The story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen, and General Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. [more inside]
"How did a libertine who lacks even the most basic knowledge of the Christian faith win 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016? And why have white evangelicals become a presidential reprobate’s staunchest supporters? These are among the questions acclaimed historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez asks in Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, which delves beyond facile headlines to explain how white evangelicals have brought us to our fractured political moment." [more inside]
A series of essays by two noted left of center personalities in the South (Frye Gaillard and Cynthia Tucker) that looks at what went wrong in the US, and how we got to a place in the county where 40% of the electorate are flat out racists. [more inside]
The true story of mime Marcel Marceau (Jesse Eisenberg) as he works with the French Resistance to save the lives of ten thousand orphans during World War II. This movie was tied as the number one box office film of the week of its release. Alas, that week was April, 2020 and that box office tally was $2,490. [more inside]
Servant of the People: Season 1 Season 1, Ep 1
A Ukrainian history teacher's rant about politics makes it to YouTube, which leads to him running for president of the country and winning. Now on YouTube and Netflix. [more inside]
Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals: What Melba endured as a high school junior integrating Central High in 1957 can only be described as open warfare on African-Americans. The internal strength she exhibited, to get up and go to school every day, is something I can't even imagine. I didn't enjoy reading about this shameful time in US history, but I'm very glad I read the book. It should be required reading in every high school in America, because we clearly have not evolved past this as a society yet.
The Porter: Rotten Tomatoes Season 1, Ep 1
Train porters Junior Massey and Zeke Garret take action after a tragedy on the job. [more inside]
This book was my prize from the white elephant book exchange at a Christmastime book club meeting. The story bounces back and forth between early 1800s London, where the secret apothecary exists to help women rid themselves of abusive or cheating husbands, and modern day London, where 30-something Caroline is rediscovering her love of history on a solo 10th anniversary trip that her husband missed because he was cheating on her. It's a really fun and well paced suspense story that will keep you interested until the last page as the historical story unravels while Caroline closes in on understanding what happened, 200 years later. It's also a story of a woman reconnecting with the things that bring passion to her life, while coming to terms with her decision to junk it all 10 years ago to get married.
We Hereby Refuse captures not only the wave of uncertainty that swept through the Japanese American incarceration camps during the second World War under Executive Order 9066, but also the remarkable surge of defiance that proliferated in response. [more inside]
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back. [more inside]
How a toy tiger became the symbol of a struggle between India and its former British colonisers [more inside]
An exploration of the history of the Bee Gees, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry Gibb, and archival interviews with the late twin brothers Robin and Maurice. - IMDB. Trailer at HBO, YouTube, and Amazon. [more inside]
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin--barely of age herself--finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.
A podcast about the past, present and future of one of America's most notorious Superfund sites in Butte, Montana - from Montana Public Radio, hosted by Nora Saks. [more inside]
"I am not arguing that every white man is mediocre. I do not believe that nay race or gender is predisposed to mediocrity. What I'm saying is that white male mediocrity is a baseline, the dominant narrative, and that everything in our society is centered around preserving white male power regardless of white male skill or talent."
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. History Season 7, Ep 20
This week, from the white void: Coronavirus spreads like crazy due to idiotic mass gatherings by US Americans, enabled by powerful idiots who refuse to take it seriously. And Now: For An Extra $150, Steve Gutenberg Brainstorms Names For Our Co-Worker's New Dog. The main story is on U.S. history, and many US Americans' ignorance of it, especially its history of slavery. On YouTube (28m) LWT is off next week. [more inside]
Alone: Season 6 — all episodes Season 6, Ep 0
Ten survivalists have a chance to win $500,000 by enduring the coldest location in the history of Alone: The Arctic. Participants grapple with a harsh storm out of the gate. [more inside]
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality. [more inside]
In the mid-1860s, grapevines in southeastern France inexplicably began to wither and die. Jules-Émile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate. He discovered that the vine roots were covered in microscopic yellow insects. What they were and where they had come from was a mystery. The infestation advanced with the relentlessness of an invading army and within a few years had spread across Europe, from Portugal to the Crimea. The wine industry was on the brink of disaster. The French government offered a prize of three hundred thousand gold francs for a remedy. Planchon believed he had the answer and set out to prove it. Gripping and intoxicating, The Botanist and the Vintner brings to life one of the most significant, though little-known, events in the history of wine.
