I have a very long commute to the AASLH office each morning and home each afternoon. This provides ample time for me to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, the news, and bad ’80s songs and show tunes. There are three podcasts, however, that really captured my attention over the last few months that I think fellow historians would enjoy for their ability to connect history to current events.
You Must Remember This – The tagline for this podcast is “The podcast about the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century.” I am a fan of old Hollywood stories and was drawn in by a series called “Dead Blondes” about actresses who met untimely ends (and were blonde). What is great about this podcast is that the host Karina Longworth is a writer and film historian and uses her background to connect the stories in each season to show the progression of history. I would start your journey into Hollywood history with the series on “MGM Stories” which illustrates a clear pattern of sexual harassment in Hollywood from its earliest day setting the stage for Harvey Weinstein and others.
Revisionist History – Matt Naylor, President and CEO of the National World War I Museum and co-host for the 2018 AASLH Annual Meeting, introduced me to this podcast last year as we began the discussions for this year’s theme, Truth or Consequences. The host, Malcolm Gladwell, author of five New York Times best sellers, uses the podcast to examine “the way the passage of time changes and enlightens our understanding of the world around us.” I recommend starting with Season 2, Episode 3, “Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment” which looks at the legacy of Brown v. Board through the eyes of the Brown family.
Stuff You Missed in History Class – I enjoy this podcast because they focus on little-known stories and history. They also have a large volume of episodes, so I can choose depending on my mood. My most recent favorite is “Three Astonishing Belles”. It examines three really great stories of women named Belle who pushed the boundaries of acceptable roles for women during their respective time periods. This podcast also publishes a bibliography for each episode on their website.
There are many others that I listen to, but these podcasts work hard to make history relevant to today’s audiences and make us think about connections from the past to the present. Happy listening!