Season 5 Finale: “William Howard Taft v. the World”


Episode 13: “William Howard Taft v. the World”. The Season 5 finale is here and we end our season on Ohio and the Presidency in a big way. Alex travels to Cincinnati, Ohio to bring you the story of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States.  The only person to be the Chief Executive and the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. We examine why Taft is an overlooked and underrated Commander in Chief in the early 20th Century. 

Alex speaks with Taft biographer, Jeffrey Rosen about the fascinating life and career of Will Taft. Rosen, the CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philiadelphia, is the author of the 2018 biography, William Howard Taft. An awesome book in the American Presidents Series, buy Jeffrey’s book here: Or get the audiobook on Audible  Jeffrey discusses the mixed results of Taft’s presidency, his decade as Chief Justice and what President Taft would think of our chaotic politics today. 

Alex visits the William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati and meets with Reggie Murray and Paula Marett to discuss Taft’s years as a student and judge in the Queen City. We chat about Taft’s years in the White House as a trustbuster and conservationist as well as his complicated relationship with Theodore Roosevelt. Visit the Taft Historic Site in Cincinnati at

Lastly we’re joined by historians Jim Robenalt and Bruce Carlson to discuss Taft’s presidency and the unprecedented 1912 presidential election. They walk us through Taft’s infamous rift with former President Roosevelt and TR’s 3rd party bid for the White House against Taft in 1912. Bruce, host of the excellent podcast, My History Can Beat Up Your Politics, discusses the ultimate “October Surprise” when Roosevelt is nearly assassinated just before the election. An election that Taft would lose in historic fashion, only garnering 8 electoral votes.

This might be our last episode of 2020 but we’ll still be very active and have new content during our break. Follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram (ohiovtheworldpodcast) and Twitter @ohiovtheworld. You can email the show at with your show ideas or to order an Ohio v. the World t-shirt ($15 free shipping) to support the show. We’ll see everybody in 2021 for Season 6! 

Ep. 3: James Garfield v. the World. Click to listen


Episode 3: James Garfield v. the World. Alex tells a story he’s waited years to share, the improbable rise and tragic death of our 20th President, Cleveland’s own James Garfield. We’re joined by one of Alex’s favorite authors and historians, the incomparable Candice Millard. Millard, the Ohio native, is the author of the award-winning book Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (2012). BUY THIS BOOK here, you won’t be sorry.

Alex goes to Garfield’s home in Mentor, OH and meets with Todd Arrington, site manager of the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Todd and Alex discuss Garfield’s humble beginnings in NE Ohio, his brilliance in all disciplines, rise to General in the Union Army and his career in the US Congress. We also discuss his dark horse nomination and narrow election to the Presidency in 1880. We encourage you to visit the National Park Service’s site that Todd manages in Mentor.

Lastly, we met with Sarah Chase, graduate of Garfield’s alma mater Hiram College in NE Ohio and producer of the awesome podcast, Clear and Vivid w/ Alan Alda.

We focus on Garfield’s unlikely election in 1880 and his short presidency. His rivalry with powerful Senator Roscoe Conkling and their battle over civil service reform dominates his healthy months in office. Candice introduces us to his assassin, the deranged office seeker, Charles Guiteau. She takes us through the medical malpractice that dooms the President’s recovery and the political fallout of his slow and agonizing death. 

Don’t forget to rate and review the show and you can always email us Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@ohiovtheworld) and Instagram. 

Episode 2: Ulysses S. Grant v. the World is out now. Click here to Listen!


Episode 2: Ulysses S. Grant v. the World. Alex is back with the story of one of the most famous Ohioans of all time, our 18th President Ulysses S. Grant of Georgetown, Ohio. We explain why Grant, the hero of the Civil War, is one of America’s most underrated Presidents. In fact no President is rising faster in 21st Century presidential rankings than US Grant. Our episode will focus on Grant’s youth near the Ohio River in Georgetown, OH and his presidency from 1869-77.  We’ll leave his Civil War heroics for a different show. Or just go watch the new mini-series, GRANT, out Memorial Day 2020 on the History Channel.

