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.
Could not recommend this highly enough. Hours and hours of subtly feel-good narrative about a very interesting topic. Perfectly presented, great narrator.
I recommed the written work "The Common People of Ancient Rome by Frank Frost Abbot" Scribner 1911. Its been on my Kindle for years and I think it was free. Not certain how I came up with it. I still reference Edicts of Diocletion wage and price controls.
I will give it one more try but this presentor is like fingernails on slate, both in sound and in intellectual breadth.
Harsh. Monotonous. Humourless. Obsessed with class.
One more source to peruse but thin gruel. And gruel it is. Even amateur Dan Carlin is WAY better.
I was really looking forward to this. What a bust.
Humanitarian Aid Worker living in Central Asia.
I enjoyed this course. The professor was very informative and related the information in a clear and enthusiastic manner. It touched briefly on the Persian Empire, focusing mainly on the development of civilization through the Greek, Roman and then Medieval Europe world. It would have been nice to hear about Daily Life in the Ancient Far East and more from Persia and the Steppes, but I suppose they would have needed to make it two different courses. It will definitely stop your grousing and make you thankful for the precious things we have and overlook everyday in the constant race for more and better.
@natesrandomisms Believer (27yrs), Husband (15yrs), Dad (3yrs), Son (35yrs), Broken neck survivor.
This is in the top ten of Great Courses. Keeps your attention.
If you would like to learn information beyond the lives of Kings, Queen, Royalty, Pharaohs, rich and famous of ancient times than buy this Great Course.
I would recommend, and already have recommended, this audiobook to anyone who finds history fascinating, or who finds it dull and boring. This audiobook engaged not only me, but my 14 year old daughter, my 21 year old son, and my anti-intellectual husband.
I wish there were more books/courses like it.
Professor Garland had us falling in love with the nameless many who populated the "other side of history". The women, the poor, the children, the slaves, the outcasts whose names do not get preserved in the history books.
History from the perspective of those who lived it, not those who made it.
Kept my interest...listened to it over several weeks as I often do with the Great Courses. Author anchors analysis and observations in previously mentioned facts, which laces the lectures together and keeps one in the flow of the content. What emerges overall is a rich tapestry of social life through the ages. Not many surprises for one well versed in history, but keeping the focus to the "other side of history" makes a compelling story, worldview.
Say something about yourself!
This is my all time favorite history course, in any genera! The professor is extremely knowledgeable and this course if just, well, 5 stars no matter how you put it. I am critical of many things, and I do not give high reviews lightly. It is earned. Excellent course.
The format of 48 half-hour lectures is very accessible and Professor Garland is an excellent speaker. The diversity of topics and focus (mostly) on the life of the masses was interesting and unique, for example, thinking about the houses and food for the builders of the pyramids gave me new insight to Egyptian history.
Egypt, Greece, Rome, Celtic and Norse England are covered in depth with other areas of the world also receiving attention. Topics include "Being an Egyptian Worker." "Being a Greek Woman." Religious groups are spoken of as well.
Sometimes Prof. Garland got a bit judgmental - he didn't seem to attempt a straight relation of facts. This happened mostly with snide comments or condemnation of slavery or the subjugation of women. I found these comments distracting and unnecessary (I don't need a PhD to tell me these things are morally wrong). Perhaps Prof. Garland was uncomfortable sharing this information? It really brought down the level of the lecture from what I would consider a "great course" to a rather common pop-history.
I did mostly enjoy these lectures. There were enough references to historical events to keep me grounded and relate back to things I've already learned about but the themes around how these events affected common people kept the series interesting.