We all know that “history is written by the victors,” which, more often than not, means it becomes so skewed as to become unrecognizable. The internet changed that–or at least it has the potential to. Lately, I’m finding that podcasts are a wonderful way to revisit little known historical stories, and go in-depth on topical issues. Whether it’s mostly news and analysis, or a comedic take on history, podcasts are an easy way to top off your knowledge bank. So here are some recommendations to get you through the weekend:
History is a lot more interesting when it’s fun. On The Dollop, comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds take listeners through tales of (mostly) American history, challenging what you thought you knew. Here are a few episodes that seem especially pertinent to understanding what’s happening today:
- Huey Long
- Opium in the U.S.
- Harriet Tubman
- The Occupation of Alcatraz
- Edward Clarke vs. Girls
- Boston Busing 1974 and 1975
- Black Panther Fred Hampton
- Mashers and Hatpins
Undisclosed — The Killing of Freddie Gray
Undisclosed sprang out of Serial madness, taking a deep, lawyerly look at Adnan Sayed’s case. Then it moved on to other wrongful convictions. But they also took a slight detour to take a closer look at the Freddie Gray case. You’ll need to start at the beginning with this one, because there is a lot to take in. Whatever you think you know about this case, the Undisclosed team knows so much more, and it’s worth a listen.
Trumpcast & Pod Save America
Having trouble keeping up with the news that is constantly emerging our about our fearless leader? These two podcasts can help. You’ll have to decide for yourself which issues interest you, because there are plenty to choose from.
Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race
If you’re interested in hearing a conversation about race–or more accurately, a conversation about our national conversation on race–there
is was no better place to turn than the About Race podcast. Anna Holmes, Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda, and Tanner Colby had some of the most honest, reasonable, informed, and informative conversations about race that have probably ever taken place. They manage to take an explosive topic, go beyond the buzzwords, and bring people to the table to have discussions that make sense. (Their responses to listener feedback was often more informative than anything else, because it gives us a look into exactly what goes wrong when regular folks try to have these same conversations.) Sadly, this show was cancelled shortly after the election. But the discussions are worth listening to…even if you think you are well-versed in this topic already.
Last Podcast on the Left
This isn’t an obvious choice. At its core, this is a podcast about conspiracy theories, serial killers, and aliens. But these guys aren’t Alex Jones… Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski, and Ben Kissell tackle some really interesting and serious topics, using humor to make it a bit more palatable. And in the meantime, they cast light on–and often get at the real truth–that drives so much distrust among our fellow citizens. It’s always helpful to look at history through a different lens, and this podcast will help you understand where some of the anti-government types are coming from (without driving you insane). Here are a few episodes that might add something to your understanding of familiar topics, and give you a window into a world you may not be familiar with.
- Oklahaoma City Part 1 and Part 2 and there’s a Part 3 still to come
- 9/11 Part 1 and Part 2 (Part 3 gets a bit nutty)
- Edgewood Part One and Part Two