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If this is up your street, may I recommend Dan Carlin's Blueprint for Armageddon, which has over ten hours of podcast material exploring the lead up to the first world war.

Probably the best podcast I've ever downloaded, and insane that it's available for nearly free.


Carlin is entertaining to listen to at times, but the information density is quite low. He takes a long time to say not much, all the while sounding quite profound.

I'd recommend the classic references instead/as well: * The First World War by John Keegan * The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

See - at times the pacing is what I quite like - I agree that there are other ways to get information across faster, but Carlin plays with the audio format to force you to dwell on certain things. It has some passages on the human cost / experience of war which are incredibly memorable imo. Of course no one source should be used in isolation and YMMV.

I'm with you. He does a great job of integrating sources, (with lots of quotes from the seminal works, in addition to memoirs and primary accounts) with a really cohesive arc to the story.

Nothing's ever made me feel the way the 2nd-3rd episodes of that show made me feel. There's something about the horrors of trench warfare being described in his way that really brings it home.

Horses for courses. You want scholarly work? There's a bunch of books for that. Want dramatization? Carlin does a good job.

> He takes a long time to say not much, all the while sounding quite profound.

Carlin is definitely verbose but personally I think that is part of the appeal! It's easy to skim through a historical account and only hear a series of dates and names. Dwelling on a subject helps with his narrative of reinforcing how horrible these conflicts were and allows Carlin to delve deeper into anecdotal accounts etc.

That was my problem with Carlin too. He just says everything in that profound, dramatic and at the same time empty (due to low density of information) style and it was driving me up the wall.

Related: "The Coming of the Third Reich", Richard Evans.

I've been reading this recently, it's a very measured look at German politics, culture, and economy from Bismarck through Hitler. Utterly fascinating

I'd recommend the whole trilogy of books by Evans (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Reich_Trilogy). The broad focus and often ground level perspective on German society is even more apparent in the second volume. I haven't encountered another source that better situates the experience of ordinary Germans in the political and cultural changes of the 1930s.

They are on the list next. Do you have any recommendations covering the Russian Revolution through WW2? I wanted to cover both before I start Hannah Arendt's work.

I have not read Keegan but Tuchman has aged quite a bit.

I would recommend "The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914" and "The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914".

"The Guns of August" is fantastic!

AFAIK, everything Prophets of Doom onward is completely free. Not sure how long that will last, and I would love for Dan to put out a monthly or yearly subscription via Patreon; his work is of such high quality.

The latest 10 episodes are free. If a new one is put out, the 10th oldest is no longer available.

You can buy his discography for something on the order of $50. Remember, if you think his shows are worth a dollar, Dan and Ben would love to have it.

I've bought his whole collection and they are very good. Much better than audiobooks which are usually dull and monotone.

Thanks for clarifying. I am happy to buy the discography, but I was hoping there was a way to do a repeating payment to support the project's continued development, as opposed to doing it on a show-by-show basis.

Do you know them personally?

It's a tagline.

Past episodes are also available in the Audiobooks section of iTunes.

Blueprint for Armageddon is probably Carlin's weakest series. It tries to cram too much into too little time, and ends up almost incoherent unless you're already very familiar with the details from elsewhere. You walk away with the idea that fighting that war must have been pretty horrible, but not much else.

I've read a lot of WWI books, and _A World Undone_ by G.J. Meyer was easily the best. Would recommend that to start with for anyone who is interested in a history of WWI as a whole. (There are arguably better options for those just interested in the story of the slide into war, since that really needs a lot of space). The audiobook version is great too.

I wonder if this experience of Blueprint for Armageddon might not be an artifact of listening style. I found it very coherent, providing an integrated narrative of the entire war which nothing in my prior experience could match - but I also listened to it during my commute, 60 to 90 minutes at a time. Taken in smaller bites, I don't think I'd have found it to hang together nearly as well.

I've not read A World Undone (although after seeing the suggestions, I'm adding it to my to-read list). I did like Peter Hart's The Great War immensely, though, and recommend that as the best book on the actual campaigns of the war that I've read.

Check out his series "Ghosts of the Ostfront" if you enjoyed "Blueprint for Armageddon" - it's about the Eastern front during WW2 and does a similar job of immersing you into the violence of the conflict while explaining the implications of the various developments.

I was going to recommend the same. This was a part of WW2 that I'd not really been exposed to in school; at least not to this level of detail. Carlin's description of it is gripping.

I've listened to it several times. WWI is my favorite war to study. Carlin's podcast on it should be a national treasure.

you can tell he rushed the ending. one of his source books was a fantastic read though - A World Undone by GJ Meyer https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553382403/ref=oh_aui_sear...

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