Showing posts with label Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Show all posts

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dan Carlin and SFF Audio

Dan Carlin has started a new multi chapter subject at Hardcore History: Death Throes of the Republic. In this series he will extensively analyze how the Roman Republic dwindled from a formidable Mediterranean power to a decadent and deteriorating empire. (feed)

Carlin is a very successful and popular podcaster in addition to his Hardcore History (which is the most popular podcast among readers of this blog) Carlin also makes the more frequently appearing political opinion podcast Common Sense (feed). Personally I find Common Sense too much focussed on US politics, but also here Carlin can pride himself with reaching a large, international audience.

Common Sense features also dominantly in the interview Carlin gave at the SFF Audio podcast (feed). It is a dynamic and lively interview and one of the highlights is Dan's comparison of making radio with making podcast. We have already widely discussed how listening to podcast is different to listening to radio. But by the same token, Carlin demonstrates, making a podcast is different. You have no time constraints, less worries about losing the audience and a wider reach.

More Dan Carlin's Hardcore History:
Dan Carlin's history musings,
The end of the war,
Stalingrad,
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front.

More SFF:
Anne is a Man on SFF Audio,
Jesse Willis's five free favorites.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dan Carlin's history musings

Earlier toady I wrote about Bingham and Souza's grand theory of history and how I liked their appearance at the podcast New Books In History. I guess I am average in this appreciation. Maybe I should have the reservations historians in particular and scientists in general have towards grand theories, but for people like me, who enjoy educational podcasts, the grand theories deliver a certain type of entertainment. Call it the satisfaction to get a grip on it all.

Another history podcast that approaches this quality is Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. I have frequently written on this podcast and emphasized its excellent narrative qualities, but together with Carlin's effective retelling of history, he also engages in exploring and analyzing generalities in history. You can call it grand theorizing, but surely it is more tentative than the thorough studies of Bingham and Souza, so it is maybe better to call it Dan Carlin's personal history musings. Dan Carlin loves to mull over history and try to discern general patterns and draw conclusions about humanity and its future. This we saw in the shows about Slavery, about Children, about Globalization and the most recent about Human Toughness.

Carlin plays with exactly the kind of thoughts I have and like to play with when having listened to one history podcast or another. One of the recurring themes in these explorations of his is how life in earlier times was so much harsher and then he assumes, if our ancestors were able to survive, what does that tell about them? Are they structurally haunted by PTSD? Should we assume they are much tougher and resilient than we are? If they were destructively traumatized, does that mean we can hope for a better future, since we are not? Or if they were stronger than we ever hope to be, does that mean we are on the way down?

What I would like to see Carlin add is the following thought: assuming that we and our ancestors are no fundamentally different, certainly biologically we aren't, could that mean we'd be able to cope with their fate just as they did? And if so, wouldn't that mean they are not more traumatized and more tough than we are? I am sure there would be things in our time that would seem traumatizing hardships in the perspective of people from other times and places- but that, Carlin never seems to consider. In spite of this reverse perspective that I find missing, Carlin dares to go where few history podcasts dare to go and he does it the best. It explains his popularity and deservedly so.

More Hardcore History:
The end of the war,
Stalingrad,
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Slavery.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New history podcasts to look out for

In the past weeks several history podcasts that are worth following delivered new content. I will be referring to history podcasts that have little frequency in their release schedule and this may have as a result the new episode is overlooked.

First of all, there was a new episode in the series Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Dan Carlin took up the story of Ferdinand Magellan in order to delve into thoughts about the dynamics of the age of exploration. When the old world and the new world got connected it radically changed the entire world. And although it was bound to happen one day and be set in motion by some people, there is something surprising about the fact that the likes of Magellan were the agents of history. Those, the Europeans, until then rather marginal on the world stage, got from this point center stage. And Dan Carlin deliberates what was special about them. Especially good and especially bad. (feed)

Historyzine came with the next episode and in addition to the podcast reviews and an exceptionally good edition of the linguistic trivia, which had an Indian theme with words like Avatar, Thug and Blighty. The narration of the War of the Spanish succession, entered the year 1707 in which, for the first time I remember in this series, the allies (the English, Dutch and Austrians) suffer some serious setbacks. (feed)

After a very long hiatus during which I thought the podcast had faded, La Resistance released an episode about the resistance figure Henry Frenay. After Jean Moulin, Frenay was probably the most influential and important person in the French Resistance. With Frenay, this did not sit well. This podcast studies the complicated history and character of Frenay who not only battled the Germans, but also ... Jean Moulin. (feed)

