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history podcastsIf Hitler knew his history, he wouldn’t have attacked the Russians and lost the war. Thank God, he didn’t pay history any heed. But shouldn’t we be aware of what happened in the times before us?

A lot of us left history back in the classrooms. For some it made for ponderous reading. Thanks to the many history podcasts available for free on the web, listening to it is both entertaining and educational. We have seen how podcasts can add value to our idle time. We have also noticed that the web and the many history related web apps have made the study of the past a more engaging one.

Now, with the help of these ten history podcasts we try to combine the best of both worlds.

History on Air

history podcasts

This is a podcast blog that’s all about historical figures, events and places. The About page says that since 2005, the site has seen 3.2 million downloads of its more than 100 episodes. The site features podcasts which you can listen to first, and then go through the blog post which includes external links for more study. The study aids are helpful if you want to do more research on the event. There are videos too that are collected from around the web.

Hardcore History

free history podcasts

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The well known podcast site by the American political commentator Dan Carlin takes an unconventional look at history with his own take on events past. Yes, you have to be in tune with his sense of humor as he rips into today’s society and relates it to historical churns. He covers topics on Roman history, the World Wars, and the Cold War to mention a few. The tag says it best – history like you have never heard before.

BBC: In Our Time

free history podcasts

The BBC Radio 4 feature is hosted by Melvyn Bragg, the British broadcaster. Many podcasts have guests and follow a discussion format. Podcasts cover culture, religion, science, philosophy, along with history. You can listen to the podcast online via BBC’s iPlayer How to Download Audio From BBC's iPlayer Broadcasts How to Download Audio From BBC's iPlayer Broadcasts Read More . Each podcast explores the ‘history of ideas’ and is usually broadcast live and unedited.

History According To Bob

free history podcasts

Professor Bob Packett takes his history class and his considerable teaching experience online in the form of free history podcasts. He explains historic events from the perspective of those people who were caught up in it. He has a light style as he goes from explaining Caesar to more close events like The Korean War.

Matt’s Today In History

best free history podcasts

We had gone back in history and taken a look at websites that tell us what happened in history on this day 5 Websites To Go Back In Time & Find Out What Happened This Day In History 5 Websites To Go Back In Time & Find Out What Happened This Day In History Read More (or on a particular date). Matt’s website is an audio version of that. Each podcast is 5-10 minutes long and is narrated in a pleasant voice and casual story style by Matt Dattilo. The site seems to be dormant so it’s not actually ‘today in history’. But you can still listen to the podcasts because history is hardly current.

Binge Thinking History Podcast

best free history podcasts

I loved the podcasts on The Battle of Britain on this blog which has a much smaller selection of podcasts. The only thing about Tony Cocks’ small site is that the history podcasts are infrequent and spaced out over months.

BackStory with the American History Guys

best free history podcasts

Subscribe free to this radio program which uses the trio of U.S. historians Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf, and Brian Balogh to look at events that shaped our world. The podcasts are professionally produced and fun to listen to. For students of history, the links provided for further reading are a treasure trove of knowledge.

A History of The World In Hundred Objects

Another cool program from BBC which takes a look at the world with the help of 100 objects from the British Museum and hundreds more from museums and people across the UK. Use the beautifully designed timeline to explore the objects in the list and take a look at the history around it. The program has ended, but the MP3 are a ‘historical’ treasure.

How Stuff Works

This top notch website does a great job explaining how our world functions. They have a dedicated podcast page sub-divided into a few more “official” pages like the one on – Official Stuff of Genius Podcast Page which looks at inventions past and present. But the one history buffs should fall for is the page on –  Official Stuff You Missed in History Class Podcast Page. The page is well supported by entertaining quizzes and puzzles.

Laughing Historically

history podcasts

Okay, we have had enough of serious history. Take a lighter look at it with these five podcasts on The Modern Day Pirates,  a geek lifestyle magazine with a well developed funny bone.

