The Making of Modern Japan

The Forum | 8 September 2018 | 0h 39m | Listen Later  | iTunes
From the mid-19th century, Japan transformed itself from feudal state to economic powerhouse at breakneck speed. The rebel samurai who seized power in 1868 removed an entire ruling elite, introduced national conscription and compulsory education, building a brand new society. Unpacks the origins of this transformation, and examines how it led to imperial expansion and the subsequent atrocities of World War II.

James Belich – The Black Death

RNZ: Saturday Morning | 9 March 2018 | 0h 25m | Listen Later 
Interview with historian James Belich about his book, “The Prospect of Global History”, which argues that the Black Death, beginning in the 1340s, fuelled wider European control and influence across the globe.

Andrew Roberts on Winston Churchill

Podcast | 11 October 2018 | 0h 31m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Andrew Roberts about his new biography on Winston Churchill, which draws on newly available archival material. Covers Churchill’s belief that he was ‘walking with destiny’, his prophecies of European disaster in the 1930s, as well as his drinking habits, the racist charges against him, and his singular ability to deliver some of the most memorable speeches of the 20th century.

Coffee: Sobering Up for The Enlightenment

How It Began | 18 December 2017 | 0h 50m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Coffee’s arrival into Europe in the 1600s helped awaken Western Civilization from centuries of booze-induced slumber, catalyzing an entirely new age of progress that featured revolutionary change on practically every front.

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Context with Brad Harris | 20 August 2018 | 0h 40m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of “1493: Uncovering the New World,” by Charles C. Mann, which shows how Europeans emerged at the centre of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange, which globalised commerce, ecology, food and disease.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

Context with Brad Harris | 24 July 2018 | 0h 24m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Discusses the ideas in Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” a classic in the history of science, and one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Kuhn challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself.

Simon Winchester on the Pacific

The World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly | 1 August 2018 | 0h 39m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Interview with Simon Winchester about his book “Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers.” Winchester is quite the raconteur, with delicious anecdotes on US nuclear testing and policing Pitcairn Island.

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes

Context with Brad Harris | 27 June 2018 | 0h 36m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Review of “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” by David Landes, published in 1998. Landes argued that historically unique cultural values of curiosity, novelty, and private property empowered European society to lead the modern world; a history that offers invaluable lessons for our own time.