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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: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Another Man's Treasure: A History of Trash" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Apr 28, 2015
  • Length: :30
Caption: Three ballerinas perform pas de trois as they cast ballots into trash can, atop the Empire State Building., Credit: World Telegram and Sun, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Another Man's Treasure: A History of Trash" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag. Full episode wi...

  • Added: Apr 28, 2015
  • Length: :00
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Historian Brenda Stevenson talks with Ed about the extraordinary struggles black families endured to reunite, after slavery had wrenched them apart.

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 07:34
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Freedom was a tenuous reality for many former slaves in the early days of the federally occupied South, with bands of returning soldiers — now out ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 09:43
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Were any rebel leaders hung for treason? Historian David Blight explains what happened to Confederate officials after the war, and why. This story ...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 09:41
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
A lot happened in April 1865: Richmond fell to Union forces, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln’s funeral train set out on a long a...

Bought by WEZU, WRGY, WRIR, WYAP, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
A lot happened in April 1865: Richmond fell to Union forces, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln’s funeral train set out on a long a...

  • Added: Apr 24, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Surrender of Genl. Lee, at Appomattox C.H. Va. April 9th. 1865, Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "1865: United States of Uncertainty" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Apr 21, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The Gatling Gun patent drawing (1865)., Credit: National Archives
This past week, a federal judge handed down lengthy prison terms to four former Blackwater security guards in the massacre of 14 unarmed men, women...

Bought by WRIR, WRGY, RadioFreePalmer, KPIP-LP, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Apr 17, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: The Gatling Gun patent drawing (1865)., Credit: National Archives
This week, a federal judge handed down lengthy prison terms to four former Blackwater security guards in the massacre of 14 unarmed men, women and ...

  • Added: Apr 17, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: "The death bed of the martyr President Abraham Lincoln", Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Scholar Elizabeth Leonard talks with host Brian Balogh about the trials of the surviving suspects in Lincoln’s assassination, conducted in an atmos...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 16, 2015
  • Length: 10:38
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: "The death bed of the martyr President Abraham Lincoln", Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
Historian Martha Hodes outlines the public grief – and celebration – at Lincoln’s death across the Union. This story comes from the BackStory show ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 16, 2015
  • Length: 08:08
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Terry Alford, Edward Steers Jr., Wyatt Evans, and Sarah Jencks walk the Guys through the evolution of John Wilkes Booth’s plan not only to kill Lin...

  • Added: Apr 16, 2015
  • Length: 11:50
Caption: "The death bed of the martyr President Abraham Lincoln", Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
On the night of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre. He died early the next morning. It was the first time a sitting preside...

Bought by WUIS, KSUT, WABE, WEZU, WRGY and more


  • Added: Apr 16, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: "The death bed of the martyr President Abraham Lincoln", Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
On the night of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre. He died early the next morning. It was the first time in American histo...

  • Added: Apr 10, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: “The death bed of the martyr President Abraham Lincoln.", Credit: Currier & Ives, Library of Congress
30-second promo for "'Now He Belongs to the Ages': Abraham Lincoln's Assassination" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Apr 07, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: “The Sunny South — A Negro Revival Meeting — A Seeker ‘Getting Religion,’” by W.L. Sheppard. Leslie Frank’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1873. , Credit: Library of Congress
For Christians all over the world, the Easter season is a time of renewal, rebirth and reflection. Here at BackStory, it's our chance to reflect on...

Bought by WRPI, WEZU, WRGY, WRIR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Apr 03, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: “The Sunny South — A Negro Revival Meeting — A Seeker ‘Getting Religion,’” by W.L. Sheppard. Leslie Frank’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1873. , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Born Again," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Apr 03, 2015
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: “The Sunny South — A Negro Revival Meeting — A Seeker ‘Getting Religion,’” by W.L. Sheppard. Leslie Frank’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1873.
For Christians all over the world, the Easter season is a time of renewal, rebirth and reflection. Here at BackStory, it's our chance to reflect on...

  • Added: Apr 03, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Ansel Adams' photograph of Boulder Dam, 1941, Credit: National Archives
The western United States is in the grip of a punishing drought. Reservoir levels are dropping, and farmers are struggling to ensure their access t...

Bought by KPIP-LP, WEZU, WRGY, WRIR, and KBRP Community Radio


  • Added: Mar 27, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5