I'm a fan of many different podcasts, but if I had to choose a favorite genre it would most definitely be history, hands down. Although my interests have waxed and waned over the years, my love for history has remained steadfast. Unlike most introductions to the subject, mine was and always has been an interesting one. Over the years I've been blessed with forward-thinking teachers and professors who've taught history outside the book, using it merely as a guide, and as far as I'm concerned that's how it should be. They provided insight not only in the realms of art and culture, but also discussed what was really happening in the world in relation to the average citizen. They also taught in a way that was more akin to storytelling than instruction, which is probably why the podcasts below are my favorite - they too share history in a captivating way and succeed at bringing it to life. So here they are, five history podcasts I strongly recommend adding to your queue!
Stuff You Missed in History Class
With two new episodes every week, Stuff You Missed in History Class has quickly become my go-to history podcast. Show hosts Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey have a natural way of presenting each topic, piquing listener interest from a human interest perspective rather than the dry viewpoint so often found in textbooks. They cover a broad range of subject matter, but tend to focus on historical events and people. Favorite Episode: Villisca Ax Murders
The History Chicks
I'm not ashamed to admit that I've listened to every episode of The History Chicks, or that Susan Vollenweider and Beckett Graham are my favorite hosts in the the world of history podcasts. Their show features women in history, both factual and fictional, from a unique point-of-view, and while they typically drop characters into history to give listeners an idea of the historical timeline, their discussions feel very modern. In fact, listening to their podcast is almost like eavesdropping on two women gossiping about some recent drama involving a good friend. Favorite Episode: Gilded Age Heiresses
The Memory Palace
If This American Life were a one-part historical podcast, it would sound like The Memory Palace. Generally I listen to podcasts during the day while working, but the combination of the chosen subject matter and host Nate DiMeo's calming voice is the perfect recipe for a bedtime story, best listened to when winding down for the day. While it doesn't satiate my desire for deep historical facts, it's an entertaining medley of narratives from yesteryear, complete with a modern soundtrack. Favorite Episode: We've Forgotten James Powell
Nerds on History
Initially Nerds on History can be a bit grating ... the intros aren't exactly my cup of tea. But if you can make it past that brief moment of irritation, it's a history podcast worth listening to. Hosts Bryan Moriarty and Eric Bricmont explore a variety of events and topics throughout history, often inviting co-hosts who possess a special knowledge of that episode's topic, creating a talk show vibe. Favorite Episode: The Platypus of Languages
BackStory is a public radio program and podcast that discusses historical events in relation to their relevance today. Unlike the oshows mentioned above, BackStory is presented by practicing historians, which gives the program a documentary feel as opposed to that of a candid discussion. Hosts Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf and Brian Balogh draw subject matter from current headlines and dive into the history with the help of fellow historians, folks in the news and listeners who call in. Favorite Episode: Outed
If you know of any great history podcasts we've overlooked, let us know in the comments below!