Im a podcaster, and its Mike Duncans fault. Well, not entirely his fault. But I am one of several people who were inspired to start a history podcast after listening to his much-admired The History of Rome series. It covered the story of Rome from the mythical foundings of the Republic down to the fall of the western empire. (The story of the continuing eastern empire has been taken up by Robin Piersons The History of Byzantium podcast, which is also excellent.)
After a hiatus, Duncan returned with what has become my favourite history podcast and if you havent yet discovered it, you have some catching up to do. After launching in 2013 with the story of the English Civil War, the series has covered the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, Simon Bolivars liberation of South America, and more recently the July Revolution in Paris in 1830. Revolutions has everything I like in a history podcast: it tells its story in great detail the July Revolution for instance was covered in an hour-by-hour and (literally) blow-by-blow fashion. Yet Duncan has a gift for clear storytelling, and there is enough forest to help you appreciate each tree.
The scripted episodes are tightly written and well-researched, with occasional doses of dry humour and unflagging enthusiasm for the subject. Most impressive is that, despite moving across several centuries and different locales, Duncan conveys the sense of a single narrative. Listening on a weekly basis, you get a sense of how revolutions evolved where at first they were usually unintended consequences, they increasingly became professionalised enterprises.
Duncans earlier series was itself revolutionary, or at least pioneering, in inspiring other podcasters. With Revolutions, he shows those other podcasters how it should be done, and shows us all how the modern world was born.