Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Podcast Spotlight - Carlin's Hardcore History

Often my commute from Spokane to Seattle and evenings in the hotel are spent listening to the Teaching Company's Great Courses.  The lectures are an excellent means of making  the 300 mile one-way drive pass much more quickly.  This week's journey heard Machiavelli In Context in the CD player.  This is perhaps the second or third time through this series for me.  Still fascinating with each listening.  With each playing, I become more tempted to pick up a copy of Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy.

After a number of recommendations from friends,  I finally took a listen to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History (see: Hardcore History).  Both Scott and Jake have recommended Carlin's series more than once.  What finally pushed me to giving it a listen was a recent two part series on the Achaemenid Persian rulers.

In two, four hour episodes, Carlin weaves a very interesting and entertaining tale of the Persian empire.  Carlin is a fascinating storyteller and had me riveted to the podcasts throughout.  Putting ancient Persian dynastic history into a contemporary context makes the lessons learned relevant for today's modern listener.  Cyrus the Great as Henry Ford?  Yep, that analogy is included.  
Did I mention that Carlin's delivery and tale weaving was fascinating?  It is! His storytelling is every bit as well executed as many of the Great Courses offerings.
Great stuff and highly recommended.  Perfect accompaniment as background listening during painting sessions.  Almost certainly I am a late comer to this quality series but well worth the time invested.  Are there other historical podcasts that readers recommend?

No painting for me this week, however.

12 comments:

  1. Welcome to the club Jon, Carlin has been a favourite listen for some time now. I really enjoy the way he positions events from the past in a modern context that challenges you to think about the possible motivations that drove the events discussed.

    His series on the Mongol invasions and the battles against early Islam threw up some great thought provoking facts that have implications for the modern day struggle against Islamic fundamentalists and their thinking, not bad for a history podcast.

    Likewise his WWI series was a tour de force, particularly his description of the events in Sarjevo and the attack on the Archduke by the Black Hand. The description of the chance factors that led to the cataclysm of WWI was excellent.

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    1. Appreciate the additional recommendations, Jonathan! I figured I was late to the party but better late than never, right?

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  2. Very cool - love the images too!

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    1. The Persian Empire podcasts are fascinating.

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  3. Great Minds listen alike! I'm a HUGE fan of DC hardcore history. I've listened to nearly all of his podcasts. The big ones help keep me alert on my 11 hour drives to IU to see my son. And I adore the Great Courses too. I listen to them when I paint. We live in a great time, don't we?

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    1. Listening to these first two on the Persian Empire have me hooked. I really enjoy his storytelling ability. Perfect material to either paint or drive by.

      Is this the composer son at IU? how is he doing? Eleven hours is a long commute. My roundtrip commute to work is about nine hours. Ouch!

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  4. Glad you enjoyed it Jon. You inspired me to update my podcast list on my site as well. I just found a podcast this evening called "History on Fire" The guy sounds like the Italian Dan Carlin.

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    1. I will look into that one too. Appreciate the suggestions!

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  5. I'm glad you're enjoying them, Jon! I thought the WWI series was his best, but I am really enjoying King of Kings too.

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    1. WWI has never held much interest to me. I am sure that would change if I read a book or two or listened to Carlin's podcast. Appreciate the recommendation for the WWI series. That is on my list.

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  6. Have avoided podcasts to this point, but may have to investigate based upon your and your readers' recommendations! Cheers, Aaron

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    1. Hi Aaron! Give this two episode series a shot. If nothing else, it makes terrific background listening for several painting sessions.

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