REVIEW: ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class’ is the educational podcast we deserve

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Artwork courtesy of Stuff Media.

For those of us who weren’t quite satisfied by our education, the “Stuff You Missed in History Class” podcast, hosted by Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey, dives into subjects not found in standard high school history textbooks.

Though it may take a few minutes to be drawn into an episode, it’s definitely worth a listen if the historical subject is of genuine interest to you.

It’s immediately apparent that the hosts of this podcast have done their homework. They provide an excellent summary of background information and context for each episode’s historical subject.

The podcast’s archives stretch back over 10 years to June 2008, so there is plenty of content for new listeners to choose from. Those hungry for history can also look forward to new episodes, which are released frequently.

One of the most recent episodes about Paul Julius Reuters caught my attention in particular. Reuters’ lucrative news service, which he started at the age of 34 in 1851, still exists as the Reuter News Agency today. The episode covers the development of his company, how it adapted with technology and its historical significance.

Hosts Wilson and Frey keep listeners entertained by pointing out humor in the stories they tell. Witty, offhanded comments help achieve their informal, yet informative style.

When they discuss the types of business relationships Reuters worked within, they joke about his monopolizing business, which would not be allowed today.

The hosts frequently contrast societies of the past to society today, filling in the gaps that come with time and change. The details may ordinarily seem trivial, but this podcast makes them fun and often puts them in a global context.

“Stuff You Missed in History Class” casts a wider net than most of my history teachers ever did since it is not confined by curriculum or doing the bare minimum to meet learning standards.

Other recent episodes have been released covering NASA engineer Mary Winston Jackson, painter Teresa Carreño and engineer Gustave Eiffel, architect of the Eiffel Tower.

The length of each episode varies, but most are around 30 to 40 minutes. During that time, the tone is conversational but information-heavy, so listeners need to pay attention when they press “play.”

With that, it is not uncommon for podcasts to post extra links about their subjects online, and it is especially helpful that “Stuff You Missed in History Class” provides these extra resources for listeners who want to learn more.

Without a doubt, my favorite part of “Stuff You Missed in History Class” is that it reminded me of a history teacher I had in middle school. I learned so much from him because he stretched what history topics were supposed to be taught by including a section on “this day in history” every day.

I think this would be just his cup of tea. But with such a wide selection of episodes to choose from, any student can surely find a topic of interest from this podcast’s repertoire and give it a try.

Sarah Moyer is a senior in agricultural communications. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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