American History Hit

Join Don Wildman twice a week for your hit of American history, as he explores the past to help us understand the United States of today. We’ll hear how codebreakers uncovered secret Japanese plans for the Battle of Midway, visit Chief Powhatan as he prepares for war with the British, see Walt Disney accuse his former colleagues of being communists, and uncover the dark history that lies beneath Central Park.   From pre-colonial America to independence, slavery to civil rights, the gold rush to the space race, join Don as he speaks to leading experts to delve into America’s past. New episodes every Monday and Thursday. Brought to you by History Hit, the award-winning podcast network and world’s best history channel on demand, featuring shows like Dan Snow’s History Hit, Not Just The Tudors and Betwixt the Sheets. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 38m. Bisher sind 41 Folge(n) erschienen. .

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes


episode 39: Jamestown

In late April 1607, three ships carrying a hundred men and boys arrived in Chesapeake Bay, having set sail from London four months earlier. They travelled up a river and created what became the first English settlement in North America. Benjamin Woolley tells Don about the many struggles that the people of Jamestown would face in the years to come.

Produced by Benjie Guy. Mixed by Joseph Knight. Senior Producer: Charlotte Long...



episode 38: The First American in Space

In Spring 1961, the Space Race between the US and Soviet Union was well underway. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in Space in April and the Americans knew his achievement had to be matched. Alan Shepard was chosen as the man for the job. Jay Gallentine tells Don how we went from satellites, to dogs, then humans in space; as the competition outside Earth's atmosphere intensified between the US and the USSR.

Produced and mixed by Benjie Guy...



episode 37: Yellowstone

For thousands of years, nomadic Native American peoples crossed the Yellowstone River basin, in awe of its stunning landscape and geothermal wonders. Very few colonial Americans had set sight on its mountains, geysers and hot springs before geologist Ferdinand Hayden and his party arrived in the summer of 1871.

Hayden's survey, the first of the region, contributed to Yellowstone becoming the first National Park in America...



episode 36: The Fall of J. Edgar Hoover

From 1956 to 1971, J. Edgar Hoover ran COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program). A series of covert and illegal FBI operations aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting left wing political organisations in America. The leaders of pro-civil rights, anti-Vietnam war and pro-choice groups were among those targeted. When the programme was uncovered, it revealed the paranoia that consumed Hoover in his last decades in power and would change his legacy forever...



episode 35: The Rise of J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 48 years. He grew the FBI from a small, obscure operation to one that employed thousands of agents, investigating everything from kidnapping and bank robberies to political subversion and international espionage. Beverley Gage tells Don how Hoover guided every aspect of the FBI's operation for his decades in charge...



episode 34: Ellis Island

From the 1880s to the 1920s the United States experienced a huge wave of immigration. People fleeing poverty and political instability in Europe, plus a huge demand for labour in the US, meant record numbers of people came to America. Most arrived by ship and were processed on Ellis Island, in New York harbour - an immigration station opened in 1892 when the facility on Manhattan couldn't deal with the numbers coming in...



episode 33: Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Dr Martin Luther King Jr was one of the figureheads of the civil rights movement in America. On 28th August 1963, he made one of the greatest English language speeches of all time, I Have A Dream. A quarter of million people, who had gathered in the National Mall after the Great March on Washington, in support of African American civil and economic rights, heard his dream of racial equality. Tragically gunned down at only 39 years old, the fight for equality that he began, continues today...



episode 32: Charles Dickens in America

One of the most famous writers ever to have lived, Charles Dickens travelled twice to the US, in 1842 and 1867. This made him one of the first transatlantic celebrities. Don goes to Dickens' house in London to see some items he took with him. He also speaks to Dickens' great great great granddaughter, Lucinda Hawksley, to hear what Dickens got up to in America and what he made of the place.

Produced and mixed by Benjie Guy. Assistant Producer: Sophie Gee...



episode 31: Inside Benjamin Franklin's House

Join Don as he visits Benjamin Franklin's home of nearly 16 years: 36 Craven Street, London. Now a museum, its director Marcia Balisciano explains what brought the famous polymath to London, how he lived and the various things the famed scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor and Founding Father of the United States got up to while he was there - including his role in the beginnings of the American Revolution.

Produced by Benjie Guy. Mixed by Aidan Lonergan...



episode 30: Lessons from the Civil War

Gone with the Wind, released in 1939, is the highest-grossing film of all time. Based on Margaret Mitchell's novel published a few years earlier, it is a story of romance set against the backdrop of the civil war and reconstruction era. But, as Sarah Churchwell tells Don, it whitewashes the horrors of slavery, while condemning those who abolished it. And it is not alone. This is something that has happened in popular culture and the media since the civil war and continues today...


 2023-01-05  29m