Drout's frank yet light-hearted look at pre-Norman England -- something that I, even as a history major, knew very little about -- is excellent and well worth the time to listen to. He provides an excellent yet simple framework for understanding the period through a clever mnemonic trick, and his kicking off of each lecture with a sampling of Anglo-Saxon is a lot of fun to listen to.
Personally, I lean more towards social and political history than the literature that is Drout's specialty (re: Beowulf), but Drout does the latter well and gives an excellent broad-brushed synopsis of the former in the first several hours of the audiobook. A well put together product, although for me it really drove home the point that many of my ancestors really were a bunch of barbarians.
Good stuff with much new thinking for those of us who last visited this subject decades ago. Old English studies have really moved ahead in recent years! I also enjoyed Drout's other lecture series on the history of the English language and his excellent lectures on the literature of science fiction and fantasy.
This is very well rounded survey of the Anglo Saxon history in the British isle. Most history courses tend to paint middle ages with a rather broad strokes, this set of lecture however fine tuned the perspective that makes it unique and very refreshing. I love Michael Drout's lectures.
I started listening to this series of lectures with a bit of a guilty feeling that I ought to know more about the subject. I came away enthusiastically desiring to learn more. Dr. Drout is a clearly knowledgable scholar with an unabashed love of scholarship in his field of study and an ability to communicate what is interesting, intriguing, and humane in the people, events, and literature he teaches. He helps us beginners with effective mnemonic devices and clear organization while giving us glimpses of the complexities and uncertainties behind the story. His mastery of the subject has led to a love of it that comes across to and into the listener.
I was curious about the Anglo-Saxons so I decided to give these lectures a try. When it opened with, Dr Drout reciting a passage in Old English, I was a little startled and afraid I made a horrible mistake. Quite the opposite. The professor transcends the label of "Modern Scholar" into the realm of "Favorite teachers." He clearly loves the Anglo-Saxon writings and the period and all of his excitement about the subject is infectious. This is one of my favorite audiobooks (I never imagined it would be) and I've gotten more of his lectures as well. He doesn't approach the subject as a traditional historian, he is a literature professor. He doesn't skimp on the history, he just places most of his focus on the writings of the time. As a veteran teacher, he has his own bag of tricks to help clarify topics and improve memorization of important time periods.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I feel like cheering for this series. It's too bad the entries cost so much for any Audible listener without credits to spare. For a credit, they are one of the best bargains at the website.
This course is just chock full of information. Whether or not you believe Western Civilization represents the best of humanity, Professor Drout will spark your interest in early English history. His presentation is wonderful - wish there were more teachers like him! - and this listener certainly learned much about the cultures (for Anglo-Saxon is not just one culture), language, and literature of the period. And about the way they continue to influence the world today.
I recommend this and others in the Modern Scholar series. Not just for history buffs, but for anyone with a general interest in learning about what made and makes the human species tick.
Very interesting, well-organized, and well-presented. Not just Beowulf, although it does make regular appearances. The lectures cover highlights of history, along with religious and not-so-religious literature.
Prof Drout really helped me understand the era I have long ignored in my study of history. He is an outstanding teacher and well worth the listen. I want to learn Anglo-Saxon now!
I did not want this lecture to end; Drout must be even better in person, and he was excellent here. Cogent, precise, and interesting. It's clear that he loves his subject and he makes us love it, too.