Whether it's about distraction on the morning commute or just spending some alone time in the evening, there are few better mediums of entertainment than podcasts. One of the most popular genres of podcast is history, with thousands of stories by top-tier academics available for free wherever podcasts are found. However, that variety can mean it’s hard to find the best of the crop. And with a busy schedule, we know there's not a lot of time to search. That’s why Screen Rant put together this list of The 10 Best History Podcasts Out Right Now. Enjoy it, and happy listening!
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Lore is proof positive that there's nothing boring about history. Frankly, Lore is proof that history could actually use some calming down. Based on legends of true crime and superstition, Lore sifts through history and finds its darkest, most haunting tales. With atmospheric music and a distinct style of narrating by author/historian Aaron Mahnke, Lore will educate as well as keeping listeners up at night. Which is a lot, on both accounts.
9 True Crime Historian
Host Richard Jones's detailed, thrilling stories of crimes gone by combines the two most popular genres of podcasts today. That is, it mixes true crime reporting with historical narratives. But don't think that this show is just here to capitalize on current trends. True Crime Historian tells stories from the past that matter to the present. It portrays characters as the complex, fascinating human beings that they were without shying from the monstrosity of some of the things they did. Check it out if you're a Peaky Blinders fan looking for a fix.
8 The Rest Of The Story
Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story is what would happen if a history textbook had babies with some of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone. That doesn't mean that each episode is creepy (although some really are), just that each story is punctuated by a truly unexpected end.
This podcast is perfect for history buffs that still want stories to surprise them. Plus, the episodes are short, perfect for binging or just taking little breaks from the day.
7 Our Fake History
Sebastien Major wants to dispel some of the most common lies we believe about our history. However, don't think for a second that his podcast, Our Fake History, makes history any less interesting. In fact, the truth behind these commonly held beliefs are usually far more interesting than their fiction, and Major presents them in a way that maximizes that. Check out this podcast if you like having to have beliefs challenged, reexamined, or even proven wrong.
6 Slow Burn
This may come as a surprise, but presidents of the United States are not always perfect angels. Whether you believe that or not, you should really give this podcast a shot. Produced by Slate and hosted by Leon Neyfakh, this podcast of presidential secrets covers two of the biggest scandals to ever hit the nation's public office. The first season is, as you might have guessed, Watergate. The second season focuses on Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal. Both are excellent, but they leave us with the question: what other presidential scandals could this show focus on in future seasons?
5 Revisionist History
Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most widely-read social writers in recent memory. So, when he puts his name on any history podcasts, you know that people are going to take notice. That's just what they did with Revisionist History, making it a smash hit on iTunes and other podcast platforms.
Like Our Fake History, Gladwell's podcast also challenges popular beliefs about a historical person or event. Check it out if you want something that strikes a perfect balance between academic and accessible. You'll feel like you learned something, but nothing will seem dense.
Returning to the subject of presidents of the United States, Presidential is more than just a history podcast. It's a series of fascinating mini-biographies, focusing in on particular stories about the men who have served as president. This podcast, produced by the Washington Post and hosted by Lillian Cunningham, does a great job of humanizing such iconic historical figures. Listen to it if you want to know just how paranoid of a man Richard Nixon was. Or the many bouts of depression Abraham Lincoln went through. Or how much Franklin Roosevelt was, well, less interesting than Eleanor Roosevelt. Plus, these biographies are great as a series, but do a great job standing on their own as well.
3 Hardcore History
Hardcore History is the historian's history podcast. Host Dan Carlin is the mystical embodiment of every history professor to ever live, and he speaks with the authority and expertise of every one of them combined. Carlin's stories are not dull by any stretch of the imagination, but they are incredibly detailed. They really give a sense of exactly what was going on in the time periods Carlin describes. And, they provide a fantastic window into the lives of his stories' central characters. This podcast is for anyone who wants to listen to someone treat their audience as intelligent, not just in need of entertainment.
2 You Must Remember This
This Tinseltown history podcast is one of the best things currently on the airwaves, whether or not Hollywood itself holds fascination for listeners. You Must Remember This, hosted by historian Karina Longworth, is a dramatic and engrossing look at the history of our culture through the lens of popular Hollywood events.
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It's got everything from true crime to romance to ghost stories, all set up against dreams and stars and failures. Do not miss listening to the stories of everyone from Charlie Manson to Marilyn Monroe to learn why Hollywood, and moreover our culture, is what it is today.
1 Stuff You Missed In History Class
History podcasts usually separate into two categories. Some of them are general, which gives us a chance to hear about more subjects, but often doesn't allow us to get deep into a story. Then some others are very focused, telling one story over several episodes. These allow us to get into the story, but don't leave room for other interests. Stuff You Missed in History Class is the bridge between the two types. Hosts Holly Frey and Tracy V. Wilson tell stories that fit into a one to three-episode time limit, but in a way that highlights the deepest, most relatable parts of their narratives. Stuff You Missed in History Class is accessible and entertaining, it is sometimes funny and sometimes truly scary. Out of all the history podcasts out there, you've got to give this one a shot. Even if history isn't your thing.
What's your favorite of the many history podcasts online now? Which one did we leave off this list that we need to listen to? Let us know in the comments section below!