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The End Is Always Near

Apocalyptic Moments from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses
Narrated by: Dan Carlin
Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: History, Military
5 out of 5 stars (520 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his first book, the creator of the award-winning podcast Hardcore History looks to some of humanity’s most apocalyptic moments to understand the challenges of our future. 

Do tough times create tougher people? Can humanity handle the power of its weapons without destroying itself? Will human technology or capabilities ever peak or regress? Why, since the dawn of time, has it always seemed as though death and destruction are waiting just around the corner? 

In The End Is Always Near, Dan Carlin connects the past and future in fascinating and colourful ways, exploring a question that has hung over humanity like the sword of Damocles from the collapse of the Bronze Age to the nuclear era - that of human survival. 

Combining his trademark mix of storytelling, history and thought experiments, Carlin forces us to consider what sounds like fantasy: that we might suffer the same fate as all previous civilisations. Will our world ever become a ruin for future archaeologists to dig up and explore? 

This thrillingly expansive and entertaining book will make you look at the past - and future - in a completely different way. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Dan Carlin (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about The End Is Always Near

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Dan Carlin Conquers the audio book

Just as he (Dan Carlin) has conquered the podcast format, the same can be said true of the audio book.

For listeners of his podcast series there may not be a whole lot new here (if you have heard every single one as I have). This however is not a criticism. To hear the material again but with refinements and maybe a more concise approach was throughly enjoyable (although I do enjoy his tangents on the podcasts), the gravity and context of the wide breadth of events was not lost even for I feel new listeners not familiar with history.

Dan does a very good job of emersing the listener in real life events that people had to endure while also providing the wider facts of the event with the Dan Carlin voice. If only our classics or history teachers would wrap high school lessons up in the drama of the extreme human experience, maybe more young minds would be intrigued to learn more of our past.

This is the first review I have ever written in my life, for anything of that matter but I feel compelled to do so as I must tip my proverbial cap to Dan carlin 5/5. To the godfather of the history podcast and now as he stakes his claim in the audio book

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Hardcore history fan.

Dan Carlin lays awake at night unable to sleep and you are invited to listen to his thoughts on world destruction :D.

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Dan Carlin is a fantastic History teacher

Enjoyed listening to what feels almost like another Hardcore History deep dive except on a theme as opposed to a civilization or event. personally I prefer the event/civilization style to the theme but it was well worth the listen regardless. I look forward to more from Dan Carlin.

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Great book for hardcore history fans

Compilation of hardcore history podcasts in one great read. Must have for hardcore history fans.

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Good but a bit light on

Not as hardcore as Hardcore history podcast. I prefer Dan impromptu delivery than this boo which seems a bit rehearsed. This book jumped pretty quick from Bronza age to time to WW2 and only really offered a quick look at each era.

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Timely and scary

I’ve become a fan of Dan Carlin and his hard-core history podcasts. This book does not disappoint. It’s extremely timely to think about all the times in history that civilisations have been wiped out and ours is perched on the precipice. We have the threat of nuclear war and climate change involving resisting sea levels. New epidermic’s of infections are also possible. We have lived through 70 years of peace but history shows that all good things must come to an end. Dan Carlin make the Clarion call to wake up and behave more clearly than our predecessors.

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Dan Carlin is a master

What could possibly be better than a Dan Carlin book narrated by the man himself?

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Wonderful

this man and his works are an invaluable source of knowledge, thanks Dan and team.

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Dan does it agan

amazing book, very eerie with the Chapter 6 pandemic talk and listening to it right as Covid hits.

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  • Ace
  • 10-06-2020

good history but seems like it's missing something

I would have to read/listen to it again, but I felt that Carlin left out large chunks of history that would have been relevant and strengthened his contention. Felt like an essay that's missing a few paragraphs.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-11-2019

brilliant!

dan is my man when it comes to history! do not hesitate to get your copy today!

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  • Martin T.
  • 18-12-2019

missing some new material

Dan Carlin is the master of story telling. But if you are a regular listener of Hardcore History this book is kinda just a resume.

