Burn the Boats

When Failure is Not an Option

Host, Ken Harbaugh, interviews political leaders, influencers, and other history makers about the choices we confront when failure is not an option. Choices like Alexander the Great made when he landed his troops on the shores of Persia and ordered his men to burn their boats.

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Evergreen Podcasts Earns First-Ever Ambie Nomination for 'Burn The Boats'

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Latest Episode

Rep. Jason Crow: Accountability and the Aftermath of January 6

Rep. Jason Crow, former Army Ranger and congressman from Colorado’s 6th district, talks about the January 6th insurrection and the importance of truth and accountability.

Rep. Crow served as a House impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial in early 2020. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, he has been hailed by his colleagues in Congress as “one of the heroes of that day,” for his actions guiding fellow members to safety.

Learn more about Jason’s legislative priorities at crow.house.gov and find him on Twitter at @RepJasonCrow.

Recent Episodes

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Dr. Kathleen Belew: The History of the White Power Movement and Paramilitary America

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:38
Dr. Kathleen Belew, historian and author of Bring the War Home, talks about the white power movement and the role of veterans in the movement’s history.
Listen to Dr. Kathleen Belew: The History of the White Power Movement and Paramilitary America

Jon Soltz: Giving Veterans a Voice

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:37
Jon Soltz, founder of VoteVets, talks about the organization's origins and priorities and what it means to give a voice to veterans.
Listen to Jon Soltz: Giving Veterans a Voice

Jon Heavey: On the Front Lines

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:36
Dr. Jon Heavey talks about serving on the front lines - both as a battalion surgeon in Iraq and as an emergency room physician during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen to Jon Heavey: On the Front Lines

Carlos Gauna: Ending the Stigma Around Sharks

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:35
Burn the Boats takes a break from politics by talking with Carlos Gauna, an artist and videographer who raises awareness about ocean life - in particular, sharks.
Listen to Carlos Gauna: Ending the Stigma Around Sharks

More about the name of the show...

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great led Greek troops across the Dardanelles Straits and into Asia Minor, landing on the shores of Persia. He hoped to finally vanquish his greatest enemy, Darius III - the King of Persia. But Alexander was badly outnumbered. The Persian army assembled to attack and Alexander’s troops began to speak openly of retreat. So he gave an order: "Burn the Boats." He told his men, “we either return home in Persian ships, or we die here.” There would be no turning back.

By burning his boats, Alexander hoped to galvanize and motivate his troops. They needed to fully commit to defeating Darius and the Persians. There was no other way - failure was not an option.

This podcast explores decisions our guests made when they fully committed to something because failure was not an option.

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The Team

Ken Harbaugh

The Host
A former US Navy Pilot & past president of Team Rubicon Global; served as a commentator for NPR; a host on Crooked Media; & a contributor to The NY Times & The Atlantic.

Isabel Robertson

Senior Producer
Producer, writer, & researcher based in CLE. She's worked on StoryCorps, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, and The Intercept. She serves on the ACLU-OH Board of Directors.

Sean Rule-Hoffman

Sean hails from Orange Village, OH. He earned a degree in Music Technology with a minor in Electronic Media and Film from Capital University in Columbus, OH.