In a bananas US election year, The Washington Post comes armed with impeccable timing, and the very good idea that is this podcast. Each week, reporter Lillian Cunningham profiles the US presidents in order, with 44 total episodes taking us all the way up to election night. We start, then, with the biggies: so far, Washington, Adams and Jefferson. While each episode gives us an historical picture of the man's upbringing and rise to power and manner of governance, they are also anecdotally fascinating, opening little spy-holes into deeply mythologised characters - Jefferson drove too fast; Washington was humble, and kind of a jock. These intimate observations are set skilfully among the larger context of the times, with the help of a host of historians, and we can see that the cumulative effect will be not just to tell the stories of the presidents, but the story of America. Episodes run between 30 and 45 minutes and unfold at a pleasingly gentle pace.
Gateway episodes: George Washington: The man, the myth, the legend (11 Jan 2016) / Thomas Jefferson: On food and freedom (25 Jan 2016)