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Best History Podcasts
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The 5 best history podcasts

Travel through time with these great history podcasts

Written by
Andy Kryza
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There’s a podcast for everything, from true-crime sagas to amateur cooking lessons and movie trivia. But for those looking for solid history podcasts, the options are as seemingly infinite as time itself. With so many options, it’s hard to tell the difference between droll history lessons and shows that bring the past to vibrant life, positioning what came before as essential to the culture of now. 

The five pods below represent the best of the best. Some contextualise the entire history of the world through a modernist pop-culture lens. Others serve as living documents bringing the decades of cities’ legacies to the fore. And all offer the kind of captivating lesson even the most vibrant university professor could only dream of.

RECOMMENDED: the best podcasts to listen to right now

Best history podcasts

September 11, 2001 reshaped the American way of life, and Dan Taberski’s seven-episode series dives deep into the aftermath of the terrorist attack – in particular, its more overlooked consequences. Each episode zeroes in on the experiences of those forced to change their lives after that fateful day: From a Pakistani business owner reckoning with the disappearance of hundreds of his Muslim neighbors, to writers at The Onion grappling with the notion of ‘too soon’. What results is stirring and often darkly humorous. It takes a microscope to the ripple effect of a great American tragedy. 

BBC host Melvyn Bragg dedicates his prolific podcast to the history of ideas, cutting deep into the diverse and under-explored history behind science, culture, philosophy and more. It’s a show where Anne Brontë and Shakespeare co-exist on the same conversational plane as Robert Oppenheimer and the Russo-Japanese war, and where the entire history of London comes to life across the span of a single enthralling episode. It’s a history class reenvisioned as a fully immersive experience. 

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You’re Wrong About
Image: You're Wrong Abou

3. You’re Wrong About

People love to cite historical knowledge in casual conversation. But what if everything you thought you knew was askew? That’s the focus of You’re Wrong About, which dissects some of pop history’s most frequently fudged facts. Each episode takes a hard look at the kind of knowledge people love to misquote, including the legend of the woman who sued McDonald’s for coffee burns, US Vice President Dan Quayle’s feud with the sitcom Murphy Brown and, of course, everything you thought you knew about OJ Simpson. It’s essential listening for people who love to call others on their BS at the bar. 

For 15 years, journalist Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History has taken a revisionist approach to some of history’s biggest events, weaving a dense but approachable tapestry about world-chaning events, historical villains and more, with ample pop-culture references to keep things fresh. Episodes range from a 15-minute talk comparing Alexander the Great and Hitler to a six-hour discourse on the Celtic Holocaust, culminating in a whopping six-part look at the Asia-Pacific war that spans nearly 20 hours. Somehow, it never gets dull.

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With more than 370 episodes to their name, the Bowery Boys have dug deep into the trenches of New York history and left no stone unturned in their enthrallingly personal approach to the history of the Big Apple. Topics range from the history of the city’s cemeteries to the emergence of Broadway. It even looks at the stories behind some of the city’s most iconic hotels, taking the same focused approach to histories both broad and highly specific and bringing the city to life with verve. 

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