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  • Eduard Ras
  • 04-12-2019

Good book (prefer podcast)

Dan's personality shines through in this reading. I don't think the audio book would be the same if read by someone else. Overall the book is good. There's enough there to support his storyline and thoughts. As someone who has listened to the podcast though I have to admit that I prefer the podcast over the book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-11-2019

Just another hard core history podcast chapter...

Which is actually a good thing! The transitions between various topics aren't always smooth. And yet, as always, you just can't stop listening to it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-2019

summary of podcast material

some of the podcast series are better. I didn't like the lack of cohesion and would like for Dan to focus on one period or story rather than history of humanity and beyond.. nevertheless happy to contribute and back Dan and thanks for all the free podcast material!

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  • N
  • 05-11-2019

If you're a fan of the podcasts you've heard this.

Great content - don't get me wrong. However, most of this sounded familiar very quickly. Dan Carlin is good narrator of his material and this particular reading style, rather than more conversational or rambling people so enjoy, was also enjoyable.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonas
  • 15-07-2020

For the history fanatic & newbie alike

Admittedly I went into this with a strong bias for all things Dan Carlin. What can I say... I'm a fan. That said I was also super critical going in and wasn't convinced Dan's style would translate in the more confined form that would be required for a written account.

I was devastatingly wrong.

This book is amazing. Have since passed it on to several mates who run the gambit from fellow history enthusiasts to outright historical newbies with little to know background.

Dan presents this story in a way that is both rich with information and easy to digest. What I love most is that he isn't trying to sell you his opinion... Rather he likes leaving the question with you to bounce around in your head and give you enough perspective to be able to reach your own theories.

Its just superb really.

Thanks D. C for knocking this one out the park!

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  • Marian Hanganu
  • 17-02-2020

Breathtaking, as all his creations

Another breathtaking story by Dan Carlin that you can't put off until finished.
Now he will scare you to death because he is right: the end is always near.

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  • Trevor
  • 09-02-2020

Dan Carlin at his best

I've listened to every Hardcore History episode, and this is just as good. Dan Carlin - simply genius

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  • D. MccOll
  • 09-12-2019

Recommended...

if you like Dan Carlin's Hardcore History you'll like this. Same author, same narrator, broader timeline.

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  • James W.
  • 30-10-2019

Greatest Hits

Feels like a Greatest hits album for the HH podcast. Not a whole lot of new ground covered but still a deeply enjoyable listen.

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  • Scott
  • 12-11-2019

Hardcore History in Book Form

If you love the podcast, you know what to expect.
If you haven’t heard of the podcast, then you should go and download it now.

The book is almost a highlights reel of the podcast from the last few years, with extra material and an over-arcing structure.

The barbarian leader Clovis; Charleston Heston screaming on the beach in planet of the apes; the logical insanity of nuclear war - familiar podcast points retold. Almost like Monty Python’s ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’, where they reshot their best sketches from two seasons into a single movie.

Highly recommended for existing fans and those who haven’t heard the podcast before. Always interesting, always engaging, Dan is excellent at putting history in context and injecting life into stories.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-11-2019

Ties his podcasts together nicely

My initial concern was that this book would be a "greatest hits" recycling material from his "hardcore history" podcast and while a lot of familiar topics are covered this is genuinely new material and thematically ties a lot of his series together with a common theme of societal collapses and near misses throughout history. The highlight is the chapter on the bronze age collapse which is one of histories great mysteries and something Dan has teased about covering in depth for years.
The narration is unsurprisingly excellent and Dan's enthusiasm and style still shines even when scripted. I was going to buy the book whatever as a way of thanking him for the podcast so it was a pleasant surprise to find the book thoroughly enjoyable. An obvious purchase for fans of his podcast but also a complimentary piece for fans of Jared Diamond's "collapse" which focuses on environmental disasters - something which isn't covered as in depth here.

