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Can't Make This Up: A History Podcast features interviews with authors of unusual and unbelievable history ranging from academic historians to Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/cmtuhistory/support Continue Reading >>
Can't Make This Up: A History Podcast features interviews with authors of unusual and unbelievable history ranging from academic historians to Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/cmtuhistory/support << Show Less
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Rebels at Sea with Eric Jay Dolin Today I speak with Eric Jay Dolin about his recent book Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution.
**If you would like to listen to Eric's previous appearances on Can't Make This Up, listen to Black Flags, Blue Waters and A Furious Sky.
"The heroic story of the founding of the U.S. Navy during the Revolution has been told many times, yet largely missing from maritime histories of America’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels that truly revealed the new nation’s character―above all, its ambition and entrepreneurial ethos.
In Rebels at Sea, best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin corrects that significant omission, and contends that privateers, as they were called, were in fact critical to the American victory. Privateers were privately owned vessels, mostly refitted merchant ships, that were granted permission by the new government to seize British merchantmen and men of war. As Dolin stirringly demonstrates, at a time when the young Continental Navy numbered no more than about sixty vessels all told, privateers rushed to fill the gaps. Nearly 2,000 set sail over the course of the war, with tens of thousands of Americans serving on them and capturing some 1,800 British ships. Privateers came in all shapes and sizes, from twenty-five foot long whaleboats to full-rigged ships more than 100 feet long. Bristling with cannons, swivel guns, muskets, and pikes, they tormented their foes on the broad Atlantic and in bays and harbors on both sides of the ocean.
The men who owned the ships, as well as their captains and crew, would divide the profits of a successful cruise―and suffer all the more if their ship was captured or sunk, with privateersmen facing hellish conditions on British prison hulks, where they were treated not as enemy combatants but as pirates. Some Americans viewed them similarly, as cynical opportunists whose only aim was loot. Yet Dolin shows that privateersmen were as patriotic as their fellow Americans, and moreover that they greatly contributed to the war’s success: diverting critical British resources to protecting their shipping, playing a key role in bringing France into the war on the side of the United States, providing much-needed supplies at home, and bolstering the new nation’s confidence that it might actually defeat the most powerful military force in the world.
Creating an entirely new pantheon of Revolutionary heroes, Dolin reclaims such forgotten privateersmen as Captain Jonathan Haraden and Offin Boardman, putting their exploits, and sacrifices, at the very center of the conflict. Abounding in tales of daring maneuvers and deadly encounters, Rebels at Sea presents this nation’s first war as we have rarely seen it before."
If you would like to help Can't Make This Up (and check out some cool extras), consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
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Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/cmtuhistory/support
Newest Audio
Rebels at Sea with Eric Jay Dolin Today I speak with Eric Jay Dolin about his recent book Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution.
**If you would like to listen to Eric's previous appearances on Can't Make This Up, listen to Black Flags, Blue Waters and A Furious Sky.
"The heroic story of the founding of the U.S. Navy during the Revolution has been told many times, yet largely missing from maritime histories of America’s first war is the ragtag fleet of private vessels that truly revealed the new nation’s character―above all, its ambition and entrepreneurial ethos.
In Rebels at Sea, best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin corrects that significant omission, and contends that privateers, as they were called, were in fact critical to the American victory. Privateers were privately owned vessels, mostly refitted merchant ships, that were granted permission by the new government to seize British merchantmen and men of war. As Dolin stirringly demonstrates, at a time when the young Continental Navy numbered no more than about sixty vessels all told, privateers rushed to fill the gaps. Nearly 2,000 set sail over the course of the war, with tens of thousands of Americans serving on them and capturing some 1,800 British ships. Privateers came in all shapes and sizes, from twenty-five foot long whaleboats to full-rigged ships more than 100 feet long. Bristling with cannons, swivel guns, muskets, and pikes, they tormented their foes on the broad Atlantic and in bays and harbors on both sides of the ocean.
The men who owned the ships, as well as their captains and crew, would divide the profits of a successful cruise―and suffer all the more if their ship was captured or sunk, with privateersmen facing hellish conditions on British prison hulks, where they were treated not as enemy combatants but as pirates. Some Americans viewed them similarly, as cynical opportunists whose only aim was loot. Yet Dolin shows that privateersmen were as patriotic as their fellow Americans, and moreover that they greatly contributed to the war’s success: diverting critical British resources to protecting their shipping, playing a key role in bringing France into the war on the side of the United States, providing much-needed supplies at home, and bolstering the new nation’s confidence that it might actually defeat the most powerful military force in the world.
Creating an entirely new pantheon of Revolutionary heroes, Dolin reclaims such forgotten privateersmen as Captain Jonathan Haraden and Offin Boardman, putting their exploits, and sacrifices, at the very center of the conflict. Abounding in tales of daring maneuvers and deadly encounters, Rebels at Sea presents this nation’s first war as we have rarely seen it before."
If you would like to help Can't Make This Up (and check out some cool extras), consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

---

This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app

Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/cmtuhistory/support
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream with Dean Jobb Today I speak with Dean Jobb about his recent book The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer.
**If you would like to listen to Dean's previous appearances on Can't Make This Up, listen to Empire of Deception and Daring, Devious & Deadly.
"When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.” In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream murdered as many as ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedent. Poison was his weapon of choice. Largely forgotten today, this villain was as brazen as the notorious Jack the Ripper.

