History Podcasts

December 19, 2018 |  Tagged , | Comments Off on History Podcasts

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Podcasts have grown in popularity over the years and become vehicles for sharing complex and interesting information.  For commuters looking for an alternative to audio books or the radio, podcasts offer entertainment in small doses comparable to a favorite television program.  The variety available is astounding- almost any subject matter, fiction or non-fiction, a person can imagine- there is a podcast for it.  One of the best qualities of the modern podcast medium is its ability to reach a wide and assorted audience.  For academics wanting to share their knowledge with a greater percentage of the general public, this can prove to be a viable platform.  The hosts and speakers can range from professionals in their field, hobbyists wanting to explore their own interests in greater depth, to the mildly curious who cover a range of topics until they get bored.  Stylization makes a big difference from one podcast to another.  Even if the subject matter is of great interest to the listener, if it’s not presented in a way that resonates with the particular person then they won’t keep returning to it.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 When it comes to the subject of history, there are so many different avenues a person can take and it is no different when selecting a history podcast.  Everything boils down to a matter of opinion, so not every style will suit every listener.  However, the following podcasts have compelling qualities and discussions to interest a variety of listeners:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Ridiculous History, hosted by Ben Bowlin and Noel Brown, feels like a conversation between two friends trying to explain an interesting idea to a much dumber and quieter friend.  Neither host is a historian, but both are researchers through different professional paths.  The subject matter they discuss is genuinely interesting information that would not be found in standard history books.  Some of the most recent episodes include “The Great London Beer Flood of 1814”, “The Malleus Maleficarum: A Real-life Witch Hunter’s Bible”, and “The Forty Elephants: London’s All-Female Jewel Thieves”.  Release dates for episodes are every Tuesday and Thursday, so for anyone who needs a frequent release podcast with varied subject matter, this one definitely fits the bill.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by Neil MacGregor, was created in association with the British Museum and the BBC during MacGregor’s tenure as the Director of the Museum.  The podcast does not have any new episodes coming out, however, there are 100 high quality episodes to go through which can take a decent chunk of time.  The information from the podcast can be further explored through the associated website, a nice addition for visual learners, or really just anyone who wants to see what is being described.  The quality of the podcast is higher than most but that should be expected given the creative partnership that created the series.  Between the music and sound effects, it truly plays like the soundtrack for a BBC documentary.  Another advantage is the short length- all episodes are only fourteen minutes long.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 How it Began:  a History of the Modern World is another limited series that is now complete and plays like a documentary soundtrack.  There are only eighteen full length episodes, although they are closer in length to an hour so the time commitment is comparable to other series.  The subject matter covers wide concepts to explain how common phenomena of our modern age came into existence.  The host, Brad Harris, has a PhD in the history of science and technology which lends credibility to his material and research abilities.  Since ending How it Began, Brad has begun Context– a new podcast with a lofty goal of dissecting the information from informative history texts to help us all better understand historical context.  If the quality is at all comparable to How it Began, I am sure it will also be an enjoyable and educational listening experience.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 You Must Remember This, narrated by Karina Longworth, is an incredibly well researched history of early Hollywood.  The quality is really great and the host manages to draw the listener in without having to utilize any sound gimmicks.  One of the best aspects of her work, from an academic perspective, is her list of notes and resources for each episode which she puts up on the website.  The lack of notation available through this media format can be a common complaint amongst the more studious of listeners.  The episodes are longer in length (45 minutes to an hour), and many are continuous stories from one episode to the next.  Anyone with an interest in early Hollywood, whether it is actors, industry inner-workings, scandals, etc will find the podcast engaging.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Our Fake History, narrated by Sebastian Major, is an exploration of historical stories and myths that attempts to try and figure out which are true, which are fake, and which are a little bit of both.  Sebastian’s bio on the podcast website states he is a teacher but with no other qualifier by the title.  It appears as though he possesses curiosity and the ability to research, but even without higher accreditation he presents a podcast with interesting content.  Some of the episodes from the newest season cover the myths surrounding Cleopatra, Stalin, the Fountain of Youth, Robin Hood, and Socrates.  With such varied subject matter, it is almost guaranteed that a listener will find something they are interested in.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 The Way I Heard It, hosted by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs television fame, offers interesting snippets of historical information in fewer than ten minutes.  Mike Rowe uses his stylized humor and some dramatic storytelling techniques to quickly draw the listener in to a swift story- always ending with “that’s the way I heard it.”  The website offers a disclosure that while the information is researched it does not mean that everything is going to be completely correct no matter how much they strive for accuracy.  He has a built-in excuse for sharing inaccurate history, but the show is still entertaining and deserves a listen.  With the episodes being so short, there is almost no excuse to not try at least a few.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is available in the area of history podcasts.  But given the variety contained here, it is highly likely a listener will be able to find something that appeals to them.  To widen the search when looking through your phone’s app, I would recommend looking for a subject matter of interest as opposed to strictly searching for history.  That way, you can locate podcasts without the term history in the title.  It may take a little while to find a match, but it is well worth it.  For anyone who has a commute to work and an interest in learning a little bit of new information each day, finding the right podcast will pay off in spades.  Happy listening!


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