Thursday, April 9, 2009

US History since 1877 - history podcast review

Another history podcast series by Gretchen Ann Reilly that is currently available is US History since 1877. Reilly's history podcast lecture series (there are at least four - on top of my head) are not always available. The feeds are up or down, apparently for reasons of bandwidth, but are always back up when the lecture series run again on Temple College. I also think I have noticed, they are frequently renewed.

US History since 1877 is a follow-up on the currently unavailable American History before 1870. Also this course is delivered in the Reilly recipe: monologue podcasts of fifteen minutes maximum at a very accessible level. When a subject demands more than fifteen minutes, she rounds off at fifteen minutes and proceeds in the next installment. And so she moves, chronologically and from subject to subject through the era. All you needed to know from the basics, properly framed in a thirty something podcast episodes.

I ran to the tail of this series to the Watergate part. Reilly starts with 'everything you ever wanted to know about Watergate' and that is exactly what I needed. She begins with Nixon's vice-presidency under Eisenhower and then moves through his political career until the downfall in 1973. Halfway she reaches Nixon's huge win in 1972. Then the break in into Watergate takes center stage. We learn of Creep and Plumbers and their covert activities. I was surprised how Reilly's narration has it that much was already getting uncovered, and official investigation was going on. The rope slowly tightened around Nixon's neck, but the news from the Washington Post is nearly lacking and the mysterious Deep Throat is omitted.

More Gretchen Ann Reilly:
The west since 1600,
Gretchen Reilly history podcasts,
American History before 1870.

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Theodore Roosevelt - Gilder Lehrmann history podcast

The Gilder Lehrmann Institute for American History gave me an opportunity to learn something about a great American president, I did not know anything about. At the Gilder Lehrmann Podcast there was a lecture by Patrica O'Toole about him.

The lecture is about Theodore Roosevelt, but not so much about the 'TR' presidency, but rather about TR after his presidency. Had it been up to TR, it would have been about his life between his first and second presidency. In 1912 he still wanted to run, but the Republican candidacy went to President Taft. Taft was ill and had his doctor's advice not to run been relayed to him, Taft might have stepped down and Roosevelt would have had a good chance to win as a Republican. Eventually he ran on a new party of his own and lost to Taft and the new President Wilson. But that is besides the point.

TR rises from the lecture as a kind of aristocrat and in addition, a man of great intellectual and physical prowess. He wrote widely and traveled similarly, with a preference to the wild of regions like the Amazon and Africa. Moreover, TR remained politically active and even if he did not make it back into the Oval Office, O'Toole claims TR remained influential until his death in 1919.

More Gilder Lehrmann:
Slave Culture.

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