As a history lover there has always been a struggle to find good quality history media. There’s no shortage of movies based on historical events but all too often the history is made secondary to telling a good story. This is understandable from an entertainment aspect but sometimes they don’t even get that right. However the kind of history media I like are documentaries, and unfortunately there is a shortage of these out there.
There used to be the history. It was the chosen one who could bring balance to educational television. But they discovered how successful reality shows could be just as Americans were growing sick of them. However the portion of the population that wasn’t sick of them were the ones who hadn’t been watching them. So they got their shows about business men selling vaguely historical items with confession cams.
With the year 2012 approaching everyone got caught up with the end of world and Aliens. I think I will let my favorite YouTuber finish explaining my feelings about the History Channel.
So if we can’t go to television for good history content, than where can we go?
We go to the last bastion for any subculture media. The Internet!
In particular we go to YouTube. Since 2005 YouTube has grown to become the world’s preeminent video sharing site. If you search YouTube you can find historical documentaries. Though in order to avoid being taken down by copyright flagging they are often distorted in some way. Sometimes they are sped up or slowed down so the length of the video doesn’t match the length of the documentary. Sometimes the picture is distorted by making is smaller, or making it bigger. A younger me would have been alright with this stuff. Anything to avoid having to pay money for something. But as I have gotten older and have become a content creator myself I don’t like watching these illegal uploads. I also just prefer to pay the money to get the full undistorted versions of films I like.
Since you can’t find much in terms of good quality high production documentaries without distortions your next best bet is to find the original content producers for YouTube. As the platform has grown and creators having been given the ability to earn an income from YouTube there has been an increase in the amount of educational content. The video above is from one of my favorites CGP Grey. And there are a number of other creators out there for whatever fits your interests.
So this article is about to turn into a list like… other website’s content. Here are some history oriented educational channel on YouTube if you are looking for a history fix.
The first channel I must suggest is Crash Course. This channel was part of Google’s YouTube Original Channel Initiative where Google gave a large sum of money to John and Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel. They decided to create an educational channel to provide quality content for public schools. This channel, like most on this list, is not solely a history channel. However it has produced several history series since its creation 2012 that serve as a good primer for anyone want to learn history.
This is the channel of Indy Neidell and Mediakraft Networks, The Great War. This channel started in the summer of 2014 around the Centennial of the first world war. This channel since its start has told the story of world war one on a week by week basis. The host/writer treats all upcoming content as though it were fiction and refers to historical events ahead of where his series is as spoilers. This is a fun channel dedicated to a particular historical period. The only downside that I’m aware of is that the channel plans on ceasing content production sometime in 2018 or 2019, in order to keep with the theme of staying in time with the war.
Like Crash Course, Caspian Report isn’t primarily a history channel. It is a geo-political analysis channel, similar to Stratfor, but down on a much smaller scale. The reason I include it in this list is because every analysis of current events come with an explanation of the historical background. And more often than not you are getting more historical background than actual analysis of current events. The area this channel really focuses on is Middle Eurasia. So if that’s an area you are interested in than give this channel a try.
The last channel on this list a dedicated history, but not exactly. Alternate History Hub covers a lot of history but it does so in pursuit of creating alternate history scenarios. I was very interested in this genre before this channel came about and I was excited when I discovered it. At the beginning the creators of this channel were not so good. However over time they have gotten better and better at coming up with exact PoD’s (points of divergence) for timelines and I’m interested in seeing where they go.
So why did I write this article? Part of it was to share with all of you some good sources for history related edutainment, but the other was to share with you a new YouTube channel associated with CasualHistorian.com.
I have a good amount of programming planned for this channel. The first show to air will be a weekly program called “This Week In History.” It is just like a ‘this day in history’ type show but instead I shove an entire weeks worth of events into a video.
The first episode will be uploaded on Sunday, September 27th, 2015, and a new episode will be uploaded every Sunday so that everyone can get their weekly history fix.
Other shows you can expect to see in future are things like “Ask a Historian”, “Amateur History Theater”, and “Know a Historian.”
I hope you will all check out the channel and subscribe.