My Top 5 History Podcasts
I realised it’s been quite a while since I did a ‘stuff I like’ post, so here’s my top 5 history podcasts in no particular order (webpages included but they’re all available on iTunes):
The Z List Dead List – http://www.zlistdeadlist.com/
British comedian Izzy Lawrence corrals and impressive array of guests to highlight the forgotten heroes and villains of history, the rarely remembered bit-players who nevertheless had an undeniable effect on the course of human events. Examples include miserablist Roman poet and curmudgeon Juvenal, Martin Frobisher the crappiest pirate in history, and genius astronomer Tycho Brahe who had a solid gold nose and a pet elk. Stand-out episode: Series 3, Ep 4 – David Aaronovitch and Jon Ronson on their favourite conspiracy theorists.
Hardcore History – http://dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-series/
Veteran US journo Dan Carlin focuses his well-honed insight on a wide variety of historical subjects, ranging from the fall of the Roman Republic to the current epic analysis of the First World War ‘Blueprint for Armageddon’ (18 hours and counting). Stand-out episodes: ‘Wrath of the Khans’, a terrific potted history of the rise of Genghis Khan and the subsequent course of the Mongol Empire.
Revolutions – http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/
Mike Duncan’s follow up to the landmark History of Rome Podcast is an exhaustive look at the major revolutions in human history. Beginning with the English Civil War, Duncan then proceeds to cover the American Revolutionary War before embarking on an epic, as yet unfinished examination of the French Revolution. Stand-out episodes: #1.12-1.15 charting the transition of Oliver Cromwell from heroic Parliamentarian general to military dictator, sorry ‘Lord Protector’ (like that was fooling anybody).
The Civil War (1861-1865) – http://civilwarpodcast.org/
Husband and wife team Rich and Tracy Youngdahl have taken on the mammoth task of producing a comprehensive narrative history of the American Civil War. Every major event is covered, the episodes based on a wide variety of sources and skilfully written so as to remain compelling without sacrificing important details. Stand-out episodes (so far): #96-99 ‘Sibley’s Campaign’ – a four part look at the Confederate attempt to carve a path to the western seaboard of the USA, an entire aspect of the conflict I knew nothing about.
How is this Movie? – http://hitmpodcast.podomatic.com/
In less than a year Dana Buckler has turned a lifelong obsession with all things movie into an unqualified podcast hit. There are a few interview based episodes but most take the form of an in-depth look at a classic movie or franchise with Buckler’s comprehensive research unearthing details that would trump even the most know-it-all film geek – Frank Sinatra was offered the lead in Die Hard, yes really. Stand-out episode: Jaws.