April 19, 2021 – How did the trauma of the First World War follow a baseball legend home, sending both his game and his life into downward spirals? Returning to introduce us to this tragic Hall of Famer is Jim Leeke, who brings us The Best Team Over There: The Untold Story of Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Great War. Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander is a legendary name in baseball, but a key factor in his career &...

  April 5, 2021 – How did the general who saved the Union and served two terms as president, earn so much love from the nation that they memorialized him with what’s the largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere? We explore this story with Louis Picone in Grant’s Tomb: The Epic Death of Ulysses S. Grant and the Making of an American Pantheon. Louis and I previously caught up to discuss his books Where the Presidents We...

   March 22, 2021 – If you don’t know the name Marion Miley, then prepare to meet someone you’ll never forget. The young golfer had it all: brains, power, beauty, and a winning personality. It seemed only a matter of time before this 27-year-old phenom earned immortality on the links with a national championship. But fate had other plans. Three burglars cut Marion’s life short in a botched robbery, just weeks befo...

  March 8, 2021 – What happens when a legendary historian aims his keen eye in the rearview mirror, examining the places, people, and experiences that made him a great storyteller? Well, when the historian is David Pietrusza, the answer is the rich, funny and poignant memoir Too Long Ago: A Childhood Memory. A Vanished World. Before returning us to the Amsterdam, NY, of Upstate New York in the 1950s and ’60s, David Pietrusza w...

  February 15, 2021 – There has been no more noble fight in all of history than the one guaranteeing equal rights for formerly enslaved people. So how did America forget the Black congressman and a Civil War veteran president to ensure that all those Union soldiers hadn’t died in vain — and more importantly, that the words on those Reconstruction Era amendments to the Constitution guaranteeing rights to the freedmen, wer...

  February 8, 2012 – The U.S. Navy builds modern marvels: 100,000-ton hunks of metal that glide across the ocean rather than sinking like rocks. But how do they do it? The short answer is “computers.” But it was Raye Montague who first designed a ship with that technology, doing so as a single mother during the height of the Cold War, and as a Black woman born into the segregated Little Rock of 1935. She literally let no...

  January 25, 2021 – When George Washington accepted the responsibility of being the first president of a new nation, he felt the weight of history on his broad shoulders, knowing that every step he took, would set precedents for generations. So, how did he pick a team of advisers to keep his path straight on the long march to nationhood? We explore how he pioneered the presidential cabinet with Dr. Lindsay M. Chervinsky. She’...

January 11, 2021 – In 2017, Sports Illustrated named Mike “Doc” Emrick the greatest sportscaster of all time. But how did a kid from a tiny town in the American Midwest, grow up to be a voice synonymous with Canada’s game, the first media member inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, a TV heavyweight, and the winner of eight Sports Emmys? How did Doc sound just as excited about the 10,000th goal he saw, as he did w...

   December 28, 2020 – What’s it like being the great-grandson of one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century, the man called “the Greatest Briton”? In this episode, we pay tribute to Jonathan Sandys, Winston Churchill’s great-grandson, who passed away at just 43 years old on December 29, 2018. With the two-year remembrance upon us, we reached back into the archives to share a speech he delivered to the ...

  December 14, 2020 – In 1880, Maria Longworth Nichols Storer founded Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati, aiming to give American artists a place to produce quality pieces to beautify the home, but also practical ceramics and tile. It grew into a world-renowned success, one that endures to this day. Spinning the pottery wheel for us is Bob Batchelor who brings us the illustrated history Rookwood: The Rediscovery and Revival of an Americ...

November 30, 2020 -What are your favorite stories from growing up? Well, make room on your bookshelf for the chickens who dreamed of speaking Yiddish. We dive into a treasure trove of children’s literature, brought together here for the first time by Miriam Udel. Her book is Honey on the Page: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature.  Perfect for anyone on your Hanukah or Christmas list. That’s right. Santa can clean out ...

November 16, 2020 – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” The phrase is the stuff of legend, but who wrote that memorable lyric? In this episode, we meet the street poet with a heart of gold, Drew “Bundini” Brown, Jr., one of boxing’s most mysterious and misunderstood figures — and the one who motivated Muhammad Ali to be the greatest. Join us in the corner of Sugar Ray Robinson and the young Cassius C...

November 2, 2020 – One of Europe’s greatest monsters. One of America’s greatest presidents. We’ll dig into the parallel paths that led these men and their nations to very different final destinations with renowned historian David Pietrusza. We sat down at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y., to discuss his book 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR ―Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny...

October 19, 2020 – In 1887, the New York World newspaper laughed off 23-year-old Elizabeth Cochrane’s dreams of being a reporter. Today, she’s a New York City legend, known to history by the pen name Nellie Bly. But to sew up that dream job, Nellie had to go undercover in the closest thing Gilded Age Gotham had to hell: The asylums of Blackwell’s Island on the East River. Tonya Mitchell brings us a meticulously research...

October 5, 2020 – In 1881, an assassin shot President James A. Garfield just four months into his term, ending this noble leader’s plans for carrying out Abraham Lincoln’s legacy of equality for formerly enslaved Americans. But how did he get into the big chair? Our time machine heads into the hurly burley of the 1880 election, the only time two Civil War veterans faced off across the Mason-Dixon line of politics. It’s ...

INTERVIEWS

Ellen Marie Wiseman – The Orphan Collector: A Novel

September 21, 2020 – The Great War is over, but the Spanish Influenza continues to deliver the butcher’s bill. Everywhere, children are dying. But in Philadelphia, they’re also disappearing — and they all have one thing in common: They’re immigrants. We dive into a riveting novel set 100 years ago that’s eerily familiar today with acclaimed novelist Ellen Marie Wiseman. She brings us The Orphan Col...

Gov. George Pataki – Beyond the Great Divide: How a Nation Became a Neighborhood

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,...

Aris Tsilfides – The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey

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 T...

Cara Robertson – The Trial of Lizzie Borden

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, unpu...

Sunny Stalter-Pace – Imitation Artist: Gertrude Hoffmann’s Life in Vaudeville and Dance

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 performa...

Charles Leerhsen – Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw

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 sen...

Christian Di Spigna – Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren

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,...

Gerald Posner – Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America

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 e...

Benjamin Runkle – Generals in the Making

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 int...

Alan D. Gaff – Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir

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 a...

David O. Stewart – The Lincoln Deception (A Fraser and Cook Historical Mystery)

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, Speedwel...

Donald L. Miller – Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

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 Profe...

Nancy Bilyeau – Dreamland

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 “wr...

Neal Bascomb – Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best

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. Fo...

Jerry Mitchell – Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era

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 ...