Friday, January 28, 2022

7 Questions With Graham Parker, Grisly History Podcast


    Graham Parker is a professional voice-over artist Contact him if you have need a voice.)and lifelong historical enthusiast. He holds a Bachelor’s in History from Georgia State University, summa cum laude.

An eagle scout, outdoorsman, and traditionalist at heart, Graham’s work on Grisly History continues an earnest pursuit of the truths we can all learn from the past. Grisly History is a long-form history podcast, with new episodes each month. Listen wherever you listen to podcasts. The website is .

1. How and when did you get  hooked on history?

My interest in history began when I was six years old and my father introduced me to the game of Risk. He told me that he would not let me beat him and that if I wanted to win I was going to have to learn the game. Winning that game became a big goal for me and we played often. As we played he would tell me about the different lands we fought over and about the people who had lived there throughout history which further added to my fascination with the game. It took two years before I finally won my first game, but even so I would find myself looking at globes and maps remembering what my father had told me and wanting to know more.

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

Learning history and learning about the way in which histories are compiled have had a lot to do with changing my outlook on the world. When I was young my understanding of the world and how it works was often filtered through the views of my parents and family so their understanding of the world became my understanding of the world. As I got older and devoured biographies and textbooks I began to understand that things are much more complicated than I had originally believed. As such I’ve grown more inquisitive and information oriented when reading the news or exploring a new concept.

3. How does history play  a part of your professional life/career?

I became a history major in college thinking that I might like to teach it before eventually deciding against it. Instead I used the skills that I had learned through researching and writing in administrative roles. Grisly History is the first time that I have really been able to put those skills into practice doing something that I love. I think that the podcast is as much an excuse for me to learn as it is to share stories with our audience.

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?

In a broad sense learning history is crucial to understanding how we got to where we are today. Throughout time there are triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures that can teach us not only about the world today but also inform us about the world that we would like to see. However if you want to go a step further I think understanding historiography, or the study of historical writings, is just as important. Understanding what information historians have chosen to highlight or omit can give one a better understanding of why we think about history the way we do.

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
I love reading about the 19th century, particularly in regards to America and Europe. I find the formation of industrial technology, nation building, and colonization of that era incredibly fascinating, especially considering how all of that set up the grand conflicts and societal movements that came in the 20th century.

6. How did the podcast Grisly History come about?
The podcast came from a desire to make history more relatable to people who weren’t fond of it in school. Often when speaking to people who didn’t like history class they often say something to the effect of, “It was just memorizing names and dates, I don’t get what the big deal is.” If that is what history class was like for them then I get it, there is no point in memorizing names and dates if you don't understand the bigger story that they are a part of. I want people to be able to connect with history so Michael and I are trying to create a podcast that's immersive. We try to create a sense of dread or urgency when building the narrative and use second person pov portions to drop the listener into the story, and remind them that these things happened to people just as real as you or I.

7. What do you hope your podcast listeners take away from listening?
This is a podcast for people who want to explore darker parts of history and see why those stories are still worth discussing today. It is easy to think of the people we learn about in history as one note characters, heroes or villains in a story as we strive to attach meaning to their actions. But the truth is that they were human beings with their own lives, convictions, and desires. I hope that listeners will see the humanity of the people we discuss and come away with a better appreciation of their motives and struggles.

Friday, January 21, 2022

7 Questions With Author Daniel Burghard, Things They've Seen


Daniel Burghard, born in 1990 and hailing from Melbourne, Australia has done everything he can to make his life an adventure. With his main profession as a teacher, Daniel has used the time during every holiday to explore this wonderful world we live in. In particular, he has a keen interest in history and spends a lot of time and effort to visit historical locations, in an attempt to get as close to the "real picture" as possible. While Daniel has a love for the ancient times, spending many years researching every aspect of the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, even going so far as to taking part in an archaeological dig, Daniel is never one to ignore an opportunity to learn more about our more recent history. This has to be at least part of the reason Daniel moved to Berlin in 2015. For more info, his website is . His recent book is Things They've Seen.

  1. How and when did you get hooked on history?

I’m not sure there was an exact point. I do remember as a young boy looking at travel catalogues at my Grandparents place and seeing pictures of the pyramids. I knew then I wanted to go and see them, so that surely was an influence. There was also a series called “Where’s Wally’s History of the World”, which definitely helped to stoke the fire.

  1. What role does history play in your personal life?

Well, I like to do a lot of historical reading. There is plenty to learn about and I love a good historical podcast or documentary in my spare time. Its also been a driving force for a lot of my travels. I normally pick destinations with some historical significance.

  1. How does history play a part of your professional life?

Outside of the book, I am a science teacher. People are often surprised but history plays a big role in this. I like to show the students experiments from the past and show them, through these experiments how the ideas developed to what they ended up as today.

