History of Drugs, Russian Spy, Ironbark

History of Drugs, Russian Spy, Ironbark

Constant Wonder

  • Jan 31, 2020 7:00 pm
  • 1:41:13 mins

The Tangled History of Opium Guest: David Blistein, co-author with John H. Halpern, "Opium: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned our World" Our opioid epidemic is nothing new, as the Chinese could tell you--they fought for years to keep British opium out of their country, to no avail. So many cultures have tackled the double-edged sword of opium use. It's relieved more pain than it's caused, according to Blistein, but it certainly has caused a great deal of pain. What can be done about addiction today? Origins of the Global Drug Trade Guest: Benjamin Breen, Assistant Professor, History, University of California, Santa Cruz How we view drugs is deeply influenced by a complicated history involving colonialism, religion, and science.  Impeccable Spy Guest: Owen Matthews, author, "An Impeccable Spy, Richard Sorge: Stalin's Master Agent" Richard Sorge was possibly the only man in WWII to be part of the Nazi party and part of the Soviet Communist party at the same time. Ironbark Featuring: Rachel Brosnahan, actress; Dominic Cooke, director; Tom O'Connor, writer; Merab Ninidze, actor Producer Tennery Taylor caught up with the director, screenwriter and a couple of cast members of "Ironbark" just before its worldwide premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "Ironbark" is based on the true story of an English businessman (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited to help a Russian spy smuggle secrets to British and American intelligence agencies. Their work played a major role in the de-escalation of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The Curse of the Hope Diamond Guest: Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Smithsonian Institution, and author, "Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem" Drawing millions of visitors every year, the Hope Diamond is the crowning jewel of the Smithsonian Institute. It’s famous for its deep blue color and impressive size, but the diamond is also known for something more sinister—a deadly curse befalling those who cross its path. Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institute weighs in on the legendary history of this infamous treasure.