23 Best History Books On Audible: Immerse Yourself in History

Plug in your headphones and get ready to take a trip back in time with the best history books on Audible. Check out the 23 you must listen to in our guide.

When you’re working to learn about world history, audiobooks can allow you to get your daily dose of knowledge on the fly, whether you’re busy at work, commuting, or getting your workout in. Whether you’re just getting ready to learn more about history or you’re interested in listening to audiobooks so you can become an audiobook narrator, digging into the latest history books available on Audible is a smart way to expand your knowledge base.

We’ve included a variety of history books in our list below, from works that focus on the American Revolution to works that detail the history of humanity. Let’s start listening.

Contents

1. Now I Know: The Revealing Stories Behind the World’s Most Interesting Facts by Dan Lewis

You’ll love listening to Now I Know: The Revealing Stories Behind the World’s Most Interesting by Dan Lewis as he goes through the well-researched history behind many common facts. As you listen, you’ll marvel as you learn about science, language, politics, and more. Readers especially love the bonus facts Lewis includes at the end of each story, allowing you to get a deeper understanding of each story in the book, whether you’re learning more about baseball or international relations.

“Truth is stranger than fiction. Someone once said that. I have no idea who, but he or she is right—the most astonishing things around us aren’t made up; they’re real. Mark Twain once allegedly observed why: ‘Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.’”

Dan Lewis, Now I Know: The Revealing Stories Behind the World’s Most Interesting Facts
Now I Know More: The Revealing Stories Behind Even More of the World's Most Interesting Facts
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Dan Lewis (Author) - Anthony Haden Salerno (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/01/2014 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

2. Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission by Hampton Sides

Hampton Sides
Hampton Sides via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission carries listeners through the WWII allied prison camp raid that took place at Cabanatuan in the Philippines. Many American soldiers died during the raid, and the book pays tribute to those who gave their lives to set others free. 513 prisoners of war were rescued during the mission, including several survivors of the Bataan Death March. Looking for more history books to binge on a weekend? Check out the best books for American history to add to your reading list! Or you can use the search bar at the top right of the page to search for the best authors.

“These men suffered enough for a hundred lifetimes, and no one in this country should be allowed to forget it.”

Hampton Sides, Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Hampton Sides (Author) - James Naughton (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/03/2001 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

3. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Mark Kurlansky
Mark Kurlansky via Wikipedia, Public Domain

You don’t think twice about seasoning your dinner with your salt shaker, and you’ll be amazed as you listen to Kurlansky’s account of how simple seasoning has played a role in the history of the world. Learn how salt has been the cause of wars and changes in human civilization in Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky.

“Salt is so common, so easy to obtain, and so inexpensive that we have forgotten that from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history.”

Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History
Salt: A World History
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Mark Kurlansky (Author) - Scott Brick (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/20/2003 (Publication Date) - Phoenix Books (Publisher)

4. The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World by A. J. Baime

Truman didn’t expect to become president, and many felt that he was in over his head after Roosevelt’s sudden death. In the first four months of his presidency, Truman handled concentration camp liberation, the dropping of the atomic bomb, and the rise of the cold war. You’ll be inspired as you hear how Truman faced high-stakes situations with calm confidence in The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World.

“It doesn’t count what’s gone before. What counts is what happens now.”

A.J. Baime, The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World
The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World
  • Audible Audiobook
  • A. J. Baime (Author) - Tony Messano (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/24/2017 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

5. The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great by Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro discusses how Western civilization is at a turning point and how Judeo-Christian values and Greek logic are cornerstones of traditional American life. In The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, the author discusses what currently makes Western civilization work and how he believes the world needs to change for it to remain in working order.

“Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Yes, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Ben Shapiro, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Ben Shapiro (Author) - Ben Shapiro (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/19/2019 (Publication Date) - HarperAudio (Publisher)

6. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson via Wikipedia, Public Domain

If you love to learn, you’ll love how Bryson’s book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, touches on particle physics, chemistry, and the planet’s origins. Listeners walk away from the novel with a new appreciation for history, science, chemistry, and humanity (and get the chance to chuckle as Bryson lends his unique brand of humor to his writing).

“The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can’t quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don’t altogether know, filled with matter we can’t identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand.”

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
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A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Bill Bryson (Author) - Richard Matthews (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/04/2003 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

7. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne

S. C. Gwynne
S. C. Gwynne via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History details the life of Quanah, a half-Native, half-white member of the Comanche tribe who became the last and most powerful Comanche chief. Gwynne expertly details the difficult issues between the Comanche and the white settlers and explains how the furthering of the Western frontier caused the end of the powerful tribe.

“Thus began what would become known to history as the Battle of Blanco Canyon, which was in turn the opening salvo in a bloody Indian war in the highlands of west Texas that would last four years and culminate in the final destruction of the Comanche nation.”

