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.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
The lectures start off well, explaining aspects of life to you and explaining how life would be like for you to have been an ancient Egyptian, a Persian, a Greek, a Roman and a Celt, and explains in detail how you'd live your life and what you're likely to believe if you were poor, rich, male, female, a soldier or an outlaw.
I took a star from Overall and Story because it spends the final 30% of the book covering England and turns the book into a history lesson. It wasn't what I paid for.
I listened to two of the lectures through the Channels section and HAD to buy the entire series. Professor Garland is a great storyteller, his lectures are interesting and engaging, and I was hooked. Clever clever, Audible.
I really liked how he started in prehistory, worked his way through several major civilisations - Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and then my favourite bit was exploring the Dark Ages, the period after the collapse of the Roman empire, and the experience of Celts, Vikings and other peoples through to the Medieval period. I find this part of history fascinating, how such a far-reaching empire receded and what it left behind. And of course, as Robert Garland tells it, most people wouldn't have realised what they were living through, and the pace of change was gradual. The way history is viewed in macro events and political shifts, the fall of the Roman empire and the Dark Ages was a dark, blank, slow part of history, but the reality is that people lived through it, living their lives in ways that seemed perfectly natural at the time. I'm not really doing it justice here but I was enthralled in listening to Prof Garland's descriptions of this period, in fact I think I'd like to go back and listen to the last chapters again to absorb more.
I would say that as Prof Garland warns, he is primarily an ancient historian, so expect a lot of detailed lectures on the Greek and Roman peoples in particular. I'll admit I skipped a few of these, not because they weren't good but because I was more interested in the post-Roman period as I mentioned, and I really liked the pace of the post-Roman lectures, spending 2-3 lectures on each types of peoples and periods through the Dark and Medieval ages.
I also liked how he focused an entire lecture in most major periods on what it was like to be a woman in those times, and for the periods he didn't cover in as much depth he still devoted a reasonable portion of a lecture to the experience of women. The sad reality is that women have been heavily oppressed through most of human history, and Robert clearly illustrates this. Of course there are still significant inequalities between the genders today, and my experience of hearing in detail how men have controlled and abused women in the past serves to show that modern day sexism and patriarchy has a dark and sordid origin.
I Was excited to start this course, but I must say it didn't live up to my expectations. I was hoping for for a well painted picture of lives in history, and even though the were some glimpses of that, I got to say I was slightly disappointed.
Having said that, I did finish the course, and don't regret having done so.
Captivating journey through time that inspires curiosity into the past and great appreciation for the time we live in.
Brilliantly written and presented by Prof. Garland.
An astoundingly vibrant and detailed view into past ancient times. Garlands vocabulary and language is a treat in itself. A gem!
I liked hearing about the Vikings, and the Persians, but most other things weren't that new to me. allot of this I learned in school as a kid. he doesn't go that deep into things like I would have liked, but rather seemed vague, and skimmed over cultural details that I would have liked to learn.
the neanderthal stuff at the beginning wasn't that good, mostly because it was assumptions. once he got past all that, things became more interesting.
I would recommend this if you just want a summary of what you learned in school about ancient cultures.