Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough discusses his latest book The Pioneers, how it fulfilled his lifelong dream to write a nonfiction version of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and why he wants his book to serve as reminder of fundamental American values. He tells the story of the New England minister who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Ohio Settlement, how he fought to outlaw slavery in the territory, and how his son carried on his fight for abolition a few years later. He talks about the wealthy Irish couple who built a paradise on an island in the Ohio River and how they lost everything when they became embroiled in the Aaron Burr treason scandal. McCullough reveals what he’s learned in his 50 plus years of studying history, the importance of hindsight, and why historical figures feel like old friends.
Order The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. This podcast was sponsored by Ancestry.com and Soundtrap for Storytellers. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review, follow us on Twitter at @KickassNewsPod, and take our listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/kick.
Historian H.W. Brands discusses his new book Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants. Professor Brands talks about how these three political giants crafted the Compromise of 1850 which barely held the Union together, why none of these three men was ever elected President, and how compromise went from being politics at its finest to a dirty word in today’s Washington. He discusses John Calhoun’s beliefs that slavery was a moral virtue and that states had the right to nullify any federal law, and he says that the moralizing of abolitionists like Daniel Webster actually drove Calhoun to take an increasingly more extreme position on slavery. He recalls Webster's legendary oratory skills in the days when eloquence was a ticket to political fame, and how one of Webster’s speeches once brought the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to tears. Then he shares how Henry Clay earned the nickname "the great compromiser" by playing referee between Webster and Calhoun, and why Clay believed that the South would eventually outgrow slavery if he could just postpone a civil war long enough.
Order his new book Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold and follow him on twitter at @hwbrands. Today's episode was sponsored by The Flatiron School. Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin revisits four of her favorite U.S. Presidents for her new book Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Today she discusses the ideological family tree shared by Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, how their character was shaped by their setbacks, and how their destinies were forged in times of crisis. She shares how Abraham Lincoln gave purpose to the Civil War, how Teddy Roosevelt averted a coal strike that would have left millions of Americans in the cold, how Franklin Roosevelt got America through our greatest economic crisis by talking to every American as a trusted friend, and how Lyndon Johnson managed to accomplish what JFK could not on civil rights. She recounts a meeting between a wily President Franklin Roosevelt and a young Congressman Lyndon Johnson, the time Theodore Roosevelt showed up to cheer on his own protesters, and how President LBJ gradually won over a very young and very skeptical Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Order Leadership: In Turbulent Times on Amazon, Audible or wherever books are sold. Keep up with Dorris Kearns Goodwin at www.doriskearnsgoodwin.com or on twitter at @DorisKGoodwin. Today's episode was sponsored by Espresso Monster, Heineken, Bombas, and BambooHR. Visit Kickass News at www.kickassnews.com, subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns discusses his new film The Mayo Clinic: Faith Hope Science and tells incredible story of a country physician and a Franciscan nun who built the medical institution known as “The Miracle in Minnesota.” He talks about the natural disaster that led to the formation of the Mayo Clinic, their astounding success rate at a time when going to a hospital was considered a death sentence, and how Dr. W.W. Mayo and his staff innovated everything from sterilization and surgery right down to patient medical records. Then he reveals how the Mayo Clinic continues to take the profit motive out of medicine and put the focus back on the patient today, how an institution with more than 62,000 employees still manages to provide personalized care rather than treat people like a number, and why the doctors of the Mayo Clinic believe that faith and hope are every bit as essential to healing as science. Plus Ken Burns shares just a few of the touching testimonials from people whose lives were changed by the Mayo Clinic including one of the final interviews with the late Senator John McCain.
The Mayo Clinic: Faith Hope Science airs on PBS on Tuesday 9/25 at 9PM ET and airs again on Wednesday 9/26. For more information, visit www.pbs.org. Today’s episode was sponsored by Heineken, Emma Email Marketing, Bombas, and the Around the NFL podcast.
Mike Duncan, host of The History of Rome podcast and Revolutions, constantly gets asked "Is America doomed to the same fate as the Roman Empire?" Today he points to some startling parallels to US current events including populist demagoguery, economic inequality, the erosion of societal norms, and debate over who deserves to be a citizen. He also offers ideas on how the American Republic can avoid the same fate as the Roman Republic before it's too late.
Order Mike Duncan's book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic on Amazon or download the audio book at Audible.com. Subscribe to Revolutions and The History of Rome wherever you listen to podcasts or visit www.revolutionspodcast.com and www.thehistoryofrome.typepad.com. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeDuncan. Today's episode is sponsored by Tripping.com. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our listener survey at www.podcastlistener.com/KICK.
Pulitzer-winning author/historian Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton, Washington: A Life) wants Americans to rethink the 18th President with his new biography GRANT. He discusses Ulysses S. Grant’s drinking and early failures, his meteoric rise through the ranks during the Civil War, and how Grant struggled with his own personal civil war at home. He makes the case for General Grant as a brilliant military strategist, and argues that he deserves more credit for holding the Union together during Reconstruction. We discuss how Ulysses S. Grant later went broke when he trusted his fortune to the Bernie Madoff of his day and how Mark Twain helped the former President dig himself out of debt before suffering a painful death by throat cancer.
Order Ron Chernow's terrific biography GRANT on Amazon or download the audio book at Audible. Today’s episode is sponsored by Nadex and AppRiver. Please subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts and take our annual listener survey at www.podsurvey.com/KICK. Visit www.kickassnews.com for more fun stuff.
Acclaimed documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (The Civil War, Baseball, The War) discuss their epic 10-part film The Vietnam War which airs 9/17 on PBS. They discuss how the Vietnam War continues to evolve 40 years later, the ways their own perceptions have changed since they were young people growing up in the turbulent 1960’s, and how hindsight has given birth to some humbling and surprising epiphanies among those who fought on both sides. They ponder if some of the lessons of Vietnam have changed America for the better, they share what Vietnamese audiences have had to say about their film, and the man behind the acclaimed miniseries that re-examined the American Civil War weighs in on the Confederate statue controversy.
Episode 1 of The Vietnam War airs Sunday, September 17 at 8/7 Central on PBS. For more information, visit www.PBS.org or at www.kenburns.com. Follow Ken and Lynn on Twitter at @KenBurns and @LynnNovick
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My guest today is renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. He has made 26 documentary specials for PBS including The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The War (about World War II), The West, and The Roosevelts: An Intimate Portrait which have earned him 13 Emmy Awards, 2 Oscar nominations, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He has a new two-part documentary on the life of Jackie Robinson which airs April 11 & 12 at 9PM Eastern on PBS.
On today's podcast, Ken Burns will talk about how the first black baseball player revolutionized the game and brought down baseball’s color barrier with the sheer force of his talent. He’ll also talk about how Robinson inspired many civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and the difficult relationship he had with that movement in the later years of his life. Plus Ken Burns will talk about his research process, what he looks for in a story, and how the “Ken Burns effect” ended up on every Apple computer.
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