This listen is packed with information, it is not just a one time around listen. Disadvantage is Robert Garland himself, who just can't see to relax and speak normally - sometimes I thought he was out of breath and other times searching for his place in the text. Either way it doesn't matter but it does interrupt the flow. Many of the things you will hear you probably have heard before but overall it is very interesting. I especially loved his connection to art, both very old and newer, to enrich descriptions. I am glad I tried it and will listen to another Great Course series again soon.
24 hours of lecture blew by as Professor Garland, with his lovely English accent and consistent enthusiasm, takes us through the daily lives of the ancients. There is nothing stuffy or stilted about the content for the thousands of years of travel we do (actually millions). He describes every day objects, clothing, hairstyles, family life and then places them into a larger sociopolitical context. He does this equally well across Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures. I didn't think I'd have the attention span to finish, but I might just listen to it all again because it was so rich with interesting information. It's a great partner on long runs, commuting, or doing household tasks.
My "a-hah" moment was his discussion of how the Dark Ages came about. If you are at that point in your life where you want to make sense of the long view of time, you will love this book. It dovetails nicely with Zealot by Rasa Aslan- lots of overlapping information about early Jewish and Roman culture. Thanks for a wonderful course, Dr. Garland.
The time didn't drag, but I didn't learn much new, having read many well-researched books about these eras.
I was expecting richer content, total immersion on other cultures and times, like what's in David Hackett's Albion's Seed. This didn't come close to that.
For a college professor, his delivery was excellent. Could tell he'd rehearsed, researched, and written about the content extensively.
No. This is more for background use by film producers and set and clothing designers.
If I'd paid Colgate's tuition for this course, I would have been shocked. For one thing, I can't imagine how someone could come up with in-depth exam questions from content this light.
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.
Say something about yourself!
A different reader. I have two issues with Robert Garland's presentation. First, he has a fairly noticeable lisp. I don't think this would bother me if it didn't somehow compound his far bigger shortcoming. He reads one. word. at. a. time. With great emphasis on each word in a way that if I was just learning the language I would love. He doesn't do it in the part that you can hear in the sample and on other occasions he is clearly speaking off the cuff and sounds perfectly fine. The other 90% are very difficult to listen to. If the subject were just slightly less interesting, I could easily delete the whole thing.
Not even a little.
This was supposed to be a history book but instead it was a collection of recorded lectures and bombards you with evolutionary assumptions and pseudoscience. Very disappointing.
This is a well presented narrative which was 48 or so chapters so wasn't something you finished in one or ten sessions and I am sure I missed a lot. The very British Professor Garland divided up his lectures into distinct categories and in chronological order (that was amazing) and you felt like you were part of the scenery. You could visualize the hearth, the castles, the burials, the rich, the desperately poor. His lectures carried you through the Middle Ages and that was a surprise.
Hard to say who the favorite character was because there were so many. The Author cited Geoffrey Chaucer a lot so his insight on Britain was one of the best listens. Also enjoyed piece about Cicero and his riveting oratory. Pope Leo who organized the first Crusade, Peter the Hermit who got lots to volunteer to go fight, and so many more.
This work is about the lives of ordinary people. Very little about the kings, queens, princes, and rulers. This was not their story. You could visualize yourself in ordinary peoples homes, join them for their ordinary routine of daily living. Somehow, with the lack of pictures, telecommunications, even paper, people survived and Professor Garland made it come to life. His narration was quite good which was a big plus in a book (lecture) this long.
The long story on slavery was a bit difficult to absorb. We know it existed in ancient times but didn't realize the extent it was entrenched in civilized society. This was so well established that no one, not even slaves themselves, could imagine life without servitude. The effect of the Black Death on all of Europe was so tragic. It truly defined the "Dark Ages" and scapegoats and prejudices became more solidified than ever.
I am proud to get through this and thanks to the Professor for loving history so much. If you like to learn the history of those you don't hear about in text books, get these lectures.
I really enjoyed this collection of views into the world of the history that never gets told! It has given me many wonderful hours of reflection and perspective. I have found this to be a wonderful addition to my library and a valuable asset to completing the big picture of our greater story, which, perhaps, may lead to an even grander version of humanity.
Comprehensive, deep, frustrating
Professor Garland is obviously expert in this field, and the material itself is outstanding. But throughout the lectures, the cadence of his speech is so disjointed and seemingly random that it makes it hard to follow. He speaks in 3 and 4 word bunches, with pauses in mid-phrase which make no sense semantically. It's as if... the narrator thinks of... only a... few words ahead... of time and then... feeds them out as... they are ready.
This lecture series truly delivers -- it was fascinating, fresh and shed light into some of the shadowy corners of life in the ancient world. Professor Garland used highly visual language to depict unforgettable scenes of lost eras and empires: I can't shake images like the one of the Roman slave tossed into a pool of lampreys because he broke a cup, or the terrified Celtic monk tossing his precious illuminated manuscript into a peat bog while being chased by Viking marauders. Wow. Garland has really delivered on a commitment he clearly made to himself, remembering to tell stories of men, women, soldiers, nuns, and more slaves than you can possibly comprehend. Terrific and truly enriching.