Two new interviews were released on the Exploring Environmental History podcast. Jan Oosthoek spoke with Jim Clifford about the history of the river Lea, which developed from a rather insignificant arm of the Thames to to a major industrial artery with great environmental impact. With James Beattie he discusses the anxieties colonists dealt with. When the Europeans began to colonize the rest of the world during the age of imperialism, they had to manage to adapt to and survive in radically different climates and landscapes than they were used to. This was not merely a practical challenge, it turned out to be also a psychological one. (feed)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New feed for Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Here is a hot tip for the vast majority of followers on the blog. I know you all love the history podcast Hardcore History by Dan Carlin.

This morning, without explanation or any other ado, Carlin posted in his feed a short memo that there is a new feed. "You must update your bookmark to the following URL in order to continue receiving the show." This is a line that does not show up in regular podcatchers such as iTunes, so you are very likely to miss out on it.

Here is the new feed to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. You can subscribe immediately. It contains all the shows that also sit in the old feed. With this Carlin has moved from his own server to Feedburner for the feed. The new show, who knows when, will come in the new feed only - obviously. So, subscribe.

More Hardcore History:
The end of the war,
Stalingrad,
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Slavery.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The end of the war - Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

After Stalingrad came Kursk, after the first defeat of the Germans on the Ostfront came many more and the end of the war became a drawn out affair. Germany of the 1940's was not Germany of 1918. When thee decision makers of 1918 saw they could no longer win World War 1, they bargained for peace. When the Nazis began to lose, they chose to go down fighting and let the German people perish in the process, if it had to be so.

The last episode of the four part series about WW2's eastern front at Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, tells this tale of the drawn out end (Ghosts of the Ostfront part iv). Not only the German people had to be grounded over this protracted collapse, the whole of eastern Europe turned into a large scale hell-hole. And one can leave it to Dan Carlin to recount the horrors in the dramatic fashion that will keep you glued to your ear buds.

Many thoughts that came up while listening, were immediately expressed by Carlin as well, like the line I opened this post with: such a difference between the 1918 and 1944 leadership. Also, the observation that civilians suffered for the decisions, not only enemy, but also, the decision makers' own people. One observation however did not come through, though I am sure Carlin had it in mind and would bring it to the listener as well: the population as a whole was made to suffer, was subjected to the revenge and hatred that the soldier brought with them. It means that peoples are taken as wholes. But if you drill down, and this is something Carlin misses, you sea that men are perpetrators and women are the objects of their aggression. For the cruelties committed by a soldier, not he, but his wife, his daughter, his mother, or his neighbor's niece will pay, when she is raped in revenge afterwards.

More Hardcore History:
Stalingrad,
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Slavery,
Gwynne Dyer Interview.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hardcore History: Stalingrad

The most innovative and creative podcast about history is Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. Carlin tries to tell history with a passion. He breathes life into the data, evokes the emotions, emphasizes the experience the contemporaries must have gone through and he also engages in questions of historiography. And sometimes he tries to do this all at once. When such enormous ambitions cannot always be met, one should not be overly surprised. One of my fascinations is to hear him try.

The current huge project is to capture the horrors of the Ostfront in World War II. So far Carlin has produced three massive podcast episodes on the subject, having spent four hours of audio and he still is not done. At the end of the last, the third chapter (Ghosts of the Ostfront III), he announced there will be a fourth. I wonder whether it should be as long and I wonder whether there could not be more and shorter chapters, if it has to be this long. There has to be some aspect at work of a researcher who takes precedent over the creative producer and pushes all the material in. Nevertheless, in style with the subject, as huge as the product is, as hard as it is to swallow, it is one impressive set of podcasts.

Carlin turns the Ostfront into Dante's Inferno with circle upon circle of ever increasing suffering. With all the evils, depravities and eternally prolonged suffering one can possibly imagine. In a harrowing retelling with poignant quotes from letters, diaries and other primary sources Carlin puts our faces with our mp3 players in the mud, the ice, the pain, the deprivation. Not only does he seem to want to make us experience and never forget the sheer scale of the history, but also drive the point home how this is so much larger than the other battles and wars we know of. The abyss of the Ostfront is larger than anything, apart, maybe, from hell itself.

More Hardcore History:
Ghosts of the Ostfront,
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Slavery,
Gwynne Dyer Interview,
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ghosts of the Ostfront - Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History has proceeded to the second chapter about the Eastern Front in World War II. Hardcore History is a unique history podcast in that it tells the tales of history in a very dramatic fashion and manages like no other to bring history to life. For this podcast, history is not just the world of data and their chronology, it is the story of people, real people whether it be days long gone or recent history such as in the latest episodes.

