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The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,865 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by William Collins
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Tyler Allen This is the Hardcore History Website
If you search Hardcore History on any podcast platform it should show up.

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  1,865 ratings  ·  244 reviews

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Start your review of The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Unlike many of the other reviewers here, I have actually listened to the podcast. I’ve been a fan of Hardcore History and Dan Carlin’s unique and chatty approach to the subject for years. I’ve noticed that every chapter in this book is essentially a reworked past episode of the podcast. I’m not complaining. Stringing them together into a book with a common theme is brilliant. A number of the other episodes that weren’t covered in this book, the epically long ones, would also make great books.

Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, history, non-fiction, war
I have never listened to the podcast that this book is based on, but found it incredibly thought-provoking. At it's heart it's a philosophical take on history looking at how famine, plague, war and other calamities come about, what there effects were and then asking the question of could they happen again? Is our civilisation genuinely different from the Assyrians or Romans who didn't think that their empires could fall either?

In a weird way, I think this book is akin to Sapiens: A Brief
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Based on a podcast, this is an interesting jump into the world of history, but not quite as we known it. Dan Carlin examines some of the disasters of our history to determine their likelihood of ever happening again, as well as how they occurred in the first place. It’s grand scale history, sweeping us through the ages and inviting the reader to think about the what ifs and near misses of our pasts.

At times I found the subject
Ryan Boissonneault
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The principal question for the modern age is this: Has humanity made moral progress, or are we destined to repeat the same mistakes and suffer the same misfortunes? Dan Carlin, founder of the popular podcast Hardcore History, explores this question as he recounts the apocalyptic moments of our past while asking if the modern world is destined to face similar catastrophes, and if so, whether or not we have the resolve to handle them.

Carlin covers the Bronze Age collapse, the fall of the Assyrian
Andrej Karpathy
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I understand that some of the book's content has appeared in Dan's Hardcore History podcasts, but since I've only listened to a sparse few a lot of the book was relatively new material to me.

I thought the premise of the book was excellent: Things look quite good right now and it's hard to imagine civilization regressing substantially, but history is filled with examples of exactly that over and over again. Just how optimistic should we be today that we can avert the same fate?

I expect that Dan
Samwell Maximus
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Well that was underwhelming. If you have listened to his podcasts prepare to hear everything you’ve already heard before; Dan doesn’t try at all to come up with any new stories, questions, or ways of explaining the same stories from history. (Hint: Planet of the Apes reference Incoming) This book does not cover new territory but feels like he just looked through his old research notes and put them all together.
but I believe the book should be rated aside from connection to his podcast. I was
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is parsing past history within setting generalization posits. I was super disappointed. Portions I skim read. I love history and got something very unlike what the title surmised to my meeting it or in anticipation.

It's not "super bad" quality for most readers. No. But for me or any true students who hold depth homo sapiens historic study within their backgrounds, this just won't fill the bill. It just won't at all. If it was beer it would be the "super light" variety.

It merely disseminates
Brendan Monroe
If you haven't listened to Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" podcast, do yourself a favor and download it now.

I first heard of Dan Carlin thanks to an interview the author Sam Harris gave to The Guardian back in 2015. Harris mentioned Carlin's podcast and before long I'd downloaded all 50+ episodes and was instantly hooked. The only problem is that Carlin, who releases long-form podcasts that often exceed four hours, only produces one to two podcasts a year, so the wait time is real.

Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
The beginning of the book was a little offputting with a discussion on civilization's softness which at times sounded like a rant of your reactionary uncle but the book gets much better and more interesting from there. It is largely about the four horsemen who cause what seems like apocalyptic changes in history. Discussing the Bronze age collapse of eastern Mediterranean civilizations in the twelfth century BCE or the fall of Rome, or Justinian's or the Black Plagues and the Spanish flu of ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The themes of this book will be familiar to listeners of the Hardcore History podcast, as Dan Carlin has touched on them before, particularly in the early episodes (before the podcast became super long). Here, those themes are fleshed out in more detail. The book maintains the same engaging style that made me fall in love with the podcast.
Alex Sarll
I don't really do podcasts; as a rule, I'd rather read something at my own speed than listen to it. So when a noted podcaster, here of Hardcore History, has the courtesy to transfer to my preferred format, it seems only fair that I should take a look at the result. Alas, it does not get off to a good start; the preface is only ten pages long but I still lost count of the number of times he says that considering the idea our civilisation could collapse, as so many have in the past, seems like ...more
Joe Thomas
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
The End Is Always Near - a rather pessimistic, but oddly fitting, title for a book about some of the key moments in human history. I confess never having listened to Dan’s podcast, but the concept here grabbed me straight away - an exploration of some the most catastrophic (or near catastrophic) moments in human history, from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Plague, the destruction of the Assyrian Empire to the use of atomic weapons.

The thread - the moments we got near to human destruction -
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I mean, sure, Dan Carlin is an absolute treasure, but I'm unclear on why this book exists. It's all retreads from his podcast, but with less depth (stories he would have spent 3-4 hours delightfully rambling on about condensed to about a quarter of that), and with no real positive tradeoff for that. I was thinking it'd either be a more rigorous work of history— better sourced, maybe, or less grandiose— or more tightly plotted— weaving more narratives together, linking themes more clearly, ...more
Michael Gray
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Equal parts fascinating and terrifying! As with his amazing podcast, Dan Carlin has a knack for putting major historical events in the context of the average contemporary, and then bringing it back to today so that one can imagine what it (the Black Death, the fall of Assyria or Rome, the cold war, etc) must have felt like at the time. I found myself staying up reading it as if it was a fiction thriller simply because of how awestruck I was with some of the stories.

Though relatively dark (see
Nicole D.
My son is a big fan of Hardcore History podcast, and he introduced me to Dan Carlin and I like him. He talks about history in a way that is really accessible (in fact I wish he'd done the book on the Six Day War I'm reading, because it's Wander City for me and that book...but I digress.)

Carlin takes an interesting position here, and goes through history and essentially tells us all the catastrophic stuff humanity has already survived. War, Famine, plague, dictators ... Hitler. So you can look at
Jan 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This book is totally pointless. It's merely a listing of the most famous apocalyptic moments in history. It offers no new revelations. The author argues no point, makes no conclusions. I'm not sure why he even wrote the thing. I bought the book as I was searching for some material on the Bronze Age Collapse and I did enjoy that section of the book but the rest of the book? I'm just pleased that it was short. Dreadful. Run away from this book.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is more of an entry level essay collection introduction to Dan's work, aimed at a more general audience. Don't misunderstand me, it's at least as good (I'd say better, but I'm biased) as anything out there with the same target audience.

