10 Best History Podcasts To Change Your Perspective About History

History buffs are always interested in learning more, and why shouldn’t they be? After all, there are many perspectives and angles to history. How bad it would have been if we just relied on what the state, textbooks, a single author, or a book taught us. It would result in a seriously narrowed approach to how we see history and the world around us. 

But that’s not how history is, and one should never learn and trust history from one source. 

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when scores of books on, say, World Wars are available. Some books discuss the overall history. Then, some books dig deeper into geopolitics, realpolitik, the economy, political instability, poverty, nationalism, and Fascism of that era. Then, there are books on war.

It sounds kind of hectic to read that much, especially when our lives are continuously on the move, right? So, how about a better and more engaging alternative? That’s where the best history podcasts come in.

It is no surprise that podcasts will have a staggering 100 million active listeners by 2024 alone in America! One could only imagine numbers from other continents. 

The explosion of podcast listening is because audio listening has become more engaging with studio-quality productions. You can listen to podcasts at any time, whether traveling or lying on a bed with lights turned off.

So, let’s discuss some of the best history podcasts globally.

Best History Podcasts

1.The Rest Is History - 4.7/5

The Rest Is History is one of the best history podcasts, covering all historical topics and periods. One episode may be about ancient Rome, while the next may explore the upheaval of the English Civil War. If you like to increase your historical knowledge, The Rest Is History is one of the best podcasts on history from across the centuries.

Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook take an informal, conversational approach to their subject matter. You won’t find dry, academic lectures here. Instead, it’s more like listening to two people discussing the absurdities and dramas of the past. Their easy approach and willingness to disagree makes for an entertaining listen.

What sets this podcast apart is that their discussions often challenge conventional narratives. It encourages listeners to think critically while sharing a deeper understanding of the past. If you’re a history buff or simply curious about the world around you, this podcast is for you.

The best episodes to listen to are Watergate, Alexander the Great, Young Putin, the KGB, and the Soviet Union.

2. The East is a Podcast - 4.8/5

It’s quite strange that people only prefer podcasts published by the big American podcast studios. However, podcasts are more than that, where individuals do a lot of research about specific regions. The East Is a Podcast is unique as it discusses topics focusing on the cultural, political, and historical landscape of Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. 

Sina Rahmani hosts it. The podcast challenges mainstream narratives about the Middle East and North Africa. Its best aspect is sharing digitized audio archives from the Arab world and North Africa, a gem for history buffs and researchers alike. 

It regularly and mostly features interviews from the native experts of these regions, a rarity when every learning of the region comes from the American lens. 

Some of the episodes that you should listen: We Charge Imperialism, and An Other’s View of Russia, among many others.

3. The History Chicks - 4.7/5

History is not always about men. If one talks about war, politics, culture, and history, women have played massive roles, but the men write their histories. But not with the History Chicks, as Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider are out to redefine history.

One of the best history podcasts, each episode focuses on a woman from history or a female character from literature. Beckett and Susan discuss the woman’s life story, her impact on the world or society, and the legacy she left behind. It’s one of the best podcasts in history that you shouldn’t miss!

Interestingly, not all history is about queens. The hosts discuss women from every walk of life, including physicians, activists, artists, and you name the profession. They also supplement the biographical episodes with “minicasts” that provide additional context or cover related subjects. 

The History Chicks’ best episodes that you should listen to are Queen Charlotte, Civil War Spies, North and South, and Emily Dickinson.

4. The Memory Palace - 4.8/5

The Memory Palace is a critically acclaimed and one of the best podcasts in history hosted by Nate DiMeo. Unlike popular podcasts by big studios, It focuses on lesser-known events or overlooked figures from the past. 

Another great feature is relatively short episodes, often no longer than 20 minutes. This is helpful, especially if you commute local daily or have a short time between working or other hours. 

The narration by Nate is quite simple, without hyping up the words or background music. It is indeed his research of lesser-known characters and their stories that makes listening to The Memory Place a great experience. It is one of the best history podcasts on Spotify, with multiple episodes you can enjoy in one go!

The Memory Palace best episodes are worth listening to: The Woods, The Adventures of Pearl, and The House of Lowe.

5. The Lonely Palette - 4.9/5

The Lonely Palette is one of the best art history podcasts worth listening to. It is hosted by Tamar Avishai, who tries to make art history approachable to a general audience. As frequently happens, art discussion and elitism are anagrams, but Tamer does precisely the opposite.

