A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a trip to California and spent several hours driving across the state to various places. We normally listen to podcasts in the car and I had downloaded Dan Carlin‘s Hardcore History in advance. I wasn’t sure why I downloaded it, other than I had heard good things about it and wanted to know what all the buzz was about.
I wasn’t expecting much. I never enjoyed my history classes in school. And the six most recent episodes of this podcast — each of which was a few hours long and had been published over a span of nearly two years — covered nothing but World War I.
On the surface, that sounded like torture to me. More than 20 hours listening to the details of a war that took place a hundred years ago? Shoot me now.
But then we started listening to the beginning of that series with Episode 50 (“Blueprint to Armageddon I”) during one of the long drives… and we kept listening… and it was just incredible. At some point on our trip, we began looking for places we could visit that would take a couple of hours to get to just so we could keep listening to the episodes.
What Carlin has done with the medium, and how he works in so much research into each episode, and how he reels you in so you can’t help but pay attention, and how it’s free, is just astonishing. He got me to pay attention to a subject I actively tried to avoid for years, and I can’t thank him enough for that. I’m angry it took me this long to get into him. (And I haven’t even mentioned his other podcast, Common Sense, which I’ve also eagerly downloaded.)
I’m sure historians may have good reasons to be critical of the show and his interpretations of historical events, but for now, it’s just an amazing entryway into these subjects.
That’s a *really* long way to get to the point of this post, which is that Carlin just did an interview with Sam Harris covering religion and politics and all sorts of other topics. They disagree on things, they have a civil debate about them, they let us in on the conversation, and it’s just really interesting. So, you know, check it out: