Dan Carlin

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This article is about the American political commentator. For the American doctor, see Daniel Carlin.

Dan Carlin (born 1965) is an American political commentator and podcaster. Once a professional radio host, Carlin eventually took his show to the Internet, and he now hosts two popular independent podcasts: Common Sense and Hardcore History.


Carlin obtained a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado Boulder.[1] He broke into the television news business in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. He has worked as a television news reporter, an author, a columnist, and a radio talk show host. No longer broadcasting on terrestrial radio, Carlin has achieved recognition in internet radio, podcasting, and the blogosphere. Currently, he hosts two popular podcasts.

Carlin is the son of Academy Award nominated actress Lynn Carlin and film producer Ed Carlin.[citation needed]

Carlin lives in Eugene, Oregon. He is a former reporter for KVAL-TV.[2]

Common Sense[edit]

Common Sense is similar in scope to several Carlin-hosted radio programs that aired between 1994 and 2004.[3] The shows highlight his independent political views, his sense of humor, and unique communication style. He has described his political philosophy as "Neoprudentist," taking a skeptical approach to evaluation of the current political trends and forces. He fosters discussion by developing and presenting self-deprecating ("Martian") thought experiments on solutions to current problems. The podcasts are said to be broadcast "almost live from the end of runway two here at the Emerald International Airport."

"Common Sense" was nominated for a Podcast Award in the Politics/News category in 2012 and 2013.[4]

Hardcore History[edit]

Carlin’s podcasts are hardly reminiscent of the dry history lectures you might remember from school. Carlin puts the “hardcore” in Hardcore History by focusing his narratives on the most violent and dramatic moments in human history, filling his show with colorful anecdotes that were most likely left out of your high school history class.

–Christopher Matthews[5]

Hardcore History is Carlin's forum for exploring topics throughout world history. The focus of each episode varies widely from show to show but they are generally centered on specific historical events and are discussed in a "theater of the mind" style. New episodes are released approximately every two to five months.

Hardcore History, which has millions of downloads per episode, received over 350,000 in a 24-hour period on May 6, 2015.[6] It was nominated in 2012 for a Stitcher Award in the Best Educational & Learning Podcast category.[7] In addition, Carlin has received the Best Classic Podcast in iTunes’ Best of 2014 awards.[8] And in a top 25 best podcasts list in anniversary of 10 years of podcasts, Slate Magazine ranked Dan Carlin's 2009 episode Ghosts of the Ostfront; regarding the Eastern Front of World War Two the fifth best podcast of all time. [9]

