I love listening and usually get in at least three hours a day. I like fiction, biographies and medical non-fiction.
This is (I think) my sixth Great Course, and it is my favorite by far. The range of history covered is remarkable, and I loved getting details about the life of an ordinary person in Babylonia, Rome or (especially) Egypt. Medieval times were far more interesting than I expected. I think I had grown to think the middle ages were a time when the sun didn't shine and old women were constantly being put to the flame as witches. Not so. People were learning, loving and moving forward.
In past Great Courses, the lecturers (who are not the professional readers in most of the Audible selections) frequently annoyed me with verbal tics. Not Professor Garland. This was especially surprising since he has a slight lisp. His selection of stories, detail and occasional glimpses of his own life added to the enjoyment of this course.
I feel I know far more about our distant ancestors and will look for other courses by Professor Garland.
As the title indicates, this is unequivocally one of the best listens I've ever had the delight of finding here on Audible!
Knowing a thing or two about anthropology, I had one or two very minor quibbles with one detail or another, (specifically whether pre-Neolithic Revolution life was characterized by fear and suffering, where fossil evidence shows the rampant rise of malnutrition and disease afterwards indicating a lower quality of life for several millennia) but there are always debates in this field. These are, however, far, far, over shadowed by Garland's profound humanity, conscientiousness, and care. There were a number of times his heartfelt compassion for right's of men, women, children, and the disadvantaged literally brought tears to my eyes. There were a few times I think Garland had tears in his eyes! His critiques of the discriminations of ancient attitudes towards sexual identity, culture, class, etc., are canny, and obviously informed by a genuine empathy and open mindedness. They are not the natural insights of someone who is posturing these qualities, and it was refreshing to hear.
Garland himself has a staggered sort of way of speaking, one brought on I think by fervour, and which I found quite charming. He is entertaining and articulate.
The course often employs a second person narrative, and this walkthrough of ancient life was almost like a dramatic exercise or hypnosis. It draws you right along, puts you right in the shoes, and is very effective, absorbing, and quite fun.
The information fed my curiosity for the minutiae of day to day ancient life, while also providing enlightening geopolitical context. It was also lovely to hear such up to date information, including homonids like the recently unearthed Homo Floresiensis.
This course was engaging, educational, entertaining, inspiring and insightful. I can say something of this series which I think to be the truest compliment, that is that I've learned so much by it. I've come away with more from this course than many of the myriad books I've read collectively, and never felt my mind stray for a moment. Garland has only two courses here on Audible, the other of which I gobbled up immediately, sincerely cannot wait for his next.
I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.
I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't amazing. The focus on the nameless masses of history was interesting, though there was little that was really amazing or surprising.
If you like Great Courses, like I do, this one is not bad. Decent. Worth it if you find the topic intriguing and want something to listen to for a while during otherwise boring tasks.
This lecture series is packed with very interesting information, and professor Garland is very easy to listen to. If you're at all interested in history and what daily life was like in the past, I would heartily recommend it to you.
The author's unique perspective on history...i.e. from "the other side".
I felt as if I was a part of history again...loved it!
No, it was better broken up into manageable chunks...gave me time to chew over what I'd just heard.
Wish Professor Garland had more similar lectures...
Truly worth a listen or two. Kudos to Prof Robert Garland, he provides a rich listener experience.
Personable, relate-able, fascinating
His recitation of Chaucer in Middle English, I enjoyed hearing what I would guess to be an authentic accent to how the language was spoken.
His quips about his personal feelings or how we would personally feel if we lived during those times.
I laughed at his story when he was 6 and burst out singing the hymn for the holy crusade in the middle of a restaurant with his family.
Maybe a theme that I've discussed with my friends about how he stresses how dangerous life was in ancient times, especially during Greek and Roman times, how easily it was to become sick or injured and how often those occurrences could leave you permanently disfigured or dead.
I'd enjoy meeting this professor.
I was excited to find this book, but I was eventually disappointed in that selection. Don't get me wrong. I thought it was a good series. It just wasn't what I surmised from the title. I have taught introductory courses about the ancient world. I know about ancient cultural practice: religion, class, labor, concepts of the world, gender roles, etc. What I was hoping for was a clear picture of daily life. Where did these people sleep? What did they do when they got up in the morning? What did they do during the day? At night? How exactly, really, specifically, did the daily life of a king differ from that of a laborer, for example? I wanted to be able to see individual people living their lives.
His voice was pleasant, easy to listen to.
Ancient History, philology, non-fiction.
Because of the Professors skillful delivery I'll definitely be giving this title another listen. This lectures series will round out your timeline with useful details that make it easier to parse the bigger picture.
Highly recommend this title to anyone who loves History.
I will be listening to this one again! It's hard to soak up all that information in one listening. and it was fun to listen to so it wouldn't be painful to do it again,
Professor Robert Garland's did a great job keeping me interested.