Untangling history’s greatest controversies

Every month, host Zach Cornwell takes a hard look at the historical conflicts that raise difficult questions, stoke controversy, and send our moral compasses spinning.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

Gore: The Brutal History of Bullfighting

Some revere it as an art form, others revile it as a blood sport, but no matter where you stand, few traditions stir up strong emotions quite like the centuries-old ritual of bullfighting. Born in the villages of rural Spain, refined in the crowded arenas of Seville, and fetishized by wandering aficionados like Ernest Hemingway, the “corrida de toros” holds a special place not only in Spanish cultural life but in human history. Beneath the pomp and pageantry, will we find senseless animal cruelty? Or a transcendent reflection on the human condition?

SOURCES:

Bailey, C. (2007). “Africa Begins at the Pyrenees”: Moral Outrage, Hypocrisy, and the Spanish Bullfight. Ethics and the Environment.

Bentley, Logan. (1962). “What The Horns Couldn’t Do”. Sports Illustrated.

Colenutt, Mark. Spanish Bull: A Provocative Guide to Bullfighting. 2014.

Conrad, Barnaby. The Death of Manolete. 1958.

Dozier, Thomas. (1955) “The One Who Lived”. Sports Illustrated.

Gamado, Ignacio. Discovering the World of Bullfighting. 2021.

Hardouin-Fugier, Elisabeth. Bullfighting: A Troubled History. 2010.

Hemingway, Ernest. Death in the Afternoon. 1932

Kennedy, A.L.: On Bullfighting. 1999.

McCormick, John. Bullfighting: Art, Technique & Spanish Society. 1998

Mitchell, Timothy. Blood Sport: A Social History of Spanish Bullfighting. 1991.

Ribezzo, Viviana. Adresi, Marta. The Corrida: The History of Bullfighting from its Origins to Present Day. 2018.

Tauromaquia. Jaime Alekos. 2017.

Tynan, Kenneth. (1955) “The Death of Manolete”. The Paris Review

Recent Episodes

View All

The Stock Market Crash of 1929 – Part 1: To The Moon!

Conflicted
One of the worst financial disasters in history unfolded on Wall Street in late October of 1929. Within a week, 30 billion dollars had disappeared...
Listen to The Stock Market Crash of 1929 – Part 1: To The Moon!

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Mujahideen Civil War (Part 4)

Conflicted
It’s 1992. The 40th Army is long gone and the Soviet Union has collapsed, but war still rages across Afghanistan. As the Afghan communist regime c...
Listen to Ghosts in the Mountains: The Mujahideen Civil War (Part 4)

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 3

Conflicted
As the CIA wages a covert proxy war against the Soviet 40th Army, the Mujahideen are showered with billions of dollars and cutting-edge weaponry....
Listen to Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 3

Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 2

Conflicted
The Soviet 40th Army invaded Afghanistan in the closing days of 1979....
Listen to Ghosts in the Mountains: The Soviet-Afghan War – Part 2