In the mid-20th century, Chairman Mao Zedong launched an ambitious plan to revolutionize Chinese agriculture and industry, build up the economy and turn China into a communist utopia. Read the show notes here.
She was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., skilled when it came to amassing a fortune. But her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a less-than-flaterring nickname. Read the show notes here.
The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their new found religion. Read the show notes here.
As the second part of the story picks up, James Andrews and 22 men have commandeered a northbound train in Big Shanty, Georgia. Its conductor, William Fuller, has begun chasing them on foot with two other men in a valiant effort to thwart their plot.
The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring – but very failed – plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southeastern U.S. Read the show notes here.
People knew how to find their north-south position even before we had the idea of "latitude." But once people lost sight of land, they didn’t have reliable way of figuring out how far east or west they’d gone – how to measure their longitude.
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy’s crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub. Read the show notes here.
He's most famous for selling an iconic structure he didn't own, but Robert Miller, known better by his alias Count Victor Lustig, led a life of spectacular cons, daring escapes, smooth talking and counterfeiting. Read the show notes here.
Pigments and dyes have come from all manner of animals, vegetables and minerals. From ochre to cochineal red to the rarest of purples, color has been an important part of human life for centuries. Read the show notes here.
In the mid-20th century, one ad company had a wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. How did they manage it? And was the land worth anything? Read the show notes here.