Thugs and Miracles takes a look back at 1,500 years of French history, as seen through the eyes of the kings and queens of France…

Alright, you already read this on the first page; with that in mind, I’m assuming by the fact that you’re still here this that the topic interests you. And it should! But, if you’re like me, you’ve probably never really had a chance to dive all that deep into French history. Sure, we all have read about the French Revolution, and who doesn’t enjoy the escapism that comes from movies and shows such as Marie Antoinette, Versailles, a dozens remakes of the Joan of Arc story, or, my personal favorite, the WB’s Reign. Side note: If you haven’t seen that one, do yourself a favor and shut off your rational mind for a few hours and let it just wash over you; it’s so absurd and campy that it’s a masterpiece in its own right.


Beyond all of this, however, is a body of history that never seems to get as much press as it deserves. There’s enough infighting, palace intrigue, war, manipulation, banishment, torture, sex and drama in this time and place to write thousands of books and movies, and yet we in the English-speaking world, and the United States in particular, don’t seem to know it exists. And that’s what I hope to do with T+M: I want to introduce listeners to a whole bevy of new and interesting historical characters and situations. I want to shine a light on how things developed after the Western Roman Empire went dark. I want to bring understanding as to why things developed over time into the world of today. And I want to do all of that in a way that captures your attention without pandering, and that engages you to ask the same questions I have asked myself. I want this to be fun for all of us, as well as educational.


With that said, and for full disclosure, I am not a historian. I have been to school (as an English major ironically) and I know how to read and research, and I have the tactical curiosity to dig into a topic until I feel like I have a good answer to my questions. I respect those academics who go the extra mile to explore incredibly arcane and obscure topics, and I oftentimes rely on their research to help me understand why things were the way they were. But for this show, I’m looking to be entertaining as well as informative, and I’m looking to avoid going down academic rabbit holes unless they’re absolutely critical to the story at hand. If you feel like there’s something I should, or should have, touched on in more detail, always feel free to reach out and say so!


So… here we go. I’ve purposely limited myself to 30 minute episodes so that I’m forced to stay on topic, and also to avoid dropping so many names and locations at any one time as to make the whole thing a jumbled mess. I’ll be posting pictures, maps, blog posts, transcripts and source lists along the way, and I’ll even be posting up a “Cast of Characters,” set in the order people appear on the podcast, just to help keep everything straight. I hope you enjoy what you hear, and I look forward to a long journey together!


Benjamin Bernier