 29, 2020 – Doctor. Major General. Hero of the American Revolution. Martyr who spilled his lifeblood fighting the British at Bunker Hill. And yet most of us have never heard of him. Our guide on this journey is Christian Di Spigna, who brings us Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero. Christian Di Spigna is a regular speaker and volunteer at Colonial Williamsburg, and an ex...

June 15, 2020 – Investigative journalist and attorney Gerald Posner shares the highpoints of the pharmaceutical industry’s transformational successes, as well the moments they’d prefer to keep buried. We go along for the ride in his latest book, Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America. It’s a page-turning journey to meet the scientists whose successes have improved the lives of every human being on earth, and ...

June 1, 2020 – Meet the commanders who led America to Victory in mankind’s most terrible conflict before they had stars on their shoulders. Our guide on this journey is 82nd Airborne veteran and paratrooper Benjamin Runkle. He brings us Generals in the Making: How Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and Their Peers Became the Commanders Who Won World War II. It’s the first comprehensive history of these men during the interwar year...

May 18, 2020 – In an iconic, ad-libbed moment at the old Yankee Stadium, a terminally ill baseball player declared himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” A decade earlier, he’d sat down to write the remarkable story of his career in newspaper columns that remained buried for almost a century — until now. In Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir, we meet Major League Baseball’s most triumphant and tragic ...

May 4, 2020 – What if a former U.S. congressman told you he had a secret about the most infamous presidential assassination, but died before revealing it? It’s a turn-of-the-century whodunit, courtesy of historian David O. Stewart‘s novel, The Lincoln Deception (A Fraser and Cook Historical Mystery). His Holmes and Watson team features the white Dr. Jamie Fraser, and African-American former baseball player, Speedwell Cook. We...

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 Hi...

April 6, 2020 – Pack your full-body swimsuit, everybody. We’re headed for Coney Island in the summer of 1911, where we’ll meet a young heiress, Peggy Batternberg. Peggy falls in love, dives into the seedy world where the other half lives, and stumbles upon the mystery of young women found murdered under the boardwalk. Our time machine travels back to America’s Playground, Coney Island, Brooklyn, with “writer, edit...

March 23, 2020 – Adolf Hitler … had a need for speed. After all, it was the key feature in blitzkrieg, lightning war. So the Nazis poured resources into developing the fastest engines, sleekest race cars, and best drivers. Who dared stand against them? We’ll meet the Jewish driver who took on these would-be Aryan supermen in Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best. For this jou...

March 9, 2020 – Jerry Mitchell joins us with Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era.  In addition to what we today know as the Mississippi Burning case, this unique memoir covers our guest’s efforts in the assassination of Medgar Evers, the 16th Street Church bombing, and the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer. By refusing to ignore pleas for justice when everyone else had given up hope, M...

February 24, 2020 – What if the Revolution sparked in 1776 had collapsed? In this episode, our time machine travels back to the last days of the American Revolution, to track down rumors of an unthinkable plot by the Continental Army to mutiny over lack of pay. Only George Washington stood against the passions of men that may have included such patriots Alexander Hamilton and James Madison? Infiltrating the plot against the government to...

INTERVIEWS

H5F: Nicholas Griffin – Ping Pong Diplomacy

March 4, 2016 – Nicholas Griffin shares the story of how a little white ball impacted the way we live on this big, blue marble. His book is titled, Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World. Just how did the United States and communist China go from the icy pictures of Cold War adversaries, to Nixon’s visit and a relationship that shocked the USSR? Well, believe it or not, table tennis...

Paddy Hayes – Queen of Spies

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 incredib...

H5F: Matthew Hart – Gold: The Race for the World’s Most Seductive Metal

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 fro...

Paul Kahan – The Bank War

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 o...

H5F: Michael Shelden – Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill

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...

Sheila Myers – Imaginary Brightness

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-spe...

H5F: John Taliaferro – All the Great Prizes

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. His...

T.H. Breen – George Washington’s Journey

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 th...

H5F: David Maraniss – Vince Lombardi

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 Joh...

John J. Miller – The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football

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 ...

H5F: Richard Rhodes – The Spanish Civil War

January 29, 2016 – Today’s history author, Richard Rhodes, has edited or authored several history books including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction. His most recent book is Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made. The fighting took place from 1936 to 1939, and so is often lost in the catastrophe of World War Two. But the Spanish Civil War featured many of the sam...

Gordon E. Tolton – Healy’s West

January 25, 2016 – In this episode, we’ll be boarding a Pullman car attached to one of the great trains connecting the North American east and west coasts, all the way up into the Alaskan and Yukon territories — and very nearly across the Bering Strait to Siberia. Our conductor on this journey is Gordon E. Tolton, author of Healy’s West: The Life and Times of John J. Healy. Gordon is a Western Canadian histori...

H5F: Andrew D. Kaufman – Give War and Peace a Chance

January 22, 2016 – Today’s history author, Andrew D. Kaufman, author of Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times. He’s going to share how, incredibly, one of the greatest works of fiction in history… almost didn’t happen. Fortunately, Leo Tolstoy married the right woman, and she helped him in ways nobody else could have. You can also follow today’s guest on Twitter @AndrewDKaufman. Hist...

Kim MacQuarrie – Life and Death in the Andes

January 18, 2016 – This week, we’re flying our time machine across the Equator and into South America’s turbulent past, where we’ll meet some colorful characters, present at key moments of its history. They include Pablo Escobar, Butch Cassidy, Sundance, Charles Darwin, and a 14-year-old girl, Juanita, who the Incas sacrificed atop a twenty-thousand foot volcano. Our tour guide to the Andes is author and filmm...

H5F: Ulysses S. Grant

January 15, 2016 – Today’s history author, Jean Edward Smith, author of Grant, discusses the life and legacy of Ulysses S. Grant, from great disappointments and outright failures, to Civil War battlefields and, ultimately, the White House. The book bears a single word, the name of a modest man who became a legend. Grant.  Frederick Douglas called him “the last of the radicals” and he wrote memoirs so beautiful that ...