Hardcore History Topics[10] Description Release Date
1. Alexander Versus Hitler Dan compares the way the modern world sees Adolf Hitler with the way history views Alexander the Great and wonders if the two men weren't more alike than different. 7/26/2006
2. Guns and Horses The West is Mike Tyson and the East is Muhammad Ali in this episode as Dan mixes Art Bell with Hans Delbruck in this look at a possible reason for the military decline of the near East. 9/26/2006
3. The Organization of Peace The early 20th century League of Nations stood for peace, cooperation, disarmament and international understanding. What happened? 10/4/2006
4. Romancing the Tribes Native American chief Tecumseh and Gallic king Vercingetorix both tried to unify their tribal peoples to face overwhelming foes. Dan examines the romance of their lost causes. 10/24/2006
5. Meandering Through The Cold War Dan meanders through a conversation about causes and effects of the Cold War without ever talking much about the actual events of the conflict. 11/14/2006
6. Shield of the West Spartans, Athenians, Persians and references to Star Trek all make appearances in this look at the dramatic and extremely consequential Greek and Persian wars. 12/8/2006
7. The X-History Files Napoleon is supposed to have said that “History is a set of lies agreed upon”. With that in mind, Dan looks at some of the alternative and pseudo history ideas that many people embrace. 12/27/2006
8. Scars of the Great War Dan looks at the shock and awe caused by the First World War and marvels at how connected we still are to the empire-shattering effects of the conflict contemporaries simply referred to as The Great War. 01/27/2007
9. Darkness Buries the Bronze Age What was the cause of the collapse of the Bronze Age? War? Famine? Natural disaster? Sauron, The Dark Lord? Dan looks at all the potential villains...except for Sauron. 02/16/2007
10. The What-Ifs Of 1066 How might history have been changed if the events of the momentous year 1066 had turned out differently? Dan examines Normans, Vikings, Saxons, Bastards, Conquerors, Confessors, Godwinsons and Hardratas. 03/13/2007
11. Thoughts on Churchill Dan takes a look at various elements of the dramatic life and career of the great British leader. 04/11/2007
12. Steppe Stories Blood-sucking Scythian warriors, tattooed ice mummies, Amazons killing so they can mate, pot smoking head-hunters, scalp-taking, koumiss-drinking Mongols, Turks, Huns, and Aliens. What's not to like? 05/08/2007
13. Bubonic Nukes What would happen if half the population died in a short period of time? Dan looks at the Black Death and other plagues that created almost apocalyptic conditions in the past...and maybe in the future. 06/13/2007
14. The Macedonian Soap Opera When Alexander the Great bequeathed his empire "to the strongest" he set off a funeral contest that shook the world for decades. Murder, marriage, intrigue,and drama all feature prominently in the story. 07/18/2007
15. Desperate Times The tough economic climate after the First World War fostered the growth of radicalism around the world. Did it also create tougher people? Dan looks at the connection between tough times and the "Greatest Generation". 08/30/2007
16. Nazi Tidbits What accounts for the fascination people still have with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? Dan looks at some of the ideas of the German National Socialists and examines the demonic, charismatic Nazi Führer. 10/17/2007
17. Judgment at Nineveh Will our modern society ever decline and fall? Dan uses that idea as a backdrop for a look at the first great empire in history, the biblical-era Assyrians. Were they ancient Nazis, or the guardians of civilization? 12/14/2007
18. A Fly on James Burke's Wall In this episode, Dan discusses history with famed television host, author and science historian James Burke, the man the Washington Post called "one of the most intriguing minds in the Western world". 01/02/2008
19. Apache Tears A traumatized people who traumatized their neighbors, the Native American tribe known as Apache were among the last Indians to surrender to the U.S. Government. 03/14/2008
20. (BLITZ) History Under The Influence This first "Blitz Edition" of the show looks at the hidden side of history, the impact of drugs and alcohol on past events. Dan has a whole list of historical figures he wants to drug test. 05/06/2008
21. Punic Nightmares I Was it geopolitics or simply bitter hatred that fueled the ancient bloodbaths known as "The Punic Wars"? Dan highlights the unimaginable things people experienced during this intense face-off between Rome and Carthage. 07/27/2008
22. Punic Nightmares II Darkness, horror, war and carnage dominate Part 2 of the Punic War trilogy as Hannibal rampages across Italy and pushes Rome to the brink of doom. 09/18/2008
23. Punic Nightmares III In one of the great displays of resiliency in all history, the Romans refuse to buckle under murderous Carthaginian pressure. Instead they recover, defeat and destroy Carthage, and conquer most of the Mediterranean. 10/30/2008
24. Classic Hanson Dan discusses history with famed historian, political commentator and classicist Victor Davis Hanson. 11/21/2008
25. The Dyer Outlook Dan discusses the past, present and future with influential Canadian historian, broadcaster and columnist Gwynne Dyer. 01/20/2009
26. (BLITZ) Addicted to Bondage Is slavery a natural feature of human societies? Dan looks at this timeless, evil institution and wonders if we have made as much progress freeing ourselves from its influence as we think we have. 02/03/2009
27. Ghosts of the Ostfront I Part One covering the conflict between the Germans and the Soviet Union in the Second World War. Dan gives an introduction to the subject and discusses the causes and opening moves of Operation Barbarossa. 04/19/2009
28. Ghosts of the Ostfront II In Part Two of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the attempt to take Moscow and the many compelling stories surrounding the momentous 1941 German offensive. 06/17/2009
29. Ghosts of the Ostfront III In Part Three of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the situation in the U.S.S.R. during 1942 and early 1943, including the dreadful Battle of Stalingrad. 08/10/2009
30. Ghosts of the Ostfront IV In Part Four of the Ostfront series covering WW2 on the Eastern Front, Dan looks at the German retreat from Soviet territory and the retaliation by traumatized Soviet soldiers and civilians on their former tormentors as Berlin falls and the Nazi high command commits suicide. 10/10/2009