My criticism on the first chapter was that maybe here and there the podcast went over the top, that the drama got a little bit melodramatic here and there. This has been made up for in the second chapter. The drama is still the same: autocratic leaders take fatefully unwise decisions and poor souls on the ground pay the price. But this time you are there in the freezing mud with them without exaggeration. The facts are exceptional enough in themselves.

Dan Carlin's podcast has a huge following and it is my experience that dedicated listeners love their favorite podcast to be as long as possible. And Hardcore History is very long. For those who are new and decide to take up this remarkable experience this may be something you want to be prepared for: Dan Carlin takes his time to paint the picture. It is a total immersion podcast.

More Hardcore History:
Dan Carlin about the East Front,
Slavery,
Gwynne Dyer Interview,
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dan Carlin about the East Front

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is back with the first part of a series about the horrors of the East Front in World War II. Enough drama for this podcast that specializes in the narrative side of history to get a good bite from.

The drama contains two evil leaders, Hitler and Stalin, millions of soldiers dragged into the war, soldiers that are perpetrators and victims at the same time. If they are not the good guys, then at least they are the sad guys. And in this tale of the bad and the sad, there is this literary figure of the warning, the historic example of Napoleon's debacle in 1812. An example that is to be avoided and nevertheless comes true.

Carlin thrives on these dramas for his impressionistic tales, but it can be argued he goes over the top here and there. When the facts are grim and sad in themselves, too much emphasis turns the drama into melodrama and I feel he walks a thin line here. So, whether you will appreciate this version of the largest land battles of WW2, is probably a matter of taste. By all means, for those who were not sufficiently informed about the huge Soviet contribution to Hitler's defeat, it is a must listen.

More Hardcore History:
Slavery,
Gwynne Dyer Interview,
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Slavery - Hardcore History podcast review

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History has the occasional 'blitz' show. Obviously distinct from the interview shows, they are, but less so from the regular shows. However, taken in mind the previous blitz show which was about drug use (mostly alcohol) through the ages and the last one which is about slavery through the ages, the blitz shows are, apparently more thematic.

On the theme of slavery Dan Carlin argues that slavery is of all times and of all places. He goes over a series of examples and appears to use as his main source Milton Meltzer's book Slavery: a World history. On the one side slavery turns out to be a humane alternative to death, but all in all the whole feature of enslavement, servitude and hard labor is problematic. It also remains so, in spite of the numerous attempts to justify it.

The bottom-line Carlin steers to, is that slavery exists still today and not only that, but also that we all, Carlin and his audience, profit from slavery. There are just enough grades of separation that allow us to not actively know of it and feel we can reject slavery as immoral. Carlin takes the additional step, suggesting, if people are like this, they are really evil. The thought that arose with me, however, was that if low-wage work is similar or even equal to slavery, how different is it with higher-wage work if apart from the higher wage, the employee is just as much owned by his employer and his life is governed by his work.

More Hardcore History:
Gwynne Dyer Interview,
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gwynne Dyer - Hardcore History interview

The latest issue of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is -again- an interview. As said before: Dan Carlin, as talented a podcaster as he is, is not cut to be an interviewer. His studio presence is too dominant, his voice too strong and it might help if he'd lower the audio level of the sections where he speaks, so as to enforce the guest. What is more, his questions are stemming from his own train of thought that, as fascinating as it is and makes for the brilliant Hardcore History shows, remains not transparent enough for an interview. There you find yourself listening to an analysis of the First World War causes, one moment and the next about ways to learn history and you suddenly wonder: How did we get here?

Still, this show has a truck load of veritable gems, partly because the lack of transparency is not permeating throughout and for a good deal thanks to the guest: Gwynne Dyer. Dyer manages to turn Carlin's shooting in all directions questions to relevant and deep interrogations and gives very fascinating and teaching answers. This alone makes for a great podcast.

By the end comes an additional highlight, when Carlin asks the closing question that boils down to: what haven't I asked you and you had wanted to answer to? Dyer then reveals he has been thoroughly interested in the geopolitics of global warming. He delivers a historic perspective on the test that the world stands to and that is really the cherry on the cake. A must listen.