In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the United States. Now, in Chop Suey Andrew Coe provides some history of the American infatuation with Chinese food, telling its fascinating story for the first time. It's a tale that moves from curiosity to disgust and then desire. From China, Coe's story travels to the American West, where Chinese immigrants drawn by the 1848 Gold Rush struggled against racism and culinary prejudice but still established restaurants and farms and imported an array of Asian ingredients. He traces the Chinese migration to the East Coast, highlighting that crucial moment when New York "Bohemians" discovered Chinese cuisine--and for better or worse, chop suey. Along the way, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop suey's origins; reveals why American Jews fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; shows how President Nixon's 1972 trip to China opened our palates to a new range of cuisine; and explains why we still can't get dishes like those served in Beijing or Shanghai. The book also explores how American tastes have been shaped by our relationship with the outside world, and how we've relentlessly changed foreign foods to adapt to them our own deep-down conservative culinary preferences. Andrew Coe's Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States is a fascinating tour of America's centuries-long appetite for Chinese food. Always illuminating, often exploding long-held culinary myths, this book opens a new window into defining what is American cuisine.
The Little Ice Age tells the fascinating story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history. Using sources ranging from the dates of long-ago wine harvests and the business records of medieval monasteries to modern chemical analysis of ice cores, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan reveals how a 500-year cold snap began in the fourteenth century. As Fagan shows, the increasingly cold and stormy weather dramatically altered fishing and farming practices, and it shaped familiar events, from Norse exploration to the settlement of North America, from the French Revolution to the Irish potato famine to the Industrial Revolution. Now updated with a new preface discussing the latest historical climate research, The Little Ice Age offers deeply important context for understanding today's age of global warming. As the Little Ice Age shows, climate change does not come in gentle, easy stages, and its influence on human life is profound.
BoJack Horseman: A Quick One, While He's Away Season 6, Ep 8
As BoJack comes to term with his life and actions, others dig into and expose his past. Hollyhock goes to a party in New York City, while Kelsey Jannings presents her pitch for a superhero movie with a woman's perspective. [Mid-season finale]
During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. [more inside]
In One Summer Bill Bryson transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life. Over a few months in 1927 Lindbergh made his historic flight, Babe Ruth hit 60 HRs, The Jazz Singer was filmed, and the first working TV was demonstrated. Also, KKK membership was growing rapidly, Eugenics was becoming accepted as normal, thousands of Americans were dying from alcohol purposely poisoned by the federal government, and thousands more died when the Mississippi river flooded and the Federal government ignored it as not their problem. It was one hell of a summer.
Lodge 49: Circles Season 2, Ep 6
Liz attends Champ's housewarming party, and discovers that there's more happening at Orbis, while Dud finds Blaise, as Blaise found Jackie's story. "We're stuck in a circle, but the magic is just there, just beyond. Merrill knew."
In this history of fishing—not as sport but as sustenance—archaeologist and best-selling author Brian Fagan argues that fishing was an indispensable and often overlooked element in the growth of civilization. It sustainably provided enough food to allow cities, nations, and empires to grow, but it did so with a different emphasis. Where agriculture encouraged stability, fishing demanded movement. It frequently required a search for new and better fishing grounds; its technologies, centered on boats, facilitated movement and discovery; and fish themselves, when dried and salted, were the ideal food—lightweight, nutritious, and long-lasting—for traders, travelers, and conquering armies. This history of the long interaction of humans and seafood tours archaeological sites worldwide to show readers how fishing fed human settlement, rising social complexity, the development of cities, and ultimately the modern world.
In search of a mysterious wine he once tasted in a hotel room minibar, journalist Kevin Begos travels along the original wine routes—from the Caucasus Mountains, where wine grapes were first domesticated eight thousand years ago, crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, and then America—and unearths a whole world of forgotten grapes, each with distinctive tastes and aromas. We meet the scientists who are decoding the DNA of wine grapes, and the historians who are searching for ancient vineyards and the flavors cultivated there. Begos discovers wines that go far beyond the bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants, and he offers suggestions for wines that are at once ancient and new.
The Middle Ages re-created through the cast of pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Among the surviving records of fourteenth-century England, Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry is the most vivid. Chaucer wrote about everyday people outside the walls of the English court—men and women who spent days at the pedal of a loom, or maintaining the ledgers of an estate, or on the high seas. In Chaucer’s People, Liza Picard transforms The Canterbury Tales into a masterful guide for a gloriously detailed tour of medieval England, from the mills and farms of a manor house to the lending houses and Inns of Court in London. [more inside]
A legendary American war veteran is recruited to hunt a mythical creature.
In this first episode of Making Gay History’s Stonewall 50 season, we hear stories from the pre-Stonewall struggle for LGBTQ rights. Travel back in time to hear voices from the turbulent 1960s and to understand the tinderbox that was Greenwich Village on the eve of an uprising. [more inside]
Warrior: The Blood and the Sh*t Season 1, Ep 5
Transporting precious cargo via stagecoach through the Sierra Nevada, Ah Sahm and Young Jun are forced to spend the night with three strangers at a frontier saloon in the middle of nowhere. The detour turns perilous when a notorious outlaw, Harlan French, shows up with his henchmen, looking for a lucrative payday. [more inside]
Warrior: The White Mountain Season 1, Ep 4
Big Bill finds himself compromised by his gambling excesses, but discovers a possible solution after an opium-den raid. Penny reveals the circumstances that prompted her to marry Mayor Blake, who's determined to show voters he won't tolerate San Francisco's "Yellow Peril." [more inside]
Warrior: John Chinaman Season 1, Ep 3
Accused of assault and perhaps worse, Ah Sahm gets a cold shoulder from the Hop Wei, with his fate in the hands of an unexpected ally. Buckley talks to Mai Ling about straining the relationship between the Long Zii and Hop Wei, while Leary pressures gentleman industrialist Byron Mercer, Penny's father, to hire his men for the cable-car track job.
