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American History Hit

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American History Hit

Join Don Wildman twice a week for your hit of American history, as he explores the past to help us understand the United States of today. We’ll hear how codebreakers uncovered secret Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway, visit Chief Powhatan as he prepares for war with the British, see Walt Disney accuse his former colleagues of being communists, and uncover the dark history that lies beneath Central Park.   From pre-colonial America to independence, slavery to civil rights, the gold rush to the space race, join Don as he speaks to leading experts to delve into America’s past. Ne...

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Recent Episodes of American History Hit


The Real Hamilton: An American Myth?

The Real Hamilton: An American Myth?

11 Tonys, a Grammy, a Pulitzer Prize and broken box office records - there's no denying the impact of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton.


Throughout this series on the real Hamilton, we have been trying to uncover the man the musical is based on. But how much of the show and its production is truthful? And how much does this matter?


Renee Romano joins Don to look into this new American Myth. Renee is a writer, historian and professor, and one of the editors of 'Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America's Past...

Episode 173 19 May 2024 35m and 52s


American Castaways: Treachery & Survival in the Falklands

American Castaways: Treachery & Survival in the Falklands

Today we dive into the little-known true story of American castaways abandoned on the Falkland Islands during the War of 1812 ― a tale of treachery, shipwreck, isolation and a desperate struggle for survival.


In this fascinating episode, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolan joins Don to explore this wild encounter between an American sealing vessel, a shipwrecked British brig and a British warship in the desolate Falklands, all while the two nations remained at war. Fraught with misunderstandings and mistrust, this bizarre incident left three British sailors and two Americans adrift for eighteen months, and is the subject of...

Episode 172 16 May 2024 32m and 49s


The Real Hamilton: Downfall, Duel & Death

The Real Hamilton: Downfall, Duel & Death

When Alexander Hamilton took a bullet to the abdomen on the morning of the 11th July 1804, he joined a long list of people who had fallen foul of this very strange practice. So where did duelling come from? And how did these two revolutionary American politicians find themselves with pistols in their hands?


Don is joined for this third episode of our Real Hamilton series by Mike Loades, British author and presenter of History Hit's new series of documentaries about the tradition of duelling, first with swords, then with pistols.


Find 'Duelling, with...

Episode 171 13 May 2024 40m and 4s


President James A. Garfield: Sex Cults & Assassination

President James A. Garfield: Sex Cults & Assassination

This may have been the second shortest Presidency in the history of the United States, but the term of James Garfield is definitely not one to miss.


From his dark horse nomination to his assassination by Charles Guiteau, Don is speaking with bestselling author of ‘An Assassin in Utopia,' Susan Wels.


Produced by Sophie Gee. Edited by Aidan Lonergan. Senior Producer was Charlotte Long.


Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for $1 per month for 3 months with code AMERICANHISTORY si...

Episode 170 8 May 2024 42m and 3s


The Real Hamilton: Lover, Adulterer, Family Man?

The Real Hamilton: Lover, Adulterer, Family Man?

Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury and focus of one of the world's first political sex scandals - we couldn't do a series about Alexander Hamilton without touching on his personal life.


Don is joined by Elizabeth Cobbs in this episode to explore the private lives of the Hamiltons. Who was Elizabeth Schuyler? Did her sister have an affair with her husband? And was the Reynolds affair an elaborate plot or an unhappy coincidence?


Produced and edited by Sophie Gee. Senior Producer was Charlotte Long.


Enjoy unlimited access to...

Episode 169 6 May 2024 37m and 35s


Teddy Roosevelt: The Making of the Rough Rider President

Teddy Roosevelt: The Making of the Rough Rider President

Theodore Roosevelt is arguably the most masculine president in American history. So how was he influenced by the women around him? And how was he impacted by the deaths of two of them on the same day?


In this episode, Edward O'Keefe introduces us to Theodore Roosevelt's mother, two sisters, and two wives: Mittie, Bamie, Conie, Alice and Edith.


Edward O'Keefe, Prime Time Emmy award and Peabody winner, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, is the author of 'The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt: The Women Who Created a President'.


...

Episode 168 2 May 2024 33m and 28s


The Real Hamilton: Founding Father

The Real Hamilton: Founding Father

Who really was Alexander Hamilton, and what do we actually know about his life?


A Founding Father, he fought in the Revolutionary War, founded the American financial system and was the first ever Secretary of the Treasury. But who really was Hamilton? How did his face come to be on our bank notes? Did he love his wife? And why would he go to duel even after his son had died in doing so?


In this first episode of our 4 part series on American History Hit, Don Wildman is talking to William Hogeland...

Episode 167 28 April 2024 44m and 38s


President Rutherford B. Hayes: The First Great Depression

President Rutherford B. Hayes: The First Great Depression

Emerging victorious from an electoral quagmire in 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes became the 19th President of the United States.


Professor Mark Zachary Taylor joins Don to explore the first great depression and how Hayes navigated the US towards recovery from it.


From strike and unrest to growth and stability, how did Hayes lay the groundwork for economic prosperity?


Produced by Freddy Chick. Edited by Sophie Gee. Senior Producer was Charlotte Long.


Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription...

Episode 166 25 April 2024 34m and 16s


Founding Father: Who Was John Hancock?

Founding Father: Who Was John Hancock?

An iconic signature on the Declaration of Independence - that is what John Hancock is best known for. But how did he come to be the first signatory? What was his role in the American Revolution?


Brooke Barbier joins Don in this episode to take us through the life and works of John Hancock, and to explain how he got the nickname, 'King Hancock'.


Brooke is the author of ‘Boston in the American Revolution’ and ‘King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father’. She also founded 'Ye Old Tavern Tours', a private...

Episode 165 22 April 2024 40m and 46s


The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre: Slavery After the Civil War

The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre: Slavery After the Civil War

During the spring of 1921, eleven bodies were found in in rural Georgia. These men were victims of horrific murders, and also of a more widespread crime - peonage.


Whilst enslavement had legally ended with the surrender at Appomattox and the 13th Amendment, black people across the south were still being entrapped into debt slavery half a century later, in the Twentieth Century.


To find out more about this, and about what drove these men's murderer to his crimes, Don speaks to Earl Swift, author of 'Hell Put to Shame: The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre...

Episode 164 18 April 2024 25m and 42s

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