10 Best History Podcasts of All Time

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10 Best History Podcasts of All Time

best history podcasts

Courtesy/Elaine Chung

Since the beginning of time, oral tradition has been one of the primary means of passing history from one generation to the next. Sure, Gutenberg rolling out the printing press kind of stole oral history’s thunder a bit, but there’s a reason history class still isn’t just taught by a textbook or Wikipedia page.

The truth is, there’s nothing quite like learning about the history of humanity from the most human form of communication there is. Not only is humanity filled with natural-born storytellers, but there is also a whole lot of history to be told that our texts have completely missed or, rather, “missed.”

Luckily, we now live in an age where we can encounter storytelling that rivals the likes of Homer’s epics, but on our morning commute. Even better, they can be paused and resumed as we please. These podcasts not only revisit history in entertaining and innovative ways, they restructure our perception of history as we’ve known it.

So, pop in your earbuds, or dial up your home speaker system to give your neighbors a free crash course. (We don’t recommend the latter.) It’s time to let some podcasters repeat history to us so that it doesn’t repeat itself.

Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell revisits the pockets of history that are often overlooked, misinterpreted, or misunderstood. From the history of satire and its effectiveness, to the effects of rich people’s love for golf, Gladwell leaves no stone unturned.

1619

Part of Nikole Hannah-Jones’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The 1619 Project for The New York Times, 1619 is a podcast hosted by Hannah-Jones that traces American slavery back to its roots over 400 years ago.

30 for 30

From the makers of ESPN’s documentary film series of the same name, 30 for 30 is a podcast series covering unique stories from the “world of sports and beyond,” covering moments that have made history on and off the playing field.

More Perfect

From the creators of the WNYC hit Radiolab, More Perfect allows a behind-the-scenes look at the Supreme Court and the decision-making process that went into many of the rulings that have shaped American society as we know it today.

Uncivil

Gimlet Media’s Uncivil is a podcast of unrest. The series challenges America’s traditional teachings of the Civil War by revisiting its history and covering untold stories, hidden details, and an all-new perspective on that complicated era of American history.

Throughline

Like it’s name might suggest, Throughline is intent on making important correlations between history and current events. NPR hosts Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei cover each episode with an emphasis on untold or overlooked aspects of relevant history.

Slow Burn

Produced by Slate Plus and hosted by Leon Neyfakh and Josh Levin, Slow Burn covers a new political controversy each season. The seasons follow, in order, the Watergate Scandal, Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the Tupac Shakur versus Notorious B.I.G. tension, and the life and career of David Duke.

The History of American Slavery

Hosted by Rebecca Onion and Jamelle Bouie and produced by Slate, The History of American Slavery is a podcast series that analyzes both the history of American slavery as well as the effects that the institution still holds within the fabric of today’s America.

You Must Remember This

Former film critic Karina Longworth’s passion for Hollywood is driven by some serious momentum… backwards, that is. With Longworth as your fanatic guide, You Must Remember This tells never before heard stories of 20th-century Hollywood in all its glory and gasps.

The Memory Palace

Host Nate DiMeo’s experimental approach to storytelling is both refreshing and captivating. The bite-sized episodes paint vignettes of specific moments, people, places, objects, or other icons of yesterday.

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