Whether finding a love story in a 19th-century traveling circus or detailing the escape of a runaway slave, host Nate DiMeo knows that extraordinary people and moments help listeners make strong connections to history. Despite its short runtime, The Memory Palace leaves you fully engrossed, expanding snippets of the past into fully realized narratives. What further distinguishes this podcast is its understated sound design and elegant narration. You won't leave an episode with material for your thesis, like denser podcasts in this category, but you will leave affected by the mystical tales DiMeo plucks from obscurity.
Each episode of Biography centers around a significant historical figure, though a guilty-pleasure series this is not. Even Biography's music sets a serious tone. If you are a fan of any of its subjects, such as Darwin or Catherine the Great, you'll savor host Matt Smith's rigorous pace and intellectual conversations. This relatively new Aussie series is a great choice for the most historically inclined listeners, but perhaps even a less invested layperson might let Biography lull them to sleep while raising their IQ.