Podcasts by the Pool
September 3, 2009 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some good history podcasts!

I've got a week's holiday in Fiji and I plan to spend much of it sitting by a pool, drinking drinks with umbrellas in them and listening to audio history. I'm a massive fan of Mike Duncan's History of Rome podcast and I'm after anything of similar quality. 20th Century military history would be my preferred topic, but it the podcast is as good as the History of Rome, I'd listen to the history of cardboard boxes.
posted by tim_in_oz to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man, my boyfriend loves History of Rome. Let me see if I can dig through my memory to remember the other ones he listens to. He's a lot more into ancient history than modern history, though.

He loves loves loves Hardcore History by Dan Carlin, although it's a little more political, I think. We listened to Binge History once and I really liked it.

He also listens to 12 Byzantine Rulers.

Sorry I can't be more helpful! If I think of any more I'll pass them on.
posted by elisabethjw at 12:06 AM on September 4, 2009

BackStory radio with the American History Guys is really great. A trio of American history professors from Virginia (18th, 19th and 20th century historians) taking on one contemporary topic each week.
posted by one_bean at 12:35 AM on September 4, 2009

My History Can Beat Up Your Politics can be good.
posted by floam at 2:19 AM on September 4, 2009

In Our Time is great. A friend told me there might even be a collection of all the back episodes on the torrents.

There are some other radio 4 podcasts on history there as well.
posted by sien at 2:42 AM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

2nd'ing Backstory, except it's not a weekly anymore (if it ever was). They can be rather far between (last one was in July) but they're very well done.

For little ~5-minute vignettes, The Memory Palace is great (just discovered it yesterday).
posted by jon1270 at 4:45 AM on September 4, 2009

Thoroughly enjoying The History of Rome.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:57 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Even though it only seems to publish once in a blue moon, Hardcore History is one of my favorite. The stories that Dan Carlin tells are so engrossing that many times, I've stayed in my car just to hear more. He's just finished a great 3 part series on the Eastern front of World War II, though I think that his best work has been another 3 part series on the Punic Wars.

He tells his historical tales with less about names and dates, and more about tying together strands of history. I like the style a lot, and I've eaten up basically all of the podcasts he's put out.
posted by SNWidget at 5:12 AM on September 4, 2009

2nd on the Hardcore History podcast. Dan Carlin does an excellent job on these; I find myself completely sucked in when I start listening to one of the episodes.
posted by doh ray mii at 5:25 AM on September 4, 2009

Will podcasts of college lectures on history do? If so, may I recommend those of David Blight's 27 lectures for his course "The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877." Two points: 1) Lectures 3 and 22-24 are not available as podcasts.* 2) Blight is great on the political history of the era (read: I agree with him; if you're a 'War of Northern Aggression" type you will find him infuriating) but his grasp of military history is less sound.

Also from academic earth are Donald Kagan's 24 lectures on an "Introduction to Ancient Greek History" These are complete; the only caveat here is it's that Donald Kagan and you should be prepared for some right-of-center editorializing.

* I am in the process of recording these to mp3, but it's slow going and the resulting files are 25-30 megs and I'm not sure how to get them to people.
posted by mojohand at 5:50 AM on September 4, 2009

The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer is one of the best things I've listened to. It may require a visit to the library but I reckon it is worth it.

This was a question I didn't even know I wanted to ask. Thanks again Metafilter.
posted by mearls at 5:58 AM on September 4, 2009

Talking History was a fantastic interview show where historians discussed their latest books. Now defunct but there is a huge archive of shows.
posted by LarryC at 6:03 AM on September 4, 2009

3rding Hardcore History. It's pretty excellent, and doesn't shy away from controversial topics.
posted by electroboy at 6:18 AM on September 4, 2009

I probably should have said so in the question, but I've tried to listen to Dan Carlin and just can't stand him. Didn't mind the content, but the delivery gave me the screaming shits. Thanks for all the other recommendations though. Keep them coming!
posted by tim_in_oz at 7:08 AM on September 4, 2009

I'll second Mojohand's rec for David Blight's lectures. Mojohand will be happy to hear that the MP3s of every one of the lectures are available at Yale's website.
posted by Xalf at 8:39 AM on September 4, 2009

Does radio count? Radio National's Hindsight (Australian social history) is available as a podcast.
posted by zamboni at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2009

This American Life usually doesn't focus on history, but there are a few good history pieces you might enjoy:
Mistakes Were Made
Wrong Side of History
The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
Trail of Tears

This is just a quick list of some of my favorites, by no means comprehensive. These aren't really podcasts, but they can be streamed for free.
posted by Sara Anne at 3:01 PM on September 4, 2009

the history of rome is a great series.. have they covered any other periods such as Greece?
posted by medici00 at 9:46 AM on September 7, 2009

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