The Best History Podcasts of 2021

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Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying, “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” Perhaps more intelligently however, George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

Whatever the reason, we history buffs truly enjoy recalling tales of old, reminiscing and learning about the past, and sharing that knowledge with others. 

Below are the top 10 history podcasts. Feel free to bookmark this page as we’ll be updating it regularly.

1. In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson‬

In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson” presents a surprising and original portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, told in the former first lady’s own words — from over 123 hours of her White House audio diaries, heard on this show largely for the first time ever. It recasts Lady Bird’s role in the Johnson White House as her husband’s closest advisor and most trusted political partner and provides history-making revelations about LBJ’s time in office. 

It’s the story of how one vastly underestimated woman navigated the power, politics and polarization of her era to become one of the most influential members of the Johnson administration… even if the public never knew it. This podcast is an eight-part series from ABC Audio & Best Case Studios, and hosted by Julia Sweig.

2. You're Wrong About

Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. In this podcast, every week they reconsider a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination.

3. Cautionary Tales With Tim Harford

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable life lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and they are all true. Tim Harford (Financial Times, BBC, author of “The Data Detective” and “The Undercover Economist”) brings the public stories of awful human error, tragic catastrophes, daring heists and hilarious fiascos. The host promises these tales will delight you, and scare you, but will also make you wiser.

4. Sword and Scale True Crime

Wait, is this a listing of the best history podcasts or the best true crime podcasts? In this case, the Sword and Scale podcast falls into both the history and true crime categories. This show promises to be an immersive audio experience covering the dark side of humanity and human nature. Their stories delve into the worst of the worst and include murder, rape, dismemberment and cannibalism. No crime is too brutal and no victim is too pure. The worst monsters are real.

5. Stuff You Missed in History Class

Did you receive poor marks in history class? Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Join hosts Holly and Tracy as they bring you the greatest and strangest Stuff You Missed In History Class in this podcast brought to you by iHeartRadio.

6. The Food That Built America

Food titans like Henry Heinz, Milton Hershey, John & Will Kellogg, C.W. Post and the McDonald brothers have been household names, but do you know their stories? It’s not surprising that this show came up in the best history podcasts because in it you can learn about the people behind the food that built America–who used brains, muscle, blood, sweat and tears to get to America’s heart through its stomach, and along the way built cities, invented new technologies and helped win wars. Yes, really!

7. American Scandal

The American Scandal podcast is built on the premise that every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out, and with it comes the fallout and the outrage. The public looks at business, politics, and sports scandals in awe, and bear witness to deceit and ambition bringing down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls.

Host Lindsay Graham explores the history of American Scandal and takes you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught.

8. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

In “Hardcore History,” journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? 

This isn’t academic history – and Carlin isn’t a historian – but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners.

9. HISTORY This Week

Brought to you by The History Channel, the podcast “HISTORY This Week” turns back the clock to introduce the people and place that led us to where we are today, whether it made the history books, or not.

10. Throughline

The past is never past. Every headline has a history. NPR invites listeners to join every week as they go back in time to understand the present by exploring the moments that shaped our world.

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The Ministry of History

The Ministry of History is a podcast hosted by Tom Daly that aims to take a look at some of history’s lesser known characters and stories. Each series of the podcast focuses on a different theme: Series one focuses on historical murders and true crime, while plans for further series’ include a focus on historical disasters, scandals and political events.

The History Hotline

The History Hotline explores all things Black history and beyond. Host Deanna Lyncook says it’s “A space to have honest conversations about Black history and how it impacts the world we live in.” She says, “We’re here to explore some of the facets of Black history ignored by the mainstream, your teachers and the textbooks.”

This Week in Disney History

Whether you are obsessed with Disney or just looking for more of the best history podcasts with a Disney angle, this podcast hosted by Milo Beasley discusses events and happenings in the history of the Walt Disney Company. From Walt Disney’s Birthday, to the opening day of Splash Mountain, to the World Premiere of Treasure Planet, he is chatting about it.

On This Day In History

On This Day In History features unique events and happenings in the Marion County Region of South Carolina. This podcast is brought to you by the Marion County Library System.

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