America's Best History Teacher Doesn't Work At A School

Historians in the News
tags: education, Dan Carlin



The subject, naturally, is Genghis Khan and the moral depravity that is often a characteristic of transformative world leaders. The voice begins. 

"Would you be willing, under certain conditions, to order the killing of an innocent woman or child, or old person?" the voice wants to know. “If you said that you would not be willing to do that," it continues, "you are already off the potential ‘great person’ list." It pauses for a couple of seconds. 

"At least in terms of world leaders."

The gravelly, conspiratorial baritone belongs to Dan Carlin, a 49-year-old former talk radio personality who has achieved superstardom in the brightening firmament of podcasting. On his show "Hardcore History," Carlin singlehandedly narrates epochal events of the last several thousand years (World War I, The Black Death, the Norman invasion of England and the rise of the Khans, to name a few). Recorded from a studio in his home in Eugene, Oregon, the show hasn’t exactly gained household name status on the order of "Serial," the true-crime narrative that catapulted the medium into the mainstream last year. 

But "Hardcore History" is firmly ensconced in the upper reaches of iTunes’ most-downloaded list (No. 9 as of this writing), sharing coveted real estate with public-radio mainstays like "Fresh Air" and "This American Life" and long-established boldface names like Marc Maron and Adam Carolla. ...




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