December 22, 2014

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HFM 105 | The Historical Origins of Santa Claus

How did St. Nicholas transform from a third-century Greek bishop into Santa Clause? I explain it all in five minutes.

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December 19, 2014

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5 Best Christmas Gifts For History Buffs

Do you worry that this Christmas, your family will give you a membership to the Summer Sausage of the Month Club? (yes, that actually exists). Have no fear. If you happen to be a history buff, I have compiled a list of the five best Christmas gifts that you can pass on to your friends or family. If you are shopping for a history buff, then this list will make your life much easier. They will not be disappointed.

I have arranged these in the order from the cheapest to most expensive, depending on how extravagant you want to be.

1) History’s Most Insane Rulers – Audible Audio Edition. OK, OK, I had to include one of my own products on this list, and I promise you that this will be the only one. I only included it because it is the best-selling product of mine currently available. The audio version is a 2-hour recording narrated by professional voice actor Kevin Pierce. Learn about the eccentric reigns of Emperor Caligula, Kim Jong-Il, and 8 other megalomaniacs while in your car or at the gym!

Retail: $6.95 (only $4.99 if you buy the book and the Audio Edition together)

2)  John Adams HBO miniseries on DVD. One of my favorite series of all time. The seven-part miniseries looks at the life of our first vice president, from the Boston Massacre through the American Revolution, up to his presidency and death on the same day as Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826. This 8-hour-long box set is one of those rare works of historical study that doesn’t try to shoehorn in contemporary events into the past. Instead it lets history speak for itself. And what a fascinating history it is. Brilliantly acted and produced.

Retail: $16.96

3) Geno 2.0 – Genographic Project Participation and DNA Ancestry Kit. Did your ancestors join the march with Alexander the Great? Are you a direct descendant of Charlemagne or William the Conqueror? While this DNA test unfortunately won’t give you that level of precision, it will show you the migration patterns of your ancestors and your ethnic breakdown. It provides your ancestral information by accessing the database filed with the genetic information of the half million people that have participated in National Geographic’s Genographic Project. You will also learn what percentage of your genome is affiliated with specific regions of the world. Warning: not recommended if you pride yourself on being a “pure-breed” of any particular race, as you are likely in for a nasty shock!

Retail: $159.95

4) “The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World.” This course – available courtesy of the Great Courses – consists of 48 full-length lectures and is the mother of all history lessons. Professor Robert Garland of Colgate University narrates daily life for a dazzling cast of characters, from a Greek soldier marching on the front row of a phalanx to a Celtic monk running away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion. Available in video or audio download, or by DVD or CD.

Retail: $249.95 (Audio Download)

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 9.41.44 AM5) Men’s Skeepskin B-3 Bomber JacketYou may not know it, but these jackets played a major role in helping the Allies win World War II. This was the military-issued cold-weather flight jacket in 1934, and it kept pilots warm in their long flights over Europe in unpressurized cabins at altitudes of 30,000 feet, where temps dropped as low as 60 below zero. Without them, many a dogfight could have been lost to Nazi pilots or an Allied bombing run failed. Made from Napa leather, resistant to the most extreme cold weather. Imagine you are dropping the 101st Airborne Division over enemy lines right before D-Day, but in the coolest of style.

Retail: $595.

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December 15, 2014

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HFM 104 | Where Does the Phrase “On the Wagon” Come From?

 

Why do drunks fall off the wagon while teetotalers stay on the wagon? Some say it has to do with an English tradition before execution. Others say it comes from America’s temperance movement. Find out which one is correct!

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December 8, 2014

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HFM 103 | Ned Kelly: Australia’s Iron-Suited Robin Hood

Ned Kelly was Australia’s Robin Hood. His theft and killings of police made the British Empire put the highest bounty in its history on the heads of him and his gang. Learn about his deeds and how he went down in a blaze of glory while wearing a homemade Iron Man suit.

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December 1, 2014

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HFM 102 | Kara Feyzi: The Ottoman Mafioso Who Controlled Bulgaria from 1792 to 1808

The line between mafia and legitimate government can get very blurry. In the case of Kara Feyzi, an Ottoman bandit in the 19th century who practically controlled Bulgaria, the line was non-existent.

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FROM NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 1, ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE ONLY $0.99!

 

Click on the titles below to go to the sales page and get them at the discount.

1. Off the Edge of the Map: Marco Polo, Captain Cook, and 9 Other Travelers and Explorers that Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World

2. Spies, Espionage, and Covert Operations: From Ancient Greece to the Cold War

3. How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State’s Journey to Global Dominance

4. History’s Greatest Generals: 10 Commanders Who Conquered Empires, Revolutionized Warfare, and Changed History Forever

5. Lost Civilizations: 10 Societies that Vanished Without a Trace

6. History’s Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs from Emperor Caligula to Kim Jong Il

7. The Most Powerful Women in the Middle Ages: Queens, Saints, and Viking Slayers From Empress Theodora to Elizabeth of Tudor

8. History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible

9. The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusades, From German Emperors to Warrior Lepers

10. From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History

11. Greek Gods and Goddesses Gone Wild: Bad Behavior and Divine Excess From Zeus’s Philandering to Dionysus’s Benders

 

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November 30, 2014

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HFM 101 | The Yakuza: Japan’s Largest Mafia Organization….. And First Responder

Japan has 10 times the mafia members per capita than the U.S. But they are more than a mafia — the Yakuza has public clubs, members on large businesses’ board of directors, and even disaster relief organizations.

