This week we feature another podcast article from our contributor Tim Rodgers. Tim is a voracious consumer of podcast content with a harder bent towards history, true crime, and investigative pieces. Enjoy. - Michael Patrick
The 11 Best History Podcasts
1. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History transcends the subject at hand and podcasting for that matter. Arguably the best podcast ever, Hardcore History is as named. Carlin takes you deep into some of the most intense moments in all of human history.
Whether it is a mysterious, cataclysmic event in the Bronze Age or life as a soldier in the trenches of Verdun in 1916, Carlin’s unique broadcasting style captivates his audience with his in-depth portrayal of fascinating historical subject matter.
Each time a new episode drops, it never disappoints. Even if you are not a history buff, this is a must listen. You will soon become one for sure.
Where most history podcasts touch on significant historical events, for good reason, of course, Lore delves into subject matter that is buried deep within the folklore of cultures throughout time and from around the globe.
How we humans have dealt with folklore has its own fascinating history. The Lore podcast fuses folklore and traditional history into a campy, entertaining, compelling podcast.
I honestly do not know how Mahnke does it. In episode 1, “They Made A Tonic”, Mahnke takes us into the history of vampires, from Vlad the Impaler to the notions that Vikings held of vampires. Mahnke even explores tales that vampires had existed on the secluded island of Madagascar. Lore covers them all. Wild stuff.
3. The History Of Rome
Created by Mike Duncan, The History of Rome podcast is an award-winning show. Duncan relies on primary source materials combined with modern interpretations to give you an entertaining, educational, and comprehensive take on the Roman Empire.
Although the podcast is narrated as an audiobook, Duncan keeps you captivated. From the Punic Wars to Marius and Sulla, Julius Caesar, the Huns, Vandals, and Goths, The History of Rome gives you all of it and then some.
Once you get sucked into The History Of Rome, one of the most infamous history podcasts to date, you can pick up Duncan’s book The History of Rome and his latest book The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic.
The History of Rome podcast has influenced the creation of other podcasts such as The History of Byzantium by Robin Pierson. I recently heard an interview between Mike Duncan and Dan Carlin, coincidence?
4. Historical Figures
Another Parcast joint hosted by Carter Roy and Vanessa Richardson, Historical Figures gives you a unique take on some of history’s most notorious figures. This podcast was formerly known as Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths, I believe to appeal to the true crime genre enthusiasts, but it has found its identity as a history focused podcast.
Episode 1 starts with Albert Einstein and other episodes include an eclectic mix of Lewis and Clark, Marco Polo, Charlemagne, and Marie Curie amongst other greats. Roy and Richardson narrate in a comfortable fashion and Historical Figures is a great family friendly podcast you can even listen to while your children are in the car. This is why I love me some Historical Figures!
Brought to you by AudioBoom, Mafia touches on the history of, you guessed it, Organized Crime. Like many folks, I am fascinated with the history of the mob. Although there are only 5 episodes currently available, the Mafia podcast has a high production value and consists of expert interviews, professional narration, and real audio clips.
The first profile on Sam Giancana makes a compelling case that there is a lot of supporting information that the mafia was responsible for the Kennedy assassination. It is crazy, but entertaining as hell.
The expose on Donnie Brasco includes an interview with the real-life Joe Pistone telling you the actual account of his infiltration into the mob, right from the horse’s mouth.
6. Stuff You Missed In History Class
Hosted by Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey, the Stuff You Missed In History Class is an offshoot of How Stuff Works. Holly and Tracy are history enthusiasts and they tackle historical subject matters by examining how they influence today’s issues. They approach each topic from an unconventional angle to give you an informative, unique perspective. The Stuff You Missed In History Class is enlightening and a must listen.
7. History On Fire
Created and hosted by author and university history professor Daniele Bolelli, History on Fire was inspired by, drum roll…..Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.
I could not satiate my appetite for history podcasts after binge listening to Hardcore History and then I stumbled upon History on Fire. Bolelli’s thick Italian accent takes a little getting used to, but once you do you get sucked in for good.
From his telling of the Third Servile War to Spartacus or his deep dive into the mindset of Theodore Roosevelt, you will be captivated and on board for the ride. If you enjoy Hardcore History, do check out History on Fire.
8. History Of Pirates
Hosted by Captain Craigbuddy or CB for short, the History of Pirates podcast takes you, “The Crew”, on a fantastic voyage about the history of pirateering including exploration of all the myths and legends. What is the difference between a pirate and a privateer? How about a swashbuckler or buccaneer? From the golden age of the pirates of the Caribbean to ancient pirates from the ancient Phoenicians and Greeks, the History of Pirates covers it all.
9. History Of The Great War
After listening to Dan Carlin’s “Blueprint for Armageddon” my appetite for World War I history was immense. I stumbled across the History of the Great War podcast to get my fix. Man, I thought that Carlin’s 6-part series went into depth on The Great War but the History of the Great War does thirteen episodes on Verdun alone! Started in 2014, the podcast chronicles weekly what transpired in the great European conflict almost one hundred years ago to date.
10. The History Of WWII Podcast
Hosted by Ray Harris Jr. who stated that he was so obsessed with the events of World War II that he could not wait for a podcast about it to come out, so he created one. With the History and Military television channels and the vast amount of content pertaining to World War II, you would think there would be more podcast content out there as well. Ray Harris Jr. filled that void perfectly and does a fantastic job. If you are a World War II junkie this is the podcast for you.
11. The Thread With Ozy
The Thread podcast series takes a different approach to history, tying together storylines, people, and places that might not initially appear to have any connection but upon further review are intricately woven details of a complex historical moment. Their mini-series on the murder of John Lennon is a brilliant piece of podcasting.
For all you True Crime Genre fans out there be sure to check out our 11 Best True Crime Podcasts feature.
Are you a history fanatic? What is your favorite history podcast going right now? Please leave a comment and let us know.