On the History with Mark Bielski Podcast, our director and historian Mark Bielski discusses history from ancient to modern times with experts in their fields of study, with special attention to the Civil War and WWII. He and his guests leave the textbooks behind and delve into the characters, backstories and often the intrigues that drove events throughout history.
From the Cold War in the Middle East to an interview with Mrs. Gladys LeBreton, whose grandfather was a friend of Confederate President Jefferson, Mark has had a fascinating string of recent episodes. Tune in!
Lewis and Clark
Mark reprises the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Historian Hal Stearns. Recorded at Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Oregon, it gives a detailed narrative overview of that incredible explorative journey. But first Mark responds to a comment from a listener about General George B. McClellan; then as an added attraction, he closes with a short history quiz and prize for the first with correct answers.
The Lost Battalion of WWI
Mark’s guest is Robert J. Laplander who wrote the book, Finding the Lost Battalion: Beyond the Rumors, Myths and Legends of America’s Famous WWI Epic. They discuss the deep research Laplander did in order to tell the story of the soldiers and their commander, Charles Whittlesey and their grueling ordeal by fire in the Argonne Forest. This definitive work follows these men of the 77th Division and chronicles their lives and sacrifices in battle during September and October 1918.
Jefferson Davis: His Final Days and Passing in New Orleans
Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, died in New Orleans in December 1889. Mark talks with Mrs. Gladys LeBreton, whose grandfather was a friend of Davis’. As a child, Mrs. LeBreton’s mother lived in the home where Davis stayed and was there when he passed away. Mrs. LeBreton relates the story of his final days.
Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em
Joel Bius’s new book, Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em: The Rise and Fall of the Military Cigarette Ration, is a treatise on the relationship between the American Military-Industrial complex and the cigarette. Mark and Joel discuss the story of how the cigarette and the soldier relationship evolved, developed and devolved during the twentieth century—and the consequences.
Cold War In The Middle East
Cold War studies often focus on events in Europe. However, the Cold War quietly and sometimes loudly raged in the Middle East. Numerous political, religious and ethnic factions struggled for power while the U.S. and the Soviet Union maneuvered to exert influence and control in the region—whether behind the scenes or overtly.
This week on History with Mark Bielski, Kate Tietzen returns to discuss the turmoil in the Middle East during the difficult years following WWII to the final days of the USSR. Mark first interviewed her for his podcast, “Iraq: Ancient Country, Modern Conflicts,” when they discussed the conflicts, sometime resolutions and the evolution of the country. Her in-country research delves into the many facets of the Iraqi people, the religious factions and the nation’s friends, foes and allies.
Civil War: New Orleans Prepares
New Orleans during the Civil War is Mark’s topic. In 1861, the City of New Orleans prepared for an imminent invasion by Union forces. As crisis loomed, leadership, politics and military shortcomings became evident. A bright spot is the Confederate victory at Manassas in Virginia, where native-son P.G.T. Beauregard leads the army and the Louisiana boys show prowess and prove their mettle.