Alex is joined by biographer and historian, Dr. Ronald C. White, Jr., to discuss his New York Times bestseller, American Ulysses (2016). This incredible biography of General Grant helped to spark a new analysis among historians of President Grant’s administration and his standing in presidential rankings. Buy Ron’s book here:

Alex is also joined Lee Schweickart from the US Grant Homestead Association. Lee joined us to discuss Ulysses’ youth in SW Ohio, his time at West Point and how he got the name Ulysses S. Grant, because that’s not his given name at his birth in April 1822 in Pt. Pleasant, OH. You can visit the historical sites in Georgetown, Ohio at: 

Lastly, Alex sits down with Ryan Semmes from the US Grant President Presidential Library. This beautiful new building dedicated to Grant and the era of Reconstruction is located on the campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. Ryan joins the show to talk about the Grant Administration’s major foreign policy initiatives, his 1872 reelection and his eventful post presidential years.

Don’t forget to Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, etc. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (ohiovttheworldpodcast) and Twitter (@ohiovtheworld). Or just email us at Happy Memorial Day! 

Episode 1: William McKinley v. the World is OUT! Click to hear both parts of our Season 5 premiere



EP. 1: William McKinley v. the World (Part 1). We’re back and ready to get presidential in 2020. We kickoff Season 5 with a two-part episode on our 25th President, William McKinley from Canton, OH. Part One examines McKinley’s childhood in NE Ohio, Civil War service (he was the final Civil War vet to be POTUS), rise in Ohio and national politics and his election to the White House in 1896 against the Democrat challenger, William Jennings Bryan.  

We are joined in Part One by Robert Merry, author of the book President McKinley: Architect of the American Century (Simon&Schuster, 2017). Buy that book! It’s fantastic. Here’s a link:

Robert will let us know just how President McKinley became the architect of the American Century with his understated style of leadership and why that has lead to his distinguished career to be too often forgotten in American history. 

Alex also speaks with University of Akron history professor Kevin Kern about McKinley’s career and life in Ohio and in Congress in the 19th century. We meet with Amber Farris, the museum director at the McKinley Birthplace Museum in  Niles, OH about the Will McKinley’s early years in the Youngstown area, his Civil War years and his move to Canton, OH. Visit that great museum online (for now) at 

It’s great to be back for our 5th season which will focus on Ohio and the Presidency. Don’t forget to listen to the exciting conclusion of Episode One in Part 2 of “William McKinley v. the World” which is always out now! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@ohiovtheworldpodcast) and Twitter (@ohiovtheworld). You can reach us at as well. 

EP. 1: William McKinley v. the World (Part 2). Thanks for listening to the exciting conclusion of our Season 5 premiere. We discuss with our guests McKinley’s relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, the “Splendid Little War” known as the Spanish American War, the economic boom of the McKinley years and his tragic assassination in Buffalo, NY in 1901. 

We are joined in Part One by Robert Merry, author of the book President McKinley: Architect of the American Century (Simon&Schuster, 2017). Buy that book! It’s fantastic. Here’s a link:

Robert helps us breakdown how the United States became a world power and an empire in McKinley’s 4.5 years as Commander in Chief. We look at the success of the Spanish American War and McKinley’s complicated legacy following his death. 

Alex also speaks again with University of Akron history professor Kevin Kern about McKinley’s foreign policy successes, the humanitarian crisis in Cuba that lead to the Spanish American War and the President’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz. We are also joined by Anthony Greco from the Buffalo History Museum to discuss the McKinley’s tragic killing at the Pan American Exposition in 1901. Visit the great Buffalo History Museum (online for now) at 

Make sure you listen to Part 1 of “William McKinley v. the World” before enjoying Part 2 of our Season 5 premiere episode. Thanks for joining us in 2020 for our season on Ohio and the Presidency. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@ohiovtheworldpodcast) and Twitter (@ohiovtheworld). You can reach us at as well.

Episode 8: Ohio v. Organized Crime is OUT NOW!!


Episode 8: “Ohio v. Organized Crime” (Black Hand Society). Alex meets up with co-authors William Oldfield and Victoria Bruce to discuss the first major Italian organized crime ring and their subsequent trial. This little-known piece of Ohio and American history is the story behind Bill and Vicki’s hit book Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society (Simon & Schuster, 2018). Buy your copy of this best seller here.