  1. Why is studying/knowing history important?

There are so many reasons why history is important to learn. From a purely entertainment point of view, there are plenty of wild, interesting and peculiar stories to learn about, as good as any fiction book. From a more serious point, the idea is that each generation learns from the past and improves on what has been done. In order for that to work, people need to know where we have come from, to make informed decisions on how they want to move forward. As the old saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.

  1. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about?

I like different eras for different reasons. The modern history, such as WWII and the Cold War is amazing, because (if you are lucky) you can still talk to people that lived through it. So, there is a very personal touch to it, that I find fascinating. Otherwise, I love my Greek and Roman history. There are so many big personalities that still shine through after thousands of years, it is impossible not to want to know more about them.

  1. What prompted you to write “The Things They’ve Seen”?

What got me writing this book was pure luck. There was a monthly meeting at a hotel in Berlin that used to invite one guest each time to discuss their experiences in either WWII or the Cold War. However, one day, the meetings just stopped. I honestly panicked. I had never heard stories like those at the meetings before, and I was afraid of losing them all to time. So, I managed, with the help of an archive, to get into contact with as many as I could and interview them so others can learn from their experiences in those times. I feel very privileged that they trusted me to bring their stories to the public.

  1. What will readers learn and take away from reading “The Things They’ve Seen”?

The main thing they will get by reading the book is the view from common citizens living in Germany during WWII and the Cold War. Each interviewee brings a unique perspective to the book, one that is less often heard. Whether it is a son losing his father to the concentration camp, or someone suffering in a Stasi prison, or a German soldier during WWII or a Jewish girl fleeing Nazi Germany, with each story we learn more about the past and hopefully avoid such horrors in the future.

Friday, January 14, 2022

7 Questions With Pat Young, The Reconstruction Era Blog


Pat Young writes The Reconstruction Era Blog and The Immigrants' Civil War. He is Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra Law School in New York and he works to provide services and advocacy for immigrants in New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley. ( Reconstruction Era , Immigrants' Civil War )

1. How and when did you get  hooked on history?

Like a lot of older white men, I date my interest back to the Civil War Centennial (1961-1965). Since I was only three when the Centennial started, I must have caught the tail end of it. Over time my interest in history matured and I studied the histories of a number of civil wars, and looked at their aftermaths. I was in-country doing human rights research during one civil war, and my wife’s uncle fought in another, the Spanish Civil War, in the “Abraham Lincoln Brigade.” I have interviewed thousands of people who fled civil wars. Most of what I learned told me that the sanitized stories of the American Civil War did not match how people experience the trauma of civil conflict. 

I also learned that the post-war world in countries torn by civil war is not a time of healing. Often the war continues by other means. I thought that further study of the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era might turn up information that was not accounted for in what I learned as a youngster. 

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

I am a lawyer and all lawyers are involved in the use of history. When we cite precedents, we are using legal history to support our case. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jack Rackove calls this “Law Office History,” but it is important for the lawyer to understand the history of a statute to suggest its correct interpretation to the court. 

History has also been important to my life in another way. The immigrants I work with are often the targets of marginalization both because of their race and because of anti-immigrant hatred. Understanding how current concepts of race developed over American history helps me counter implicit bias in modern legislation and law enforcement. Understanding xenophobia from the Know Nothings to modern movements like the Proud Boys helps untangle the arguments of the rhetoricians of hatred. 

3. How does history play  a part in your professional life/career?

My lectures on immigration law at Hofstra University are steeped in the history of the law’s development. In its immigration laws, America wears its heart of darkness on its sleeve. As I tell my students, you can’t understand the Chinese Exclusion Act unless you understand the fevered and deadly hatreds aroused against what was, after all, a very small group of immigrants. 

I recall several years ago being introduced by one of the leaders of Hofstra University’s history department as “a great historian” and being more thrilled by that than by any other introduction I have had in my life. History is important to me. 

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?

Our institutions and laws were developed at specific times in American history. We can’t understand them without knowing the history behind them. If we look, for example, at Alabama’s current constitution we need to  know that its adoption was advocated for by the man most responsible for passing it with these words: “The new Constitution eliminates the ignorant Negro vote and places the control of our government where God Almighty intended it should be — with the Anglo-Saxon race.” Our laws often embed discriminatory intent within legalistic prose. We need to take seriously the invidious discrimination inserted into our laws in the distant past and often still active in the legal system. 

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?

The Civil War and Reconstruction eras. This period gave us three enduring Constitutional Amendments; the 13th ending slavery, the 15th eliminating the color line in voting, and the Grand 14th Amendment. That last amendment influences court decisions every day in America. From the citizenship status of children born to immigrants to the right of same-sex couples to marry, the 14th Amendment is a beacon of equality. And it is more than 150 years old!