31. (BLITZ) Suffer the Children Dan's exposure to the idea of "psychohistory" gets him thinking about how children were raised in the past. Could widespread child abuse and bad parenting in earlier eras explain some of history's brutality? 12/09/2009
32. Globalization Unto Death Ferdinand Magellan is the lead character in this episode about the collision between the Old and New worlds and what Dan calls "Globalization 1.0". 2/27/2010
33. (BLITZ) Old School Toughness Does the toughness of peoples play any role in history? How can historians deal with such an amorphous human quality? Historiography, boxing, barbarians, philosophy and wisdom are among the subjects touched upon. 4/27/2010
34. Death Throes of the Republic I The wars which elevate Rome to superpower status also sow the seed for the downfall of its political system. Money, slaves, ambition, political stalemate and class warfare prove to be a toxic, bloody mix. 6/28/2010
35. Death Throes of the Republic II Disaster threatens the Republic, but the cure might be worse than the disease. "The Dan Carlin version" of this story continues with ambition-addict Marius dominating the story and Plutarch dominating the sources. 8/29/2010
36. Death Throes of the Republic III Rome's political violence expands in intensity from riots and assassinations to outright war as the hyper-ambitious generals Marius and Sulla tear the Republic and its constitution apart vying for power and glory. 10/31/2010
37. Death Throes of the Republic IV Sulla returns to Rome to show the Republic what REAL political violence looks like. Civil war and deadly partisan payback will pave the way for reforms pushed at sword point. Lots of heads will roll...literally. 01/28/2011
38. Death Throes of the Republic V The last great generation of the Roman Republic emerges from the historical mists. The dynamic between Caesar, Cato, Cicero, Crassus and Pompey forms the axis around which the rest of this tale revolves. 04/01/2011
39. Death Throes of the Republic VI In a massive finish to the "Dan Carlin version" of the fall of the Roman Republic, conspiracies, civil wars, beatniks of antiquity and a guy named Caesar figure prominently. Virtually everyone dies. 06/30/2011
40. (BLITZ) Radical Thoughts Using the two 20th Century "Red Scare" eras as case studies, Dan looks at the fear that can be generated by potentially dangerous ideas and examines the way such powerful mass emotions can cloud human judgment. 10/13/2011
41. Thor's Angels What started as a standard podcast episode morphed into an audio book on what used to be called "The Dark Ages" in Europe. Dan gets into many areas he should probably avoid...gods, Germans, bikers, Jesus... 01/19/2012
42. (BLITZ) Logical Insanity After many listener requests, Dan examines the issue of the morality of dropping the Atomic Bombs in the Second World War. As usual, he does so in his own unique, unexpected way. 03/31/2012
43. Wrath of the Khans I In one of the most violent outbursts in history a little-known tribe of Eurasian nomads breaks upon the great societies of the Old World like a human tsunami. It may have ushered in the modern era, but at what cost? 06/14/2012
44. Wrath of the Khans II The Mongol leader Genghis Khan displays an unmatched level of strategic genius while moving against both Northern China and the Eastern Islamic world. Both civilizations are left stunned and millions are slaughtered. 07/31/2012
45. Wrath of the Khans III The expansion of Genghis Khan's conquests continues, with locations as far apart as Europe and China feeling the bloody effects of Mongol warfare and retribution. Can anything halt the carnage? 09/23/2012
46. Wrath of the Khans IV The death of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, should have slowed the momentum of Mongol conquests, but instead it accelerated it. This time though, all of Europe is on the Mongol hit list. 11/13/2012
47. Wrath of the Khans V Succession issues weaken the Mongol Empire as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan fight over their imperial inheritance. This doesn't stop them from dealing out pain, suffering, and ironically good governance while doing so. 01/13/2013
48. Prophets of Doom Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora's Box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation. 04/22/2013
49. The American Peril Imperial temptations and humanitarian nightmares force the United States of the late 19th Century to confront the contradictions between its revolutionary self-image and its expanding national interests. 07/25/2013
50. Blueprint for Armageddon I The planet hadn't seen a major war between all the Great Powers since the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. But 99 years later the dam breaks and a Pandora's Box of violence engulfs the planet. 10/29/2013
51. Blueprint for Armageddon II The Great Powers all come out swinging in the first round of the worst war the planet has ever seen. Millions of men in dozens of armies vie in the most deadly and complex opening moves of any conflict in world history. 01/30/2014
52. Blueprint for Armageddon III The war of maneuver that was supposed to be over quickly instead turns into a lingering bloody stalemate. Trench warfare begins, and with it, all the murderous efforts on both sides to overcome the static defenses. 04/24/2014
53. Blueprint for Armageddon IV Machine guns, barbed wire and millions upon millions of artillery shells create industrialized meat grinders at Verdun and the Somme. There's never been a human experience like it and it changes a generation. 08/17/2014
54. Blueprint for Armageddon V Politics, diplomacy, revolution and mutiny take center stage at the start of this episode, but mud, blood, shells and tragedy drown all by the end. 12/30/2014
55. Blueprint for Armageddon VI The Americans are coming, but will the war be over by the time they get there? Germany throws everything into a last series of stupendous attacks in the West while hoping to avoid getting burned by a fire in the East they helped fan. 05/06/2015
56. King of Kings Often relegated to the role of slavish cannon fodder for Sparta's spears, the Achaemenid Persian empire had a glorious heritage. Under a single king they created the greatest empire the world had ever seen. 10/29/2015
57. King of Kings II From Biblical-era coup conspiracies to the horrific aftermath of ancient combat this second installment of the series on the Kings of Achaemenid Persia goes where only Dan can take it. For better or worse… 3/20/2016
58. King of Kings III If this were a movie, the events and cameos would be too numerous and star-studded to mention. It includes Xerxes, Spartans, Immortals, Alexander the Great, scythed chariots, and several of the greatest battles in history. 8/07/2016