This episode focuses on the life of Inspector Frank Oldfield, the great grandfather of our guest, William Oldfield. Oldfield reveals this 100 year old family story of his great grandpa’s investigation and the first conviction of a Sicilian/Italian organized crime family, known as the “Society of the Banana.” We discuss the massive influx of Italian immigrants to America at the turn of the 20th century and the impact of the criminal element of those immigrants to the difficult assimilation of Italian Americans. 

This story takes place in cities all over Ohio, big and small, such as: Columbus, Toledo, Marion, Bellefontaine, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Athens and Dennison, Ohio. We follow the investigation and trial of the Black Hand Society members and its leader Sam Lima of Marion, Ohio. We dive into the investigation of US Postal Inspector Frank Oldfield and his effort to take down this secretive criminal society in Ohio. This interesting story and great research is thanks to our guests’ amazing book, Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society (Simon and Schuster, 2018).  

Buy the book here!

Ohio v. the World is the world’s ONLY Ohio history podcast. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@ohiovtheworldpodcast) and Twitter @ohiovtheworld. Email us with episode ideas at Go Bucks!  

John Glenn, American Hero: Click to listen to Ep. 2: “John Glenn v. the World”


Episode 2: “John Glenn v. the World” Alex interviews 4 guests about one of the greatest Ohioans of all-time, Senator John Glenn from New Concord, Ohio. From the Great Depression, to World War II, the Korean War, the Space Race, a serious run for the presidency in 1984, nearly a quarter of a century in the U.S. Senate, and a return to space in the 1990s we follow the life of the amazing Col. John Glenn (1921-2016) during the American Century. 

Alex is joined by Kyle Eberly, professor and former Exec. Director of the John and Annie Glenn Museum (, historian and podcast host Bruce Carlson from “My History Can Beat Up Your Politics” to discuss Glenn’s failed 1984 presidential run (, Trevor Brown, the Director of the Glenn College of Public Affairs and Herb Asher, author, professor and political commentator, both from The Ohio State University.  These 4 distinguished guests help us span 95 years of American history with the life of John and Annie Glenn. 

Be sure to listen Bruce Carlson’s podcast My History Can Beat Up Your Politics and his recent episode about the 1984 Democratic Presidential Primary and its similarities to the 2020 Democratic Presidential field and John Glenn’s failed candidacy. ( 

Rate and review the show on iTunes. Email us at and follow us on Twitter @ohiovtheworld. 



Season 4, Episode 1: “Ohio v. Watergate” (John Dean). We’re back for a new season of Ohio history with two great guests. Alex is joined by author and former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean and author/attorney Jim Robenalt to discuss the greatest political scandal in 20th Century America: Watergate. We explain the Watergate scandal to a new generation with the man at the center of the controversy.  Jim, Alex and John look at the downfall of the Nixon presidency and the striking similarities to the RussiaGate and the Mueller Report investigations. John and Jim discuss how history is repeating itself with President Trump and what lessons we can glean from Watergate to guide us today. 

Our book recommendation is John Dean’s 2014 book, The Nixon Defense, an excellent book that puts to bed any remaining mystery or doubts about what President Nixon knew and when he knew it. John spent nearly 5 years pouring through and transcribing the Nixon tapes to figure out exactly how the coverup went down. We also recommend his first book about his experience at the center of the Watergate scandal, Blind Ambition (1976). Blind Ambition is a must read.

Rate and review the podcast (PLEASE!!!!)  and share this episode with your friends. Follow us on twitter @ohiovtheworld and more importantly follow John Dean on Twitter, he’s a blast to follow. 

John Dean on Twitter: @JohnWDean

Jim Robenalt: @jimrobenalt

Have show ideas? Want to buy an Ohio v the World t-shirt? If you want to talk to us email the show at It’s good to be back!


Big News! Season 4 of “Ohio v. the World”, the ONLY Ohio history podcast is back on the air September 1, 2019. The show will continue its release schedule of every other Sunday. Season 4 will run until February 2020. Episodes on tap for Season 4 include: “Ohio v. Water”, “Ohio v. Opioids” and “John Glenn v. the World”, among others. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  See you in September!

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