Review: Empire

Review: Empire

I feel like a lot of people may have seen this one coming. I've been talking a lot about how much I have been enjoying this podcast. To the point where I almost didn't want to formally review it. However, this is one of those history podcasts that reaches into the now without whacking a listener over the head with intention. When I find a podcast like this, it makes me want to shout it to the world.

Honestly, with how far ahead I feel like this podcast has to plan for its pace of output, there's no way that they would know what is happening now. I'm referencing specifically the series on the history of what is now Iran. It's a beautifully twisting series of Persian empires that I can't believe I followed as well as I did. Like with all of their subjects, there's a little bit of British humor peppered in between fascinating insights and unspeakable tragedy. Episodes often have an expert, but the hosts at times are experts in their own right.

Each of these episodes sits around forty minutes to an hour long. Seasonal or series-based topics reach deep into history to give us a context that isn't too hard to chew on. The production is simple, with it mostly being two to three people talking without much behind it. This isn't a podcast that needs supportive fluff in the way of production, and it is very good at taking the big and making it manageable. When I first picked up the podcast to learn more about the winding history of the Islamic empire I was hesitant. How could such a big topic be made into arguably short episodes?

While William Dalrymple might come off as an overeager showoff, and Anita Anand the calming matron, these hosts play off of each other in a way that is deeply endearing and friendly. It helps break the tension of horrifying tragedy. These hosts strive to make history human. Especially with hosts who understand the relationship between the powerful and the powerless of history. Empires come mostly by way of blood, and it is not forgotten when humor comes around. I am constantly in awe of the deft with which these hosts handle uncomfortable, but very real topics.

In particular, their special series on Three Ships of Empire and the current series on Empresses of history, are great starting points to get familiar with the hosts before diving into one of their bigger series that should be listened to in precise order.

I have been adoring this podcast, and only wish I could go visit the UK for their upcoming live show. Unfortunately, that is a stretch too far for me this year and I will have to wallow in my American-based misery for a little longer.

Listen to Empire Below.

Listen to Empire wherever you get your podcasts!

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