A lot of people love to study the Revolutionary period, but we are not so concerned today with whether we should be a colony of Britain or not. On the other hand, the issues of 1850 to 1877 are still alive. Racial distinctions, immigration, state v. federal power are all still open questions. 

6.         How did The Reconstruction Era blog get started? 

I already was blogging about immigrants during the Civil War, so I was familiar with the form. I had been posting documents from the Reconstruction Era on a message board and found that they kept getting taken down by the site’s moderators because some people found them controversial. 

I decided that if I was going to invest my limited spare time in researching the period, I needed to have control over whether the materials I developed were displayed. So I started The Reconstruction Era Blog. It quickly gained a following and last year I had more than 85,000 unique visitors from all fifty states and a hundred and fifty countries. 

I am particularly happy to note that the blog has a large following in the South. Five of my Top 10 states in terms of visitation are from the former Confederacy. The notion that Southerners won’t read the unvarnished history of Reconstruction is nonsense. Many of my most loyal readers are from Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. For them, this is “local history” and they tell me it helps explain the persistent cleavages where they live. 

7. What do you hope readers of The Reconstruction Era blog learn and take away with them?

I hope they gain insight into how we as a country got this way. Racial conflict did not begin in 2020. The Reconstruction Era offers us some frightful examples of the depravity that the doctrine of White Supremacy can lead us to, but it also offers inspiring stories of men and women, black and white, already working towards a world in which progress and diversity are welcome. As Frederick Douglass said in 1867, the “voice of civilization speaks an unmistakable language against the isolation of families, nations and races, and pleads for composite nationality as essential to her triumphs.” We are that “composite nation” formed from many peoples that Douglass dreamed of.


Friday, January 7, 2022

7 Questions With YouTuber History Boy, AKA Jacob


History Boy (a.k.a Jacob) has been creating historical videos on YouTube since the age of 11 years old. With a deep passion for Civil War history, he became a reenactor at the age of 13, and now at 15 years of age, he is still a committed drummer in the 8th Connecticut Volunteers, ( a reenactment group in Connecticut. History Boy posts historical music videos and narrated videos monthly, and always likes to share historical content with his kind and educated community. Access his YouTube channel at

1.          How and when did you get hooked on history?

I have been hooked on history for as long as I can remember. At first, I was fascinated with the American Revolution, and still am to this day - however, toward the age of six, my interest began to wander into the 19th century and landed on the Civil War. The American Civil War is still my favorite time period to this day, though I find all aspects of American history fascinating. I started out by reading books, and watching documentaries like “Civil War Journal.” I also loved playing with toy Civil War kepis and rifles - which you now will catch me doing in a much more serious and professional way at Civil War reenactments.

(Jacob seated)

2.          What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?

History is more than just a hobby, and is something that I find and carry with me in all aspects of my life. I teach and discuss history with my friends all day at school, learn about it in my free time, reenact it on the weekends and am even the editor of the newsletter for my reenactment organization - “Attention Company!"

3.          How does history play  a part of your professional life/career?

My YouTube channel is based primarily on the history and music of the American Civil War. Through this channel I have gotten incredible experiences such as meeting the band manager and lead banjo of the 2nd South Carolina Stringband - the world famous Civil War Camp band. I have also been able to meet many amazing people, be interviewed by the Untold Civil War podcast, and am currently collaborating with multiple big-name YouTubers, podcasters, and reenactors, to bring my audience an exclusive Civil War documentary. 

4.          Why is studying/knowing history important?

Studying and knowing history are vital for future generations - because without knowing the past we can never truly know where we came from and embrace our future. In my videos and social media posts, I always try to raise awareness for historical events, figures, and reenactments, so that my viewers are always learning (or hearing) something new!

5.          What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?

My favorite period in history to learn about by far is the American Civil War. It is simply filled with so many incredible people, places, and events, that one can never learn enough! In addition, there are amazing reenactment events commemorating the war, and allowing participants to live the life of a soldier during the time period, which is so exciting, and which offers new opportunities for research. 

6.         How did you become a civil war reenactor and “History Boy”?

In third grade, my friend Joey gave me the name “History Boy,” due to my fascination with all things history. During my 6th grade year I received a comment on YouTube encouraging me to become a Civil War reenactor. I had previously looked into this opportunity, but decided to try again - and found a new website from a regiment named the “8th Connecticut Volunteers, Co. A” ( that had just been put up. I was amazed by it, and with all information about the hobby provided - I sent an email to the recruiter who is now a good friend. The rest is… history!

7.      What do you hope subscribers to your YouTube channel and your social media followers to learn from your content?

From my content on YouTube and on social media I hope that my subscribers gain an appreciation for the history and music of the American Civil War. Using modern and classic methods, I educate future historians, and current history buffs.