Historically Thinking

Historically Thinking


Latest Episodes

Episode 260: The Making of History
April 18, 2022

Richard Cohen begins his new book Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past with two particularly appropriate epigrams. First, from the historian E.H. Carr: “Before you study history, study

Episode 259: In Praise of Good Bookstores
April 11, 2022

The sociologist Edward Shils said or wrote somewhere that one of the three principle means of education were bookstores—preferably a used bookstore. Shils, for two generations a student and then facul

Episode 258: The Pursuit of Perfection
April 04, 2022

Britain in the 1840s should have been, observes Simon Heffer, a time of great social improvement. Instead it was a country that was beset by poverty, unrest, assassination attempts on young Queen Vict

Episode 257: Inventing a New World Order
March 28, 2022

In 1814, representatives of the grand coalition that had defeated Napoleon gathered in Vienna. There in meetings and balls–interrupted only by Napoleon’s 100 days after his return from exile on Elba–t

Episode 256: The War That Made the Roman Empire
March 21, 2022

On the coast of Greece there is an ancient monument that no-one pays very much attention to; and yet it marks one of the most consequential battles in the history of Rome, or really all of Europe. It

Episode 255: Denmark Vesey’s Bible
March 14, 2022

On July 2, 1822, Denmark Vesey was hung for attempting to lead a slave revolt in Charleston, South Carolina. Also executed that day were five of his supporters. Over the next month, a total of 35 men

Episode 254: Saving Yellowstone
March 07, 2022

In 1871 an expedition entered the territory now encompassed by Yellowstone National Park. Led by doctor and self-taught geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, it was to be the first scientific expediti

Episode 253: Beer!
March 03, 2022

“The story of beer,” writes John Arthur, “is a chronicle about how we as a species have interacted with each other, created prosperous societies, survived difficult and challenging times, and ended up

Episode 252: The Great War and Modern Medicine
February 28, 2022

From the first weeks of the Great War, in August 1914, medical practice was overwhelmed, not simply by the mass casualties produced by the war, but the types of trauma to which human bodies were being

Episode 251: The History of Technology, from Leonardo to the Internet
February 24, 2022

“My underlying goal,” writes my guest Tom Misa, “has been to display the variety of technologies, to describe how they changed across time, and to understand how they interacted with diverse societies