The 25 Best History Podcasts You Need to Listen To

Browse, Bookmark, Listen

History podcasts are an invaluable way to increase your health, wealth, and wisdom. That’s why our team at The Mission has put together this list of the best history podcasts of all time. Tune in for stories on everything from the history of Rome to the history of Hollywood and beyond. Browse, listen, bookmark, and enjoy!

1. The Story

If you don’t cheer for yourself, no one will, right?

In Season 1 of The Mission’s new podcast, The Story, you’ll discover the unknown backstories of 12 women who changed the world!

You’ll learn fascinating stories and actionable insights from the most courageous and successful people throughout history.

Subscribe today on iTunes or Google Play and please leave a rating and review to let us know what you think. This helps spread the word so we can launch Season 2 and Season 3!

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The Women Who Lost Everything

This is The Story… of a woman who lost her family, her husband, and her hair. She hit rock bottom, but she didn’t stay there. She clawed her way up and out, and built an empire in the process.

2. The Way I Heard It

As far as history podcasts go, The Way I Heard It is a Mission team favorite. You likely know Mike Rowe as a guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. In his podcast, he sinks his teeth into the little-known backstories of famous people, companies and events. Each episode is both touching and humorous, and the character reveals will knock your socks off. Plus, with an average episode length of under ten minutes, this show is a great way to get your daily dose of history!

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Size Matters -

“In a competition like this — every inch counts.”

3. The Rest of the Story

Another team favorite! In this well-known radio show, Paul Harvey is your guide through some of history’s most shocking stories. Each episode is a short history story (only a few minutes long) with an unforgettable punch. Listen until the end for the character reveal!

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Actor on Death Row -

You won’t believe which famous actor was recruited while on death row…

4. Revisionist History

In this history podcast, Malcolm Gladwell, author of the bestselling book, Outliers, discusses the little-known histories that have created the world as we know it. Revisionist History addresses the people, things, events and ideas that have been misrepresented, ignored or completely forgotten over time.

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Saigon, 1965 -

The Pentagon Effort was the most in-depth analysis of enemy combatants ever conducted… and arguably the most pointless. It resulted in thousands of reports, documents, and studies. There was just one problem: No one could figure out what any of the data meant.

5. The New York Public Library Podcast

Some of America’s brightest writers, thinkers and artists convene in this podcast by the New York Public Library. Join a wide variety of guest speakers for provocative discussions about the nation’s culture and the influences behind it.

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Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971… but there were much darker secrets he chose to keep hidden…

6. Burnt Toast

We love history, but we also love food. This is a history podcast for all of you food-loving intellectuals out there. In its snackable episodes, Burnt Toast uncovers the history of food, explains why we eat what we eat, and shares some of the world’s craziest food stories.

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The Worst Food in White House History -

One U.S. presidential term served borderline inedible food to its thousands of guests. The interesting part? This was no accident. Learn what was on the menu, why it was there, and the revenge theory that caused it all.

7. The Memory Palace

This is an epic storytelling podcast (It was named as a finalist for a Peabody Award in 2016!). Created by Nate DiMeo, the Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 2016/2017, this is history at its finest.

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As Nate notes in his introduction, his podcast episodes are in no particular order and can be listened to however you wish! Here is one of his favorites to start you out: Dreamland

8. Philosophize This!

This is still one of the most interesting history podcast concepts we’ve encountered. Philosophize This! works through Buddha, the Hellenistic Age, Descartes and Leibniz. Haven’t heard those names since your undergraduate Philosophy course? No worries. With the hindsight of life experience, this stuff really starts to hit home.

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Episode #001 Presocratic Philosophy — Ionian -

Philosophize This! is a great podcast that anyone can enjoy, but they do push you. That’s why we recommend you start from the very beginning, where they break down Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle from an every-day life basis.

9. Backstory

This is a weekly podcast, hosted by US historians, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman. Each episode takes a popular topic and views it through the lens of American history. Through stories, interviews and even conversations with listeners, this podcast makes history fun.

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What’s in a number?

Why does the number ‘13’ freak us out so much? Learn the history and superstition behind the notoriously unlucky number.

10. Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate

After its release, this history podcast quickly made it to the top of the iTunes chart — and for good reason.

“You think you know the story, or maybe you don’t. But Watergate was stranger, wilder and more exciting than you can imagine. What did it feel like to live through the scandal that brought down a president?”

Join Leon Neyfakh for an eight-episode mini-series that tells the story of Watergate as it happened — and asks, if we were living through Watergate, would we know it?

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The beginning: Martha

11. You Must Remember This

Another excellent history stories podcast, You Must Remember This is about the long-forgotten secrets and histories of Hollywood’s first century. It’s the brainchild of the one and only Karina Longworth, who writes, narrates and edits each episode in her home. This show is extensively researched and is usually in the Top 100 of all podcasts on iTunes.

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Star Wars Episode I -

This is the first episode in a series of episodes labeled ‘Star Wars’, but it’s not what you think it is about. In this series, they discuss the lives of movie stars during times of war. This first episode is an amazingly well researched deep dive into Bette Davis’s life during WWII.

