My History Can Beat Up Your Politics
By Bruce Carlson
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
Since 2006, bringing historical context to the politics of today. TV pundits discuss politics in a vacuum. Cable news tells you everything is 'breaking news' but in most cases, events have long roots in history. In this podcast, we smash and bash the politics of today with a healthy dose of history
||Enemies||Nixon goes to China.||8/22/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Pigasus and the Theoretical Roosevelt||Trump, Pat Paulsen and other stories. As well as a little bit about Iran. Also, a comparison of the Bull Moose and the Democratic Platform of 1912 with an eye to which party was more progressive. And why the Roosevelt of 1912 was a bit differen||7/28/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Neville Chamberlain, Really||Plenty of talk about NC and Munich these days… A look at Neville Chamberlain and the impact of the Munich Conference on American politics. Part One of Three. The other two are later in the archive thread. But I think for this situation part i||7/27/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Wave Your Grand Army of the Republic Banner High?||History can help a bit with the issue around the Confederate flag (truly the Battle Flag), though it can’t solve everything. In this cast part repeat and current commentary we reexamine some questions. Were confederates traitors, thus the flag a f||7/12/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Slaughter Could Not Be Ignored||Rerun from 2013, but obviously seems very relevant now. A look at this attempt at a fix it amendment to get over a reluctant President, which didn’t work but has impacts on today’s politics.||7/3/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Mind Your Business||Alexander Hamilton and the 10-dollar bill, as well as TV dinners and vice presidents.||6/24/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Last Lincoln, The Man Who Saved Boston and Other Stories||A bit about Cotton Mather and the unknown man who saved Bostonians from smallpox . Also, the Year of 13 Candidates. A Supreme Court plaintiff that wanted to lose. And more, in this hodge-podcast.||6/13/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||The Race to Be in the Race (2011)||At the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, both Democrats and Republicans had large open fields and a good number of candidates stepped in. The Democratic field did not have an incumbent or former President or Vice President either How did they sor||6/6/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||Your TV Dinner Is Served||The 1980 GOP primary, a year with a large field of candidates – larger than remembered – makes up Your Tasty Entree in this delicious podcast of TV history and politics. Also the series finale of Mad Men and how it links to historical discuss||5/26/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||It’s Not Nice to Eat Your Coalition Partner…||but it’s good politics, apparently. In the UK, the Conservatives earn a majority at least partially because of the destruction of their former government partner. A bit about the result in the UK election and the cautionary tale for third party||5/20/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||NTF131755 and other Stories||(from 2011) A look at the attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran in 1980, and some commentary on the evolution of special forces over time.||5/17/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||A Damned Fool Mistake?||A bit about Dwight Eisenhower, and his true views on Earl Warren, the Brown decision and civil rights progress generally.||5/7/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||A Look at the UK Election and Coalition Politics||The United Kingdom is about to have its second election in a row where the outcome is not likely to be a majority by any one party. What will happen?. We take a look at this, and compare and contrast UK and US politics as well as coalition versus tw||4/26/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
||LBJ, DDE and JFK||Lyndon Johnson and his choice to become VP nominee in 1960 In answering a question about JFK’s health and its role in Lyndon Johnson’s decision to accept the Vice Presidency, Bruce takes a look at the people and factors surrounding Johnson&#||4/19/2015||Free||View In iTunes|
Interesting, balanced and well-spoken
A friend of mine who is -- let's say slightly right of center -- recommended this podcast to me, so I expected a fairly conservative bent to it. To my surprise, it appears to be that most rare of specimens: the intellectually sharp but politically neutral commentator. Add a pleasent speaking voice and some apparently well-prepared subject matter and you have an overall winner.
Stodgy Old-School History, In the Worst Way.
I used to subscribe to and love this podcast. Despite the sloppy presentation and poor editing, I felt Bruce was doing a great job. And then, in a recent podcast, he ended by saying that people should go out and read History books. As a PhD student in history, my heart rose. And then it plummeted when he went on to say that, essentially, if a history book wasn't written 30-50 year ago or more, it's not real history. Not only did I take this personally, as someone writing a history book myself, but it suddenly pointed to some real problems in the podcast-- Bruce's overstating the import of Political and Diplomatic History, his ignorance of a lot of the historical work of the last forty years-- Social History, Cultural History, Labor History, Black History, Women's History... This podcast, despite its self-styled liberalsim, is about rich white men making all the decisions and having all the power. And when he steps outside those bounds, he often gets stuff wrong. I used to forgive it, thinking that he has his own interests, like anyone else. Now that I know it's a willful ignorance, I'm personally unsubscribing.
This is a Great Podcast
From beginning to end. I learn something new with every episode. The grounding of modern day political situations in a historical context is great for anyone, whether a studen of history or a studen of politics. I've subscribed (and unsubscribed) from a number of historical podcasts, but I've never left (and will never leave) this one: Bruce Carlson knows his stuff. More importantly, he knows how to communicate what he knows. Anyone who is a fan of British documentarian James Burke's "The Day The Universe Change" style of linking one historical event to another across the decades and even the centuries, providing a context for those events you had never had before, will appreciate Bruce Carlson. He brings that sort of sensibility to American history, and can deftly explain how Thomas Jefferson's campaign against John Adams is playing out in campaigns even today, or how Harry Truman is connected to the war in Iraq. Carlson is brilliant. The episodes of the podcast would make for a great political history book, with each episode being a chapter. Yet, here it is, all for free: some of the best historical analysis of world politics I've ever encountered. If you haven't subscribed yet, do yourself a favor. There may be bigger names in political podcasts out there, but there is no better podcast out for giving you political history, in context, and showing the connections from one era to another.