Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Podcast History of Our World
February 2, 2013 10:07 AM   Subscribe

The Podcast History of Our World
posted by lalex (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was a little saddened to see so many biblical figures but that podcast about the Battle of Kadesh sounds suh-weeeeeet! Thanks! I love history podcasts.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:16 AM on February 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


They seem to be working with a really loose definition of "history."
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 AM on February 2, 2013


Looks interesting. I am a big fan of history audiobooks, which are a bit odd, because what makes a good history book (detail) can make a terrible audiobook, if it isn't read and written well. Similarly, fun, easy-to-listen books can be really shallow (what I worry about with amateur history podcasts)

If you are into this, some random favorites over the years (links go to Audible, sorry):

Ancient History
Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs by Barbara Mertz, a PhD in Egyptology at Chicago who later became a mystery writer. Really terrific.
Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore covers the whole history of the city (and thus much of the ancient world), very evenhandedly.
Caesar's Legion is the history of the 10th Legion in the Roman Republic and later Empire. A very detailed military history, if you are into that.

Middle Ages
The Time Travellers Guide to the 14th Century, is a lot of fun, with a lot of detail.
Greenblatt's The Swerve, is a Pulitzer winner. Amazing fact: monks were not allowed to discuss the books that they were copying.
Tuchman's A Distant Mirror was actually better in audiobook form.

Enlightenment through 19th century
The Age of Wonder is a nice history of science and the voyages of discovery during the Romantic period in England
Pirate Hunter. Yeah, pirates!
McCollough's 1776. It really deserves the praise.

20th century
The Demon Under the Microscope about the invention of antibiotics.
O Jerusalem stunningly read history of the the emergence of Israel in 1948. Tries to be unbiased, but doesn't always succeed.
Endurance the best adventure story ever
Red Moon Rising about the birth of the space race


Quirky History-Told-From-An-Angle
History of the World in Six Glasses
Anything by Bill Bryson
posted by blahblahblah at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2013 [27 favorites]


Also Crash Course: World History
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


They seem to be working with a really loose definition of "history."

And a loose definition of the word "world". And a soft spot for mythology.

Of course, when you set yourself such a herculean task, it's hard to succeed on all fronts immediately. Maybe he intends to bring the Near East up to a certain date, then head over to other parts of the world and do the same, for continuity.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2013


The History of Rome is of course the gold standard.
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on February 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


One of the best things about "The History Of Rome" podcast is that, in the beginning, where the foundations are shaky and there's all this mythology you can't really leave out, but which is not truly historical, Mike lays it all out there and says, "Now keep in mind none of this ever really happened. We have no contemporary historical records of a Romulus and Remus, and they probably never literally existed, but this is something you have to know about for later, so yay mythological underpinnings. I promise we'll get to real history in a couple weeks after Rome is sacked by the Gauls and suddenly the records get a lot better."

I mean, that's not a direct quote, of course. But very much in the spirit of how he explains that, while this stuff is vital to know about, it's not history, per se.
posted by Sara C. at 12:17 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hardcore History has been covering the Mongol era lately, top notch listening.
posted by telstar at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yeah before I proceed, I need to know how this compares to Hardcore History, ie. does it compare at all?
posted by Jimbob at 1:40 PM on February 2, 2013


Another strong endorsement for Hardcore History. If TPHOOW does compare to HH, then it's definitely worth listening to.
posted by lostburner at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2013


A second vote for the Hardcore History series on the Mongols. I had no idea just how freaking scary they were.
posted by Myca at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2013


Greenblatt has been getting a lot of criticism for seriously misrepresenting the Middle Ages in that book. Even to say that "monks were not allowed to discuss the books that they were copying" is reductive at best (questions like "which monks? where? when?" should immediately pop to mind, and also questions like "if there was a rule to something like that effect, did they even follow it?").
posted by Casuistry at 8:13 PM on February 2, 2013


Casuistry: Greenblatt has been getting a lot of criticism for seriously misrepresenting the Middle Ages in that book..

Every book on the Middle Ages seems to be very controversial. I don't mean that as a joke, I just mean that every well-written popular history (including the Tuchman book I recommended) seems to have its share of criticism from scholars. They also have their defenders. At least I didn't reccomend the amazingly interesting and almost completely discredited A World Lit Only by Fire.

Anyway, yes, there are criticisms, and I have issues with Greenblatt's argument also (ultimately, I don't buy the importance of Lucretius as the critical factor in the Enlightenment). But it isn't like the guy shouldn't be writing about the history of literature. He is a University Professor at Harvard and the editor of the Norton Anthology. The existence of strong criticism doesn't make the book less worthwhile (and, if you want someone who hates Greenblatt, look at Rosenbaum's columns in Slate).

Even to say that "monks were not allowed to discuss the books that they were copying" is reductive at best (questions like "which monks? where? when?" should immediately pop to mind, and also questions like "if there was a rule to something like that effect, did they even follow it?")

This was a teaser blurb from me. It does not reflect Greenblatt's discussion of the subject, which is both referenced and many pages long. I just thought it was cool.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:30 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


This podcast would be better named "A History of the Jews". Out of 18 podcasts to date bringing us up to about 950 BC, five -- count 'em, five -- are specifically about the ancient Hebrews; including one entire podcast on Moses, David, and Solomon each.

Come on!

For a decent ancient history podcast, I recommend The Ancient World.

PS. If someone does decide to make a decent "A History of the Jews" podcast, I hope it will use the same criticality that Mike Duncan brought to bear in The History of Rome.
posted by Dr Garry at 2:10 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, I had not heard of Hardcore History before this post. I'm a huge fan of history podcasts and thought I'd run through all the good ones.

Firstly - THANK YOU to those who've recommended Hardcore History in this thread. If The Podcast History Of Our World is even close to comparable, it's probably pretty good too.

Secondly - for those who come upon this FPP and are interested in listening to Hardcore History. The first of the Mongol podcasts isn't a bad place to start. Damn. He's a great storyteller, but without compromising scholarly rigor.
posted by Sara C. at 10:34 PM on February 3, 2013


My recommendation for Hardcore History is "Judgement at Nineveh". Unless you really know your ancient Near Eastern history, your going to come away feeling like there was this huge slice of human history that you had only heard of before.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:09 AM on February 4, 2013


« Older "There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is...   |   Why Young Avengers #1, the "P... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments