I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-8 May 2021

Fifteen Minute History from the University of Texas. Episode 132 History of the Second Ku Klux Klan features historian Linda Gordon who wrote The Second Coming of the KKK The Ku Klux Klan: of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition in 2017. She argues that the KKK has had several iterations: after the Civil War, in the 1920s, during the Civil Rights Movement and more recent events. During the 1920s, the second iteration, she suggests that between 4-6 million Americans were members (or at least agreed with their politics). It was a sort of pyramid scheme, and it was the financial improprieties that largely led to its temporary decline. There were women KKK members who even leaned towards feminism, while still maintaining KKK beliefs. Interesting- and you don’t need a lot of background knowledge to enjoy it.

New Books Network. I seem to be on a bit of a Paraguayan ‘thing’ at the moment. My friend Diego mentioned the Triple Alliance War (which I had never heard of), and sent me an article from BBC Mundo. Then I watched the movie ‘Guarani’. I also listened to this podcast Road to Apocalypse: Paraguay versus the Triple Alliance 1866-1870. Historian Thomas Whigham discusses his second volume on the war- the result of 20 years work- where he has accessed the archives of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, something that few Latin American historians would have the funding to do. It’s a really interesting podcast, and doesn’t require back ground knowledge (although a glimpse at a map first wouldn’t hurt).

History Extra Podcast. I wasn’t very impressed when I heard Simon Winchester speaking about his book Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World earlier. But this podcast on History Extra How Our Hunger for Land Shaped History gives him more scope to talk about the book in a wider context than just ‘settler colonies’. Perhaps I would be interested in it after all.

Duolingo Spanish Podcast The podcasts presented by Duolingo, the language learning program, are excellent. They alternate between Spanish and English, and even if you don’t speak Spanish, you could probably understand them anyway. Episode 81 La lucha libre de hoy is about José Luis Hernández, whose stage name is “El Demasiado” (The Too-Much) and he \’free fights’ (i.e. think World Championship Wrestling on Sunday Mornings in the 60s and 70s) in drag.

The Daily I was wondering why I hadn’t heard much about ‘herd immunity’ any more. This NYT podcast Why Herd Immunity is Slipping Away discusses vaccine hesitancy and refusal in U.S. and the idea that COVID might end up like measles (which Orthodox Jews refuse to vaccinate against) which continues to kill unprotected people, but is just seen as inevitable.

Travels Through Time I’ve been hearing good things about Kate Fullagar’s book The Warrior, the Voyager and the Artist which recently won the Premier’s Prize for General History and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction in the recent NSW literary awards. Unfortunately it is eyewateringly expensive at $76.00. So I listened to her instead, on the History-Today associated podcast Travels Through Time and the episode named for the book The Warrior, the Voyager and the Artist. The ‘rules’ are that the visiting historian/guest has to choose one year in history and three scenes to visit. She/he has to just observe, without changing anything. Kate Fullagar chose 1776- in fact just one day (10 December)- in three places: Somerset House in London, a Cherokee town in the Southern Appalacian Mountains and the Indian Ocean. These places pick up on the three main characters in her book: Sir Joshua Reynolds and the exotic ‘ambassadors’ Ostenaco of the Cherokee nation and Mai, one of the Pacific Islanders who accompanied Captain Cook.

Nothing on TV. I do enjoy Robyn Annear’s podcast series, and the first episode in her second series Agnes and Geraldine was as delightful and discursive as those of her earlier series. It tells the story of Agnes Simmons, a swimming teacher at Hegarty’s Baths in St Kilda and her very good friend Geraldine Minet who was deeply involved in spiritualism. Together they launched a coal mine at Red Bluff in St Kilda, which despite being directed from ‘beyond the grave’, never made money.

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