Structured around the doctor’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Dr. Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.

Dean Jobb transports readers to the late nineteenth century as Scotland Yard traces Dr. Cream’s life through Canada and Chicago and finally to London, where new investigative tools called forensics were just coming into use, even as most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then, most investigators could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown. As the Chicago Tribune wrote, Dr. Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer: one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.” For fans of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, all things Sherlock Holmes, or the podcast My Favorite Murder, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is an unforgettable true crime story from a master of the genre"
Dean Jobb is an author, journalist, and member of the faculty of the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at the University of King’s College in Halifax. His latest book, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream (Algonquin Books and HarperCollins Canada) won the inaugural CrimeCon Clue Award for True Crime Book of the Year and was longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. Empire of Deception, his previous book, the true story of a 1920s Chicago swindler, won the Crime Writers of Canada nonfiction award and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, Canada’s top award for nonfiction. He writes a monthly column on true crime for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and reviews books for The Irish Times and other publications.
If you would like to help Can't Make This Up (and check out some cool extras), consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Mini Bonus Episode: Chris Pratt says “Halt!” with Ellis (When you let one sibling record a podcast…) First time little guest Ellis gives us a crash course on dinosaurs and Jurassic World.
Mini Bonus Episode: Queen Elizabeth and UFOs with Natalie Returning guest Natalie is back to share her thoughts on UFOs and to fangirl over Queen Elizabeth II. Your Majesty, if you’re listening we’re on Twitter @CMTUHistory!
They Are Already Here with Sarah Scoles Today I speak with Sarah Scoles about her new book They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers.
"An anthropological look at the UFO community, told through first-person experiences with researchers in their element as they pursue what they see as a solvable mystery—both terrestrial and cosmic.
More than half a century since Roswell, UFOs have been making headlines once again. On December 17, 2017, the New York Times ran a front-page story about an approximately five-year Pentagon program called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. The article hinted, and its sources clearly said in subsequent television interviews, that some of the ships in question couldn’t be linked to any country. The implication, of course, was that they might be linked to other solar systems.
The UFO community—those who had been thinking about, seeing, and analyzing supposed flying saucers (or triangles or chevrons) for years—was surprisingly skeptical of the revelation. Their incredulity and doubt rippled across the internet. Many of the people most invested in UFO reality weren’t really buying it. And as Scoles did her own digging, she ventured to dark, conspiracy-filled corners of the internet, to a former paranormal research center in Utah, and to the hallways of the Pentagon.
In They Are Already Here we meet the bigwigs, the scrappy upstarts, the field investigators, the rational people, and the unhinged kooks of this sprawling community. How do they interact with each other? How do they interact with “anomalous phenomena”? And how do they (as any group must) reflect the politics and culture of the larger world around them?
We will travel along the Extraterrestrial Highway (next to Area 51) and visit the UFO Watchtower, where seeking lights in the sky is more of a spiritual quest than a “gotcha” one. We meet someone who, for a while, believes they may have communicated with aliens. Where do these alleged encounters stem from? What are the emotional effects on the experiencers? Funny and colorful, and told in a way that doesn’t require one to believe, Scoles brings humanity to an often derided and misunderstood community. After all, the truth is out there . . ."
Sarah Scoles is a science writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Smithsonian, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Popular Science, Discover, New Scientist, Aeon, and Wired. A former editor at Astronomy magazine, Scoles worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the location of the first-ever SETI project. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Want to listen to new episodes a week earlier and get exclusive bonus content? Consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Heavy Metal with Michael Fabey Today I speak with Michael Fabey about his new book Heavy Metal: The Hard Days and Nights of the Shipyard Workers Who Build America's Supercarriers.
"An extraordinary story of American can-do, an inside look at the building of the most dangerous aircraft carrier in the world, the John F. Kennedy.
Tip the Empire State Building onto its side and you’ll have a sense of the length of the United States Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the most powerful in the world: the USS John F. Kennedy. Weighing 100,000 tons, Kennedy features the most futuristic technology ever put to sea, making it the most agile and lethal global weapon of war.
Only one place possesses the brawn, brains and brass to transform naval warfare with such a creation – the Newport News Shipbuilding yard in Virginia and its 30,000 employees and shipyard workers. This is their story, the riggers, fitters, welders, electricians, machinists and other steelworkers who built the next-generation aircraft carrier.
Heavy Metal puts us on the waterfront and into the lives of these men and women as they battle layoffs, the elements, impossible deadlines, extraordinary pressure, workplace dangers and a pandemic to complete a ship that will be essential to protect America’s way of life.
The city of Newport News owes its very existence to the company that bears its name. The shipyard dominates the town—physically, politically, financially, socially, and culturally. Thanks to the yard, the city grew from a backwater to be the home of the premier naval contractor in the United States.
Heavy Metal captures an indelible moment in the history of a shipyard, a city, and a country."
Michael Fabey has reported on military and naval affairs for most of his career. In his work for National Geographic Traveler, the Economist Group, Defense News, Aviation Week, and Janes, he has collected more than two dozen reporting awards, including the prestigious Timothy White Award. Few journalists have had as much firsthand experience of America’s naval ships and aircraft and the officers who command them. He is the author of Crashback: The Power Clash Between the US and China in the Pacific. A Philadelphia native, he currently resides in Spotsylvania, Virginia.
Want to listen to new episodes a week earlier and get exclusive bonus content? Consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
The Empress and the English Doctor with Lucy Ward Today I speak with Lucy Ward about her new book The Empress and the English Doctor: How Catherine the Great Defied a Deadly Virus.
"A killer virus…an all-powerful Empress…an encounter cloaked in secrecy…the astonishing true story.

