BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory  is a weekly podcast that uses current events in America to take a deep dive into our past. Hosted by noted U.S. historians, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Peter Onuf, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman, each episode provides listeners with different perspectives on a particular theme or subject – giving you all sides to the story and then some.

Please confirm carriage of evergreen BackStory with the American History Guys episodes by contacting Diana Williams @(434)-924-6894 or dwilliams@virginia.edu.

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.

BackStory is produced by  Virginia 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.

 


Series

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41 Pieces

This series is for stations that want to subscribe to Backstory for WEEKLY deliveries using PRX's SubAuto system.

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188 Pieces

A collection of the best stories and features from BackStory, meant for excerpt by programs or stations.

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1 Piece

A collection of one-hour BackStory specials for use in station holiday programming.

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42 Pieces

Promos for stations airing upcoming episodes of BackStory with the American History Guys.

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0 Pieces

A special three-part series of hour-long episodes exploring the causes and consequences of the American Civil War.


Pieces

Caption: Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, painted by Claude Chuchetiere c.1696., Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Producer Bruce Wallace heads to the birthplace of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first indigenous saint from North America, to see how she is remembered to...

Bought by New Hampshire Public Radio, WETS, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Sep 24, 2015
  • Length: 08:22
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
Horrified by accounts of lynchings in his home state of Missouri, Mark Twain penned a dark, satirical essay on the subject — but then, he chose not...

Bought by WETS, KREV-LP, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 07:35
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
Comedians Azie Dungey and Jordan Black examine how history figures into their satirical web series Ask a Slave. This piece comes from the BackSto...

Bought by WDBM, WETS, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 06:43
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: New York Mayor Seth Low shown taming the Tammany Tiger on the cover of Puck Magazine, Credit: Library of Congress
BackStory producer Emily Gadek has the story of a satirical arms race during the election of 1884 that changed the face of political cartooning. ...

Bought by WETS, New Hampshire Public Radio, and KMRE-LP


  • Added: Aug 18, 2015
  • Length: 07:52
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: "The Happy Cottagers," by Clifford R. James, Credit: Library of Congress
Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger tells host Brian Balogh about a longitudinal study at Harvard that was meant to track professional success, but start...

Bought by WETS, KMRE-LP, KPIP-LP, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 21, 2015
  • Length: 09:35
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: "The Happy Cottagers," by Clifford R. James, Credit: Library of Congress
Sociologist Zsuzsa Berend reconsiders the lives of 19th-century women who chose, rather than to marry, to be happy by being useful. This story come...

Bought by WETS, KMRE-LP, WTJU, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 21, 2015
  • Length: 05:16
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: "The Happy Cottagers," by Clifford R. James, Credit: Library of Congress
Producer Bruce Wallace has the story of a peculiar craze in the 1920s, when recordings of people laughing broke the charts. This piece comes from t...

Bought by WETS, KMRE-LP, WABE, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 21, 2015
  • Length: 14:02
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: "This is the enemy." Depiction of a Nazi officer, 1943, Credit: Library of Congress
Former Soviet spymaster Oleg Kalugin reminisces about his time recruiting Americans to spy for the USSR– and how the U.S. eventually became his hom...

Bought by WOUB, New Hampshire Public Radio, Troy Public Radio, KMRE-LP, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 01, 2015
  • Length: 06:19
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: "This is the enemy." Depiction of a Nazi officer, 1943, Credit: Library of Congress
Scholar Maura Farrelly and host Brian Balogh discuss the pervasive bias against American Catholics that endured for much of U.S. history, which occ...

Bought by KMRE-LP and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 01, 2015
  • Length: 10:17
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: "This is the enemy." Depiction of a Nazi officer, 1943, Credit: Library of Congress
Historian Ben Irvin talks about how tarring and feathering became a way to publicly brand your neighbor a Loyalist and an enemy in Revolutionary Am...

Bought by KMRE-LP and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 01, 2015
  • Length: 06:30
  • Purchases: 2