These ten websites show that podcasts aren’t only about easy listening pleasures. When it comes to things like educating on history, they are a very important tool. Do contribute any other cool history podcasts that I might have missed here.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

  1. chaoooo
    March 31, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Podcast app is one of the most frequently used thing on my mobile. I get addicted with CastBox with a lot of choices of channels about audio discussions and stories for bedtime or driving, moreover, I’d like keep updated with Ted and BBC news, with this Podcast APP, no more need single apps installed on my phone. Just one click to subscribe music, best podcast and audio books as your favorite channels. Download CastBox APP from Google Play

    • Saikat Basu
      April 1, 2016 at 4:11 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. I can recommend Stitcher and Overcast for iOS as well.

  2. David Stepanczuk
    October 24, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I like history podcasts—I want to like them—but often they are so poorly edited, if edited at all that they are too long to listen to. Can't one of them keep one podcast to 30 min or less?

    • Saikat Basu
      October 26, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Well, they are going through something of a resurgence. I am sure there are more great ones out there. You might want to search through YouTube as well. Not "podcasts" in the technical sense, but there are some good short video channels on history there.

  3. Dave
    May 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Gosh, I would love to hear a Mike Duncan or Robin Pierson style history of the Persian Empire

    • Saikat
      May 5, 2015 at 3:06 am

      That, I would love too. You might want to check out SoundCloud. They have a few.

  4. Jim Beeghley
    May 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I run the Teaching the Civil War with Technology website and have just launched a new podcast called Teaching the Civil War. You can get it via iTunes or on my website at http://www.teachthecivilwar.co...

  5. Jim Beeghley
    May 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I run the Teaching the Civil War with Technology website and have just launched a new podcast called Teaching the Civil War. You can get it via iTunes or on my website at http://www.teachthecivilwar.com

    • Tina
      May 10, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Thanks for sharing, Jim!

  6. Sal Pellettieri
    May 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    These are awesome! Thanks so much for posting

  7. Ron
    May 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Here's a big, big vote for "History According to Bob" and Bob Packwood's sense of both humanity and humor. Currently, he has a variety of series running on the American Civil War, on early Christian relics, the life of Julius Caesar and other topics.
    Don't care about the Indochina/Vietnam wars? That's OK - tomorrow you may hear about the effects of the Stamp Act in his series leading to the American Revolutionary War, or there may be another installment of the Napoleonic series the following day.

    • Tina
      May 10, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Sounds super interesting, I guess I have to check it out. Thank you for the summary, Ron!

  8. Dan
    May 7, 2011 at 12:49 am

    "Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean" by Phil Harland is a wonderful podcast. He explores the beliefs and practices of the ancient greeks, romans, and the people of the levant. He also discusses the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus.

    See here: http://www.philipharland.com/B...

  9. Dan
    May 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    "Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean" by Phil Harland is a wonderful podcast. He explores the beliefs and practices of the ancient greeks, romans, and the people of the levant. He also discusses the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus.

    See here: http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/category/podcasts/

  10. Zia
    May 7, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I believe it is worth mentioning Mike Duncan's History of Rome http://thehistoryofrome.typepa...

    Mike has a very likable style and is subscribed on a global scale.

  11. Zia
    May 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I believe it is worth mentioning Mike Duncan's History of Rome http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/

    Mike has a very likable style and is subscribed on a global scale.

    • Saikat Basu
      May 7, 2011 at 2:49 am

      It seems that the The History of Rome podcast is also pretty much there. Thanks for all the comments guys. It really shows that history podcasts is a strong niche :)

  12. Mark
    May 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Been listening to Hardcore History for a couple of years. Great podcast and Dan Carlin's take on historical events and people are great!

  13. Madmanstuff
    May 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Hardcore History is one of my must listens. I'd also add The History of Rome by Mike Duncan. Extremely well informed and an easy listen.

  14. Peter
    May 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    In Our Time is a great program, but its focus has drifted over the years. It used to be much more about science and philosophy. Now it is more about history and events. I find the guests don't get as deep into the material as they used to. They had one a few years ago about "The history of zero" It was one of the most fascinating podcasts I've ever heard.

  15. Paul
    May 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    The History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan is very good. http://thehistoryofrome.typepa...

  16. Paul
    May 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan is very good. http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/the_history_of_rome

  17. historypodcast
    May 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks for the plug!

    • Saikat Basu
      May 7, 2011 at 2:51 am

      Not a problem at all :) It's great listening.

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