For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It’s the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. First, it features a call-in show where you can ask our resident historian (Scott Rank, PhD) absolutely anything (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?). Second, it features long-form interviews with best-selling authors who have written about everything. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, and presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk.
Pandemics Cause Misery and Death, But They Also Created Agriculture and Put Humans on Top of the Food Chain
Three years into a global pandemic, the fact that infectious disease is capable of reshaping humanity is obvious. But seen in the context of sixty thousand years of human and scientific history, COVID-19 is simply the latest in a series of world-changing pathogens. In fact, the role that humans play in social and political change is often overstated. Instead, bacteria and viruses have been the invisible protagonists of mankind’s ever-evolving story. Today’s guest is Jonathan Kennedy, author of “Pathogensis: A History of the World in Eight Plagues.”We discuss how Neanderthals and other early species of humans died out—not because they were cognitively inferior to Homo sapiens but because they were vulnerable to the diseases they carried; how disease triggered the agricultural revolution and allowed it to spread; how plague outbreaks in the 6th and 7th centuries led to the creation of modern states in Western Europe and the transformation of Islam into a world religion; and how infectious diseases aided the colonization of the Americas but inhibited the colonization of Africa
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