Other podcast and media appearances[edit]

Carlin has made guest appearances on numerous other podcasts, including Daniele Bolelli's "The Drunken Taoist Podcast",[11] making four appearances on "The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast",[12][13][14][15] two appearances on "Smells Like Human Spirit" [16][17] and on a "crosscast" podcast on Sam Harris's "Waking Up".[18] In addition, Carlin has served as a panelist on CBS This Morning[19] and was invited to speak at the TEDxMtHood Conference on May 2, 2015.[20][21]


  1. ^ Dan Carlin (8 June 2014). "Common Sense Archive: Show 276 - Past Transgressions". dancarlin.com (Podcast). Event occurs at 16 minutes. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ CIPOLLE, ALEX V. "Q&A with Hardcore History's Dan Carlin: Print Edition". Eugene Weekly. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Archives, Daily Emerald. "KUGN's un-Savage broadcasting". Emerald Media. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  4. ^ "The People's Choice Podcast Awards". The Podcast Award. PodcastAwards.com. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Matthews, Christopher (August 29, 2013). "Despite Being Oh-So 2005, Podcasting Is Drawing Listeners and Advertisers Alike". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "Obama Interview Sets Download Record for Maron Podcast". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  7. ^ "The 2012 Stitcher Awards". Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ CIPOLLE, ALEX V. (December 24, 2014). "Q&A with Hardcore History's Dan Carlin: Print Edition". Eugene Weekly. Retrieved May 5, 2015 – via EUGENEWEELY.COM. 
  9. ^ http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/ten_years_in_your_ears/2014/12/best_podcast_episodes_ever_the_25_best_from_serial_to_the_ricky_gervais.html
  10. ^ Dan Carlin's Hardcore History Archive
  11. ^ "Dan Carlin, The Man Who Makes History Fun". The Drunken Taoist. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Episode 328". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Episode 378". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  14. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Daniele Bolelli, Episode 413". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Rogan, Joe. "Dan Carlin, Episode 847". The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  16. ^ "Dan Carlin Interview". Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Episode 153: Dan Carlin on Addiction, Net Neutrality, Edward Snowden, and More!". Smells Like Human Spirit Podcast. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  18. ^ Harris, Sam. "Shouldering the Burden of History". Waking Up. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "World War I, A Century Later, June 28, 2014". CBS News This Morning. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "Speaker Detail, Dan Carlin". TEDxMtHood. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  21. ^ "The New Media's Coming of Age". YouTube. TEDxMtHood. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 

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