Circling Back to the Question of History Podcasts

I am not a person who generally sits with my hands idle. When I watch something on the television screen, I do needlework, or color (1) or build spreadsheets about who my audience is, where they hang out on line, what they read, etc (2) Conversely, when I’m doing something that requires my hands to be busy but engages only part of my brain—cooking dinner for instance—I listen to podcasts. (3)

I’ve talked about the search for history podcasts before: you can find those discussions here, here and here. Since then I’ve added a few to the list that I’d like to bring to your attention.

The one I’m enjoying most is the What’s Her Name Podcast: two smart historians who tell the stories of forgotten, fascinating women in history in conversation with guest scholars and writers. The podcast is fast-paced, funny and thoughtful. Their Twitter feed has introduced me to a number of other women’s history podcast that I will check out once I’ve made my way through earlier episodes of the What’s Her Name Podcast: unfortunately for the speed at which I listen dinner comes but once a day and sometimes it is leftovers.

Here are a few more I’ve added to the list:

Part of History on the Net, History Unplugged has two different kinds of episodes. In some episodes the host answers a history question posed by a listener, like “What did the Vikings eat?” In other episodes, he interviews the authors of recent history books. I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but so far I’ve been engaged.

The Rogue Historian focuses on American history, particularly the Civil War and Reconstruction. As seems to be the norm these days, the host interviews other scholars, public historians, etc. (4)

Arguing History, which is part of the New Books Network, mixes things up by bringing on two historians who have dealt with different aspects of the same topic and asking them leading questions. So far my favorite is the episode titled “What Role did WWI Play in Women Gaining the Right to Vote?”

For the most part, Tides of History, like one of my other favorite history podcasts, Revolutions, features a single speaker with a scripted story following an idea through time, interspersed with an occasional interview. Tides of History looks at the rise of the nation state and the roots of the modern world. Thoughtful and thought provoking.

Several years ago I found it hard to find a history podcast that I enjoyed.  Obviously that isn’t the case anymore. At the moment I have hundreds of hours of material to listen to. But I’d still like to hear your suggestions for any must listens that I’ve missed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m headed downstairs to make an eggplant and olive tagine and learn a bit of history while I do it.

(1)To my surprise, I find that I can, in fact, color within the lines if I concentrate.
(2) Anything you’d like to share?
(3) I used to listen to the news, but these days that results in me screaming at talking back to the radio and occasionally throwing things.
(4) I find I like this format very much.

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