The boom of podcasting has led to coverage of nearly every subject imaginable—and history is no exception. No matter your preferred historical niche, there’s a podcast out there for you. We’ve found some of the best history podcasts for any listener. We won’t be mentioning the big hitters here: Apologies to Dan Carlin and the Bowery Boys.
Below, you’ll find some of the best history podcasts, each with a specific focus and exquisite attention to detail.
The British History Podcast
The British History Podcast has been exploring Britain for six years—and they’ve only just gotten to the 10th century. That’s just a hint at Jamie’s incredible knack for detail and organization. If you’re looking for a podcast to satisfy your history obsession, this is it. And there’s over 250 episodes you can catch up on in your spare time.
American Military Podcast
Host Justin Johnson is working his way through the wars and conflicts that define American history. Starting with the Revolutionary War and working his way forward, Justin’s ability to track the narrative of war while pulling out personal details from the battlefield makes his podcast stand out from the crowd.
The Oxford Biographies Podcast
These short and sweet episodes serve up the perfect bite of history. Dip in for a 20+ minute biography, released every other Tuesday. Primarily Brit- and Euro-centric, Anglophiles will be thrilled by the options. With subjects ranging from Arthur Conan Doyle to Amy Winehouse, these podcasts are perfectly calibrated to pique your interest.
The History Chicks
Hosts Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider are longtime friends—and you can feel that in every episode of their show. Their interchange provides a wonderful base for their exploration of famous and infamous women of the past. They cover both women you’ve known about forever, and women whose contributions are too-often overlooked. Recent standout subject? Wallis Simpson. The hosts are sympathetic, yet fair to the woman who supposedly brought down King Edward VIII.
The History of English
Word nerds unite. Kevin Stroud is creating the podcast that may (we stress, may) finally help you understand the strange and oft-backwards language that is English. Traveling back to Old English and interrogating modern words alike, The History of English is sure to make the listener’s semantic heart sing.
All too often, those fun historical anecdotes you encounter—especially on the internet—are fake. This writer’s favorite fake story? The Lichtenstein army, made up of 70 men, once traveled through Sweden on their way to a conflict. After the battle, they left with no casualties and 71 men. Luckily, Professor Buzzkill is here to separate fact from fiction. Thankfully, host Joseph Coohill is charming enough so that you’ll still feel good after your cherished stories are debunked.
99% Invisible takes a truly fascinating approach to interrogating our world. The podcast investigates the history of objects, ideas, and technology that are so integrated into our world that their provenance is never questioned. Why were revolving doors invented? Why are all computer screens blue? 99% Invisible has the answers.
Slate’s John Dickerson zeroes in on the details of presidential history, then expertly frames these facts in their historical context. Dickerson goes as far back as Washington and Jefferson, and also takes inspiration from more modern presidents.
You Must Remember This
You Must Remember This investigates early Hollywood history with a deft touch. Host Karina Longworth has written books about modern moguls of cinema but uses her podcast to go back in time. Her tightly structured seasons make the show a joy to listen to. From “star wars” (Hollywood stars during WWII) and MGM stories to the Charles Manson story, each season offers its own distinct narrative. We suggest starting with the Charles Manson season—it weaves together true crime, cultural context, and the history of the stars whom Manson idolized.
History of India
Finding history podcasts that aren’t about the United States or Europe is still a bit hard. There are a few podcasts focusing on Eastern or African history, though—History of Egypt, History of China, and History of the Ottoman Empire are a few worthwhile examples. The History of India podcast travels back to ancient India, despite the fact that, as host Kit Patrick explains, India didn't really exist then. Patrick began the cast as an homage to his wife, Snehal Sidhu-Patrick.
Featured photo via British History Podcast