History Podcasts – A Great and Entertaining Way to Learn About History

In addition to trying to lose weight and improve my health, I use my morning walks to help expand my knowledge of History by listening to History podcasts. I thought I might share the ones I listen in case any of my readers who might also be History enthusiasts might want to try them out. Most of the podcasts below aren’t just informative, they’re also entertaining. Some are more general History while others take deeper looks at History. Some are also thought provoking; listen to them with an open mind, while you may not agree with everything you hear, you’ll hear about things from different perspectives and learn that there’s often more than one way to interpret events and trends.

Dan Snow’s History Hit – The History Hit podcast is a good general History podcast that covers a wide variety of topics. Dan Snow is based in the UK and the podcast is generally from the UK History perspective, but don’t let that put you off. It’s often quite interesting and he has a practice of doing interviews with Historians and other personalities to put current events throughout the world in historical perspective. The podcasts are generally around a half hour or so long and he posts several times a week to almost daily. The History Hit Network is also comprised of some other History podcasts you might find interesting.

American History Tellers – American History Tellers, as the name suggests, focuses on US History. Hosted by Lindsay Graham (not the SC Senator), it is part of the Wondery podcast network. AHT informs the listener about US History through stories from US History, particularly from an “on the ground” perspective. It often puts you in the shoes of a participant in an event or period of History and makes you think about it in their perspective. The podcast usually focuses on a period or them each month, telling the story in a multi-part series. June 2019’s series on the Tulsa Race Massacre was particularly good and I highly recommend listening to it. AHT podcasts generally last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Tides of History – Also part of the Wondery podcast network, Tides of History is much like American History Tellers works along a common theme each month, but it has so far focused mostly on Medieval and European History, which is the specialty of its host, Patrick Wyman. It is very informative and also frequently puts you in the shoes of participants of historical events to view things from their perspective. Tides of History also features some very good interviews with Historians. Recent episodes have been about Renaissance Italy and the Italian Wars and I’ve learned quite a lot from them. This has rapidly become one of my favorite History podcasts. Tides of History podcasts generally last from 30 minutes to an hour.

In the Past Lane – In the Past Lane is a US History podcast hosted by historian Edward T. O’Donnell. It’s a mix of short,  5 minute long “Pit Stops” which focus on what’s happened in the world of US History during the week and longer 30 minute to an hour long episodes featuring deeper looks at events or themes in US History and/or interviews with other historians about their works and studies. These longer episodes are deeper dives into US History than general History podcasts and can make you think about and reconsider what you know and think about US History.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – Hardcore History is truly a deep dive into various military and political history topics. Unlike most of the other podcasts above, Carlin isn’t an historian, he’s a former radio host and a political commentator. Episodes are frequently over 4 hours long and go beyond discussing what happened by looking at events from multiple angles, discussing why things happened in addition to how they happened, and also discussing the relevance of what happened. Hardcore History is thought provoking; you may not agree with some of what Carlin says, but it definitely makes you think about events. Due to the length of the podcasts and the research Carlin puts into them, there’s a lengthy wait between episodes, but they’re very much worth it. The current series of Hardcore History episodes are “Supernova in the East” about the Japanese Empire in the World War II period.

Ben Franklin’s World – Ben Franklin’s World, as its name suggests, is another US History podcast and it zeroes in on a specific period of US History, the History of Early America. Hosted by historian Liz Covart, episodes are generally 45 minutes to an hour long and feature interviews with historians about a theme or event in US History from the Revolutionary and Early Republic periods, paying particular attention to cultural and social History rather than just looking at political or military history. The wide variety of topics covered are worth of the podcast’s namesake. It’s definitely a deeper dive into the nation’s History than a general US History podcasts and it too can make you think more about and reconsider what you know about US History.

Professor Buzzkill – A podcast that takes on History from a bit of a different angle, Professor Buzzkill, hosted by historian Joseph Coohill, busts History myths. Coohill takes on stories about History that people hold as true and dissects them, looking for evidence to support them, analyzing that evidence, and looking for bias by authors to determine whether the story is true or a busted myth. It’s an interesting podcast that you just might learn something from and learn to be a bit more discerning about what you hear about History. Episodes are varied in length.

Categories: History


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