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:
Succession in Macedon,
The Plague.

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