More Hardcore History:
Interview with Victor Davis Hanson,
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson - Hardcore History podcast review

The latest issue of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is of an unusual format. Host Dan Carlin interviews historian Victor Davis Hanson, whereas normally the show consists of Dan Carlin retelling history in a very compelling narrative and ponder on it. It is interesting for the views expressed and for those who know Dan Carlin's work and want to understand a bit more of how he is influenced, but it is surely not representative for what Hardcore History is normally about.

The amazing talent Dan Carlin has in telling a story with contagious enthusiasm works slightly less in an interview. Dan's strength lies in how evocative he is, but an interviewer needs to be more in the background and cause the interviewed come out in a representative and coherent fashion. In this, Carlin succeeds less and so the quality of the show needs to be hauled in by Hanson and how his answers to Carlin's questions and remarks work together and make an impact.

Some subjects that are touched upon are, for one the importance of the classics for our culture and the impoverishment is caused by the fact that the classics are less known than ever. Another is a kind of nature versus nurture issue, translated to history: are people in the past significantly different, because of their profoundly different circumstances, or are people, just people and can we assume that they react to situations pretty similarly. The result is a good podcast, but not as excellent as the regular Hardcore History.

More Hardcore History:
Punic Nightmares III,
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
Apaches.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Roman Nightmares - Dan Carlin Hardcore History

It is called Punic Nightmares, the trilogy Dan Carlin produced in his podcast Hardcore History , and deep into the third episode , the Romans are still suffering a nightmare, brought upon them by the Carthaginian genius Hannibal. And Carthage is an important Punic power in the Western Mediterranean. In the east they rule in the coastal city of Tyre. Mostly they are better known as the Phoenicians. And they could have become the major power in the Classical world, if not for the Romans. (feed)

And so, the Punic Nightmare of the Romans, experiences a turn of tables and become a Roman Nightmare for the Phoenicians of Carthage. The way Dan Carlin tells this story goes way beyond the realms of history podcast. He apologetically proclaims: "I am not a historian, I am a fan." This serves as an excuse to go on a What If tangent, but that tangent and that kind of thinking is no the most profound quality of Hardcore History. It is part of Dan Carlin's method of telling the story. Carlin brings home the drama of the facts, the intensity of the experience, the experience itself, as far as possible.

Hannibal, in spite of all his successes, has to fight it alone and eventually is worn out by the nearly defeated Romans. He barely makes it back to Carthage, but can no longer lead. The Roman hero of this turn of events, Scipio Africanus, also eventually is slid out through the back door. And while these heroes die their ignominious death, Carthage, at long last is cruelly and ruthlessly destroyed by the Romans. The Romans will come to rule the Mediterranean and leave their footprint on our world.

It has always been the great quality of Hardcore History, but in these 23 shows, Carlin has gotten a firm grip on how to do it. He knows better than ever to balance the facts with the analysis, the drama with the sources, his excitement with standing historiography. I would say, by now, Dan Carlin has developed his way of relating to history into an art form.

More Dan Carlin:
Punic Nightmares II ,
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
Apaches,
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Dan Carlin's Punic Nightmares II

In the second episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History about the Punic Wars, the dramatic height (or low, depending on your perspective) is reached. The mostly seafaring nation of the Carthaginians have made it into the heartland of Italy and threaten Rome from its backyard, over land.

The general that got the army there is the famous Hannibal and it is of course his legendary trek over the Alps that landed him in the north of Italy. Dan Carlin kicks off where Hannibal has just finished the passage. This marvelous achievement is a mixed bag after all. The crossing has cost Hannibal half of his army and his supply lines are too long to be considerable at all and his army is exhausted. The general keeps his army going though, manages to reinforce and to beat the Romans over and over again in battle.

Carlin's achievement in the retelling lies in this, that he manages to alleviate the battle chronicles from an expose of data, of strategy and tactics, of military and political struggle into a veritable drama. It is the trademark of his podcast and he gets better at it with every installment. He brings the history to life. He positions the listener onto the battle field and succeeds in delivering some of the experience. It is only then that we come to truly appreciate how precarious Hannibal's position was, how desperate the Romans were about this rogue army in their lands, how cunning the maneuvers were and how intensive and frightening the fighting was.

More Dan Carlin:
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
Apaches,
Assyrians,
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dan Carlin announcement

Today I received an email from Dan Carlin, making an announcement that all you podcast listeners who follow his Hardcore History, will want to know.

His series about the Punic wars is delayed. He was planning to make it into a double episode, but has decided to make it a trilogy in stead. Nevertheless the publication of the second installment is going to be soon. It just won't be the final. A lot of the material that has already been recorded will be discarded. For those who are interested in the full version, Dan relates, this may become available at a premium. See Dan's blog.

