Have you ever considered listening to history instead of reading it? History audiobooks have become increasingly popular and for good reason. They offer a unique and engaging way to learn about different time periods, events, and cultures. In this article, we will explore the best history audiobooks available, by genre and time period, and offer tips for choosing the right one for you.
Why History Audiobooks are a Great Way to Learn
Some people might be skeptical about listening to a book instead of reading it, but there are many benefits to learning through audiobooks. First, audiobooks can help you retain information better, as research shows that listening activates different parts of the brain than reading does. Also, listening to an audiobook can help you multitask, allowing you to learn while doing other activities, such as exercising or commuting. Finally, some audiobooks include narration by the author, adding an extra layer of context and insight to the story.
The Benefits of Audiobooks for Learning
Audiobooks offer several unique advantages when it comes to learning. Listening to an audiobook can improve your listening and comprehension skills, as well as your vocabulary and pronunciation. Because audiobooks are narrated, you can hear the correct pronunciation of names and places, and you can also hear the nuances and emotions in the narrator’s voice, helping you understand the story better. Additionally, audiobooks can be more accessible for people with visual impairments or dyslexia, allowing everyone to enjoy the same content.
How Audiobooks Enhance the Historical Experience
When it comes to historical audiobooks, the experience is even more enhanced. Hearing the story of a historical event, narrated with emotion and inflection, can make it come to life in a way that reading cannot. Additionally, some history audiobooks use sound effects and music to set the mood and transport you to the time and place being described. You can feel like you are right there, witnessing the events firsthand.
For example, imagine listening to an audiobook about the American Revolution. As you hear the narrator describe the sound of musket fire and the smell of gunpowder in the air, you can almost feel like you are on the battlefield with the soldiers. Or, if you are listening to an audiobook about the sinking of the Titanic, the sound of the waves and the creaking of the ship can transport you to the moment of the tragedy.
Furthermore, history audiobooks can provide a more comprehensive understanding of a historical event. Some history books can be dense and difficult to read, but hearing the information narrated can make it easier to digest. Additionally, some audiobooks include interviews with experts or primary sources, providing even more insight into the event.
Overall, history audiobooks are a great way to learn about the past. They offer unique benefits for learning and can enhance the historical experience in a way that reading cannot. So, the next time you are looking for a new way to learn about history, consider giving an audiobook a try.
Top History Audiobooks by Time Period
History audiobooks are a great way to dive into the past and learn about the events and people that shaped our world. Whether you are interested in ancient civilizations, medieval times, or modern history, there is a history audiobook for you. Here are some top picks for each time period:
Ancient History Audiobooks
Travel back in time to the fascinating world of ancient civilizations with these audiobooks:
“The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt”
“The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt” by Toby Wilkinson: This audiobook takes you on a journey through the history of one of the world’s oldest and most powerful civilizations. From the construction of the pyramids to the reign of Cleopatra, you’ll learn about the triumphs and tragedies of ancient Egypt.
“The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others”
“The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others” by Paul Cartledge: Discover the world of ancient Greece through the eyes of its people. This audiobook explores the culture, politics, and daily life of the Greeks, from the Persian Wars to the rise of Alexander the Great.
“The Spartans” by Paul Cartledge: The Spartans were one of the most feared and respected military powers of the ancient world. This audiobook delves into their society, their military tactics, and their legacy.
“The History of Rome”
“The History of Rome” by Mike Duncan: From the founding of the city to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, this audiobook offers a comprehensive look at the history of Rome. You’ll learn about the rise and fall of Julius Caesar, the Punic Wars, and the gladiatorial games.
Medieval History Audiobooks
The medieval period was a time of great change and upheaval. These audiobooks will transport you back to the Middle Ages:
“The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England”
“The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England” by Dan Jones: Follow the story of the Plantagenet dynasty, from the reign of Henry II to the Wars of the Roses. This audiobook is full of drama, intrigue, and larger-than-life characters.
“The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land”
“The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land” by Thomas Asbridge: The Crusades were a series of religious wars fought between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages. This audiobook offers a detailed look at the causes, events, and legacy of these wars.
