Thursday, May 6, 2010

The best varied history podcast - NBIH

Anybody interested in history podcasts must keep a constant eye on the feed of New Books in History. Probably not all of the passing subjects are of your interest, but each week there is a new issue and there are over a hundred shows to look back at and there inevitably is a lot to find that is exactly to your liking.

Issues that I have browsed through over the past weeks are a couple of old ones, along with the new issues each week:
Tim Snyder, “The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Habsburg Archduke” An interview from 2008 about the eccentric Archduke Wilhelm of Austria.

John Lukacs, “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Dire Warning” Also an old interview from 2008, about Winston Churchill's inaugural speech in 1940.

Three new recent issues were:
Andrew Donson, “Youth in the Fatherless Land: War Pedagogy, Nationalism, and Authority in Germany, 1914-1918″
Amy Bass, “Those About Him Remained Silent: The Battle Over W. E. B. Du Bois”
Patrick Manning, “The African Diaspora: A History Through Culture”

I was especially inspired by the very last issue, P. Bingham and J. Souza, “Death From a Distance and the Birth of a Humane Universe”, which contains an interview with both these authors, none of whom are historians. They combine their knowledge in biology and social science and have come up with a theory of history. They point out how human society lives by the measure to which it can police its members and they explain the developments from the development of weapons. The weapons allow for a certain scale of policing and therefore command the size and complexity of society and hence the course of history. As the host Marshall Poe already points out, historians generally do not engage in such grand theories and it really begs the question how Bingham and Souza's work is received. For the podcast listener it is by all means interesting and thought provoking.

More NBIH:
The Caucasus,
The genocide and the trial,
Nation and Culture,
Three New Books In History,
The fourth part of the world.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Thanks, I somehow skipped NBIH until now, for whatever reason. Went through all the episodes now and put a bunch of them on my player. Varied indeed, and apparently lots of interesting topics.