Hardcore History
April 1, 2011 8:21 AM   Subscribe

It's Hardcore History with Dan Carlin, arguably the most intense amateur history podcast you'll run across today. Catch the Ghosts of the Ostfront series (1234) before it slips behind the paywall, and indulge in the epic of the fall of Rome in Death Throes of the Republic (12345).
posted by klue (50 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Oh god, I hate his voice so much. What *is* that tone you hear in these podcast things? It's like half-way between nerd lisp and pick up artist. Uck.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Was wondering if this would pop up here.
Love love LOVE Carlin and this series.

The Ostfront Podcasts are MUST HEAR (and very brutal as well)

He has a great voice and enthusiasm for the subject matter.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:26 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

His voice grows on you. I hear it as "very enthusiastic nerd trying to sound dramatic".

Great show, though.
posted by brundlefly at 8:28 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I always liked hardcore history. Haven't listened to it in a couple of years, but I think the non-linear comparative type history that he does works well for an engaging podcast.
posted by Think_Long at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

ooo, I've been waiting for Part V for what seems like forever.

If you like Dan Carlin, check out 12 Byzantine Rulers and Norman Centuries by Lars Brownsworth.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I love his podcasts. In the Common Sense podcast he's yelly and indignant like a pundit, but not stupid like one, and the Hardcore History podcast is in a class of its own.

The Ostfront podcasts were chilling as hell, and the Punic Nightmares series was good enough to be worth paying for.
posted by pjaust at 8:34 AM on April 1, 2011

Once you get used to his delivery, it's a really great show. These are two of his best series.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2011

I like The History Of Rome
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on April 1, 2011 [10 favorites]

Completely agree with the previous comentors. I've been listening for a couple of years, and it's by far the best history lesson I've ever experienced. His passion is inspiring.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:46 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hardcore History is awesome. My son and I have gone through all that are available free, and I've been meaning to buy the CD with the archives.
posted by COD at 8:46 AM on April 1, 2011

Thanks for this.
Great style and he does not load up history with junk and decoration.
I'm at Spartacus, Vol.38 and his anaology is apt.
posted by clavdivs at 8:48 AM on April 1, 2011

I love Hardcore History. And I love his voice. His podcast about the Apache was awesome.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I started listening to these last month. I love his nerd drama voice.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

He's the best at making me consider what it would have been like to have one of the famous events of history happen to me. "The End of the Republic" means you have to watch your back when you walk down the streets of Rome.

He uses lots of dramatic devices, which is very effective at drawing me in. Though sometimes he verges on drawing lessons from his history that make me think "Um, no, I don't believe that human relations are fated to be that way."

And nth'ing The History of Rome podcast. It doesn't really need an FPP, but maybe someone should put up something referencing it, just so we can favorite it. Anyone here taking the History of Rome tour
posted by benito.strauss at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fantastic podcast. This and Common Sense have made my commute so much better. I need to buy CDs (ew) or just donate to show my thanks.
posted by schwa at 8:52 AM on April 1, 2011

I loved his "Punic Nightmares" episodes, and "History Under the Influence". And I agree that his voice and speaking style can grow on you.
posted by neushoorn at 8:58 AM on April 1, 2011

Punic Nightmares and his show on the horsemen of central Asia, Steppe Stories, make you truly appreciate how fucking horrible it was to live in the ancient world. If you weren't on the giving end of rape, murder and enslavement, you were probably on the receiving end.
posted by electroboy at 8:59 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I always thought he sounded like Richard Dreyfuss being intense.

I love Hardcore History, I listen to it while riding the bus. My brain can chew on the information for days.
posted by castlebravo at 9:04 AM on April 1, 2011

I'm also a big fan of Dan's Common Sense podcast, even if I don't agree with a lot of what he says.
posted by crunchland at 9:07 AM on April 1, 2011

I've also generally enjoyed the guests he's had on, except for that shithead Victor Davis Hanson.
posted by electroboy at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2011

Shithead is actually part of VDH's name, like Dr. or Mr.
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also another vote for his Common Sense show. Don't agree with him 100% of the time, but he has a lot of good ideas.
posted by freakazoid at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2011

I found out about Dan Carlin from Metafilter. I like Common Sense less than I did when I began listening a year ago. His latest podcasts are repeating the same arguments he has made in earlier podcasts, which is understandable considering a person only has so many political views. However I want to hear more of him speaking about his views on the Baby Boomer/ Gen-X divergence, because it sums up my mom and her much younger sister so much.

