Episodes
Christine Kinealy answers listener questions on the devastating famine that struck Ireland in the mid-19th century Christine Kinealy answers listener questions on the causes and consequences of the devastating famine that struck Ireland in the mid-19th century. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, she also discusses whether we should call it a “famine”, the role of aid and migration in the crisis, and if the British government can be blamed for what happened.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy...
Published 11/28/21
Published 11/28/21
Shakespeare has been an obsession of extremist groups across the globe over the centuries. The Nazi Party held him up as a hero, while Osama Bin Laden condemned him as the ultimate symbol of the depraved west. Islam Issa speaks to Rhiannon Davies about the playwright’s tangled relationship with terror. (Ad) Islam Issa is the author of Shakespeare and Terrorism (Routledge, 2021). Buy it now from...
Published 11/27/21
Historian Roderick Beaton ranges over 4,000 years of Greek history, from the glories of Mycenae to the life of a modern European nation. In discussion with Rob Attar, he picks out some of the key moments in this journey, including the triumphs of ancient Greece, the conquests of Alexander the Great and the 1820s battle for independence. (Ad) Roderick Beaton is the author of The Greeks: A Global History (Faber, 2021). Buy it now from...
Published 11/26/21
Peter Stanford speaks to Emily Briffett about his new book, If These Stones Could Talk, which chronicles his journeys around Britain and Ireland’s churches, abbeys, chapels and cathedrals in a quest to understand how religion has defined our past and continues to shape our present. (Ad) Peter Stanford is the author of If These Stones Could Talk: The History of Christianity in Britain and Ireland through Twenty Buildings (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021). Buy it now from Waterstones:...
Published 11/24/21
From the courtesans of Edo Japan and ancient Greece to the mollyhouses of Regency London, Kate Lister speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about her new book Harlots, Whores and Hackabouts, which charts the long, diverse and colourful history of sex work. (Ad) Kate Lister is the author of Harlots, Whores & Hackabouts: A History of Sex for Sale (Thames & Hudson, 2021). Buy it now from...
Published 11/23/21
The “Age of Discovery” is traditionally known as a period between the 15th and 16th centuries, when European Christian powers sailed west and encountered lands and peoples previously unknown to them. However, speaking to David Musgrove, Professor Marc David Baer contends that this narrative overlooks the influential role of the Ottoman empire. (Ad) Marc David Baer is the author of The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs (Basic Books, 2021). Buy it now from...
Published 11/22/21
How much blood was spilled in the border regions of England and Scotland from the 14th to the 16th centuries? Who were the Reivers? And why did the French get involved? Michael Brown talks to Spencer Mizen about the cross-border clashes that marred Anglo-Scottish relations for 200 years.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/21/21
In 1965, Scottish aristocrat Ewan Forbes stood to inherit his family’s baronetcy but, as a transgender man, he soon became embroiled in a top-secret legal case which had consequences that still affect the lives of trans people today. Zoe Playdon explores this still largely unknown story, in conversation with Matt Elton. (Ad) Zoe Playdon is the author of The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes: The Transgender Trial that Threatened to Upend the British Establishment (Bloomsbury, 2021). Buy it now...
Published 11/20/21
What makes a good Second World War exhibit? How can we best share the story of the Holocaust? Two new galleries dedicated to these seismic events at London’s Imperial War Museum grapple with these questions and others. Historian Keith Lowe spoke to curators Vicki Hawkins, Kate Clements and James Bulgin about the challenges of creating them.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/19/21
Jim Downs speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about his book Maladies of Empire, which reveals how the conditions created by colonialism, war and slavery affected the study of disease and its spread in the 18th and 19th centuries. (Ad) Jim Downs is the author of Maladies of Empire: How Slavery, Imperialism, and War Transformed Medicine (Belknap Press, 2021). Buy it now from Amazon:...
Published 11/17/21
Jane Ridley speaks to Ellie Cawthorne about the life and reign of George V. She reveals how the king, often unfairly dismissed as something of a dullard, in fact successfully steered the monarchy through a tumultuous era of British history. (Ad) Jane Ridley is the author of George V: Never a Dull Moment (Chatto & Windus, 2021). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/George-V-Never-Dull-Moment/dp/0701188707/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-viewingguide...
Published 11/16/21
As the author of the Life of King Alfred, the Welsh churchman Asser is in large part responsible for how the early medieval king was viewed, and the fact that he eventually got the moniker ‘the Great’. Speaking with our content director David Musgrove, Dr Robert Gallagher tells us about a new discovery he’s made about this monastic wordsmith.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/15/21
When did espionage become professionalised? What ingenious gadgets did intelligence agents use in the past? And how have animals been used for spying? Speaking with Elinor Evans, Michael Goodman tackles listener questions and popular search queries on the history of espionage and intelligence.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/14/21
On 13 November 1002, the St Brice’s Day Massacre took place, when Danes living in England were killed, apparently on the orders of King Aethelred. But the extent of the violence and motivation behind it continues to be much debated by historians. In conversation with David Musgrove, Dr Benjamin Savill outlines his new theory that the massacre may have been planned specifically for the feast day of the exiled St Brice.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/13/21
Medieval manuscripts tell a story far greater than just what’s written inside them. In conversation with Emily Briffett, Mary Wellesley shares the hidden histories of the artisans, authors and owners behind these fragile and beautiful documents. (Ad) Mary Wellesley is the author of Hidden Hands: The Lives of Manuscripts and their Makers (Quercus, 2021). Buy it now from Waterstones:...
Published 11/12/21
Ernest Shackleton looms large in the heroic age of exploration, making two bids to reach the South Pole and famously attempting to traverse the Antarctic continent, before his ship was crushed by pack ice. Fellow polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes chronicles his dangerous exploits and reflects on his own expeditions in a conversation with Rhiannon Davies. (Ad) Ranulph Fiennes is the author of Shackleton: A Biography (Michael Joseph, 2021). Buy it now from Amazon...
Published 11/10/21
Historian Susan Williams discusses the United States’ covert programme to undermine the leaders of newly independent African nations in the 1950s and 1960s. Speaking to Rob Attar, she highlights the stories of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, both of whom were ultimately ousted from power. (Ad) Susan Williams is the author of White Malice: The CIA and the Neocolonisation of Africa (C Hurst & Co, 2021). Buy it now from...
Published 11/09/21
Matt Lewis tells Spencer Mizen about the extraordinary escapades of Hereward the Wake, who led a rebellion in the 1070s that drove William the Conqueror and the Normans to distraction.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/08/21
After the witch trials were over, Salemites had to resume life as normal and come to terms with what had happened. Suspected witches had to go back to living alongside those who had accused them. In our final episode we’ll be looking at the difficult legacy of the events at Salem, revealing how the beliefs that underlined them endured and asking: why did the witch trials happen?   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/07/21
Fourteen of the 19 people hanged for witchcraft at Salem were women. So could their gender – or perhaps their transgression of gender norms – be part of the reason they were targeted? And what about the five men hanged? In this episode we’ll try to unpick the complicated question of how gender impacted on the Salem witch trials.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/07/21
Salem was made up of a dense web of social connections – not all of which were harmonious. In fact, it was a community riven with fault lines that threatened to open up into great chasms of conflict. In this episode we’ll investigate whether tensions between members of the community could help explain who was accused of demonic activity – and who accused them.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/07/21
The list of failings that could be levelled against the Salem justice system is substantial – from the acceptance of so-called ‘spectral evidence’ to the chaotic scenes that unfolded in the courtroom. In this episode we’ll consider how suspected witches were tried, revealing how they were induced into giving confessions and even encouraged to implicate others.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/07/21
From flying witches to demonic familiars and translucent cats, the Salem villagers believed themselves plagued by a spectrum of supernatural terrors. In this episode we’ll be investigating the long history of witchcraft beliefs that influenced accusations, from the first witches in the ancient world to the explosion of witch hunts triggered by fears of a satanic conspiracy in Early Modern Europe and America.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/07/21
Tom Standage traces technological advances in transport, from the invention of the wheel to the rise of the car Tom Standage, author of A Brief History of Motion, speaks to Jon Bauckham about technological advances in transport, from the invention of the wheel to the rise of the car, and reveals why modern transport dilemmas echo those of the late 19th century. (Ad) Tom Standage is the author of A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel to the Car to What Comes Next (Bloomsbury, 2021)....
Published 11/06/21