ALWAYS A DAY LATE & A DOLLAR SHORT, I THOUGHT I'D LISTEN TO A MASSIVE PODCAST ON THE FIRST WORLD WAR A YEAR AFTER IT'S 100TH ANNIVERSARY. So I'm not a follower! Whatevs!
Anyway, as I sit here suffering through a terrible cold during a particularly trying time in my personal life as well as an extremely difficult time at work (resulting in my being the only person now working on 3rd shift), I have found myself totally engrossed in this thing called DAN CARLIN'S HARDCORE HISTORY. I'm sure many of you already know about this history podcast but, as I say, I'm not first out of the gate here. Dan Carlin, former radio host, son of Academy Award-nominated actress Lynn Carlin and unabashed history nut, has been doing a history podcast for about a decade now called HARDCORE HISTORY which I must say makes for absorbing listening. Carlin, not an official historian himself, is more of a storyteller and that's what makes his history podcast refreshing, interesting and entertaining. He takes a particular topic of historical interest and speaks about it as if he's telling a story around a campfire; and that's exactly what hiSTORY is supposed to be. Carlin has a B.A. in history as do I and I think we both became fascinated in history early on for the exact same reason: it's full of incredible interesting stories!
Now, when he started HARDCORE HISTORY, Carlin's podcast would last about a half hour but nowadays he frequently takes a topic and spends 3-4 hours talking about it. And that's not including his series in which he takes a particular subject and does a multi-part podcast on it with each part a few hours long. Now, you'd think that would be an enormous trudge but instead listening seems to fly by. This is because at no time does this sound like a "history lecture"; instead, Carlin sounds as if he's speaking to you one on one and not as if he's standing at a lectern at the front of a classroom. For example, the First World War series Carlin has just finished last month is called BLUEPRINT FOR ARMAGEDDON; it's in six parts (each part about 4 hours long) and it's immensely compelling to hear. Carlin does an enormous amount of research to prepare for these podcasts (which he releases about once every three months) and this current series on the First World War he began at the end of 2013. I don't really know if he writes out a full script ahead of time but it sure doesn't sound like it; it sounds like he's speaking off the top of his head and the podcast is conversational and, as I said before, in the best tradition of the storyteller who can grab the listener's interest and never let go. The First World War is certainly not unexplored territory for me but BLUEPRINT FOR ARMAGEDDON brings it to life more completely than any book or movie I've previously encountered.
Dan Carlin's website, you can listen to the last year or so's episodes FOR FREE and get the older ones for a small price; the older episodes are available on iTunes for a slightly more expensive price tag. I can particularly recommend the episodes STEPPE STORIES (about the nomadic warriors of the Steppes), JUDGMENT AT NINEVEH (about the downfall of the brutal Assyrian Empire) and THE AMERICAN PERIL (about the Spanish-American War) and PROPHETS OF DOOM (about the bizarre and freaky 16th century Anabaptist takeover of the town of Munster) which you can still listen to for free! And after BLUEPRINT FOR ARMAGEDDON, I plan on listening to Carlin's previous multi-part epic tale of THE WRATH OF THE KHANS (also available for free). If you're the slightest bit interested in history, you owe it to yourselt to give DAN CARLIN'S HARDCORE HISTORY a listen.