In which I return to the question of history podcasts

His Master's Voice

Two years and two weeks ago I raised the question of history podcasts here on the Margins.

At that point, I had not yet found the history podcast of my dreams. I promised to report back when I found a few history podcast that I enjoy.

I must admit, I’m in much the same place that I was in 2015 as far as history podcasts are concerned. Most of the podcasts I listen to are about reading, writing, and cooking.* But I have found a handful of history podcasts that please me–and a bunch that I find impossible to listen to.**

In no particular order:

The Biography Podcast: Thew newest podcast on my play list, this is just what it sounds like, a smart interviewer talking with authors about biography and biographers. Thanks to Paige Bowers for calling this one to my attention.

Unknown History with Gies Milton: Short snappy historical incidents, taken directly from books by Milton and his friends. The stories are not always my cuppa, but they are always well told. The podcast is not updated on a regularly schedule–I suspect it’s tied to book releases.

99% Invisible: This one isn’t technically a history podcast. It’s about the way architecture and design shape our world. Ironically, it’s also my favorite history podcast. (Though The Biography Podcast is coming in at a close second.)

History Extra Podcast: Put out by BBC History Magazine. Historians, for the most part British, talking about the subjects of their latest projects. (Not always books. This is, after all, put out by the BBC.)

Benjamin Franklin’s World: It’s a podcast about early American history with a much broader scope than Mr. Franklin, including an occasional timewarp question, where historians grapple with a hypothetical question about what might have happened.

I must admit: Much as I enjoy these, I have not yet found a history podcast that I jump on the day it is posted and fret if it doesn’t show up on time. I’ll let you know when I stumble across it.

In the meantime, I’m eager to hear your suggestions.

*If you’re interested in learning about my favorite writing podcast, you can check it out on my most recent newsletter: here. It’s been a podcast kind of week.

**I’m sticking with the same policy I apply to book reviews: keep it positive. I don’t review the books that I throw to the floor in disgust (or even on rare occasions put in the recycling). I’m not going to review the podcasts that I make me say “No. No. No.” and hit the stop button. On the flip side, the fact that a podcast is not on the list is not a negative statement. And in case you haven’t guess, all opinions on this website are very much my own.


  1. Bart Ingraldi on July 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    This is why I love you. You do all the heavy lifting that so many of us benefit from! Thanks for the information.

    • pamela on July 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm


  2. Jason Griffith on July 30, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Try the new History Movie Podcast (!

    • pamela on July 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Jack El-Hai on July 31, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for this. I’ve very much enjoyed Radiolab Presents: More Perfect, which tells the backstories of cases that went before the US Supreme Court. It’s a podcast that was discontinued last summer, but there are 7 or 8 excellent episodes to hear.

    • pamela on July 31, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      I will have to check that out. Thanks.

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