Listen and learn about the most interesting stories from the past with the best history podcasts of 2020. These podcasts will transport you across decades and centuries, to explore some of the most fascinating civilizations, leaders, and issues. From the Roman Empire to the Cold War, we've rounded up a podcast for every type of history buff, complete with immersive stories, expert interviews, and engaging ideas.
Tides of History
Diving into two periods of history, Wondery's Tides of History looks at the Roman Empire and the rise of the modern world beginning in the fourteenth century. Each a period of civilization's growth and expansion, the two shed light on one another. Illuminating recurring patterns and stark differences, Tides of History offers an exploration into history–as it was experienced by those who lived it and how it shaped those who came after.
The History of Egypt Podcast
Often overlooked in favor of European history, other regions of the world do not always get the attention they deserve. Among the rich and fascinating histories that lie beyond Europe is that of Egypt. Going back to the times of pharaohs, The History of Egypt Podcast uses archeological evidence and ancient texts to offer listeners a comprehensive and immersive understanding of Egypt's remarkable past.
Through the ages and across the world, noble leaders have shaped and defined their times. And while their choices changed the course of history, their own lives were often influenced by unpredictable and dramatic personal affairs. Leading lives of intrigue, these prominent figures were at the center of family feuds, rival interests, and relationships gone wrong. Noble Blood dives into lives of royalty–and often their violent ends. With memorable stories about familiar and lesser-known leaders, Noble Blood consistently delivers captivating episodes.
Ben Franklin's World
With a wealth of episodes, Ben Franklin's World offers an extensive exploration into colonial America. Examining the beginnings of the nation in all of its many facets, Ben Franklin's World provides a full and insightful look into the Revolutionary War period. Episodes include discussions with historians who have expert knowledge in the field.
Who We Are: Racism in America
Just released this fall, Who We Are: Racism in America tells the history of America through the lens of race and racism. Beginning with a discussion of today’s injustice, this podcast dives into a variety of topics, from voter suppression to inequality in healthcare, and traces the ways in which each topic has evolved over time. Hosting prominent advocates and historians, the podcast examines a history of racism that remains close at hand today.
This year, Parcast Media released their podcast Dictators. With an episode chronicling each dictator's rise and another chronicling their fall, this podcast delves into the dynamic forces that propel and destroy powerful leaders. Dictators spans history and includes everyone from Italy’s Benito Mussolini to Rome’s Tiberius centuries earlier. And if you enjoy learning about some of history's most infamous leaders, you may also like the podcast Behind the Bastards.
Wind of Change
Examining the end of the Cold War, Wind of Change unravels the rumors that surround the United States's classified Cold War missions. Under the premise that the Scorpion’s anthem “Wind of Change” was written by the CIA in an effort to push the Soviet Union toward democracy, the podcast explores the changing social dynamics at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. Traveling from Moscow to Hollywood, the New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe shares not only an era gone by—but also the secrets it held—in this window into the politics, culture, and music of the Cold War.
Providing history lessons on today's most relevant topics, Throughline looks back at the past events that have shaped our current affairs. Each weekly episode focuses on a different headline, revealing the phenomena's origins and following its route through history up to the present day. With stories that resonate, Throughline gives life to the idea that "the past is never past".
Take a break from all of today’s chaos, and dive into yesterday’s. This funny podcast looks back on history’s disasters–big and small. Examining all that went wrong and who is to blame, the series tackles all sorts of catastrophes. From the plague, to the Iran Hostage Crisis, to Amelia Earhart's last flight, you never know what's coming next. But regardless of the fiasco, there is something especially satisfying about getting to the bottom of who's to blame.
Looking back at the many amazing breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology, American Innovations shares the stories behind some of the most fundamental developments in modern history. With deep dives into each innovation, the podcast’s immersive discussions often span multiple episodes. And some of innovations discussed may surprise you, as breakthroughs range from artificial intelligence, to Corn Flakes. After each thought-provoking episode, you will walk away more knowledgeable and with a greater appreciation for the advancements that have led us to today's world.
If you love art history, ArtCurious is well worth the listen. The show explores art history in a fun and approachable manner that makes it easy to love, and hard to stop listening too. With seasons spanning a range of topics and more than four years of episodes, there’s plenty to choose from. The most recently released season looks into the coolest artists you may not know, shining a spotlight on diverse artists from eras past. Meanwhile, the upcoming season focuses on the highest selling works of art throughout history, and asks was it really worth such an expensive price tag.
Looking through the history books and the philosophy books, Philosophize This! recounts groundbreaking ideas and theories and the impacts they’ve had. Introducing enlightening ideas in an easy to understand manner, the podcast builds on itself, offering episodes that remain engaging, insightful, and interesting.
Featured photo via Philosophize This!