I appreciate he lets quality prevail over a preset publication schedule. I have seen this happening with many podcasts lately. The on demand character of the medium also allows for an on supply approach, I gather. We listener's have so much to choose from, we won't suffer if there is less, especially when what is there, is properly produced.

More Dan Carlin:
Punic Nightmares I,
Under the Influence,
Apaches,
Assyrians,
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Delenda Carthago - Dan Carlin's Hardcore History review

The latest of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is the first in an apparently two part series about the Punic Wars. In this edition Dan makes it from the early confrontations between Rome and Carthage to the second Punic war after Hannibal has crossed the Alps.

For history podcast listeners this is a real gem. There is a lot of comparative material around in podcast land. (See my post about Roman History in podcasts) One of the best comparisons is Stanford's Patrick Hunt and his Hannibal series (feed) and Dan shows his great knowledge, because he effectively sums up what Hunt needs some 5 hours of lectures for. And Dan does more. He describes the build up to the wars and he projects forward what the outcome and importance will be: Rome will be victorious and emerge as a world power.

As usual Dan improves on regular history podcast with his engaged way of telling the story, revealing the importance and bringing to life the drama. I cannot wait for the next installment to come out.

On a side note: Patrick Hunt may hit the news in the coming months. He spends the summer in the Alps digging for traces of Hannibal's trek over the Alps. If you have followed his series, you know he has a strong case for his hypothesis which pass Hannibal took and you know he finally has the permits to do the archeology. When he has his finds, National Geographic will be the first to know and publish about it. Stand by.

More Dan Carlin:
Under the Influence,
Apaches,
Assyrians,
Nazis
and Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

More Patrick Hunt:
Hannibal in the end,
Ten discoveries that rewrote history,
Patrick Hunt on Hannibal (and more),
Hannibal Barca on the couch,
Where did Hannibal cross the Alps?

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Drugged history

Dan Carlin released another issue of Hardcore History. Before he gets to the subject (History under the influence) he reveals his intent to release more shows and identifies the current show as a 'blitz' show. This terminology seems to indicate a shorter and more swiftly produced show. However, it really seems like a regular show to me. In any case, even if it is a bit shorter, the show is by no means too short and it has all the qualities Dan Carlin normally brings to his history show: great narration, provoking thoughts and an engaged speaker.

So, where did our history receive a turn as a result of substance abuse? Dan Carlin mentions quite a few. From World War II he reveals the abuse of a several of the main players. Churchill and Stalin were heavy drinkers. Goering was hooked on morphine and Hitler was on speed. There are a couple of concrete examples where this may have had an effect. From antiquity, Alexander is put forth as the raging alcoholic. Another example is a specific event with Napoleon. Waterloo was a close call, where he could have won also. He had had stomach trouble and taken opium. Witnesses report he was sluggish and absent-minded on the day of the battle.

By the end of the show Carlin asks his listeners whether they can come up with more examples. My thoughts went to the 'jenevercrisis'. In 1960, the Dutch cabinet fell after one of the parties resigned. This has been ascribed to the heavy drinking that had gone on before the government went in session. Recent studies claim that it has probably not been jenever (Dutch gin), but more likely sherry or white wine, but by all accounts, plenty had been consumed and right after that, the politicians went in session and blew up the coalition.

More Dan Carlin's Hardcore History:
Apaches,
Assyrians,
Nazis,
Depression,
Succession in Macedon
and:
Dan Carlin praises Anne is a Man!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dan Carlin's view of Anne is a Man!

Here is a mail I received from podcaster Dan Carlin, who produces the podcasts Hardcore History and Common Sense.

Anne,

Dan CarlinIt is always a fine thing to get a positive review from you. You are, in my mind, the most elite of the podcast reviewers (and most especially in the History genre). Your reviewing style reminds me more of a film critic...you are NOT the general public reviewing a piece of art, you are on a different level. You absorb all the subtle little nuances in the podcast. Any little thing we do that we wonder: "Will the audience pick up on this?" you always notice.

We also use you as a sort of barometer for how we are doing. You see, by the time we release one of our history podcasts we have heard it so many times (during the editing process) that we lose all perspective of what it sounds like to the first-time listener. So, we are never sure if it is balanced enough, or entertaining enough, or educational enough, etc. when we actually release it. Then, no matter what, we get good and bad emails about it (on this Apache show certainly!). It becomes hard for us to get a good perspective on how good the podcast episode actually was.