Within living memory, smallpox was a dreaded disease. Over human history it has killed untold millions. Back in the eighteenth century, as epidemics swept Europe, the first rumours emerged of an effective treatment: a mysterious method called inoculation.

But a key problem remained: convincing people to accept the preventative remedy, the forerunner of vaccination. Arguments raged over risks and benefits, and public resistance ran high. As smallpox ravaged her empire and threatened her court, Catherine the Great took the momentous decision to summon the Quaker physician Thomas Dimsdale to St Petersburg to carry out a secret mission that would transform both their lives. Lucy Ward expertly unveils the extraordinary story of Enlightenment ideals, female leadership and the fight to promote science over superstition."
Lucy Ward is a writer and former journalist for the Guardian and Independent. As a Westminster Lobby correspondent, she campaigned for greater women’s representation. From 2010–12, she lived with her family in Moscow, renewing her interest in Russian history. After growing up in Manchester, she studied Early and Middle English at Balliol College, Oxford. She now lives in Essex.
Want to listen to new episodes a week earlier and get exclusive bonus content? Consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Spare Parts with Paul Craddock Today I speak with Paul Craddock about his new book Spare Parts: The Story of Medicine Through the History of Transplant Surgery.
"Paul Craddock's Spare Parts offers an original look at the history of medicine itself through the rich, compelling, and delightfully macabre story of transplant surgery from ancient times to the present day.

How did an architect help pioneer blood transfusion in the 1660's?
Why did eighteenth-century dentists buy the live teeth of poor children?
And what role did a sausage skin and an enamel bath play in making kidney transplants a reality?

We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world. But transplant surgery is as ancient as the pyramids, with a history more surprising than we might expect. Paul Craddock takes us on a journey - from sixteenth-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants - uncovering stories of operations performed by unexpected people in unexpected places. Bringing together philosophy, science and cultural history, Spare Parts explores how transplant surgery constantly tested the boundaries between human, animal, and machine, and continues to do so today.

Witty, entertaining, and illuminating, Spare Parts shows us that the history - and future - of transplant surgery is tied up with questions about not only who we are, but also what we are, and what we might become."
Paul Craddock is Honorary Senior Research Associate in the Division of Surgery and Interventional Sciences at UCL Medical School in London. His PhD explored how transplants have for centuries invited reflection on human identity, a subject on which he has also lectured internationally. Spare Parts is his first book. Visit his website at https://paulcraddock.com/
Want to listen to new episodes a week earlier and get exclusive bonus content? Consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
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The Lawless Land with Boyd Morrison and Beth Morrison, PhD. Today I speak with bestselling author Boyd Morrison and medieval historian Beth Morrison, PhD., about their new historical fiction novel The Lawless Land.
"Live by the sword. Die for the truth. England, 1351. The Pestilence has ravaged the land. Villages lie abandoned but for crows and corpses. Highways are patrolled by marauders and murderers. In these dark and dangerous times, the wise keep to themselves. But Gerard Fox cannot afford to be wise. The young knight has been robbed of his ancestral home, his family name tarnished. To regain his lands and reputation, he sets forth to petition the one man who can restore them. Fate places Fox on the wrong road at the wrong time as he hurtles towards a chance encounter. It will entangle him with an enigmatic woman, a relic of incalculable value, and a dark family secret. It will lead him far from home and set him on a collision course with one of the most ambitious and dangerous men in Europe – a man on the cusp of seizing Christendom's highest office. And now, Fox is the only one standing in his way..."
Want to listen to new episodes a week earlier and get exclusive bonus content? Consider becoming a supporter of the podcast on Patreon!
Like the podcast? Please subscribe and leave a review! Follow @CMTUHistory on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & TikTok

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This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
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