A five part podcast miniseries by Wondery
How fortunate for me this year that it seems like “Bleeding Kansas” has become a supremely popular topic as of late. I noticed a new TV show on Amazon called The Good Lord Bird, and random podcasts like Last Podcast on the left and the topic of today’s review all referencing it. I don’t normally review podcats largely due to their ephemeral nature – like how would one review random episodes where somebody tells news articles? While entertaining, its not really art in any way. But then I ran across American History Tellers and their overview of Bleeding Kansas and fell in love. Much like with a Dan Carlin podcast, AHT is more of an audiobook than a typical podcast. Narrated by Lindsay A. Graham, each episode includes dramatizations of various historical topics as well as the normal scripted narration.
Episode one starts out with an aside from the point of view of a runaway slave and his brother delivered in the second-person i.e. “Imagine you and your brother are hiding in a barn that is part of the underground railroad.” these sections are fully voice-acted and help one understand various situations that the main part of the podcast is addressing. These parts are what sets this podcast far and away from others and made me instantly love it.
“In the 1850s, the United States was lurching toward a crisis over slavery — and abolitionist John Brown stepped into the fray. Brown believed it was his God-given destiny to destroy slavery. His crusade took him from abolitionist meetings in the Northeast, to the Underground Railroad in Ohio, to the bloody plains of Kansas. In 1854, a fierce conflict erupted over whether the territory of Kansas would join the Union as a free state or slave state. As tensions escalated, Brown would rush to the center of the gathering storm and hatch a violent plan for striking back against proslavery forces.”
The Bleeding Kansas episodes go all the way from the beginnings to the John Brown raid on Harper’s Ferry – largely making it more of a John Brown podcast, but the information is still great and a solid alternative to reading a book if you only have time for stuff like this during a commute or something. Other great episodes include one on Kentucky Blood Feuds, Coal wars, Various rebellions of the 18th and early 19th century, and much more. I love how they seem to take these important yet largely ignored points in history and elaborate on them.