Reanimated History: 100 Years Ago Today

Apr 22 2018

In this episode, Adam travels back to the turn of the century to clear up misconceptions about the Panama Canal, reveal the unsung hero who changed the way we eat and explain how the Spanish Flu was deadlier than any war. Here are his sources.


“If you allow me to act as your diplomatic representative in Washington, I’ll cover the cost of your revolution…”

Ovidio Diaz-Espino. How Wall Street Created a Nation: J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and the Panama Canal. Basic Books, 2003.


“And Roosevelt sent US Warships to sit off the coast of Panama in order to deter the Colombians from fighting back.”

David McCullough. The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914. Simon & Schuster, 1977.


“When the Panamanians balked, Roosevelt landed two thousand Marines in their new country and threatened them with ‘grave consequences’ unless they changed their minds.”

Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu. “What Roosevelt Took: The Economic Impact of the Panama Canal, 1903-1937.” Working Paper #06-041, Harvard Business School (2006).


“This colossal engineering marvel reduced a trip that had once been eight thousand miles to just forty-eight miles!”

Sophie Hughes. “The Panama Canal in numbers.” The Telegraph. 6 June 2016.


“The work of constructing the Canal was so brutal that over five thousand workers died!

Building the Panama Canal.” CBS News website. 10 December 1999. Accessed online.


“Worse still, white workers were paid in gold, while black workers were paid in silver that could only be used at segregated stores.”

Patrice C. Brown. “The Panama Canal: The African American Experience.” Prologue 29.2 (1997).


“But even more importantly: the Food and Drug Administration estimates that food safety regulations saved hundreds of millions of lives!”

D.J. Wagstaff. “Public Health and Food Safety: a Historical Association.” Public Health Reports 101.6 (1986).


“It swept through the globe in 1918 and killed as many as one hundred million people!”

Laura Spinney. Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World. Public Affairs, 2017.


“The flu was so much more deadly than the war that the German Army even blamed it for their loss.”

John M. Barry. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. Penguin, 2004.


“In the end, more than half of US war casualties weren’t shot by Germans - they were killed by the flu.”

Carol R. Byerly. “The U.S. Military and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.” Public Health Reports 125.3 (2010).


“Eat lumps of sugar dipped in kerosene, tie a red ribbon around your arm, wear camphor around your neck and then just… wait to die!”

Marc Lallanilla. “Spanish Flu of 1918: Could It Happen Again?ABC News website. 5 October 2005. Accessed online.


“And the system that we currently use takes seven months to develop a vaccine! According to researchers, that’s more than enough time for the flu to kill tens of millions of people!”

Sanjay Gupta. “The Big One is Coming, and it’s Going to be a Flu Pandemic.” CNN website. 14 September 2017. Accessed online.


“The Sykes-Picot agreement set the stage for post-war deals that chopped up the Middle East, without consideration for the cultural and historical makeup of the land.”

Robin Wright. “How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East.” New Yorker. 30 April 2016.