9 Outstanding Audiobooks for Every Kind of History Buff

    Listen up, history fans. These great audiobooks are for you.

    Finding the best nonfiction audiobooks available is no small task. Listeners run the risk of discovering hours into their audiobook that they haven’t absorbed any of the information—so choosing an audiobook with an engaging story and narrator is key. These are some of the best history and nonfiction audiobooks we’ve found while listening.

    Buy The Greatest Generation at Amazon

    The Greatest Generation

    By Tom Brokaw

    This book tells the stories of the individual men and women who made up one of the most tumultuous generations of America. These people made it through the Great Depression and World War II, then went on to help build modern America. 

    Written and narrated by journalist Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation pays a small tribute to the people who fought, and paid the price to create a stronger, and more lasting country that we all have the pleasure of living in today. If, like so many others, Brokaw’s voice was a soothing nightly presence in your household during his 20+ years on air, The Greatest Generation will bring you back to a different time in many ways.

    Related: 9 Fascinating Books About the Founding Fathers of America 

    The Greatest Generation

    By Tom Brokaw

    Buy SPQR at Amazon

    SPQR

    By Mary Beard

    SPQR is the history of Rome unlike you’ve ever seen it before. Mary Beard’s sweeping examination of the birth and growth of an empire which remains at the forefront of history will leave readers speechless. She unearths centuries of unexplored narratives and sheds light on some of the most peculiar aspects of this history. Beard pays nuanced attention to individual stories, cultural struggles, and exposes groups of people who have been excluded from history for decades. 

    The title is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase which translates to “The Roman Senate and People” still used today as an emblem for Roman government. Beard focuses on an undernoticed aspect of the Roman empire–its growth, rather than its decline–to show just why Rome will never lose its grasp over history lovers.

    SPQR

    By Mary Beard

    Buy Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption at Amazon

    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

    By Laura Hillenbrand

    With his eyes set on the Olympics, Louis Zamperini never thought he’d be gearing up to join the war, and he certainly never imagined ending up drifting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

    Louis, often a problem child, learned to channel his less productive energy into running. Laura Hillenbrand tells of Louis’s legendary story of heroics, defiance and bravery. He withstood all odds, and his is a story you won’t want to miss. Read by Edward Herrmann (Gilmore Girls), the audiobook is urgent and enthralling.

    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

    By Laura Hillenbrand

    Buy A History of the World at Amazon

    A History of the World

    By Andrew Marr

    In 2012, the BBC released an eight-part miniseries condensing the history of the world into a thrilling eight hours. Marr, a beloved historian in the UK, had previously written two best-selling histories of Great Britain. With A History of the World, and its accompanying book, Marr dives into the rest of the world, eschewing the typical Eurocentric approach.

    Overflowing with vibrant language and a plethora of stories you’ve probably never heard, Marr manages to string together connections between seemingly completely unrelated stories in distant parts of the world. Renowned for his ability to make history accessible to the everyday reader, Marr will enchant listeners with this take on history. 

    Related: 11 Fascinating History Podcasts for Every Kind of History Obsessive

    A History of the World

    By Andrew Marr

    Buy Flags of Our Fathers at Amazon

    Flags of Our Fathers

    By James Bradley

    Flags of our Fathers tells the story of perhaps the most famous event in U.S. military history: the attack on Iwo Jima. He sheds light on the men who lived to tell their stories and those who didn’t. Bradley’s father was one of the six men who raised the flag now represented by a monument in the nation’s capital and one of the three of those men who survived the following battles. 

    The audiobook of Flags of Our Fathers is narrated by Stephen Hoye, a seasoned audiobook reader who has won a number of awards for his narrations. If you’re looking to encounter a classic WWII tale read by an expert narrator, this is the audiobook for you.

    Related: The Strangest Battle of WWII: The Fight for Castle Itter 

    Flags of Our Fathers

    By James Bradley

    Buy Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind at Amazon

    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

    By Yuval Noah Harari

    Why did Homo sapiens emerge on top? How did our foraging ancestors grow to create the booming metropolis seen today? Dr. Yuval Noah Harari traces where humankind has been in an attempt to discover where we might go. He looks into everything from devastating catastrophes to monumental discoveries that changed the course of history. He dives deeper than the concrete facts, examining happiness, personalities, and ways of living. And perhaps most importantly, he tries to answer the overarching question: Is there anything we can do to change the future? Narrator Derek Perkins delivers Sapiens confidently and engagingly.

    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

    By Yuval Noah Harari

    Buy Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World at Amazon

    Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

    By Joan Druett

    Just 285 miles south of New Zealand sits Auckland Island. Because of its location, it suffers a year-round onslaught of violent storms. On a strange day in 1864, two separate ships crashed on opposite sides of the island, making for a confrontation never before seen in the history of the island. For most, being stranded on the island spells certain death, but these two crews had another idea. 

    Joan Druett examines the journals of the survivors and maritime historical records previously unseen to tell a story about leadership, trust, and betrayal. The engrossing audiobook will keep you listening for hours.

    Related: Antarctica’s Outposts: Abandoned at the End of the World 

    Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

    By Joan Druett

    Buy Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan at Amazon

    Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

    By Doug Stanton

    After 9/11 left the country in a scramble for justice, peace and safety, a small group of Special Forces secretly entered Afghanistan. With nothing but the clothes on their backs, a small amount of weaponry, they set out to defeat the Taliban on horse. After an epic journey spanning across rigorous terrain, a series of deadly battles, and the capture of Mazar-i-Sharif, a major Afghani city, the plan for an enemy surrender is underway.  

    While at first the Special Forces soldiers were welcomed as heroes, things quickly took an unexpected turn. Six hundred Taliban troops ambushed the Horse Soldiers and the POWs they’d rescued. Overpowered and outnumber in every way possible, they fought for their lives, and to avoid capture. About to hit theaters as 12 Strong, the audiobook of this tale is well worth the listen.

    Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan

    By Doug Stanton

    Buy Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI at Amazon

    Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    By David Grann

    In the 1920s, the Osage became the richest people per capita in the world. This tiny Indian Nation in Oklahoma discovered oil beneath their land and turned it into massive profits. They rode in chauffeured vehicles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Sadly, and seemingly unavoidably, people arose to take advantage of the tribe, once one of the largest American Indian nations in the area. Mollie Burkhart watched her entire family murdered, and her case was just the beginning of the Reign of Terror.

    David Grann’s investigation into the case was one of our favorite nonfiction reads of 2017, and the audiobook, which features a narrator for each section of the story, is perfectly produced.

    Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    By David Grann

    Featured photo: Marion Doss / Flickr (CC)

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