Hardcore History is awesome. My favorite episode is "Apache Tears," the best lesson in Indian history I ever heard, which is typically so distorted in the US. I never knew the Apache were fighting the Mexicans and Americans at the same time and headed toward the international border whenever being pursued by one nation's military.
posted by riruro at 9:12 AM on April 1, 2011

electroboy: "Punic Nightmares and his show on the horsemen of central Asia, Steppe Stories"

Heck yeah. That was a great episode.
posted by brundlefly at 9:14 AM on April 1, 2011

I tried to enjoy this, but he rambles so much, and he has this AM talk radio delivery that I can't stand.
posted by empath at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2011

I ♥ the DownThemAll extension.
posted by Zed at 9:30 AM on April 1, 2011

While I'll agree that there's some AM radio in his voice, it's the sort of after midnight driving-through-the-desert-radio, flipping the dial through static and you happen to pick something up just odd enough, that you stay in the cab of your truck long after you've reached your destination to listen to the last juicy bits.

While I don't agree with everything he says, his enthusiasm is infectious. Ghosts of the Ostfront is an excellent place to start. His descriptions of battlefields in Russia still holding the unburied bodies of the fallen is quite chilling. It's history as an overdramatic radio drama. Sure his voice is easy to parody, but after very dull classes in historiography in college, it's nice to listen to someone that is just excited about the old-fashioned stories of Hannibal climbing the alps.

I giggled when I first started listening, and then I became a fan.
posted by schmattakid at 9:31 AM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Ooh, since we're listing our favorite episodes, and no-one's mentioned mine yet, let me endorse Judgment at Nineveh, (sadly already behind the paywall). In it I learned that the Assyrians were
  • BAMFs
  • utterly hated by everyone who lived near them
  • destroyed in the blink of an eye, historically speaking
  • so thoroughly erased that Greek travelers coming across their ruins couldn't find locals who could identify the nation that had made them.
Really great podcast.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:46 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the tip, klue. I'm listening to the episode with Gynne Dwyer now and am enjoying it thoroughly.
posted by andromache at 10:00 AM on April 1, 2011

The first note to the first Ostfront podcast is citing Guy Sajer's the Forgotten Soldier.

the book is a widely considered a fraud
posted by Ironmouth at 10:01 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hahaha, yeah, I listen to him but I always giggle a bit at the presentation. It can be a bit melodramatic or self-important sounding, but as others have noted, I just brush it off as enthusiasm. It's kind of an endearing quirk after a while.
posted by Nattie at 10:07 AM on April 1, 2011

Re: The Forgotten Soldier . . .
Sajer himself struck back against implications of fraud or fiction by claiming that The Forgotten Soldier was intended as a personal narrative, based on his best personal recollections of an intensely chaotic period in German military history, not an attempt at a serious historical study of World War II: "You ask me questions of chronology situations dates and unimportant details. Historians and archivists have harassed me for a long time with their rude questions. All of this is unimportant. Other authors and high-ranking officers could respond to your questions better than I. I never had the intention to write a historical reference book; rather I wrote about my innermost emotional experiences as they relate to the events that happened to me in the context of the Second World War."

Sounds like Dan Carlin's intentions as well.
posted by schmattakid at 10:27 AM on April 1, 2011

I've been subscribing to his RSS feed for ages. Shows 30 upwards don't appear to be on the feed so many thanks for the post.

Similar shows I've enjoyed:
12 Byzantine Rules.
Norman Centuries
posted by NailsTheCat at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Dan Carlin is just plain awesome. I know I'm going to be using a lot of superlatives in this comment, but he deserves them.

Ghosts of the Ostfront is probably the best podcast series I've ever heard from anyone. There was also one called Apache Tears that was terrific -- a great introduction to Carlin if you don't have time for the whole Ostfront saga. The slavery podcast is also recommended -- it had me thinking for weeks.

I think that Carlin is one of the best examples of someone who really gets how to put together a podcast. I also really like Common Sense, too.

BTW: I like his voice/delivery -- think of it as Shatner-esque.
posted by silkyd at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

He always reminded me of Wallace Shawn's character from the Princess Bride. During one episode he actually said "inconceivable!" and I fell out laughing.
posted by electroboy at 11:31 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I ♥ the DownThemAll extension.

