When French General Antoine Lasalle first arrived at the Prussian-held city of Stettin in 1806, his odds of successfully capturing the community seemed laughably low -- Prussian Lieutenant General Friedrich Romberg had over 5,000 heavily-armed troops at his command, while Lasalle had less than 800 French soldiers. So how exactly did Lasalle convinced Romberg to not only surrender, but also cede his troops, arms and the fortress of Stettin overnight?
Sometime in 1864 or 1865, Robert Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln, had a close call with death in a subway station when he was saved at the last minute by an honest-to-God celebrity -- Edwin Booth, one of the most famous actors of the day. Neither man knew their fates would intersect in a much more tragic fashion shortly thereafter, when Edwin's brother, actor John Wilkes Booth, would assassinate Robert's father Abraham.
Although most soldiers in the U.S. Civil War were between 18 and 39, an estimated 20% of the soldiers were underage -- and thousands of those children were under the age of 15. John Lincoln Clem was one of the most extreme examples of this phenomenon, and remains one of the most well-known today. He joined up with the Union when he was only eleven years old, surviving multiple conflicts and living to the ripe old age of 85. But how did he feel about the practice of allowing children into battle? The answer might surprise you.
For decades in the West, Christopher Columbus was often inaccurately portrayed as a pioneering explorer, his life, times and crimes sanitized in the public record. Schoolchildren learned rhymes about this individual, and in the US he was given an official holiday. However, the activities of the real Christopher Columbus fall far short of the image children were taught growing up. In fact, Columbus was such a dirtbag that, eventually, even the Spanish Crown turned against him.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was nothing if not ambitious, and he had grand geopolitical plans to increase German influence across the planet. In his mind, there was one big roadblock in the way — the pesky United States. Join the guys as they explore the bizarre German plans to invade the U.S.
Published in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin quickly reached international acclaim, becoming the best-selling novel of the 19th century, and the second-best selling book after the Bible. While this antislavery narrative profoundly affected American attitudes about slavery, the story also had a global reach -- in fact, a Chinese translation of Uncle Tom's Cabin became one of the hottest books of the late Qing Dynasty.
2020 isn't going to be fun for anybody, left, right, or center. What many call the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime is going to be exhausting, ugly, angry, and probably at least a little racist. Listen as Robert, Katy, and Cody try to keep level heads covering the election while traveling the country, from the Iowa Caucus to gun shows and anti-vaccine conventions, finding out what Real America really wants and thinks during the, “Worst Year Ever.”
The first two episodes are now available. Listen here.
Former President Jimmy Carter has dedicated his life to public service, but even now few people know what exactly inspired him. Join Ben, Noel and special guest Ryan as they explore the astonishing adventures of Carter’s Uncle Tom Gordy — and how one man’s letter home set Carter on a path that would eventually lead to the presidency.
Although he was wildly popular during his final Presidential term (the world-famous Teddy Bear was even inspired by him), Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for the office again in 1908. Immediately after the inauguration of President Howard Taft in 1909, Roosevelt set out on his dream trip -- a safari across the African continent. Join the guys and special guest Daniel Scheffler, the host of Everywhere, as they explore the complicated, paradoxical relationship Roosevelt had with conservation and hunting, along with how a Teddy Bear inspired Daniel to travel to over 120 countries.
You can listen to Everywhere wherever podcasts are available. Listen here.
Most US residents are familiar with the famous Boston Tea Party - but it was far from the only conflict of this type. Join the guys as they explore Rhode Island’s Gaspee Affair, and why it’s sometimes called Rhode Island’s Boston Tea Party.
Otto Rahn was a German writer obsessed with finding the Holy Grail -- and, despite being opposed to the Nazi party, as well as openly gay, Otto was financed by one of his biggest fans: Henrich Himmler, the infamous head of the SS. Himmler was convinced Rahn was on to something, pouring money into Rahn's expeditions to find the Grail. So what happened next?
Today we take a look at a practice that many of us do every day without a second thought - namely, wear pants. However, for women throughout history, wearing pants has not always been such a trivial matter. Join Ben and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they examine four times that women in the United States were arrested simply for wearing pants.
When Oscar Hartzell's mother met Milo and Sudie, she fell for a story too good to be true: She, as an heir to the fortune of Sir Francis Drake, was eligible to receive a large part of his treasure -- all she had to do was help pay for court costs in the UK. Yet when Oscar finally figured out the con, he joined forces with the fraudsters, eventually becoming the head of one of the largest scams of the age. Join Ben and special guest Christopher Hassiotis as they explore the bizarre rise (and fall) of Oscar Hartzell.
Nowadays her name may be unfamiliar, but in the 1920s Aloha Wanderwell was an international celebrity, traveling hundreds of thousands of miles across the globe and filming her adventures. Tune in to learn more about the life and times of the explorer often called "the Amelia Earhart of the Automobile".
Before he became one of the leaders of the Revolutionary War, George Washington was just another young man with big dreams and no small amount of wanderlust. It’s no surprise, then, that he jumped at the chance to travel to Barbados with his elder half-brother. Join the guys as they sit down with special guest and research associate Ryan Beresch to learn more about Washington’s seven weeks in Barbados -- and how it fundamentally altered the course of his life.
A statesman, editor, publisher, poet, activist and more, John Willis Menard was a true Renaissance man, and he dedicated his life to public service. Listen in to learn more about the life and times of John Willis Menard.
When the rebellious Drevlian tribe killed Princess Olga of Kiev's husband, Igor, she set forth on one of history's bloodiest revenge's schemes, instigating not one but multiple unsaintly, violent massacres. Join the guys as they explore Olga's brutal rise to power -- and how she ultimately became a saint.
Radio executive Murray Woroner had a dream -- a fantasy radio boxing tournament matching 16 fighters from different eras. In a move that pushed the boundaries of 1960s technology, his team programmed a computer with that boxers' strengths, weaknesses and various fight scenarios that might occur. This ultimately led to one of the strangest bouts in boxing history: The Super Fight between Ali and Mariano, a match that occurred on film, but never happened in real life.
In this episode, Ben and Noel dive into the story of François Vatel, a majordomo who was tasked with organizing an extravagant royal banquet in 1671. With 2,000 attendees expected, among them many high-ranking French dignitaries, the pressure was high. Tune in to find out the ridiculous and tragic story of what happened next.
Join the guys as they make a return appearance on Creature Feature, the podcast that takes a critter’s eye view to explore how animal behavior parallels the behavior of humans. In this episode, Katie Goldin and the guys explore some of the strangest quirks of animal anatomy... and they learn some things simply can't be unseen.