Posts on A Blast from the Past have picked up the following awards and commendations:
- 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 smithsonianmag.com 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.”
- Two Years of Longform: Editor Elon Green’s All-Time Top 5. “The less you know about this story, the better. A classic line: “It was not until next morning that it became obvious that the man was not so much dead to the world as actually dead.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- The Browser: Best of 5Books.Selected from 600 interviews to feature in the inaugural Best of 5 Books ebook.
- New York Daily News 21 May 2012: “Dean’s List: writing that isn’t boring”.
- 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.”
- Discover Magazine 28 April 2012: Top Picks.
- 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 World’s Best Ever. 21 February 2013.