S. C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
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Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
  • Audible Audiobook
  • S. C. Gwynne (Author) - David Drummond (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/20/2016 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

8. The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw

Alex Kershaw
Alex Kershaw via Wikipedia, Public Domain

The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon tells the story of an intelligence platoon that works to prevent the German army from advancing at the start of the Battle of the Bulge. It took the United States Army 37 years to recognize the heroic actions of the platoon, and Kershaw does an excellent job of showing readers all that the men went through to keep casualties as low as possible.

“Hitler had a bad cut on his head and had lost the hearing in one ear. But he looked ecstatic. ‘Now I have those fellows!’ he shouted. ‘Now I can take steps!’ He had long suspected a conspiracy among senior officers. Now he would wipe them out, purge German society of other subversives, and reassert his power.”

Alex Kershaw, The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II’s Most Decorated Platoon
The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Alex Kershaw (Author) - Grover Gardner (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/25/2018 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Audio, Inc. (Publisher)

9. White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

White Rose, Black Forest follows the journey of a German nurse and an American spy who decide to embark on a mission together. The nurse finds the injured spy and nurses him back to health, and together, the pair work to change the course of history. While the story itself is fiction, the intricate attention to detail makes it easy for readers to imagine that the story actually took place behind the scenes of WWII.

“Where they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people.”

Eoin Dempsey, White Rose, Black Forest

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10. The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar

Meir Shahar
Meir Shahar via Wikipedia, Public Domain

The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts is celebrated as both incredibly detailed and highly readable; this novel details the factors that allowed Shaolin Monks to develop martial arts that would be used by people around the world, despite the fact that violence is prohibited within the Buddhist religion. Shahar delves into political, social, economic, and religious factors that allowed monks to develop self-defense methods.

“Chinese pilgrimage sites—regardless of religious affiliation—are almost invariably located in alpine landscapes. Situated on the slopes of Mt. Song, the Shaolin Monastery is no exception.”

Meir Shahar, The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts
The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Meir Shahar (Author) - Kevin Young (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/31/2013 (Publication Date) - University Press Audiobooks (Publisher)

11. The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History by Lee Smith

The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History details the work of Congressman Devin Nunes. As the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes uncovered an operation that worked to harm the institutions that sustain America. Smith expertly uses his journalistic expertise to tell the story that began in 2016 in a way that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

“The sociology of Washington, on the other hand, is not only more political but also more gullible, more cynical. It’s a city of half a million student council presidents, ready to adopt any opinion that advances their careers.”

Lee Smith, The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History
The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Lee Smith (Author) - John Pruden (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/29/2019 (Publication Date) - Center Street (Publisher)

12. Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires by Shomari Wills

The inspiring tales of the first people to escape slavery and become millionaires in America are widely unknown, and Wills does these phenomenal stories justice. Read Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires to learn how Napoleon Bonaparte Drew, Mary Ellen Pleasant, Robert Reed Church, Hannah Elias, Annie Turnbo-Malone, Madam C. J. Walker, and O.W. Gurley worked to achieve greatness despite impossible odds.

“In the following months, Douglass rose to fame as an abolitionist and orator. His time on the island catapulted him to prominence and also galvanized the African American community there. Among them was a young woman who would become one of America’s most powerful black entrepreneurs: Mary Ellen Pleasant.”

Shomari Wills, Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires
Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Shomari Wills (Author) - Ron Butler (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/30/2018 (Publication Date) - HarperAudio (Publisher)

13. The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story by David Crow

In The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story, Crow shares his story about growing up on a Navajo Reservation where he and his siblings revered the stories told by their father, a Cherokee Indian and WWII veteran. Eventually, their father turned violent. Despite challenging circumstances, Crow managed to find his way to college and eventually had to face off against his father. The story inspires readers to consider the human spirit’s ability to triumph against all odds.

“Be careful whenever everything is given to you,” Mr. Ashcroft said. “Because then you’ll be totally beholden to your masters.”

David Crow, The Pale-Faced Lie
The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story
  • Audible Audiobook
  • David Crow (Author) - Kaipo Schwab (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/28/2020 (Publication Date) - Tantor Audio (Publisher)

14. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough

David McCullough
David McCullough via Wikipedia, Public Domain

In 1889, the coal mining town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was faced with an unthinkable flood after an old dam had been poorly rebuilt to create a lake at a resort. More than 2,000 people were killed by the flood, and the story of the scandal that created the horrific event swept the nation. The Johnstown Flood looks at this incredible story and is a must-listen for history buffs.

“Most of the people in Johnstown never saw the water coming; they only heard it; and those who lived to tell about it would for years after try to describe the sound of the thing as it rushed on them.”

David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood
The Johnstown Flood
  • Audible Audiobook
  • David McCullough (Author) - Edward Herrmann (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/17/2005 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

15. Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations by William H. McRaven

William H. McRaven
William H. McRaven via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Curious about what life is like for a special ops soldier? In Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, McRaven details his life experience, from sneaking into high-security operations as a child to eventually becoming a special ops soldier trusted to save citizens taken hostage by enemy forces. McRaven heavily focuses on the idea of helping as many people as possible and details how he put this principle into practice over the course of his storied military career.