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  • fndktr
  • 04-11-2019

An entertaining synthesis of the podcast

I enjoyed this audiobook, but I think it's important to those who are thinking about buying it to be aware that it's essentially a condensed 'best of' of the podcast shows. For long term listeners of the show, there is little new here apart from occasional information (mostly concerning the Bronze Age) that has been updated since the show that originally dealt with it aired. However, if you're like me, and frequently revisit the podcasts anyway then this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Dan's narration took a little bit of getting used to, not because it's bad or anything, but because it is a little odd to hear him talking from a script rather than the much more casual style of the podcast.

Overall I liked the audiobook a lot and it was nice to hear many of the subjects he has spoken about in the past being brought together. The issues I have mentioned above aren't enough to keep it from being worth your time. I would especially recommend it to those new to the podcast.

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  • Nephrite
  • 19-02-2020

Dan Carlin: As Hardcore As Ever!

The End Is Always Near; Apocalyptic Moments From The Bronze Age Collapse To Nuclear Near Misses by Dan Carlin

Now...it’s good to return in front of my figurative typewriter once again. But what will I review or discuss today? I am in the mood for something historical. I began the year in mid January with a review of The Storm Before The Storm: The Beginning Of The End Of The Roman Republic by Mike Duncan - a well known history podcaster (think an internet radio show for the uninitiated) - so why don’t I start the end of the year with one of his fellow elder statesmen of podcasting? The one and only Dan Carlin.

Dan Carlin is a well-known American journalist and broadcaster who has been part of the historical podcasting world since 2006 thanks to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. He isn’t a qualified historian (something he isn’t afraid to make clear throughout his several hour long episodes - The shortest on the current episode feed is just over three hours with the longest being just over six hours) but he brings the enthusiasm of the well read and eager amateur to his series. His episodes often have the feel of a very intense pub debate between two friends or a history lecture where the lecturer has decided to throw the rules out the window. And I mean this in the best way possible! Extended tangents, repeated references to his ‘Martian’ approach to history, the Star Trek holodeck and classic wargaming and a focus on the apocalyptic, violent and outrageous parts of history are part of the appeal of this famous series. An episode on the takeover of Munster by doomsayer millennial preachers as a domino effect of Martin Luther. A three part discussion of the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage...(Carthage must be destroyed.) A three part history of the kings of Achaemenid Persia. And that’s just the original podcast!

But what about the audiobook in question? As you can tell by the title, Dan’s book has an appropriately apocalyptic focus. Do you think that modern civilisation will ever fall? Be discovered and investigated by the archeologists of the future like we do Ancient Egyptian mummies? And figure out who we are? To imagine that happening to us as it did to the Ancient Greeks or the Babylonians may be bizarre but it is also entirely possible. Dan’s book has no argument as he says - although he does make common use of arguments from qualified historians to discuss his chosen topics or to discuss the opposing view. Do tougher times make tougher people? Will human capabilities ever peak or regress? Why, since the beginning of human history has it seemed like the Sword of Damocles has been dangling over us collectively? Dan’s book is a interesting golden thread across the past and future to discuss the question of human survival.

Dan may discuss gruesome possibilities or hypotheticals alongside his history but it is clear he finds the subject fascinating and he succeeds in spreading that to his listener. Even if history was never your strong suit he much like his contemporary Mike Duncan makes it sound utterly engrossing. His way of writing and narrating makes you feel yourself lost in the book. He really does feel like the classic style broadcasters. What would you do? Where do you fall on the questions he poses to his readers and listeners? And since the book is not set on making an argument as is common in history books Dan can include the odd tangent or pop-culture reference - hello Charlton Heston - without it completely breaking his flow. The book may be different to one of his Hardcore History episodes be it Wrath Of The Khans, Supernova In The East or Prophets Of Doom but it is close enough in tone that any of you who have listened to the podcast before will be on safe ground. He also covers familiar topics as part of the audiobook but with enough new material and interesting very traditional Carlin analogies that I could hardly bare to put it down even after having listened to every episode released from 2007 on again and again!

