Linda Jaivin on the Sprawling, Messy History of China

Conversations | 16 August 2021 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Linda Jaivin about her book The Shortest History of China. Discusses the history of China, including the Opium Wars, the fall of the Qing dynasty, Mao, Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping, and its deteriorating relationship with Australia.

Paul Lockhart on How Guns Transformed Western Civilization

Quillette Podcast | 20 December 2021 | 0h 32m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Paul Lockhart about his book Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare. Discusses the enormous military and political upheavals set in motion by the adoption of gunpowder-based weapons from the 13th century onward – including the demise of the medieval castle, the empowerment of large centralized states, and the deployment of permanent standing armies.

Charles C. Mann: 1491 Fifteen Years Later

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 9 December 2021 | 1h 19m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Charles C. Mann discussing his books 1491, 1493 and The Wizard and the Prophet. Describes the advanced societies and biological technologies used in the New World before the arrival of Columbus; the conditions that caused the downfall of those societies; and the global exchange of crops, slaves and goods that developed thereafter. Contrasts considerations of environmental carrying capacity versus applying science to enable our adaptive ingenuity in the face of ecological constraints.

Marc David Baer on the Ottomans as Khans, Caesars and Caliphs

Turkey Book Talk | 2 November 2021 | 0h 52m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Marc David Baer about his book The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs. Argues that the Ottoman Empire was an inseparable part of European history – not as the antithesis of the Christian West but as an intimate and active participant in the continent’s shifting cultural and political tides.

Mark Mazower: The Greek Revolution

John Sandoe Books | 9 November 2021 | 0h 52m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Mark Mazower about his book The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe. Discusses the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire; its post-Napoleonic context; the divisions within the Greek side, the incompetence of the Ottoman response; Lord Byron and the engagement of public opinion in the West; and its sudden end after a combined British, Russian and French flotilla wiped out the Ottoman fleet.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

In Our Time | 14 October 2021 | 0h 48m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the republic that emerged from the union of the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th Century. At first, this was a personal union, similar to that of James I and VI in Britain, but this was formalised in 1569 into a vast republic, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kings and princes from across Europe would compete for parliament to elect them King and Grand Duke, and the greatest power lay with the parliaments. When the system worked well, the Commonwealth was a powerhouse, and it was their leader Jan Sobieski who relieved the siege of Vienna in 1683, defeating the Ottomans. Its neighbours exploited its parliament’s need for unanimity, though, and this contributed to its downfall. Austria, Russia and Prussia divided its territory between them from 1772, before the new, smaller states emerged in the 20th Century.

At Home with the Mongols

History Extra | 11 October 2021 | 0h 57m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Marie Favereau about her book The Horde: How the Mongols Changed the World. Discusses how the Mongol empire was governed and what everyday life was like within the empire ruled by Nomadic Mongol Khans for three centuries.

Kyle Harper – Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History

Princeton UP Ideas Podcast | 1 October 2021 | 0h 48m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Kyle Harper about his book Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History. Presents a “big history,” tracing the role of disease in the transition to farming, the spread of cities, the advance of transportation, and the stupendous increase in human population. Explains why humanity’s uniquely dangerous disease pool is rooted deep in our evolutionary past, and why its growth is accelerated by technological progress.