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Behind The Mic

Mark Bielski

Mark Bielski

Show Host

Mark Bielski is an historian, author, and the Director at Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours. As the host of the History with Mark Bielski Podcast, he discusses history from ancient to modern times with experts in their field, with special attention to the Civil War and WWII. He leaves the textbooks behind and delves into the characters, backstories and often the intrigues that drove events throughout history.

Mark’s career has involved academics, history and literature, journalism and publication writing as well as corporate management. As the director at Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours, he is involved in business and educational development, historical guiding, lecturing and itinerary design for tours that primarily involve World War II in Europe and the American Civil War. The privileges and pleasures of Mark’s work are having the opportunity to interview and travel with numerous veterans and their families from WWII, Viet Nam and other conflicts.

Mark’s first book, Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation, was published by Casemate and released in hardback. This book combines his center of historical interest, the American Civil War, with a curiosity about Polish history, long a source of intrigue as a descendent of Polish immigrants. While leading a tour in Poland, he struck up a conversation with a colleague about the extent of Polish involvement in that conflict. The later discovery of written accounts on Poles in America provided the impetus for this fascinating book on a little known part of American history. As Mark says, “It was amazing to find a core of interesting players from Poland fighting on either side during the American Civil War. That in many ways sprang from the turmoil and revolutionary times in Europe in the first half of the nineteenth century.”

Mark is currently finishing up his second book, which will cover the Civil War in Louisiana, surprisingly a subject that has not garnered the attention it deserves. He has also been working on a second book about Stonewall Jackson. This fictional account of the circumstances surrounding Jackson’s death has intrigued him for a long time.

He received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Birmingham, England as well as an M.A. and B.A. in English from Georgetown University and Tulane University respectively.

Mark lives in New Orleans, where he enjoys the city’s culinary, cultural and musical riches on a daily basis.


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Kevin Hymel

Frequent Guest

Kevin Hymel is the Research Director for WWII History and Military Heritage magazines and has written numerous articles for each. He is the author of Patton’s Photographs: War as He Saw It and has served as a historian at the U.S. Army Combat Studies Institute at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Mr. Hymel has been a popular historian with Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours for more than 10 years, and has appeared in numerous documentaries on the History Channel and American Heroes Channel. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from LaSalle University and Master’s Degree from Villanova University, both in History. He lives in Arlington, VA.


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Kevin Hymel
Gerry Prokopowich

Gerald J. Prokopowicz, Ph.D.

Frequent Guest

Gerald J. Prokopowicz is the author of Did Lincoln Own Slaves? Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Abraham Lincolnand All for the Regiment: The Army of the Ohio, 1861-1862 as well as the online host of Civil War Talk Radio. He served for nine years as the resident Lincoln Scholar at the Lincoln Museum, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he helped create the award-winning exhibit, “Abraham Lincoln and the American Experiment,” and edited Lincoln Lore. Dr. Prokopowicz is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Lincoln Studies Center and the Lincoln Forum, and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He is currently a professor and chair of the history department at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.


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About Our Show

On History with Mark Bielski, tune in to hear Mark Bielski discuss history from ancient to modern times with experts in their fields of study, with special attention to the Civil War and WWII. He and his guests leave the textbooks behind and delve into the characters, backstories and often the intrigues that drove events throughout history.

The Story Behind My Podcast

Standing on the sacred sands of Omaha Beach during a recent summer, I was speaking about the 1944 D-Day invasion to a group. When I finished my talk, a college student began to add details about the enemy defenses. I was amazed. How did he become so interested in and informed about a war that was fought before he was born? A year later, it happened again. I was leading a tour of a Civil War battlefield, when a young man traveling with his grandfather thrilled the group with his descriptions of commanders on both sides.

Who knew there were so many budding historians?

We know that learning from our past ensures a better future. So, as an historian it is important for me to inform a younger audience, that as evidenced by these two young men, is not always given the credit due them.

Thus was born the History with Mark Bielski Podcast, a leave-the-textbooks-behind, more conversational discussion of history for a tech-savvy generation that still appeals to us “oldsters.” We all know there was a war and who was president, but what about the spies, the intrigues, the deceptions and the backstories? What about learning about the occasional farcical or comedic decisions made by serious figures and their sometime tragic results?

By telling the untold tales of our past, my guests and I are committed to making history come alive for future generations.

Mark Bielski in his podcast studio

Mark Bielski podcasting from New Orleans

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When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray.

Steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me.

When I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countles

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