Monday, April 6, 2009

BBC history magazine

Jim Mowatt of the history podcast Historyzine aproached me with a request to review the podcast of the BBC History Magazine. He was surprised to find I had not reviewed it before. The fact is however, I have, although it is a long time ago (2007). I couldn't keep up with the podcast, although that does not necessarily mean it is a bad podcast.

BBC History Magazine is a monthly that can be purchased in the UK and can be ordered all over the world. The podcast is a promotional effort to go along with each edition. Twice a month the podcast comes out and highlights several articles from the current magazine. Usually the author of the article is interviewed about the subject. Two subjects are covered in the episode of around half an hour. Enough to get a really nice expose of the subject at hand.

I can imagine why Jim keeps up with the podcast and I am sure you will find the occasional treasure along with the regularly interesting stuff. So, why then did I drop out of this podcast? One reason is that I do not particularly like jumping around history from subject to subject era to era perspective to perspective. With podcasts that do this, I like to pick and choose my items and leave the rest. Contrary to most other podcasts, BBC History Magazine delivers no information about the content with the podcast, not in the info and not in the description label. That is the second and effective reason. When I quickly have to decide which podcast to download, a nondescript title like BBC History Magazine April 2009 part 1 with no added description will make pass this one by.

I feel however I can recommend what I assume Jim does, pick up each issue and be treated with an endless stream of history varieties presented by a professional team interviewing the true specialists.

More BBC History Magazine:
December 2007,
November 2007.

More Historyzine:
The lines of Brabant,
Historyzine at its best,
The battle of Blenheim,
Reliving the War of Spanish Succession,
The year 1703.

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Middle East challenges - UChannel Podcast

There is an infinite stream of podcasts paying attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict and plenty of good ons at that. (see my label Israel) Lecture series such as those that are compiled in the UChannel Podcast give you nearly every week a couple to choose from.

What is exceptionally good at these is that the experts are invited to speak and one is receiving a much better frame of reference than by merely reading the newspapers. One such expert is David Makovsky from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who lectured about Middle East Challenges to the Obama Administration. I can recommend this lecture for getting some insight in the political intricacies between Israel and the Palestinians.

I was surprised, for example, once again, to be presented with a representation of affairs in which Fatah and Egypt have been wanting Israel to be hard on Hamas in Gaza. Makovsky makes this case just as Asher Susser and Jacob Dayan on UCLA's Israel Studies podcast. I have made very skeptical remarks about this when I reviewed Dayan's lecture, but surely the political point is true: both Fatah and Mubarak's regime in Egypt are threatened by Hamas and are each incapable of doing much and therefore it is welcome to them if Israel does the dirty work.

More UChannel Podcast:
Good climate for everyone (global warming),
Robots and War,
Sudan and the fallacy of nationhood,
Against intervention,
Lakhdar Brahimi on Afghanistan and Iraq.

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