I prefer to think of it as the Down The Mall extension, even if I don't know what that means.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:47 AM on April 1, 2011

I loved the 12 Byzantine Rules. Thanks, NailsTheCat, for pointing out his new Norman podcast.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:55 AM on April 1, 2011

On my second podcast.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:48 PM on April 1, 2011

If you're interested in a comprehensive history of Ancient Rome, I heartily, heartily recommend Mike Duncan's "History of Rome" podcast series, also available on iTunes.

I really, really wanted to get into Ghosts of the Ostfront, but he's trying far too hard to be DRAMATIC. And then he repeats what he just said, in case the DRAMA didn't sink in. And then he'll invite you to THINK ABOUT THE HORROR. And how HORRIBLE it was. It could use a great deal more "show, don't tell". But many people like it, so it could be differing tastes.
posted by Nahum Tate at 1:14 PM on April 1, 2011

(Upon review, looks like several other folks have mentioned Mike Duncan. Well worth checking out.)
posted by Nahum Tate at 1:18 PM on April 1, 2011

12 Byzantine Rulers is destroying my afternoon. In a wonderful way.
posted by Earthtopus at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have added and deleted this from my podcast feed many times. It's just too long for me, really, and I could never get into it. Mike Duncan's "History of Rome," though? Gone through it TWICE.
posted by absalom at 2:33 PM on April 1, 2011

12 Byzantine Rulers is destroying my afternoon. In a wonderful way.

What's terrific about it is that (to me at least) it's a period in history that gets so little attention, yet had so much going on. Compared to the Romans, the Greeks, Tudors etc. that is. It tied together a lot of history for me, filling in the gaps.

Of course, I could have just asked Metafilter's Justinian I guess.
posted by NailsTheCat at 3:04 PM on April 1, 2011

Carlin has given me introduction to many pieces of history and stirred me to look at all I can find on some others. His take on Hitler (by now behind the paywall I believe) damn sure worth hearing, brought me to read much more than I had previous, and has lit a fire in me to study more about Stalin, fourteen times the psycho than Hitler ever was or would have been, the deadliest man of his century. We only *think* Cheney is a thieving, power-mad, psycho, murdering, baby-eating motherfucker but Cheney is a Boy Scout walking little old ladies across the street when compared to Hitler, a babe in arms compared to Stalin.

The best word I can find for Carlin's voice is haranguing, it really bothered me at the first, but I've been able to use just a bit of wisdom, separated the message from the messenger, taken the content regardless the style. Over time I've come to see that it's just him, it's how he does things, things that I'm glad that he does, I count it good. He's passionate, for sure, he cares, he wants to give us things, if the paper he wraps the gift in isn't to my liking, well, grow UP then, not something I like to do but sometimes will, if something is important enough to me; Carlin is important enough to me. I damn sure appreciate him.

Does he gloss over pieces, is he sometimes wrong or whatever? Maybe. But he's led me to read things that I'd never have read, and only in reading them have I found out that he's maybe wrong. Maybe. It's history, I wasn't there and neither were any of the people writing this stuff, we're all taking our best shot. And the glossing over, well, he's got 90 minutes to cover what could easily be studied in a PhD, what could be taught in university for a lifetime, no way can he cover it all, but seems to me that he'd love to. He gives enough to light that fire, if there's a fire to be lit, not bad for a guy to pull off in 90 minutes.

I've thrown a couple of dollars his way, he took the time to give a personal response and a thank you -- cool. If he's given you anything, give him something back, right?
posted by dancestoblue at 3:29 PM on April 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

So what's the verdict? Ben = Real or imaginary?
posted by crunchland at 2:05 PM on April 2, 2011

This is my single favorite podcast.
posted by slightly ridiculous at 1:04 PM on April 3, 2011

Holy shit this is good. The Os Front... fascinating. It was a pleasure to clean my house listening to it yesterday...
posted by ph00dz at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2011

So what's the verdict? Ben = Real or imaginary?

My son and I have decided that Ben doesn't really exist.
posted by COD at 4:24 PM on April 3, 2011

Great FPP! Judgment at Nineveh was the one that hooked me, and his description of Cannae still gives me, yes, nightmares.
posted by whuppy at 7:25 AM on April 5, 2011

A great post delivers long after they roll off the front page; thanks klue. Case in point: Dan Carlin interviews James Burke.
posted by HLD at 7:27 PM on April 17, 2011

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