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‘Stuff You Missed In History Class’ brings history out of textbooks

Five stars

For those who are huge history buffs or want to learn more than your high school history class taught you, the podcast “Stuff You Missed in History Class” discusses various events throughout history that are seldom talked about. They cover topics like transatlantic travel before the Titanic, the history of ballet and the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots.

The podcast is produced by HowStuffWorks and is hosted by Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey. The podcast was originally titled “Fact or Fiction? History Stuff for the History Buff” and has had many different hosts throughout its evolution. Wilson and Frey have both been working with the podcast since 2013.

Episodes can seem slow at first, but they often provide contextual background about events that are definitely worth listening to if you would like to learn more about history. The podcast’s archives date back over ten years to 2008 and cover almost any topic you can think of. There is sure to be something of interest for everyone.

It is clear that the hosts of the show have done their research and are very knowledgeable about every topic on their show. They also convey information in a fun, engaging way that does not come across like a normal history class lecture.

In addition to sharing historical information, the hosts provide commentary on how these issues pertain to our modern world, as well as how they impacted society at the time. “Stuff You Missed in History Class” has been accused of covering too many topics about women in history and they are criticized for being biased towards talking about women over men.

Wilson and Frey stated on their website that “Even though it should not be a problem to talk about women more than we talk about men, we’ve gone back into the archive and looked, and what we’ve found is that a sound majority of our shows that could be classified as ‘men’ or ‘women’ are about men. Even through dedicated, continual effort to talk about women, we still don’t even come close to a 50/50 split.”

According to data compiled on their website, 45 percent of their episodes are ungendered. On average, they focus on male figures in 34 percent of their episodes and female figures in 21 percent.

As the two hosts become more comfortable with their craft, their episodes sound less scripted and are better at engaging listeners. Their episodes have also increased in length from about five minutes to 30 to 40 minutes.

Despite criticisms of gender bias and being too scripted, the podcast provides factual accounts of events in history and shares the truth about events to clear up common misconceptions.

In addition to the podcast, which can be found on iTunes, Spotify and their website,, Wilson and Frey host live shows to discuss historical events that pertain to the cities that they are visiting.

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