Podcast Pairings: Books by Podcasters

Welcome to the latest of edition of podcast pairings, where popular podcasts are matched with audiobooks with a similar appeal. This time I'll highlight books authored by podcast hosts, showcased here in audiobook format. The structure of the podcast, usually a long-form story narrated over several episodes, is perfect for diving deep into a situation and presenting it in all its detailed complexity. The podcasts and audiobooks presented here share a common theme: revisiting information or propaganda from the past.

The Queen is Slate editor Josh Levin's companion podcast to his acclaimed 2019 book of the same title. In The Queen, Levin tells the story of Linda Taylor, unravelling the false, racist stereotype of "welfare queen" which both Republican and Democratic politicians used to cut economic aid to the poor.

If you're interested in covert government-sponsored influence campaigns, the cold war, or 80's heavy metal, the Wind of Change podcast might be for you. Intrepid investigative reporter Patrick Radden Keefe starts with a simple pop song, Wind of Change by the German band the Scorpions, and uncovers an uncanny story of cold-war era propaganda dissemination, all before information (or disinformation) could be made viral with a simple social media post. Radden Keefe is author of several blockbuster books about large government conspiracies and exploitation of the disadvantaged, including Empire of Pain, Say Nothing, and The Snakehead.

Criminal Broads is a true-crime podcast with a heavy dash of feminism folded in. Created and hosted by Chicago expat Tori Telfer, each episode showcases a different woman enmeshed in the criminal justice system, either as a perpetrator, a victim, or even a true-crime aficionado. Telfer's Confident Women describes female con-artists and their favorable reputation in the collective memory.

Though a host's book is pending, this blog would be incomplete without the fun, witty You're Wrong About podcast, which deconstructs past events and celebrity biographies to reveal cultural biases that haven't aged well. Hosted by journalists Sarah Marshall and Mike Hobbes, who have an excellent rapport and have been referred to as the debunkmates, recent episodes have covered Disco Demolition Night and Summer Book Club: The Satan Seller. (Marshall is working on a book about the Satanic Panic.) The show pairs perfectly with Kevin Young's Bunk, an exploration of pervasive myths from the past.

What have you been listening to? Let us know in the comments.