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? [more inside]
In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions. Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.
In this fascinating exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, Judith Flanders examines some of the most gripping cases that captivated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction Murder in Britain in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera―even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and England's new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other―the pioneers of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens's Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell. [more inside]
The definitive edition of the classic, myth-shattering history of the American family Leave It to Beaver was not a documentary, a man's home has never been his castle, the "male breadwinner marriage" is the least traditional family in history, and rape and sexual assault were far higher in the 1970s than they are today. In The Way We Never Were, acclaimed historian Stephanie Coontz examines two centuries of the American family, sweeping away misconceptions about the past that cloud current debates about domestic life. The 1950s do not present a workable model of how to conduct our personal lives today, Coontz argues, and neither does any other era from our cultural past. [more inside]
In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.
A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome's power, a story of nature's triumph over human ambition. Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. [more inside]
Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women—more than a million in total—were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten. Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women’s stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war—the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories. [more inside]
In 1918, the Italian-Americans of New York, the Yupik of Alaska and the Persians of Mashed had almost nothing in common except for a virus--one that triggered the worst pandemic of modern times and had a decisive effect on the history of the twentieth century. The Spanish flu of 1918-1920 was one of the greatest human disasters of all time. It infected a third of the people on Earth--from the poorest immigrants of New York City to the king of Spain, Franz Kafka, Mahatma Gandhi and Woodrow Wilson. But despite a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people, it exists in our memory as an afterthought to World War I. [more inside]
How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America–haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents–she’s already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn’t ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter–the first American-born daughter in the family–can’t resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. (Penguin Random House blurb) Elaine Castillo's debut novel, and well-regarded, from Kirkus Reviews to Bustle. [more inside]
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” From IndieBound.org.
Historian Louis Hyman on the surprising origins of the "gig economy." Hyman is joined in conversation by Data & Society's Labor Engagement Lead Aiha Nguyen and Researcher Alex Rosenblat. Hyman's latest book "Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary" tracks the transformation of an ethos that favored long-term investment in work (and workers) to one promoting short-term returns. A series of deliberate decisions preceded the digital revolution, setting off the collapse of the postwar institutions that insulated us from volatility including big unions, big corporations, and powerful regulators. Through the experiences of those on the inside–consultants and executives, temps and office workers, line workers and migrant laborers–Temp shows how the American Dream was unmade.
The agents travel to Spain and France in 1943 to ensure the success of Britain's "Operation Mincemeat" during WWII. A Spanish spy captured in Nazi-occupied France is revealed to be an important figure in the Ministry's past and its present. [more inside]
The Department of Time: Con el tiempo en los talones (With Time on His Heels) First Watch Season 3, Ep 1
Amelia and Alonso are sent to the premiere of "Vertigo" at the 1958 San Sebastián Film Festival, to foil a plan by Russia to kidnap Alfred Hitchcock and force him to produce propaganda films. While the Ministry is under construction, a wheelchair-bound Salvador becomes suspicious of a Sony Walkman-wearing construction worker he observes through his office window. [more inside]
The Department of Time: Cambio de tiempo (Change of Time) First Watch Season 2, Ep 13
Season Finale: After the defeat of the Spanish Armada along the English coast in 1588, King Philip II decides to break the Ministry rules (imposed by his great-grandmother Isabella) and travel back in time to so the Armada will win the battle. When the Ministry refuses to help, Philip takes over, discovering that he can not only travel into the past but the future as well. Julián, Alfonso and Amelia return to 2016 from a mission to find history has been drastically changed. Philip is now King of the World, and the King of Time. [more inside]
The Department of Time: Hasta que el tiempo os separe (Til Time Do Us Part) First Watch Season 2, Ep 12
Ortigosa and Natalia's wedding is complicated by a hidden time portal and a romantic legend from the 13th century. [more inside]
When the host of a show about paranormal mysteries and conspiracies reveals the existence of the Ministry on the internet, Salvador tries to convince him that he is mistaken by inviting him on a tour of headquarters, while pretending that it is the dullest government office in Spain. [more inside]
In the present, Irene looks into a mystery involving "Las Sinsombrero," a group of avant-garde women artists and activitsts who have been forgotten. In the course of her investigation, it is discovered that the Vampire of Raval was not arrested when she should have been. She is free, and may be traveling through time. [more inside]