Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History King of Kings III

Carlin takes readers on a tour of some of the most popular subjects in history in this series including Alexander the Great, Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis. The difference, is that this tale is told from the perspective of what Western Civilization has come to think of as the villain, the Persian Empire.

It takes a great deal of skill and open mindedness for someone to shirk their cultural baggage and look at things from the other side. You can’t take a civics class in middle school without hearing about the direct link between Greece and the United States all the way through the ages. It’s very easy for people to frame things in terms of “us and them” with them being the Achaemenid Persian Empire and everything that they stood for.

Carlin does a great job of showing readers though how from the perspective of the Persians, maybe the Greeks weren’t as innocent as they seemed out there in the hinterlands on the empire’s borders always fomenting rebellion and encouraging revolt within the Persian Empire itself, for example.

I particularly liked the earlier parts of this series that talked about Cyrus the Great. He really was a fascinating historical figure.

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, and for the last dozen years, 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, both of which are frequently among the highest-ranked podcasts on review sites such as Podcastalley and iTunes.