Posts on A Blast from the Past have picked up the following awards, selections and commendations:

The Emperor’s Electric Chair

  • 2010 Cliopatria Award for Best Post. “The judges felt that ‘The Emperor’s Electric Chair’ wove together a variety of themes, including colonialism, modernity, and the challenges of unreliable sources into what was an engagingly told, entertaining, and ultimately important historical tale.”

Tamám Shud [First posted on Past Imperfect at as “The Body on Somerton Beach”]

  • Top 5 Longreads of 2011. Selected by Karolina Waclawiak. “Who can turn away from dead bodies found on beaches? Not me.”
  • Top 5 Longreads of 2011. Selected by Dan Hill. “An unidentified corpse, murder, poison and amazing coincidences; this article has it all.”

One Man Against Tyranny

  • The Browser: Best of 2011. “Gripping story of painstaking, one-man plot to kill Hitler. The would-be assassin: An unassuming carpenter from southern Germany, whose skill, patience and determination were such that Hitler refused to believe he’d acted alone.”

An Abandoned Lifeboat at World’s End

  • Top 5 Longreads of 2011. Selected by Dan Hill. “An unidentified lifeboat is found on Bouvet Island, one of the most inhospitable places on the planet…
  • Freshly Pressed, 19 September 2014. Selected by the editors of WordPress. “Every day, we hand-pick eight new blog posts to highlight on the Freshly Pressed section of Freshly Pressed posts can be about anything, but they all have a few things in common: they enlighten us, inspire us, entertain us, and get us talking…”

On Hidden History

Hitler and Hot Jazz

The Worst Job There Has Ever Been

  • The Journal [Dublin] 8 July 2012: Sitdown Sunday: 7 Deadly Reads. “It’s a day of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.”

Closing the Pigeon Gap

  • Discover Magazine 28 April 2012: Top Picks.

Lost in the Taiga

  • The Paris Review. 1 February 2013: What we’re loving. “Our Southern editor turned me on to an astonishing story by Mike Dash, about a Russian family who spent forty-two years in isolation, deep in the Siberian forest, and were discovered by geologists in 1978. According to Dash, the patriarch refused to believe men had walked on the moon, but “he adapted swiftly to the idea of satellites. The Lykovs had noticed them as early as the 1950s, when ‘stars began to go quickly across the sky,’ and Karp himself conceived a theory to explain this: ‘People have thought something upand are sending out fires that are very like stars.'”
  • The Daily Beast 2 February 2013: The week’s best longreads.
  • The Nation. 2 February 2013: Favorite articles of the week. “I initially resisted the idea of picking this article about a hermetic family of Old Believers because it sounds like some strange-but-true tabloid piece. But this has to be one of the most fascinating things I’ve read in a while. I admire the strength of the family’s religious beliefs and determination to survive in one of the loneliest, harshest places on earth. I also abhor the idea that the children were denied many of the pleasures and experiences we take for granted, and that they ***spoiler alert*** died essentially preventable deaths. And yet the surviving child (who’s become something of a celebrity in Russia) continues to live in her family’s home in the wilderness.”
  • The New Yorker. 2 February 2013: Weekend reading. “The most mind-boggling read of the week was probably Mike Dash’s piece in Smithsonian about a Russian family who fled to the Siberian wilderness in 1936 to escape persecution and lived there in complete isolation until a team of geologists stumbled upon their compound in 1978. The story has lots of extraordinary moments, from scenes of the family’s first encounters with the outside world to tales of the hardships they endured in their forty years of solitude (Siberia is cold). It reads like a cross between an ethnography, a survival guidebook, and a fairy tale. One year, for instance, the family’s entire crop of rye (a staple of their exceedingly grim diet) was wiped out except for a single sprout, which they guarded and nurtured and used to start an entirely new crop. This story sets a new bar for the possibilities of human resilience, and it’s hard not to perceive these people as heroic, determined innocents holding out against a corrupting world. But there’s also something dark and distressing about their self-imposed isolation and their immediate response to the geologists’ offers of modern amenities (like bread): ‘We are not allowed that.'”
  • The Outsider Online. 22 February 2013. Weekend ReadingThe story of a Russian family, discovered in 1978, cut off from all contact for 40 years and completely unaware of how the world had changed around them.
  • The Times Opinion. Selection for Magazine Rack, February 2013
  • Literati: Read Only the Best13 December 2013In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga…
  • Longform. December 2013. Best of 2013.
  • The Monthly (Australia). Best of 2013: 10 Great Longreads.
  • Utne Reader: AltWire.
  • Words Written Down: Best Writing Linked to in 2013.
  • Slate. 24 December 2013. “I wish we’d published that! The best stories of 2013 (that didn’t run in Slate). The Lykov family flees Stalin’s thugs in the 1930s, and vanishes into the Siberian wilderness. They survived in one of the harshest environments on Earth, living more than 100 miles from any other humans, for the next 40 years. This story is beyond strange, and heartbreaking. 
  • The Atlantic. 19 May 2014. Conor Friedersdorf‘s Slightly More Than 100 Fantastic Pieces of JournalismEach year, I keep a running list of exceptional nonfiction for The Best of Journalism, a weekly email newsletter I publish. The result is my annual Best Of Journalism Awards.
  • The Electric Typewriter – Great Articles and Essays by the World’s Best Journalists and Writers. 10 June 2015. Three Great Articles About HermitsThe amazing story of a Russian family that was cut off from all human contact for 40 years.

In the Cave of the Witches

5 thoughts on “Awards

  1. “At least it was possible, however, to say that the words “Tamám shud” (or “Taman shud,” as several newspapers misprinted it—a mistake perpetuated ever since) did come from Khayyam’s romantic reflections on life and mortality. They were, in fact, the last words in most English translations— not surprisingly, because the phrase means ‘It is ended.'”

    AAAAAAHHHHHH, my eyes just went watery and I got the most heinous chills!

  2. Tamám Shud! AH!I totally became obsessed with this when it showed up on Longreads recently! I feel for the nurse though, really. No one wants to get busted handing out the same book to every cute soldier she bangs.

  3. […] a certain historian/author named Dr. Mike Dash, whose blog is a Real Winner (not just my opinion. He’s won awards and recognition for his uniquely qualified blogs, and rightly so. I do not know Dr. Dash but through his works. I became an instant fan of his books some time ago, and have been putting myself in the fiscal hole buying copies of them to give as gifts […]

  4. I have nominated you for a Liebster Award because I really like your blog and I do feel a connection between our ”worlds”. I simply adore the idea of your blog and I think it is downright outstanding. I love your imagination. Here is a link telling you how it is suppose to work but this is in no way obligatory of course and I will totally understand if you do not wanna doi this for wahtever reasons. It’s all good we totally understand. However I just wanted you to know I sincerly feel you deserve this award… Here is the link:

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