Podcasts & Books

8 History Podcasts That Will Help You Relearn The World As You Know It

By The Urban List Sydney

man with headphones on sitting on steps

History podcasts—they’re juicy, they’re plumpin’ and they’ve got all the tea that will make you light up the front bar the next time you crack open a “did you know” question at the pub. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed history fiend or you still think the Battle of Waterloo is an ABBA song, these podcasts will guide you to max historical enlightenment harder than the 1700s.

Check the best history podcasts here.

The Zest Is History

The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t get much better than The Zest Is History. Brought to you by the same legends that hosted All Aussie Mystery Hour (Melissa Mason and Josie Rozenberg-Clarke), this is the type of podcast for anyone who loves a good, Aussie yarn, all of which most definitely pass the pub test, mind you.

Mixed with everything from wild stories about Australia’s cultural fabric make-up (Waltzing Matilda may or may not have a horny backstory) and iconic figures to the folklore behind Australia’s most vicious drop bears (koalas people—koalas), this funny history podcast is one of the best in the biz and makes for an epic listen when you’re wheels deep into your great Aussie road trip.

History Is Gay

Because history is never as straight as you think. We’re clapping out with a standing ovation for this epic history podcast which acts as a juicy magnifying glass on the overlooked queer individuals that have made an impact on history as we know it. As a monthly podcast, you can expect Leigh and Gretchen (two self-proclaimed history nerds) to harness their passion for social justice, history and storytelling while shattering the cis-heteronormative history narrative we’re taught at school.

The result? A colourful smorgasbord ripe with information and facts based on the queer folk who made important contributions to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, trans vagabonds of the Wild West and even queer representation on radio and the small screen dating all the way back to the 1930s.

Flex’s Semi Factual History Lessons

As the true Jedi of all things podcast-related, Flex Mami is the modern-day Socrates making sense and breaking down the world around us. It’s the type of stuff a $25,000 uni degree won’t even scratch the surface of but alas it’s the knowledge, the stories and the bants that will enrich your life like sugar being mixed into cake batter.

There is no topic that gets left untouched so brace yourself for episodes spanning masturbation and menstruation to cannibalism and cornflakes. If you’re already a hardcore fan of her critical thinking card game ReFlex, then you’re going to froth over the questions too which naturally skip “what came first, the chicken or the egg” and head straight into discussions around whether marriage is dead and if it’s wrong to mummify your mum.

The History Hour

Take a seat in this podcast DeLorean and juice up your flux capacitor because The History Hour is the drip feed for all you history beginners out there. If like us, you were too busy watching reruns of The Simpsons back in high school instead of soaking up the significance of Pakistan’s first democratic election in 1970 or the impact of The Guerilla Girls from the 80s, your cheat sheet is simple—The History Hour. This history podcast looks like hour-long episodes on the most important historical occurrences (not just in western countries) told by people who were actually there at the time. 

Today In Music History

It goes without saying that music is the glue that really holds this world together and if there’s one thing we love more than a music documentary, it’s a goddamn epic music history podcast treating our ears to all-time legendary lyricists, stand-out performances that changed the trajectory of pop, the controversies behind chart-toppers and the people who revolutionised music forever. Episodes basically span every day of the year and an iconic music moment that defined that specific day, we suggest kicking off on your birth date and working through Today In Music History from here.

Conflicted: A History Podcast

If you’re a fiend for any topic that gets your moral compassing spiralling out of control like a fidget spinner, listen up. Conflicted: A History Podcast is the Mason Pearson detangling history’s greatest controversies. Hosted by Zach Cornwell, this history podcast is definitely not for the novice history goer (ie. if you can’t tell us much about the Aztecs you might want to sit this one out) but it’s an excellent deep dive into topics around China’s infamous One-Child Policy, Russia’s Red Army and how one week in 1967 completely changed the Middle East.

Dark Histories

Think true crime but ye olde-style. Dark Histories is the bi-weekly history class you need in your life which spills the tea on the unsolved and seemingly unexplained mysteries, paranormal events and cultural peculiarities. In essence, it’s got the horror factor of watching The Ring thrice over on several cups of coffee (read: lights on and doors locked for this one).

This is true history storytelling with all the gory details with episodes stretching out to over an hour and hitting the mark on the likes of the Blackout Ripper, the witches of Salem, the Lindley Street poltergeist and the mysterious death of Joseph Bowne Elwell (rumoured to be the inspo behind F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fictional character Jay Gatsby).

Dressed: The History Of Fashion

Giving a whole new meaning to the who, the why, the when and the “wear”, Dressed: The History Of Fashion is the Miranda Priestly equivalent of your university ancient history lecturer. Created by Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan, this history podcast explores the rich and very complex history behind all the clothes we wear. Episodes cover Chicago’s fashionable past, busts myths on who actually designed the spicy Playboy Bunny costume and even looks back at how pockets actually became a thing.

Now tune into the best true crime podcasts.

Image credit: Jusdevoyage

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