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Podcast Reviews

Behind the Bastards Podcast Review

By July 26, 2023December 14th, 2023No Comments
Behind the Bastards Podcast


Recommended in Edition # 20 of the Find That Pod newsletter.

If you’ve come here to figure out whether listening to the Behind the Bastards podcast is worth your time, the short answer is hell yes. But before I get into my full-scale podcast review, let me tell you why. 

It’s become quite clear to me that over the last five years or so, I have entered the rarefied air of most likely being in the top 0.1% of people on the planet regarding the total volume of different podcasts listened to. By my calculations, I’ve now listened to over 10,000 different and distinct podcasts. And because of my affinity for the subject of history, a significant portion of those have been history podcasts. 

And while the tone, tenor, and research matter a lot to a history podcast, sometimes what matters the most is the host’s opinions about particular historical people or events. And that’s where the Behind the Bastards podcast comes in. It’s a history show that’s spicy enough to keep me returning for more. 

What Behind the Bastards is All About

Hosted by journalist Robert Evans, who still writes for Bellingcat and hosts a series of other great podcasts, including It Could Happen Here, Behind the Bastards delves into the lives and mostly evil deeds of some of history’s most notorious and frankly, either malicious or just plain asshole characters. No one is safe from Evans’ scrutiny, from dictators and war criminals to con artists, people in business, and cult leaders.

What sets Behind the Bastards apart from other history podcasts is the host. He’s clever and sometimes funny, but most importantly, he’s unwilling to sugarcoat the evil deeds of men or corporations in any way. And with the wide variety of topics, some more historical, some more modern-day, Evans manages to make even the darkest subjects entertaining without ever trivializing the suffering caused by these terrible people. Injecting his own opinions and commentary into the episodes makes this podcast as good as it is. 

One of the things I relish most about Behind the Bastards is the sheer amount of research that goes into each episode. Evans puts in a lot of work to uncover obscure details and information about his subjects, making the episodes feel more like investigative journalism than just a history lesson with snark. 

The Bastards

To say the list of bastards in world history and even contemporary times worth knowing about is a bleak but true understatement. And while some episodes focus on well-known figures like Hitler or Stalin, others delve into lesser-known figures like cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. But don’t be fooled into thinking the show only focuses on history’s baddies. Here’s a list of modern targets Evans has taken on:

  • Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame)
  • The Proud Boys
  • Vince McMahon
  • Jack Welch
  • Andrew Tate
  • Ben Shapiro
  • Jordan Peterson

This variety keeps the show fresh and exciting and ensures that there’s always something new to learn about the douche-bags making our society worse. 

Another episode that particularly stood out to me was the one about the Rwandan genocide. Evans approached the subject with sensitivity and respect while conveying the horror of what happened. It was a challenging but important listen, and I came away from it with a much deeper understanding of the events that took place.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom on Behind the Bastards. Evans has a great sense of humour and isn’t afraid to poke fun at his subjects when they deserve it. Some of the funniest moments on the show come from his descriptions of the absurd things that some of these bastards did, like when Saddam Hussein commissioned a romance novel about himself.

The only mild criticism I have of the show is that it can be a bit long-winded at times. Episodes often run for two hours or more, which can be daunting for listeners with little time to spare. That being said, I’ve never found myself getting bored or tuning out during an episode, so it’s not a significant issue.

Overall, I would highly recommend Behind the Bastards to anyone interested in history or true crime or who just wants to commiserate over how messed up some of these people were or continue to be. It’s a well-researched, thought-provoking, and often hilarious podcast that never fails to deliver. Evans is a great host, and the show is a credit to the podcasting medium.

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