However you're just not going to get the same level of detail on any one specific topic as you are in one of his multi-part many-hour deep dives. As such, expectations and hence outcomes will be different.
John Allard
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll start off by saying that I am a die-hard fan of the Hardcore History podcast. I've listened to each epsiode at least twice, and some of my favorites (Blueprint for Armageddon, Ghosts of the Ostfront, Logical Insanity, and more) I've listened to 3, 4, even 5 times. If you added up all of the time I've spent listening to Dan Carlin speak his thoughts on history it would almost surely tally up to weeks, maybe even a month, of my life. With that said, you can imagine my excitement when I ...more
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
I love Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcasts (Blueprint for Armageddon, Wrath of the Khans, Ghosts of the Ostfront). I listened to the Audible version. As other people have noted, these are much more like repackaged versions of the Blitz episodes, where Dan talks about different subjects that interest him. I've heard most of the episodes, so it was nice to revisit them, but honestly some of the earlier chapters were not that great; it's really because I liked Hardcore History that I continued. ...more
Graziano Misuraca
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I got the audiobook, which is narrated by Dan Carlin, partially because I love how he narrates his podcast. There's something lost, here. I get the feeling that the tighter script makes the narration a bit more forced an awkward, while apparently I appreciate the freer flow of his podcasts. The subject matter is interesting, though I found the chapter on children out of place (I don't know how child abuse really hints at the end of the world, while plagues and nuclear war clearly do).
Glen Krisch
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
The writing/content = 4-stars. Loses a star because of the unnecessary footnotes, which were for the most part just digressions that could've easily been worked into the narrative. These footnotes covered up to half of some pages, and most pages had notes. These were a big drag on my reading momentum.
Siddhartha Banerjee
I'm a huge fan of Hardcore History and I was so excited to get this book after the latest episode. Yet this book was slightly disappointing: it is both too broad in the scope of the topic and yet too short to actually give us the depth of detail and point-counterpoint that I've come to expect from Carlin. An average survey paper here, I guess
Christian Moore
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book full of Dan Carlin’s concise versions of past Hardcore History episodes. If you’re a fan of the show, it’s good. If you’ve never listened to the podcast, this is a good gateway drug.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Boy. Dan Carlin loves him so deep, deep research. And notes. Lots of notes. I love me some history (and Carlin's "Hardcore History") so this is a really neat read. Wish there was more pre-modern apocalypse talk, but it was still really cool. Speculation mixed with incredible research and sources, Carlin, as he does with his podcast, really provides a pretty outstanding little rundown of major events that were apocryphal in scope to humanity through the ages.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting chronicle of “all those times” when civilization could have, in some sense, ended. There have been more than a few. On the plus side - humanity has learned from of them, on the minus side - they keep happening.
Elisa Strickler
I really enjoyed this book. I’ve been listening to Dan’s podcast for many years, and I could hear his unique voice in my head as I was reading. Overall it was an excellent, thought provoking read for me!
Jordan Anderson
Being a history buff and someone who always loves to learn more stuff, to me, Dan Carlin is a gift from God. His history podcasts are ear opening and compelling. His research is comparable to nine. His ability to make 6 hour podcasts feel like no time has passed is a unique talent very few have.

So imagine my delight and excitement when I found out Carlin had finally published a book that was not only history based, but also revolving around everyone’s favorite speculation: doomsday. I snagged
Bartosz Majewski
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of hardcore history podcast and since it went out only 2 times (i think) in 2019 reading this book as a substitute (audiobook is narrated by Dan Carlin) was a no-brainer. If you are a fan of the podcast - the spirit is the same here, however, Carlin does not discuss one story. He discusses one idea (that we are always a step from a total civilization changing catastrophy we know from history textbooks) throughout multiple stories and moments in history.

First, hear the podcast. If
Ahmad Abugosh
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
If you look at history, human progress is not a straight line. There are often times throughout history where a time in the past was more advanced than the current time. While that is hard to believe nowadays, it's entirely possible to happen again in the future. This book explores exactly that phenomenon, that the end is always near.

While I enjoyed this book that explores the ups and downs of human progress, I feel like there was too much emphasis on three cases (the collapse of the bronze age,
Marc Sims
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A collection of vignettes across history where society nearly is wiped out. Gives a helpful perspective on how fragile society is and how ill placed is our modern confidence in societal progress and peace.
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Play Book Tag: The End is Always Near - Dan Carlin 4/5 3 8 Dec 31, 2019 04:18PM  

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Dan Carlin is an American political commentator, amateur historian, 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 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, ...more
“As a hurricane precedes, I attacked it, and like a storm, I overthrew it. Its inhabitants young and old I did not spare, and with their corpses, I filled the streets of the city. The town itself and its houses, from their foundations to their roofs, I devastated, I destroyed. By fire, I overthrew in order that in future, even the soil of its temples would be forgotten.” 1 likes
“The historian Gwynne Dyer has said that Sennacherib destroyed Babylon as thoroughly as a nuclear bomb would have. In fact, the only difference between the ancient world and the modern is that it took a lot more human muscle power to accomplish the same thing.” 0 likes
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