Others cover the news.
We uncover the history behind it.
We do this in weekly podcast conversations with eminent scholars and historians who explain and analyze the history behind current events.
We call this peeling the history behind the news.
Why is this important? Because American news woefully lacks context.
- China's Military History -
Dr. David A. Graff
Kansas State University
Dept. of History
Author of A Military History of China, and Medieval Chinese Warfare 300-900
How did China's military compare to Europe's?
What's the impact of China's military history on the PLA now?
This episode aired this morning. You can listen to it at S3E38 on your favorite podcast.
News: China's Economic Decline
History behind news: Why China's innovation fell behind Europe
Dr. Yasheng Huang of MIT’s Sloan School of Management is the author of The Rise and Fall of the EAST: How Exams, Autocracy, Stability, and Technology Brought China Success, and Why They Might Lead to Its Decline. In this conversation, he analyzes China's colossal economic successes and gigantic failures in the context of innovation and diversity of ideas.
Listen above. Watch below. Read more here.
Our more than 125 podcast guests who have helped us interpret news and current events N through the perspective of history are scholars from these and many other prestigious institutions:
Oxford, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Hoover Institution, Princeton University, the Atlantic Council, Duke, Northwestern Law, Vanderbilt University, US Naval War College, Air University, Marine Corp University, UVA, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, NYU, Rice, Vanderbilt University, University of Chicago, Colgate University, UC Berkeley, UCSF, USC, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Democracy Institute, University of Aberdeen, University of Navarra, University of Seville, Helsinki University, Diego Portales University (Chile), Lund University (Sweden), Near East University (Turkey), the Free University of Berlin, The Wall Street Journal, and many others.
Our guests are current and former senior reporters at The Wall Street Journal, former White House advisors and other high-ranking government officials. Many have testified in Congressional hearings and others frequently contribute to major media outlets and widely read publications, ranging from the BBC, NPR, PBS and CNN to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
Hey there Newspeelers,
This is Adel Aali, founder of the History Behind News program.
First and foremost, thank you for visiting our site. I hope you enjoy our program, and look forward to hearing from you and learning from you. Please don't hesitate to message me below at Contact HbN.
I started HbN to provide a better understanding of news through history. And I am committed to making history that is researched and written by scholars accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Before podcasting, I practiced patent law and later dove deep into entrepreneurship and founded a startup based on my patented medical inventions.
I now have the privilege to produce and host HbN. Preparing for conversations with scholars and producing this program are lots of fun and also challenging - learning a new subject every week! It's tough but exhilarating.
For each and every one of them, my two objectives are constant:
Nah, I don't mean digging into the news. We already have many news outlets who do that for us. I am rather referring to the winding and, at times, unnavigable road behind that brought us to the current moment, to the developing news at hand.
So, what was it like to travel on that road? What were the exigencies that forced our predecessors' decisions back then?
While hindsight is 20/20, many of our past decisions were made in the context of those times and without much knowledge of the curves and cliffs ahead. Needless to say, many of our ancestors veered us to the off-beaten paths. And that's how we got here!
About above image: I took this sunset shot of Jackson Lake in June 2022. The Grand Tetons is my and my family's favorite national park. It's simply breathtaking. And if you are there on a Monday night, be sure to spend it at the hootenanny in the town of Moose. We loved it! Hint: go there hungry and thirsty.
What do I mean by this?
HbN is not a history program. Meaning, we don’t discuss history for its own sake. Rather, we discuss history only as it informs current news.
But sometimes even this history behind news can be overwhelming.
Believe me, I know! So what I think about when I ask questions from my distinguished guests, who can surely talk authoritatively about their subjects for hours on end, is whether or not the history being discussed is still helping us better understand the news, i.e., the stuff behind the news.
The challenge here is similar to the adage of not seeing the forest for the trees. But we don't need to be history buffs to appreciate history's impact on our lives. In fact, many history buffs are so focused on every detailed pixel of history that they lose sight of the big picture.
So, HbN is not a narrative history program. Instead, we strive to suck out the marrow of our past to nourish the present bones of our intellects.
About above image: I took this picture of the Palace of Westminster in June 2023 (photos are restricted in certain areas). My family and I got the rare treat of watching the UK's Members of Parliament debate legislation (it was on animal rights - reconciling UK and EU laws after Brexit). London is a must-visit. We just loved it. Although I wouldn't really call it a vacation. It was more like sightseeing on steroids and information overload. We were out and about from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. - every day!