Studio: Lars Brownworth
What It Is
Historical author/podcast Brownworth takes you through the history of the Normans.
This podcast is complete. It started in late 2009 and wrapped in 2014 with a whopping twenty episodes. The iTunes archive has the whole run, of course. Episodes run twenty to thirty minutes long.
What About It
Well, as you may recall, I stared this entire podcast project with a review of Brownworth’s 12 Byzantine Rulers, the show Brownworth produced just prior to embarking on Norman Centuries. The final episode in the 12 Byzantine Rulers show is a tease for Norman Centuries. As you may also recall, I gave 12 Byzantine Rulers a four star rating and, just to spoilt the review, that’s exactly what this show is going to be getting as well. This isn’t Hardcore History, with its super detailed four hour episodes; Brownworth takes the helicopter view of a period, but I find his voice extremely compelling. Like Carlin, he’s interested in history as a narrative, or at least as something best communicated that way. Brownworth is able to make these episodes interesting and engaging by artfully spooling out the story at hand in a way that gives you a look at the personalities involved and the significant events. One other really great thing about Brownworth is that he like to focus on areas of history that most people know little to nothing about, ie. the Byzantine empire and the history of the Normans. This show is incredibly entertaining, consistently engaging and super-informative. If the goal of great history podcasts is to make history come alive, Brownworth has succeeded again. And, as mentioned above, the podcast is now complete, so you can go listen to the whole thing at a go. If you demand that your history shows measure up to Hardcore History in terms of scholarship or details, then you’ll find this lacking; and if you’re a scholar in this particular era of history already, you’ll find Brownworth’s “epic novel” approach to be oversimplified and done in broad strokes. But if you’re looking for an engaging historical story, told entertainingly and energetically, then Norman Centuries is, like 12 Byzantine Rulers, a podcast for you.
Your name is Norman.
Avoid Like the Plague if
You would prefer that all twenty episodes of this series be released as a single episode of Hardcore History.
Best Entry Point
Obviously, start with Rollo & the Viking Age, episode one.