Grigori Rasputin was a Russian peasant who claimed to have mystic healing powers, and he even went so far as to say he was the second coming of Christ. He formed his own cult, and even manipulated the members of the royal Romanov family into believing he truly was a holy man.
In modern times, we look back at the Nazi’s Third Reich and wonder how on earth anyone could have followed Adolf Hitler when he was so clearly an evil dictator. This was all thanks to Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda. He knew exactly how to manipulate the minds of a nation with fake news, Nazi-idealized books, and propaganda films. Goebbels was single-handedly responsible for brainwashing entire populations, and destroying people who were caught in his web of lies.
John Wayne Gacy was a businessman and politician. To everyone around him, he was a sweet, charming man. No one in his life could have guessed that he dressed up like “Pogo the Clown”, and murdered teenage boys after dark. The Chicago police department found 27 bodies buried in his basement. They knew that his kill count was at least 33, and there could possibly be more victims that were never found. This story became front page news, and immediately captivated the nation. The fact that a killer clown truly existed in the world struck fear into the hearts of people everywhere, believing that they could no longer trust circus performers around their children.
He is the only person whose baby picture was flown into space, and whose body has been preserved for decades after his death. He pushed his version of Communism so far, and for so long, that he was able to overthrow the government of the largest country in the world. To some, he is a hero, and to others, he is one of the most evil villains in history. On Today’s Biographics, we are talking about Vladimir Lenin- The man behind the Bolshevik Revolution, and the founder of the Soviet Union.
Pancho Villa was one of the most divisive figures in history. To millions he was the Mexican Robin Hood, to others a ruthless terrorist who killed without conscience. What is without doubt is that he rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most famous Mexicans in history, playing a vital role in the decade that shaped modern Mexico. In this week’s Biographics, we discover the real story of Pancho Villa.
09:02am, April 19, 1995. That’s the moment when 27-year old Timothy McVeigh exploded his way into the US history books, blowing up a gigantic truck bomb outside the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast annihilated the building. It ended 168 lives, including 19 children. It also sent a shockwave through the nation. No-one could believe such an atrocity was carried out by a fellow American, especially one as normal seeming as McVeigh.
Yet McVeigh’s callousness didn’t spring from nowhere. He was a decorated war veteran, a Second Amendment crusader, and a far-right activist. More than that, he was a product of his time, a monster born from some of the most controversial actions the Federal government has ever been involved in. A quiet loner, a bullied kid who never fit in, McVeigh was the most average boy imaginable. This is the story of how that boy became America’s deadliest terrorist.
He’s the dentist’s son who grew up to become the world’s youngest billionaire. In the mid-2000s, Mark Zuckerberg created a website that defined a generation, a website you almost certainly use yourself. The behemoth that is Facebook today dominates the internet. It has more active users than the populations of China and India combined. At time of writing, it’s worth around half a trillion dollars. It’s also at the center of some massive controversies that have dominated headlines.
Yet how much do most of us know about the man behind the website? Perhaps you’ve seen The Social Network, which reimagined Mark Zuckerberg as a kind of Lex Luthor of the internet, using his genius to crush his enemies. There’s an element of truth in that, but the real Mark Zuckerberg is far more interesting, far more nuanced, and far more tragically flawed. Rich, brilliant, idealistic; this is the story of how one privileged kid from small town New York created a digital empire… only to see all his good intentions collapse into dust.
If the name McAfee sounds familiar, that’s because the McAfee anti-virus software has been installed in nearly every computer in the past 20 years. But few people know much about the company’s founder, John McAfee, or the fact that his millions have helped him to very literally get away with murder.
There have been a lot of crazed leaders throughout history, but few have been as depraved as the man who brutalized Uganda throughout the 1970’s. With his penchant for torture, severed heads and, by his own admission, cannibalism, he thoroughly deserved the description given to him by the man he replaced as Ugandan president, Milton Obote:
The greatest brute that an African mother has brought to life.
By the age of twenty-four Hermann Goering was a famous combat pilot, a national hero, and leader of Germany’s most celebrated fighter squadron. By the time of his death, less than thirty years later, he was reviled as a monster with the blood of millions on his hands. Highly-decorated combat pilot, drug-addicted lunatic, international statesman, and one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals, Goering’s life was one of soaring highs and crashing lows.