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BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.com.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: Student nurses being trained in nutrition, New York, 1942 – photographed by Fritz Henle , Credit: Library of Congress
Until recently, the link between a high fat diet and heart disease was one of the touchstones of modern medicine. But new research has thrown that ...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 26, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Student nurses being trained in nutrition, New York, 1942 – photographed by Fritz Henle , Credit: Library of Congress
Until recently, the link between a high fat diet and heart disease was one of the touchstones of modern medicine. But new research has thrown that ...

  • Added: Nov 25, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Student nurses being trained in nutrition, New York, 1942 – photographed by Fritz Henle , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Health Nuts: A History of Nutritional Advice [rebroadcast]" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Nov 25, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: Chief Hollow Horn Bear depicted as the “American Indian” on a 14-cent stamp, 1922. , Credit: U.S. Postal Service.
How have native people have been represented — and misrepresented — in U.S. history? And how have American Indians themselves reinvented those depi...

Bought by KBRP Community Radio, WYAP, Wyoming Public Radio, WRIR, KKWE Niijii Radio and more


  • Added: Nov 21, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Chief Hollow Horn Bear depicted as the “American Indian” on a 14-cent stamp, 1922. , Credit: U.S. Postal Service.
How have native people have been represented — and misrepresented — in U.S. history? And how have American Indians themselves reinvented those depi...

  • Added: Nov 21, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
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On this holiday edition of BackStory, the History Guys search for the true roots of Thanksgiving. [This is an audition-only version of the show. Pl...

Bought by XRAY.fm, KTXK, Troy Public Radio, KKWE Niijii Radio, WRGY and more


  • Added: Nov 21, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 70
Caption: Chief Hollow Horn Bear depicted as the “American Indian” on a 14-cent stamp, 1922. , Credit: U.S. Postal Service.
30-second promo for "Imagined Nations: Depictions of American Indians," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio and Troy Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 19, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
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On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed, and Peter take an in-depth look at stalemate in American history. Are there other times when the system ha...

Bought by KREV-LP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KSRQ, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR and more


  • Added: Nov 14, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed, and Peter take an in-depth look at stalemate in American history. Are there other times when the system ha...

  • Added: Nov 14, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Piece image
On this episode of BackStory, Brian, Ed, and Peter take an in-depth look at stalemate in American history. Are there other times when the system ha...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio and Troy Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 12, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
Historian Rebecca Brannon tells the story of brutal fighting between Loyalists and Patriots in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War, and the...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 09:45
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
From BackStory's episode on the history of reconciliation in America. BackStory producer Andrew Parsons has the story of a peace summit between gan...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 09:16
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
From BackStory's episode on reconciliation in American history. Brian Balogh speaks with Shigeko Sasamori, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, and...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 09:31
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
From BackStory's episode on reconciliation in American history. Anthropologist Orin Starn tells us about the the battle between the Smithsonian and...

  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 10:14
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
25 years ago this November, East and West Berliners began chipping away at the iconic wall that had kept them apart for three decades and symbolize...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRGY, WRIR, XRAY.fm, and KSRQ


  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise, the Guys dig up buried hatchets to help us explore Americans’ best and worst efforts at m...

  • Added: Nov 11, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: John Adams presented to King George III, in 1785, as first American ambassador to the English court. Wood engraving, 19th century., Credit: The Granger Collection, New York.
30-second promo for "Let's Make Up: Reconciliation and Its Limits," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Nov 04, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
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Producer Eric Mennel tells the story of a 24-second experiment that saved one of America’s most beloved sports. This story is part of the BackStory...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 07:00
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Contributor Meg Cramer tells the story of the first electrically lit town in America — Wabash, Indiana. This story is part of BackStory episode "On...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 06:21
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
Scholar Su’ad Abdul Khabeer tells BackStory producer Kelly Jones about Islam’s impact on hip-hop – and how hip-hop opened doors between different M...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 08:35
  • Purchases: 1