The plot of each episode is quite interesting. In each episode, she picks one painting and then digs deeply into the painting, the movement, the social context, and the history around it. Each piece of art per episode includes both ancient artifacts and contemporary installations. 

However, the show is quite Eurocentric, and you rarely find any discussion about paintings from other continents. This may be because of Avishai’s background in art history and museum education. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best art history podcasts, considering how the discussion is intended for the masses.

Some of The Lonely Palette’s best episodes include Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” Juno, and A Colossal Roman Statue.

6.Dark Histories - 4.9/5

Everyone loves true crime podcasts. In fact, true crime is one of the top podcast genres. So, something extraordinary like Dark Histories happens when one combines true crime with history. Crime, after all, has been happening since the arrival of Adam. The dispelling of Adam and Eve from Paradise resulted from a conspiracy crime.

So, if you are a true crime and history fan simultaneously, Dark Histories is one of the best history podcasts that uncover events and mysteries from the past. Ben Cutmore hosts the podcast, and each episode focuses on bizarre mysteries, supernatural claims, and chilling true crime cases. 

The running episode time is generally one hour, but it can be lengthier if the story requires it. This is one of the best podcasts on history and true crime, and you will want to return for each episode.

Some of the best episodes of Dark Histories include Roch Theriault & The Ant Hill Kids, The Crabb Affair, and The Arthurs Seat Coffins.

7. The History of Byzantium - 4.8/5

The History of Byzantium is one of the best ancient history podcasts covering the Roman Empire. It covers the history from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The podcast is hosted by Robin Pierson and is actually a continuation of the “History of Rome” podcast. 

It covers all the political, cultural, and religious developments of Byzantium times. The focus is especially on religious controversies, the empire’s cultural legacy, and its impact on art, law, and Orthodox Christianity.

Also, how the Byzantium empire interacted with its neighbors, its conflicts with the Islamic caliphates, the Crusades, and its influence on the Slavic world. Overall, it is one of the best ancient history podcasts for understanding European and Middle Eastern history currents.

Some of the best episodes to listen to are The Great Schism, The Double Agent, and Respect, Institutions, Justice.

8. Wittenberg to Westphalia - 4.6/5

Wittenberg to Westphalia is one of the best European history podcasts. It covers the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period and is hosted by Benjamin Jacobs. The podcast covers all the aspects of history, such as the social, political, and religious transformations that reshaped Europe from the medieval world.

The topics covered in detail include reform in the church, the wars, and cultural shifts that defined the period. It also discusses church, court, and government notables and their forever tussle for power and influence.

If you are also interested in learning about the modern European state system through the Reformation, listen to these European history podcasts. Some of the best episodes are The Secularish Government of Rome, Ottonian Interference, and The Actual War Bits.

9. In Our Time - 4.6/5

In Our Time is one of the best history podcasts by the BBC that discusses the history of ideas, intellectual discussions, and analyses of historical events and concepts. Melvyn Bragg hosts it and features prominent academics and experts.

Bragg mostly moderates the discussions, covering topics from ancient civilizations to pivotal moments in more recent history. With around 300 episodes, it is one of the best ancient history podcasts and how it has shaped our world.

Episodes have covered diverse subjects, such as the Battle of Thermopylae, the philosophical underpinnings of the Enlightenment series, and the Mayan civilization. This variety appeals to a wide audience, making it one of the top European history podcasts.

10. The African History Network Show - 4.5/5

The African History Network Show is one of the best African history podcasts or radio broadcasts. It uncovers historical and current issues from an African/African-American perspective. Michael Imhotep is a historian, lecturer, and founder of The African History Network, the network behind the show.

The show discusses narratives of African history that are often overlooked in mainstream historical discourse. Its coverage includes everything from ancient African civilizations to modern African-American history. This means rich discussions on culture, politics, education, and economic empowerment. However, recently, the podcast has been regularly discussing modern politics and history.

You can enjoy this one of the best history podcasts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Some of the best episodes to listen to are Nile Valley Civilization History, Black Resistance Movements, and African Presence in America.

Best History Podcasts

Recap of the Best History Podcasts

The diverse topics covered in the best history podcasts show the complexities of historical events, cultures, and figures. It also brings new perspectives that challenge the often single-narrative approach in traditional textbooks.

Moreover, the variety of these history podcasts implies that there’s something for every listener. So, if you are looking for in-depth analysis, untold stories, or an overview of historical events, there’s something for you. Feel free to comment if you have any other best history podcasts suggestions!

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