American History

Part 1

In the modern world with thousand volumes of information produced each day, it is hard to find time to read historical books or watch documentary films. The life became faster and requires people to be more active.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, in my opinion, is a very useful podcast, especially for foreign students. Storytelling is a convenient method of learning the material. It is possible to press the pause button when one needs to think about the information they have heard. It helps to resonate with the material.

Carlin’s manner of historical storytelling is unique. He combines the modern history with the events that took place years ago to provide a complete image of the historical context. It helps the author make history more fun and interesting than students are used to. Dan Carlin uses many techniques to attract the attention of the audience; his podcasts seem to be constant dialogs with the listeners. The information provided by the author does not have many numbers, years or names. It indicates the timeline of the event and the characteristics of the epoch when it took place. In such a way, Dan Carlin shows that a story is an excellent way to provide learners with cultural information. However, it still makes students collect and interpret data. Storytelling techniques help to define the important information and bring it together.

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Dan Carlin is a great storyteller as he uses frameworks and metaphors. A metaphor makes students think. One of the metaphors that I remembered was used in Episode 40 when Carlin was speaking about the French revolution and its escalation in Europe. He compared it with the virus that spread across the western part of the continent. Some people perceive it as an association that helps to memorize the historical fact, while others concentrate on the interacting narrative manner. The value of a metaphor consists in its ability to summarize the entire issue in a single concept.

Dan Carlin provides only necessary information. It makes the history simple and memorable. He is able to encapsulate a large amount of data in a short story, pointing at the most important events.

Carlin’s stories have a certain scenario and storyboard. At the beginning of the podcast, the author presents the key ideas of the issue, outlining the most important events. In such a way, he presents the subject; moreover, the emotional style of a narration keeps the mind of listeners ready to be impressed. I have never been so interested in history. Carlin’s passion helps to analyze the material that he provides thoroughly and captivates listeners.

Hardcore History is a passionate dialogue with the listeners, which makes it unique.  This is a great podcast series. I find it to be the best way of learning history.

Some historians argue that Hardcore History gives superficial knowledge. Despite a great number of topics, detailed narration and fantastic approach, scholars consider the podcast to show only a partial view of the events.

The most fascinating thing about the podcast Hardcore History, in my opinion, is the complex approach to history. Dan Carlin makes excursus deep in the history searching for the causes and defining all possible consequences in the future. It is unusual to study classic history from the modern point of view.

The one thing I would like to add to the Carlin’s Hardcore History is an image on the screen as a way to concentrate the audience’s attention and make the perception of the information easier. It could be something related to the storytelling line, the most important names and dates, or a map. Such an image can depict the key ideas that Carlin highlights in his stories. It would help foreign students who have problems with concentration on an audio source to memorize the narrative and gain a better understanding of the event. 

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Part 2

According to Carlin, the modern point of view on the events from the past has more advantages than classic approaches to studying history. It helps to analyze an event, to identify its causes and effects. It gives the possibility to handle the information. That is why nowadays, we can tell more about the past events.

In Episode 40, “Radical Thoughts”, Dan Carlin used the phrase “Fear led us places where we should have never gone”. In my opinion, it means the curiosity that fear provokes. This feeling makes people think about the events they are afraid of. According to Carlin, “fear is a huge defense machine” (“Show 40”). In this episode, Carlin speaks about the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The author underlines that the meaning of communism was artificially changed in the United States of America and popularized in masses. In my opinion, communism was the ghost of capitalists that were afraid to be criticized and invented a rival. Americans were afraid of the foreign aggression. It was caused by the ideology of the enemy that has always existed in the United States.

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In “Radical Thoughts”, Dan Carlin speaks about Luigi Galleani. He was an Italian anarchist who lived in the USA and advocated the corresponding principles. According to the United States, he supported communistic ideas. He founded a newspaper that was called Subversive Chronicle and had many followers. According to Carlin, he posted the addresses of rich people in the United States of America and used to speak publicly about them. In his books of that time, he published the instructions of how to make a bomb (Carlin, Episode 40). Carlin links the attention of the government to Galleani by the historical facts when anarchists shot the presidents.

In “Radical Thoughts”, Carlin underlines that, in his opinion, the definition of “communist” was misused at some points in American history. He remembers the quote: “History is an autobiography of a madman” (“Show 40”). It can be seen on the example of the approach to the communism as history is influenced by human emotions to a great extent. Nowadays, the fear of communism looks ridiculous.


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