12. Atlanta Monster

From the HowStuffWorks team and Tenderfoot TV comes the true story of one of Atlanta’s darkest secrets… almost 40 years later. In 1979, several children went missing with no explanation. This is their story.

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Episode Zero: Missing Darron Glass — Ten-year-old Darron Glass went missing on September 14, 1980. He never returned.

13. Our Fake History

What’s fact and what’s fiction in our history books? Host Sebastian Major uncovers the truths that exist in our tales and the tales that exist in our truths. The line between history and myth is more blurred than you might think.

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Who Was the Queen of the Pirates? -

We know about the men that took to the sea, but what about the women? In this episode, Sebastian reveals the ‘queens’ of the pirating life.

14. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

There are many podcasts about history but none quite like this one. At four to six hours a pop, Dan Carlin’s podcast was designed for the hardcore history stories fanatic. In these lecture-like episodes, he takes a deep dive into a specific historical event… or era.

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The Celtic Holocaust -

“Julius Caesar is our travel guide as he takes us through his murderous subjugation of the native Celtic tribal peoples of ancient Gaul. It sounds vaguely like other, recent European colonial conquests…until the natives nearly win.”

15. 1,001 Heroes, Legends, Histories & Mysteries

This weekly podcast is well-researched and fast-paced to make history come alive. It covers a wide variety of historical people, places, events, legends and mysteries.

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All Blood Runs Red: The Incredible True Story of Eugene Jacques Bullard —

Learn the story of how Jacques Bullard became the world’s first African-American Fighter pilot.

16. American History Tellers

How well do you really know the history stories that made America the country it is today? In American History Tellers, the folks at Wondery will undoubtedly test your American History knowledge.

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The Cold War — An Ideological War -

Two of the world’s greatest powers, the US and Soviet Union, come to a head over polarizing ideologies.

17. Stuff You Missed in History Class

Another great history stories podcast from the HowStuffWorks team, Stuff You Missed in History Class is hosted by Holly and Tracy. Together, they bring you some of the most interesting and outrageous stories from history. We guarantee many of these crazy anecdotes will surprise you.

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Beer History with Erik Lars Myers -

Erik is the CEO of Mystery Brewing Company, and he joins the podcast to talk about something very fun and oddly complex… the history of beer!

18. NPR’s TED Radio Hour

This is a fun mash-up of two great knowledge and news-focused brands. The first, TED, was made world-famous for their highly intelligent and mind-stretching TED Talks. The other, NPR, is a national resource that’s been giving the news straight as an arrow for well over a century. Together, you’re getting pure magic. Let the wisdom seep in and make you a tiny bit smarter, one hour at a time.

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Big Data Revolution

Every detail of our lives can be (and probably is being) tracked… Will this make life easier or more complicated?

19. Stuff to Blow Your Mind

The HowStuffWorks team describes this audio history best…

“Deep in the back of your mind, you’ve always had the feeling that there’s something strange about reality. There is. Join Robert and Joe as they examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future…”

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Tree of Life -

The ‘sacred tree’ is a recurring symbol in religion and mythology. Learn what it means and why it’s so popular.

20. How I Built This with Guy Raz

Hosted by renowned NPR journalist Guy Raz, How I Built This dives into the stories behind how some of the most well-known companies in the world were built. Interesting and insightful.

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LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman -

LinkedIn is the most well-known job and career networking site. Ever wonder how this monster of a company was built?

Learn how Reid Hoffman’s vision for the future of the Internet turned him into one the wealthiest figures in Silicon Valley and LinkedIn into one of the most useful career tools around.

21. Letters From War

This is a powerful historical podcast. Learn the history of WWII, as told through the personal letters exchanged between the Eyde brothers. Three brothers, one war, hundreds of letters.

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An Introduction

This is a very powerful story expressed through the love of brothers. You won’t want to miss a second of it. Start with the introduction.

22. Lore

Lore is a podcast about the creepy stories that fuel our everyday superstitions. If you like history and a little thrill, then we recommend giving this one a listen.

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A Grave Mistake -

The fear of death can drive people to do the unthinkable…

23. The History of Rome

This history of Rome podcast follows the entire Roman Empire. It starts with Aeneas’s arrival in Italy and ends with Romulus Augustulus’s exile. Started in 2007, this show wrapped up last year.

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Episode 1: In the Beginning -

Do you really want to learn the FULL history of Rome? Then start with numerus unus and work your way through the remaining the 178 episodes. 😏

24. History Extra

From the team at BBC History Magazine comes the History Extra podcast. This show is updated regularly with the latest discoveries, stories, and facts.

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Science and Suffrage -

“Historian of science Patricia Fara discusses her new book A Lab of One’s Own, which explores the challenges facing women scientists in the First World War era.”

25. Witness

Witness brings you historical stories — as told by the people who saw them happen. Listen in for firsthand accounts of world events.

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Leonardo’s Lost Notebooks

In 1967, two of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks were found. Discover the genius contained within.

What are some of your favorite history podcasts and learning resources?

Share them in the comments below!

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