Historical YouTube Channels

There are three different YouTube channels that I watch fairly regularly for their historical content (four if you count the Great War, which is much more narrowly focused than these other channels are), and sharing them here gives me an excuse not to write a proper blog post today.

Military History Visualized concentrates primarily on WW2, but also has plenty of videos on other subjects. His production values are very high (though not necessarily his production budget), which means his videos are easy to watch even for a long period of time. I soundly condemn his recent decision to have a face, but I love him anyway, especially for his videos on misconceptions propagated by movies and video games (whether in service of the medium or just due to laziness). He cites his sources and often quotes them directly, so he’s also the one whose accuracy I’m most confident in (unless you count the Great War, who I hold in similar esteem).

Lindybeige is a controversial figure, but his main detractors are weeaboos, Wehrmaboos, and people who think being contrarion is a greater sign of intelligence than being right. I haven’t watched all of Lindybeige’s work or even most of it, so it’s possible he actually did make some serious blunders, but so far as I can tell the umbrage against Lindybeige mainly comes down to fanboys who dislike it when he makes a point against their favorite historical armies and people who are hopping on the bandwagon. His production values are just north of totally abysmal, which makes him an easy target even though his information is generally accurate. He’s not as good at citing sources and the like as Military History Visualized, and only tends to do so when a video is so overwhelmed with backlash that he feels the need to address it with a follow-up in which he pulls out some primary sources (almost invariably British) with which to smack his critics. Lindybeige is definitely sometimes misleading by omission, in that he is clearly a fanboy for his home country and will avoid making points against Britain if he can, and will always make points in favor of Britain, but he doesn’t spread misinformation that make his country seem more awesome than it is, he just likes to talk about the times when his country really was awesome and doesn’t so much tend to bring up the times when they got their tea-stained teeth pushed in.

Lindybeige occasionally makes videos about applying historical accuracy to RPGs and wargames, especially to fantasy settings. There’s no denying that he comes across like a smug asshole with no sense of drama in them, but ignore the tone and pay attention to the substance, because there’s some great worldbuilding advice there. It’s not like it’s thin on the ground, either. Lindybeige’s unscripted rambling certainly drives information density down, but it’s not that low.

Shadiversity is a pain to listen to. MatPat’s voice took some serious getting used to, but I can’t seem to get used to Shad at all. That’s kind of a testament to the quality of his content in and of itself, though, since I’ll sit down to listen to it anyway even though it makes my ears bleed. He likes to talk about how much he loves swords, but his best videos are the ones where he talks about castles. His series on whether [insert fictitious castle here] would be any good as an actual fortification is great for worldbuilding in much the same way as Lindybeige’s RPG-related content is, and likewise his videos on what kind of weapons would be best suited for [fantasy creature].

Honorable mention to Overly Sarcastic Productions, which has some of the best history videos I’ve ever seen and kind of deep sixed my own nascent plans to run a history YouTube series, since my concept was basically the same as their history summarized videos, except it turns out they beat me to the punch by like a year, and also while I might have been able to compete in terms of scripting and voice acting, I can’t draw for crap and I’m terrible at finding and editing together relevant pictures, so they have me thoroughly trumped on the visual end of things. As such, Blue’s historical videos sound like broken dreams and loneliness to me, but I really enjoy Red’s content and what videos of Blue’s I did watch I could appreciate the quality of despite my personal hangups.

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