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I guess I just like liking things

hh-coverThe only thing you need to find a passion for history is a good teacher. Everyone now has a good history teacher in Dan Carlin, host of the podcast Hardcore History.

I thought it was a good way to start my posts about podcasts here at zwolanerd with what I think is the pinnacle of the medium. It isn’t that Hardcore History has the high production values of something like Radiolab or 99% Invisible. What makes the show a must-listen is the depth each topic is given, every perspective is explored. Carlin has an excellent talent to contextualize historical events in modern terms.

There are two series in the podcast’s run that can give you a good idea of what makes it so special. The first is Carlin’s examination of the Mongols, and what made their empire such a unique case in history. Not only do you get the battle-by-battle details, you get some in depth takes on the way the Mongols affected the cities they sacked. The whole series is about nine hours long you can grab the first episode here.

The other is the series on World War I. It’s called Blueprint for Armageddon, it brings a complex war into perspective. Though the war cast a long shadow, World War I is often given short shrift in history classes.  A lot of this has to do with the fact that the war doesn’t have as clear a moral component of World War II. Carlin takes the complexity of the era before and during the run up to the war and presents it clearly and plainly. He does a great job of showing how this war transitioned the world from the Colonial to the Modern era, and how it changed the place of those powers in the world. That one’s an even longer series. The six episodes clock in at 25 hours. You can grab the first episode of that here.

You aren’t adding these four or five hour epic podcasts to your weekly time budget. Hardcore History only comes out every ninety days or so. The shorter episodes do come a little quicker. As episodes fall off of the RSS feed the become available on iTunes or Carlin’s site to purchase.

If you have even a passing interest in History, you need to start listening to Hardcore History. Carlin is a unique voice who attempts to examine multiple perspectives, both the big historical figures and the way every day people coped. This is a show that I always listen to the new episode as soon as it comes out.


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