“I realized that life is actually pretty simple. Help as many people as you can. Make as many friends as you can. Work as hard as you can. And, no matter what happens, never quit!”

William H. McRaven, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations
Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations
  • Audible Audiobook
  • William H. McRaven (Author) - William H. McRaven (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/21/2019 (Publication Date) - Hachette Audio (Publisher)

16. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Barack Obama via Wikipedia, Public Domain

A number one New York Times bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, details Barack Obama’s journey from his childhood in Honolulu to his career as a community organizer to his historic presidential win. Throughout the autobiography, the former President details his family relationships, beliefs on hope and faith, and the positive and negative aspects of current American culture.

“I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody’s religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.”

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Barack Obama (Author) - Barack Obama (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/25/2006 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

17. Killing the SS by Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly
Bill O’Reilly via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Killing the SS takes readers through the hunt for war criminals during WWII. The main target in the novel is Josef Mengele, famed for his horrific experiments committed on prisoners at Auschwitz. The book hit number one for non-fiction books on the New York Times bestseller list.

“I am not occasionally insubordinate,” Ferencz corrected an officer, who noted that description of his behavior in an official file. “I am usually insubordinate. I don’t take orders that I know are stupid or illegal.”

Bill O’Reilly, Killing the SS
Killing the SS
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Bill O'Reilly (Author) - Bill O'Reilly (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/09/2018 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Audio (Publisher)

18. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Benjamin Franklin has been a controversial figure throughout history, at times celebrated and at times criticized. Historian Walter Isaacson takes an objective view of Franklin, detailing his life and ideas and highlighting his lighthearted view of what it means to be human. Throughout the novel, Isaacson discusses Franklin’s inventions and his beliefs on how to live a good life (many of which ring true to this day). He also discusses Franklin’s interesting takes on relationships throughout his life.

“Knowledge, he realized, “was obtained rather by the use of the ear than of the tongue.”

Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Walter Isaacson (Author) - Nelson Runger (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 04/07/2011 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

19. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Imagine: the year is 1914, and you’re working to explore an area of the world that no one else has set foot in. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage details the true story of Ernest Shackleton, an explorer who set sail for Antarctica in hopes of being the first person to cross the continent on foot.

“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”

Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Alfred Lansing (Author) - Simon Prebble (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 04/08/2008 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Audio, Inc. (Publisher)

20. The Path Between the Seas by David McCollough

McCollough expertly details the history of the creation of the Panama Canal, going into the riveting politics that went into fulfilling a 400-year goal. In The Path Between the Seas, the author brings to life the difficulties and victories that took place in order to make the canal a reality. The book isn’t just beloved by readers—it’s also been met with wide critical acclaim. McCollough has been awarded the National Book Award for History, the Cornelius Ryan Award for best book of the year on international affairs, and the Samuel Eliot Morison Award.

“You won’t get fired if you do something, you will if you don’t do anything. Do something if it is wrong, for you can correct that, but there is no way to correct nothing.”

David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914
  • Audible Audiobook
  • David McCullough (Author) - Nelson Runger (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/24/2011 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

21. George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved America by Brian Kilmeade

Brian Kilmeade
Brian Kilmeade via Wikipedia, Public Domain

George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved America tells the story of the summer of 1776 when George Washington left New York, and many thought that the United States was a failed project. Surprisingly, Washington pulled together a top-secret group known as the Culper Spy Ring. The President knew he needed an underground intelligence operation to defeat the British. He put together a motley crew: a tavern keeper, a longshoreman, a bachelor, a coffee shop owner, a merchant, and a secretive woman. Together, the six worked to create the America we know today.

“Their humility stopped them from seeking fame or fortune because their love of country sparked their exploits.”

Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved America
George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved America
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Brian Kilmeade (Author) - Brian Kilmeade (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/05/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

22. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari
Yuval Noah Harari via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Harari’s novel, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, an international bestseller, details how humankind came to be and has been widely celebrated by readers and critics alike. The book details 70,000 years of evolution and explains how we became the creates we are today. The book expertly helps readers connect with their own history and hope for the future.

“Don’t believe tree-huggers who claim that our ancestors lived in harmony with nature.”

Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Yuval Noah Harari (Author) - Derek Perkins (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/15/2017 (Publication Date) - HarperAudio (Publisher)

23. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow via Wikipedia, Public Domain

You’ve likely seen the hit Broadway play by Lin-Manuel Miranda: Hamilton is having a moment. The playwright based the musical on this biography, Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. The story details how Hamilton grew from a poor orphan to one of the most influential figures in American history.

If you want to expand your knowledge about essays and history, you might enjoy our guide to the top essays about history! You can also use our search bar to search for other essay topics and prompts!

“As too much power leads to despotism, too little leads to anarchy, and both eventually to the ruin of the people.”

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton
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Alexander Hamilton
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Ron Chernow (Author) - Scott Brick (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/26/2004 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Author

  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.