Podcasts Looking Back: Learning History Through Podcasts

If your kids are uninspired while studying history in textbooks, encourage them to subscribe to podcasts with a history theme. Podcasts are a great way to make history feel alive and exciting. They're also ideal for students who want to take their history lessons further. The list presented here includes ten history-focused podcasts that your child may enjoy.

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1. Stuff You Missed in History Class

This podcast series is produced by HowStuffWorks.com and features amiable hosts Sarah and Deblina. Topics typically include moments in world history that are little known or unusual. For example, one podcast explores spies from the Civil War while another analyzes the Bayeaux Tapestry, a significant work of Medieval art that depicts the Norman Conquest of Britain. With over 300 episodes, this podcast series is sure to engage your children for some time.

2. Great Speeches in History

Though simple in concept, Great Speeches in History offers a dynamic and important window into history. Each podcast contains a significant speech from throughout history, including both original recordings and recreations. The speeches range from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address to President Obama's Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

3. A History of the World in 100 Objects

The BBC produced this series that covers the entirety of human history in 100 podcasts. Each podcast uses a single object as a jumping off point to describe an era of history. For example, a bird-shaped pestle from Papua New Guinea that dates from the Ice Age prompts a discussion of how early humans made the hugely impactful decision to begin cooking foods, instead of just eating them raw.

4. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Dan Carlin's podcast takes an unusual approach to history. He passionately tackles history by offering his opinions and theories on historical events and figures, while noting when they're controversial and unorthodox. He has covered the Roman Empire, Ferdinand Magellan, slavery throughout history and World War II.

5. My History Can Beat Up Your Politics

Hosted by Bruce Carlson, this podcast takes current political events and explores them in the context of history. For example, the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the United States Special Forces prompts an analysis of similar operations; this includes Desert One, the failed effort to free U.S. hostages in Iran during the Carter Administration. Carlson's non-partisan approach allows for an intelligent and unbiased approach to history.

6. The History Network

The History Network is a podcast series produced by the cable channel of the same name. Every other week, a new podcast debuts featuring an essay on military history. Recent podcasts have covered topics as diverse as Pancho Villa and the history of cryptography.

7. Matt's Today in History

Each podcast in this series is a short synopsis of an event or historical figure with a connection to the day of the podcast's release. These include critical events in history, such as the 1814 burning of Washington, D.C. by the British. Also covered are events of historical curiosity, such as the Tunguska event of 1908, when what is believed to have been a large comet or meteoroid exploded over central Russia.

8. Colonial Williamsburg History Podcasts

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation offers these podcasts, which cover the Revolutionary War era. The podcasts include interviews with a multitude of experts, including historians, writers, archaeologists and historic interpreters. A recent podcast featured an exploration of 18th century America through the eyes of children.

9. The History Chicks

The History Chicks is a podcast series devoted to covering women throughout history, including those who are widely noted and those who are often overlooked. Important female figures explored in the podcasts include Marie Antoinette, Abigail Adams and Helen Keller. Fictional women also get a closer look from a historical perspective, including Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.

10. The History of Rome

This podcast covers the vast and complex history of the Roman Empire. Each week, a new podcast traces an element of the Empire's rise, decline or fall. This is a comprehensive, well-researched and easily digestible way to discover the story of one of the world's most significant civilizations.

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