Until we read your review.

We know that, whether the review is good or bad, you will at least understand what we were trying to do and can judge the work on THAT standard. We really respect that and use your reviews to get a feel for what sort of product we are leaving behind in "digital stone" (strange concept, eh? That these silly little shows we do will outlive us probably?). Thanks so much for that.

And keep up what you are doing. I see no reason why you can't be the THE podcast reviewer online. No one has really assumed that role, and no one, it seems to me, does it as well as you do (and believe me, I look!).

Take care and stay safe...

-Dan


More Dan Carlin:
Assyrians,
Depression,
Succession in Macedon,
The Plague,
Dan Carlin's common sense.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Dan Carlin on the Apaches

The Apache were the last native Americans to surrender to the US government. Packed up in their reserves, their story wasn't heard until Eve Ball came along. Dan Carlin's hardcore history's last episode was inspired by Eve Ball's book and other sources about the struggle between the Apache, the Mexicans and the Americans. Dan takes us on his train of thought in a an exceptionally long issue of the podcast.

Dan does what few history podcasts dare to take on: analyze the facts and engage in thoughts on the meaning and implication of history. There is much to say and think around the sad history of the fading Indian Nation in front of the ongoing European expansion into their habitat. On this lost battle the Apaches took on the battle with horrifying means, but Dan shows how one man's terrorist is the other's freedom fighter. And he does more, he depicts the crucial incident where the Apache and the new Americans hit it off to a bad start and a violent struggle, triggered by misunderstanding.

I am not sure whether Dan believes this incident could have been prevented. In my ears the culture clash sounded like an accident waiting to happen. The interests of both sides were pitted and the understanding was minimal. In any case Dan leaves room for the listener to draw his own conclusions, his job is well done, by taking us on his own thought trip and making us think along. This podcast shows him at his best and I know from reactions to my blog this is a very popular podcast that stands out among history podcasts for many listeners, including those that have an average interest in history. Therefore a very warm recommendation, not just from Anne is a Man!

More Dan Carlin's Hardcore History:
Assyrians,
Nazis,
Depression,
Succession in Macedon,
The Plague.


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Friday, January 4, 2008

Dan Carlin interviews James Burke

Dan Carlin reveals in the latest version of Hardcore History he has a hard time achieving a timely production of the show. The aim is to release one show every 45 days or so, but usually it takes more. As a consequence he is to begin with some experimenting. A new kind of podcast to be interjected between the regular ones.

The first of this experimental kind consists of an interview with science historian James Burke. Dan Carlin assumes the listener knows who James Burke is and it is surely discernible Burke is a great example for Carlin in the making of his history shows, but I would have appreciated a bit more of an introduction. Another weak point in the podcast is the free style of the interview; Carlin has some prepared build up in his questions, but allows the conversation to take Burke and himself where it gets them. This can mean great listening provided one is able to bear with the speakers in their lines of thought. I imagine though, that most listeners like myself had a hard keeping up.

As far as content, the discussion between the two delivered some great remarks and thought provoking statements. Burke takes Carlin on a train of thought where he starts with the fact that for the large majority of people in history, life has been 'nasty, brutish and short.' History as we know it, is the history of people with access to power and knowledge. He proposes an entirely different way of looking at the past. Fascinating stuff that deserves a much more systematic address.

More Hardcore history:
Assyrians,
Nazis,
Depression,
Succession in Macedon,
The Plague.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dan Carlin on the Assyrians

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is an extremely original history podcast in that it takes the listener through the facts and engages in analysis, comparative narration and as such makes a unique attempt to connect us with history, which is especially rewarding and laudable, when Dan addresses ancient history. He calls it: very very old world.

It just so happens I have been engaged in history podcasts recently that also address the very, very old history and also make remarks about the area of Mesopotamia. For one there is the Berkeley lecture series of Isabelle Pafford: The Ancient Mediterranean World (History 4A) In addition there is the newly revived World History podcast by David Kalivas. They do not pick out one of the Mesopotamian civilizations and concentrate, like Dan does with the Assyrians. And if they mention the Assyrians, they are not specifically identified from the Babylonians, the Medes or whoever, let alone they can be called: the Nazis of the ancient world.

Dan brings the Assyrians to life, compares them to the Germans for good measure and goes over there rise and sudden fall. He touches upon the Huns, the Medes, the Babylonians, the Israelites and so on. This podcast brings the history alive.