Meet the man who used his artistic talents to resist Nazi occupation, then planned an elaborate scheme to destroy a public records building by posing as a German official. In the occupied Netherlands, a group of artists fought the law with typography and tailoring. Why did Willem Arondeus go from a little-known WII resistance fighter to a hit with Tumblr teens, and what can his story teach us about resisting fascism today?
Was Mao Zedong’s fourth wife one of history’s most brutal criminals, or was she a scapegoat for a country that needed to preserve the image of its founding father? The answer is complicated, tragic, and involves a surprising amount of high-stakes theater criticism.
China’s last emperor ended up becoming one of history’s strangest political pawns, and ended his life as an avowed communist. How did a man born into unimaginable wealth end up penning a memoir about the evils of the landlord class? And was his disavowal of his privileged upbringing genuine, or was he the victim of a justice system that perfected the art of brainwashing prisoners?
Meet Harry Allen, the sporty gentleman who scandalized Seattle by wooing ladies, biting cops, and making sure to give his side of the story to the press. Harry left an extraordinary legacy in the public record: He was a transgender man who talked directly to newspapers about his gender identity. But was he really the incorrigible hoodlum the papers made him out to be, or was he forced to the margins of society by police harassment?
This week, we explore a hapless revolutionary group’s failed attempts to start the Communist revolution with pachinko ball bombs, a one-way flight to North Korea, and random attacks on civilians. Why did a group of Japanese students end up deciding that the best way to kick-start the revolution was getting involved in a war in the middle east? And how does an idealistic young student end up believing that mass murder is morally justified?
Hey, is anyone having trouble concentrating this week? Maybe there’s something in the news that might make it hard to focus on a deep dive into serious crimes? Well, we’ve got a episode that moves as fast as the news cycle. Take a quick spin through criminal history with us as we cover some short cases about cool bicycle tricks, nasty ponds, and the fine tradition of messing with tourists.
Isaac tells a story about Judaism’s weirdest would-be messiah. Demetria adds ambiance by constantly arguing with him. This is the story of Sabbatai Zevi, whose quest to save the Jewish people turned him into a dangerous liability.
Do you think Canada is just America’s conflict-adverse northern neighbor? Think again! This week, we go on a journey through some of Canada’s strangest history, including a territory governed by an employee handbook, a polite uprising derailed by one rude man, and an exiled politician whose very understandable quest for a fairer legal system spiraled into delusions of messianic salvation.
Han van Meegeren might not have been loved by art critics, but his descent into the world of art forgery accidentally turned him into one of his country’s least likely heroes. Join us for the twisted tale of an expert art forger, a high-ranking Nazi art thief, and a Jewish Dutch resistance hero whose espionage investigation turned into a friendship with one of the Netherlands’ most flamboyant criminals.
As we gear up for one of America’s most momentous elections, we look back on the man so bad at politics that he changed the way American elections worked forever. Meet Aaron Burr, the guy who caused so much chaos that America not only had to amend its own constitution to stop his shenanigans, it had to set its legal definition of treason after he attempted to create a new country just to rule it. Hamilton fans, get ready for the wild story of what happened after the musical ended. Politics junkies, enjoy the story of the man whose misbehavior set many of the precedents we’re still fighting about in presidential elections today.