Monday, January 1, 2018

7 Questions with Billy Puckett, Co-Host of She the People

Billy Puckett is the co-host of She the People, a podcast where two friends drink beers and talk about influential women in history. When he's not doing research for the podcast, you can usually find him watching a Cincinnati Reds game or hanging out at a live show. He currently works in development for a private university in Chicago, the greatest city in the world. You can subscribe to She the People on iTunes, GooglePlay, TuneIn & just about everywhere else you may listen to your podcasts.

1.      How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
My dad was a history major for a while in college and was always either reading or watching something on historical wars, or the early days of the western frontiers. Usually, he would start explaining how or why a particular battle played out the way it did and I started becoming fascinated by it by the time I was 9 or 10 years old. I really got into sports history, specifically. From the early days of football and baseball, to the sports that people played thousands of years ago.

2.      What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
Until recently, it didn't play a huge role outside of shaping what I would read about, however, when I started hosting She the People, it reminded me how much I really enjoy doing the research and digging into a specific person's life. I'm also pretty good at bar trivia because of it.

3.      How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?
As far as my full-time work, it doesn't have a huge part. I'm in fundraising for a private university, and aside from learning about the awards previous professors have won, there isn't a huge place for it. However, it plays a huge role in the direction of our podcast, as both Heather and I were really interested in history.

4.      Why is studying/knowing history important?
Where do I begin? It reminds us of how far we've come in some areas, and how little we've advanced in others. It highlights some of the beautiful things that have happened while also reminding us not to make some of the same horrific mistakes that have been made before. I think studying individuals, specifically, also is crucial in teaching that it's okay to be different. Rarely are the people we talk about on STP the ones who went along with the crowds. They're people who stood up and thought differently, and were able to make huge changes because of it.

5.      What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
I think the 1600-1900 A.D. range is fascinating because it really wasn't that long ago, but it was before any modern technology existed. We take so many things for granted right now while you can go back three generations and their minds would be exploding at the explanation of why I'm answering questions for a blog right now. 

6.       What is She the People and how did it start?
She the People is a podcast that was created by Heather Linder and myself to help shine a spotlight on some of the most influential women in history that we never learned about in school. We've been friends for 10 years and are constantly discussing current events and historical issues. When we decided to do a podcast together, the topic really came pretty naturally. The basic theme was Heather's idea and we kind of built on that to the format we have today.

7.      What are some of your personal favorite stories uncovered so far ?
They have really all been fascinating people to research, but hands down, my favorite story has been on Nancy Wake. You really have to listen to the whole thing, but the short story is she was an upper-class woman living in France when the Nazis started to invade. She started sneaking Jewish families to safety and ultimately became a fully trained spy and guerrilla warfare leader for the British troops. At one point she was THE most wanted person by the Nazi Gestapo, and I had never even heard her name before. I can't get enough of her story.