One critique of Carlin - not just the book but in general - is that he can oversimplify the topic at hand and I wouldn’t deny that. In fact I’ve agreed with them on certain topics or in certain instances. But Dan does always make it clear he isn’t a qualified historian and he is trying to interest the general public in history. This probably also helps explain his slightly gruesome focus to a degree. But at least in the podcasts and in The End Is Always Near he gives a list of sources or recommended further reading in the description or accompanying PDF/appendix to investigate yourself and make your own decisions should you be so inclined. That’s better than I’ve seen from more than a few other people with the same stated intention.

In conclusion I recommend this audiobook to my readers. Especially if your tastes fall along the slightly weird, apocalyptic and appropriately esoteric. If you listen to the audiobook or read the physical book and like the sound of what you hear? Then hunt down Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (either the free episodes on the podcast feed or the complete archive on his site) and the work of Mike Duncan. They have different oeuvre and focuses but both men are brilliant at what they do. There’s a reason I hunted down a physical copy of this! Thank you Internet. You’d be amazed how fascinating history can be when you find the right storyteller! You never know what just might interest you!

Vale Amici Mei

Nephrite

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  • pierre
  • 20-11-2019

nice book!

Dan is delivering a great book in the vein of what we have grown used to with the podcasts but he reads his book in the same tone he reads quotes in his podcasts, which is nice for quotes but get tiring for the full book. this is only minor I really liked the book that dove deeper into previous podcasts subject matters. Well done!

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  • Lee Burgess
  • 20-11-2019

Classic Dan Carlin

If you are a fan of Dan's then this audio book is for you. It traverses across centuries of history and distills the human story.

If you're not familiar with Dan's work then I highly recommend you start with his Podcast - Hardcore History

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-2019

Amazing, scary and though provoking

As someone who has listened to all of Dan’s Hardcore History podcasts, I had very high expectations. This book did not let me down. It nicely ties together the specific themes of many of his popular podcast episodes into a chronological description of the human experience of our great wars and conflicts. I am thankful that the book is narrated by Dan himself. His voice is perfect for this kind of content. The detailed descriptions of the horrors people did to each other, combined with historical context and overviews of the geopolitical landscape makes much of the insanity, in a scary way, seem logical. Makes you wonder what kind of horrors we are in for in the future..

1 person found this helpful

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  • S. Smith
  • 31-10-2019

A "best of" collection

As a long time fan of Dan Carlin's podcast (Hardcore History), I was looking forward to this book. The book re-uses a lot of the research and covers much of the same ground as the podcasts, but arranges the content into a rough timeline and provided a set of examples of how the world may end, or may have ended for civilisations in the past.

Dan tries to pre-empt this criticism in his foreword, but this book doesn't really have an argument, or a point. So it meanders. It never really says anything, it just explores and describes. I'm sorry Dan, but pre-empting this criticism doesn't negate it. The book is enjoyable in the moment, but it hasn't stuck with me, meaning that it is ultimately unsatisfying as a complete book.

Also, unfortunately, the narration, which is normally such a high point on the Hardcore History podcasts, is at time a bit grating. It's very one note, without the asides and calm moments of the podcasts. Instead it feels like Dan is trying to push every word into your ears with the full force of his growl, for more than 8 hours non-stop.

If you haven't listened to the Hardcore History podcast, this is an OK starting point for Dan Carlin's work. But considering that you could try the podcast for free, perhaps you should start there. Of course, if you like them, do then chuck him a few bucks.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 04-08-2020

Good but not as good as podcast

Don't know why but I found this didn't grip me like the podcast does. I think Dan Carlin is more engaging when unscripted. The part about the bronze age collapse was interesting but felt a bit like a well-written essay. The nuclear arms race part was essentially a summary of the Destroyer of Worlds episode of the podcast. Apart from those two stories there wasn't a whole lot else apart from brief discussions of plagues. I enjoyed it but I wouldn't recommend like I do the podcast.