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History Extra podcast

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The HistoryExtra podcast brings you interviews with the world's best historians, on everything from the ancient world and the Middle Ages to the Second World War and the history behind current events. Produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed, it offers fresh takes on history's most famous figures and events. Subscribe for the real stories behind your favourite historical films and TV shows, and compelling insights into lesser-known aspects of the past.


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1848 Episodes
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Throughout time, both authors and their readers have gone to war. In that process, the written word has become a deadly weapon and a glimmer of peace and hope – from the furious printing efforts behind publishing //Mein Kampf// to the daring exploits of James Bond. Speaking to Emily Briffett, Andrew Pettegree traces the surprising, and sometimes sinister, ways in which the written word has shaped, and been shaped, by the conflicts of last few centuries. (Ad) Andrew Pettegree is the author of The Book at War: Libraries and Readers in an Age of Conflict (Profile Books, 2023). Buy it now from Waterstones: https://go.skimresources.com?id=71026X1535947&xcust=historyextra-social-histboty&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.waterstones.com%2Fbook%2Fthe-book-at-war%2Fandrew-pettegree%2F9781800814936 The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Shakespeare 4

Shakespeare 4

2023-12-0726:46

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Medieval people are often portrayed in popular culture as being grubby and smelly, with few manners to recommend them. However, in reality, such uncouth behaviour would certainly have been frowned upon. Speaking with Emily Briffett, Danièle Cybulskie delves into the historical handbook to pull out some of the top tips on social etiquette from the Middle Ages – and explores why these rules and ideals were so important at the time. (Ad) Danièle Cybulskie is the author of Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for Modern Life (Abbeville Press, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chivalry-Courtesy-Medieval-Manners-Modern/dp/0789214695/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3ESD081ALMM7A&keywords=chivalry+and+courtesy&qid=1698924976&sprefix=chivalry+and+%2Caps%2C85&sr=8-1&tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Following its liberation in 1944, France began a reckoning with its years of defeat, occupation and collaboration with Nazi Germany. On trial was Marshal Philippe Pétain, the decorated World War I hero and onetime head of the collaborationist regime known as Vichy France. Speaking to Danny Bird, Julian Jackson discusses the role the trial played in the nation's attempt to reconcile itself with this controversial chapter in its history. (Ad) Julian Jackson is the author of France on Trial: The Case of Marshal Pétain (Allen Lane, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/France-Trial-Case-Marshal-P%C3%A9tain/dp/024145025X/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Was 1950s Britain a grim, grey nation, haunted by the spectre of the Second World War, or was it a vibrant, forward-thinking country that had – in the words of Harold Macmillan – “never had it so good”? Speaking with Jon Bauckham, Alwyn Turner separates fact from fiction and answers listeners’ questions about a decade that saw the birth of rock’n’roll, the Suez Crisis, and the crowning of a new queen. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The French Revolution of 1789 is one of the defining events of world history – but the decades preceding the revolution were also seismic, being marked by war, royal scandal, financial crisis and scientific wonder. In conversation with Rob Attar, Robert Darnton takes us on a journey through the streets of Paris in the 40 years that preceded the storming of the Bastille. (Ad) Robert Darnton is the author of The Revolutionary Temper: Paris, 1748–1789 (Penguin, 2023). Buy it now from Waterstones: https://go.skimresources.com?id=71026X1535947&xcust=historyextra-social-histboty&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.waterstones.com%2Fbook%2Fthe-revolutionary-temper%2Frobert-darnton%2F9780713996562 The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Islam Issa charts what the tragic history play tells us about the ancient world – and the insights it offers into the politics of the playwright’s own era It may be set in ancient Rome, with a cast of real-life characters – yet William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar also tells us a great deal about the machinations of the Elizabethan court. Islam Issa shares his thoughts on how the play offers a window into the politics of the playwright’s era. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Writing during the celebrated Tang dynasty, Du Fu is heralded as China's greatest poet, musing on subjects from how to cook noodles to war and rebellion. Speaking to Spencer Mizen, Michael Wood charts Du Fu's fascinating life, and explores what the poet can tell us about medieval Chinese culture. (Ad) Michael Wood is the author of In the Footsteps of Du Fu (Simon & Schuster, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Footsteps-Du-Fu-Michael-Wood/dp/1398515442/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
From Renaissance Florence and ancient Babylon to the kingdom of Benin and Heian-era Kyoto, cities across history have served as launchpads for extraordinary outbursts of artistic flowering. Caroline Campbell, director of the National Gallery of Ireland and the author of The Power of Art, guides Ellie Cawthorne through some of these cultural metropolises, exploring what made them artistic hubs, and how they turbocharged the story of art. (Ad) Caroline Campbell is the author of The Power of Art: A World History in Fifteen Cities (The Bridge Street Press, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-People-Painting-Fifteen-Cities/dp/0349128480/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When was it established that the Earth is round? Did the Catholic church help or hinder the practice of astronomy? And how transformative was the big bang theory? Speaking to Spencer Mizen, James Hannam answers your queries on the long history of the study of the heavens. (Ad) James Hannam is the author of The Globe: How the Earth Became Round (Reaktion Books, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Globe-How-Earth-Became-Round/dp/1789147581/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The dark side of Dickens

The dark side of Dickens

2023-11-2436:432

Charles Dickens was a master of managing his personal brand. In fact, almost everything we know about him comes from one biography, written by his friend John Forster. But, if you dig a little deeper, strange biographical inconsistencies begin to emerge. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, Helena Kelly outlines her new theories on the truth behind the stories Dickens told about everything from his family and childhood to his sex life, and how they paint a much darker picture of the author’s life. (Ad) Helena Kelly is the author of The Life and Lies of Charles Dickens (Icon, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Lies-Charles-Dickens/dp/1837731047/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=dKdrS&content-id=amzn1.sym.3413293e-3815-4359-96ba-1ec5110e0b30&pf_rd_p=3413293e-3815-4359-96ba-1ec5110e0b30&pf_rd_r=260-4281246-2111105&pd_rd_wg=KK2pp&pd_rd_r=22b9c5ce-9e82-4453-bc64-7ac5042e4472&ref_=aufs_ap_sc_dsk&tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sophie Duncan delves into the playwright’s world-famous tragedy to reveal what it tells us about youth in the Tudor era The doomed romance of young lovers Romeo and Juliet has captured imaginations across the centuries – but what does William Shakespeare’s play tell us about the real experiences of youth at the time he was writing? Sophie Duncan offers her expert take. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Rachel Herrmann charts the long history of America’s famous holiday – from modern parades and celebrations to the first feast From the fabled first feast between the Pilgrims and Native Americans to the darker side of the holiday's history, the American tradition of Thanksgiving has a long and complex past. Here, Charlotte Hodgman puts listener queries and popular search queries to Rachel Herrman on the history of Thanksgiving. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Why did medieval people hit the road or the high seas? Was it expensive to travel in the Middle Ages, and what were the biggest risks that a medieval traveller faced? Speaking to David Musgrove, Professor Anthony Bale gives the lowdown on the medieval travel experience. (Ad) Anthony Bale is the author of A Travel Guide to the Middle Ages: The World Through Medieval Eyes (Viking, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Travel-Guide-Middle-Ages-Medieval/dp/0241530849/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In the summer of 1483, two young princes disappeared from the Tower of London – and were never seen again. Had they been killed by their uncle, Richard III, in his bid for the English throne? Had someone else murdered them? Or had they been whisked away to safety? Philippa Langley, whose work helped to locate the bones of Richard III under a Leicester car park, talks to Rebecca Franks about new discoveries made by The Missing Princes Project. (Ad) Philippa Langley is the author of The Princes in the Tower: Solving History’s Greatest Cold Case (The History Press, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Tower-Solving-Historys-Greatest/dp/1803995416/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
How did the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood become so famous? Did Elizabeth Siddal really almost die in a bathtub when she modelled for John Everett Millais' Ophelia? And which Rosetti painting shocked the art establishment the most? Speaking to Elinor Evans, Suzanne Fagence Cooper answers your questions on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: a group of artists founded in 1848 who pushed the boundaries of artistic realism and courted scandal in Victorian Britain through their lifestyles and art. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Why, across Nazi-occupied Europe, did some people choose to resist the Third Reich? This is the question at the heart of Halik Kochanski's book Resistance, which has just won the 2023 Wolfson History Prize. In conversation with Rachel Dinning, Halik speaks about the different types of resistance against Nazi occupation across Europe between 1939 and 1945 – from open partisan warfare in the occupied Soviet Union, to dangerous acts of defiance in Norway. (Ad) Halik Kochanski is the author of Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-1945 (Allen Lane, 2022). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Resistance-Underground-War-Europe-1939-1945/dp/0241004284/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Jerry Brotton offers expert insights into what the playwright’s much-quoted history play tells about nationalism and nationhood at the time it was first performed Telling the story of the build-up to and aftermath of the 1415 battle of Agincourt, William Shakespeare’s Henry V has sometimes been linked to the nationalistic glorification of war. Yet, as Jerry Brotton reveals, the play also contains more nuanced and complex views of nationhood. The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Shakespeare Trailer

Shakespeare Trailer

2023-11-1600:39

William Shakespeare’s plays are among the celebrated works in all of English literature – but they also offer key insights into the time in which the playwright lived, and how the past was viewed in the Tudor era. In our new podcast series, Shakespeare: Past Master, experts delve into plays including Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet to explore how they depict the past. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
George Orwell – the author of classics like 1984 – is a household name. But have you heard of his first wife, Eileen O’Shaughnessy, who convinced her husband to write the political fable which evolved into Animal Farm? Despite being vital in Orwell’s career, she has been omitted from the historical narrative by both her husband and his biographers since. Speaking to Lauren Good, Anna Funder reveals O’Shaughnessy’s hidden life – and considers how women through the past have facilitated the success of their husbands from the shadows. (Ad) Anna Funder is the author of Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life (Viking, 2023). Buy it now from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wifedom-Mrs-Orwells-Invisible-Life/dp/0241482720/?tag=bbchistory045-21&ascsubtag=historyextra-social-histboty The HistoryExtra podcast is produced by the team behind BBC History Magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (163)

Mark Power

I don't find any of this convincing. She seems to be arguing that medieval people always told the truth and hated murder.

Nov 20th
Reply

Tracey Ferrell

Always enjoy hearing Prof Tyldesley

Sep 15th
Reply

Josie Van Embden

22.34 Ireland, anyone?

Sep 4th
Reply

steve macdonaald

very poor episode,really not in keeping with the high quality of the HE series. you don't get the full story which is infuriating;what happened?buy the book,errr,don't think I'll bother on the evidence of this.the story you do get seems to be all supposition,I found the authors idea that people in prison who aren't meant to communicate with another don't particularly incredible

Jul 31st
Reply

Chris ryan

The host is most concerned with the well-being of the Industrialist fat cats , isnt she? Sort of leaves a sour taste in a listener's mouth.

Jul 1st
Reply

Alex K.

Interesting podcast, but Hubert Humphrey was definitely not FDR's predecessor as president!

Jun 18th
Reply

grodhagen

That interview didn't age well. Here in tje summer of 2023, Brits are finally wakening up to the economics of putting a tariff barrier between themselves and their closest major trading partners. That both the Commonwealth nations and the US can replace the EU, when these are drawn to Asian products, and a post-UK EU will still be more attractive than little UK in the contemporary world is longing for a long-dead world. This author's mindset is focused on the age where Britain could feed itself cheaply, mass produce products according to its own standards and could sell them anywhere and had a triangular native population growth pyramid. By 2015 an entirely new demographic and economic system had integrated European nations, like it or not. The author ignores economics and longs for a distant, hard-to-recover past. Whereas Remainers were talking about contemporary market economics, he presents that as saying Remainers had shallow desires to be part of a new trend. In other words,

Jun 3rd
Reply

Alex K.

excellent episode, Martin Davidson was articulate and made some fantastic points about a subject where he's obviously an expert. I am sure the book is very good.

May 19th
Reply

Katy Dane

The expert on this laughs and it's not at appropriate moments. I'm fascinated by the medieval & women's history but this was quite trying to listen to. Maybe it's an American thing but it's not for me.

Apr 14th
Reply

Adrian Lord

these podcast keeps stopping. it's very frustrating.

Mar 12th
Reply

Mark Power

Not the most promising material, but the speaker here was very good.

Feb 1st
Reply

grodhagen

Oh please, Professor. The BLM protests were not exacerbated by covid restrictions. The anger had been building for many years, as police kept performing summary executions, and as schools shootings have escalated without any senisible measures for remediation. Also, have you forgotten the Watts (and other) riots of the sixties? Or the anti-capitalism riots when summits were held in the US? The anger was about the return of 1950s-1960s rollback of civil rights and the rise of right-wing militancy. ALSO, the US mishandling of covid (and Britain's) was about the amateurism of conservative politics, their disdain for expertise and their desire to cronyize the response to politically connected favorites. The US experts were sidelined, and Jared Kushner was tasked with inventing the wheel again. Even now in 2023 Dr. Fauci is held in scorn by the right as are vaccines.

Jan 30th
Reply

Chris ryan

FDR. The greatest president we've ever had. The president we desperately need today.

Jan 23rd
Reply

whirledly

not. a . conspiracy. another word with meaning being utilised for completely different purposes.

Jan 2nd
Reply

grodhagen

How come after all these years haven't H.E. solved the basic issue of having good audio? The guest's voice is clear, but not the interviewer's, and it's his show!

Dec 3rd
Reply

grodhagen

I was surprised that Kyle Harper is not an epidemiologist, but when he said he was an historian his name clicked. He also wrote "The Fate of Rome", a groundbreaking book, and excellent read, where he examined the western Roman Empire from a climatological and epidemiological perspective.

Dec 1st
Reply

grodhagen

Gore Vidal already covered the _great philosopher_ material in considerable detail quite a while ago.

Nov 30th
Reply

grodhagen

What is this club of Scott devotees? Lt. Scott represented the epitome of "Jolly good" amateur officers who thought any venture could be tossed together, improvised and muddled through with grit and determination. Amundesen with a much smaller team studied and trained on Norwegian glaciers and Greenland's icecap, and made a science out of their expedition. They made it to the pole and back (gaining body weight!) with no real mishap, because they were professionals. I was gobsmacked to remember that I had seen this current guy being here interviewed in National Geographic decades ago, and he too did man hauling, and repeating other inefficiencies Scott used. It resembled a personal quest to prove a cult figure could have, should have, deserved to have triumphed over Amundsen, just because he was a Jolly Good old-school English officer! By Jove. Right-o!

Nov 23rd
Reply

grodhagen

A gem of an interview with a wonderful, loving human. He dares look inward where 99% of the rest of us never would.

Nov 22nd
Reply

grodhagen

Would like to see the Mary Rose someday. Our Wasa here in Stockholm is another must-see recovered old warship. We had better luck in the Wasa sank in very sheltered water and is largely intact. But the half-ship you have is a beautiful cross-section of the full ship, if the photos do it justice.

Oct 23rd
Reply
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