“The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors”
“The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors” by Dan Jones: The Knights Templar were a powerful and mysterious order of warrior-monks who played a major role in the medieval world. This audiobook explores their history, their secrets, and their downfall.
Modern History Audiobooks
From the world wars to the Cold War, the modern period has been shaped by some of the most significant events in human history. These audiobooks offer a glimpse into this fascinating era:
“The Cold War: A World History”
“The Cold War: A World History” by Odd Arne Westad: The Cold War was a period of tension and conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted for decades. This audiobook provides a global perspective on this era, exploring the political, economic, and cultural impact of the Cold War.
“The Six Wives of Henry VIII”
“The Six Wives of Henry VIII” by Alison Weir: Henry VIII is one of the most famous monarchs in English history, and his six wives are equally well-known. This audiobook tells their stories, from the doomed Catherine of Aragon to the tragic Catherine Howard.
“The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I”
“The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I” by Barbara Tuchman: World War I was a global conflict that changed the course of history. This audiobook focuses on the events leading up to the war, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the battle of the Marne.
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari: This audiobook offers a sweeping overview of human history, from the emergence of Homo sapiens to the present day. You’ll learn about the agricultural revolution, the rise of empires, and the impact of technology on society.
Best History Audiobooks by Genre
Historical Fiction Audiobooks
For those who like their history with a side of imagination, historical fiction can be a great choice. Here are some of the best historical fiction audiobooks:
- “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel
- “The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco
- “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett
- “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne
Biographies and Memoirs Audiobooks
For those who prefer to learn about history through the people who lived it, biographies and memoirs are a great choice. Here are some top picks:
- “Becoming” by Michelle Obama (narrated by the author)
- “Grant” by Ron Chernow
- “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
Military History Audiobooks
For those interested in war and strategy, military history audiobooks can be both informative and engaging. Here are some top picks:
- “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu (narrated by Aidan Gillen)
- “Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest” by Stephen E. Ambrose
- “Gates of Fire: An Epic Battle of Thermopylae” by Steven Pressfield
- “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge
Award-Winning History Audiobooks
Pulitzer Prize Winners in History
The Pulitzer Prize for History is awarded annually for a distinguished and comprehensive book on an American topic. Here are some Pulitzer Prize-winning history audiobooks:
- “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” by David W. Blight
- “The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea” by Jack E. Davis
- “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” by Alan Taylor
Audie Award Winners for History and Biography
The Audie Awards recognize excellence in audiobook narration and production. Here are some Audie Award-winning history and biography audiobooks:
- “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (narrated by the author)
- “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777” by Rick Atkinson (narrated by George Newbern)
- “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah (narrated by the author)
Tips for Choosing the Right History Audiobook
Assessing Your Interests and Goals
Before choosing a history audiobook, ask yourself what time period, genre, or event interests you the most. Are you interested in learning about a particular country or culture? Do you prefer listening to fiction or nonfiction? Are you looking to learn more about a specific historical event or figure? Identifying your interests and goals will help you narrow down your options and choose the right audiobook for you.
Evaluating Audiobook Narrators and Production Quality
Audiobook narrators can greatly impact your listening experience, so it’s important to choose a narrator whose voice and style you enjoy. Additionally, it’s important to evaluate the production quality of the audiobook, including the sound effects, music, and any additional content added to enhance the listening experience. Look for audiobooks with high ratings and positive reviews to ensure a quality listening experience.
History audiobooks offer a unique and engaging way to learn about the past. By exploring the best history audiobooks available, you can discover new perspectives, gain insights, and enjoy a truly immersive learning experience. Whether you prefer ancient history or modern, nonfiction or historical fiction, there is a history audiobook out there that is perfect for you.
Are the best historical audiobooks true?
Not always, some of the best historical audiobooks are historical fiction. These stories are grounded in historical truth, but tell a fictional story.
What’s the difference between history books and historical fiction?
History books tend to be non-fiction and accurate, however, historical fiction bases its story in a real historical period or event and toys with the plotlines.
Who is the best history writer of all time?
Robert Harris, Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, David McCullough, Mary Beard, and John W. Dower are all near the top of the history and historical fiction rankings.