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FROM NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 1, ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE ONLY $0.99!

 

Click on the titles below to go to the sales page and get them at the discount.

1. Off the Edge of the Map: Marco Polo, Captain Cook, and 9 Other Travelers and Explorers that Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World

2. Spies, Espionage, and Covert Operations: From Ancient Greece to the Cold War

3. How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State’s Journey to Global Dominance

4. History’s Greatest Generals: 10 Commanders Who Conquered Empires, Revolutionized Warfare, and Changed History Forever

5. Lost Civilizations: 10 Societies that Vanished Without a Trace

6. History’s Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs from Emperor Caligula to Kim Jong Il

7. The Most Powerful Women in the Middle Ages: Queens, Saints, and Viking Slayers From Empress Theodora to Elizabeth of Tudor

8. History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible

9. The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusades, From German Emperors to Warrior Lepers

10. From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History

11. Greek Gods and Goddesses Gone Wild: Bad Behavior and Divine Excess From Zeus’s Philandering to Dionysus’s Benders

 

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November 29, 2014

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HFM 100 | The Italian Mafia in America

For nearly a century the Italian mafia dominated America, but they had such a good policy of stopping rats that we didn’t know about their inner workings until very recently. Find out what separates a foot soldier from a don in this episode.

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FROM NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 1, ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE ONLY $0.99!

 

Click on the titles below to go to the sales page and get them at the discount.

1. Off the Edge of the Map: Marco Polo, Captain Cook, and 9 Other Travelers and Explorers that Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World

2. Spies, Espionage, and Covert Operations: From Ancient Greece to the Cold War

3. How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State’s Journey to Global Dominance

4. History’s Greatest Generals: 10 Commanders Who Conquered Empires, Revolutionized Warfare, and Changed History Forever

5. Lost Civilizations: 10 Societies that Vanished Without a Trace

6. History’s Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs from Emperor Caligula to Kim Jong Il

7. The Most Powerful Women in the Middle Ages: Queens, Saints, and Viking Slayers From Empress Theodora to Elizabeth of Tudor

8. History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible

9. The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusades, From German Emperors to Warrior Lepers

10. From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History

11. Greek Gods and Goddesses Gone Wild: Bad Behavior and Divine Excess From Zeus’s Philandering to Dionysus’s Benders

 

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November 28, 2014

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HFM 099 | How Russia’s Mafia Spread Across the World

Russia’s mafia excels at money laundering, organ trafficking, and the trade. It has to do with inefficient local govenrment extending from the tsarist period to today.

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FROM NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 1, ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE ONLY $0.99!

 

Click on the titles below to go to the sales page and get them at the discount.

1. Off the Edge of the Map: Marco Polo, Captain Cook, and 9 Other Travelers and Explorers that Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World

2. Spies, Espionage, and Covert Operations: From Ancient Greece to the Cold War

3. How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State’s Journey to Global Dominance

4. History’s Greatest Generals: 10 Commanders Who Conquered Empires, Revolutionized Warfare, and Changed History Forever

5. Lost Civilizations: 10 Societies that Vanished Without a Trace

6. History’s Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs from Emperor Caligula to Kim Jong Il

7. The Most Powerful Women in the Middle Ages: Queens, Saints, and Viking Slayers From Empress Theodora to Elizabeth of Tudor

8. History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible

9. The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusades, From German Emperors to Warrior Lepers

10. From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History

11. Greek Gods and Goddesses Gone Wild: Bad Behavior and Divine Excess From Zeus’s Philandering to Dionysus’s Benders

 

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November 27, 2014

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HFM 098 | The Origin of the Sicilian Mafia

 

Why did you have to be 100% Sicilian to join the Italian Mafia in 1950s New York? It all has to do with Sicily’s history of foreign governments and solving problems itself.

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Click here to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes

 

FROM NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 1, ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE ONLY $0.99!

 

Click on the titles below to go to the sales page and get them at the discount.

1. Off the Edge of the Map: Marco Polo, Captain Cook, and 9 Other Travelers and Explorers that Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World

2. Spies, Espionage, and Covert Operations: From Ancient Greece to the Cold War

3. How Iowa Conquered the World: The Story of a Small Farm State’s Journey to Global Dominance

4. History’s Greatest Generals: 10 Commanders Who Conquered Empires, Revolutionized Warfare, and Changed History Forever

5. Lost Civilizations: 10 Societies that Vanished Without a Trace

6. History’s Most Insane Rulers: Lunatics, Eccentrics, and Megalomaniacs from Emperor Caligula to Kim Jong Il

7. The Most Powerful Women in the Middle Ages: Queens, Saints, and Viking Slayers From Empress Theodora to Elizabeth of Tudor

8. History’s Worst Dictators: A Short Guide to the Most Brutal Rulers, From Emperor Nero to Ivan the Terrible

9. The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross: The 10 Most Important Crusades, From German Emperors to Warrior Lepers

10. From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History

11. Greek Gods and Goddesses Gone Wild: Bad Behavior and Divine Excess From Zeus’s Philandering to Dionysus’s Benders

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November 24, 2014

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HFM 097 | Cassius Marcus Clay – Abraham Lincoln’s Blue Suited, Bowie-Knife Carrying, Diplomat to Russia – and Namesake for the Famous Boxer

In this episode, learn about the man who dressed like Django, convinced LIncoln to enact the Emancipation Proclamation, and fought off men by the dozen with his bowie knife.

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