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Philip

Centurion, South Africa | Member Since 2014

16
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 152 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015
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  • The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (142)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (129)

    History is made and defined by landmark events-moments that irrevocably changed the course of human civilization. They have given us: spiritual and political ideas; catastrophic battles and wars; scientific and technological advances; world leaders both influential and monstrous; and cultural works of unparalleled beauty.

    Quaker says: "Fun course but Professor Fears is not for everyone"
    "Decent but forgettable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This course is not a write-off, but I find it hard to recommend to anyone. My instinct is to say if you are looking for a decent primer on major historical events, with an eye towards delving more deeply into the topics that interest you afterwards, you should pick this up. However, I can't bring myself to doing that.

    For my liking, the courses are much too heavily influenced by the lecturer's Christianity and, to a lesser extent, his American patriotism.

    Another issue for me was that I simply disagreed with much of what he had to say about certain topics. When covering areas where I am fairly well versed, such as ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, I did not agree with his interpretation or presentation of the facts.

    This is not to say that he is completely wrong. He obviously knows his stuff and is never flat-out wrong about the facts, but I just didn't care for his approach all that much. I'd recommend listening to the lectures on Jesus and Constantine, which are some of the most arguably controversial. If his treatment of those topics don't bother you, you might enjoy the whole course.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Late Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Philip Daileader
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    The Late Middle Ages-the two centuries from c. 1300 to c. 1500 - might seem like a distant era, but students of history are still trying to reach a consensus about how it should be interpreted. Was it an era of calamity or rebirth? Was it still clearly medieval or the period in which humanity took its first decisive steps into modernity? These 24 provocative lectures introduce you to the age's major events, personalities, and developments, and arms you with the essentials you need to form your own ideas about this age of extremes.

    Mike says: "An Excellent Overview of the Late Middle Ages"
    "Fascinating as always, but not his best work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The last in Professor Daileader's trilogy on the Middle Ages is perhaps the least interesting of the series. The reason lies largely in the fact that he focuses less on individual figures of the time and more on the broader historical trends that defined the age.

    That being said, it is still a powerful and engaging course, and well worth listening to. I would, however, recommended starting with the Early Middle Ages and working your way up. By jumping straight into this one you will rob yourself some fantastic courses, and you won't be able to fully appreciate where he is coming from here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Overall
    (319)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (273)

    Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?

    Christopher Anderson says: "Great Learning Experience"
    "Interesting but woefully short"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this "course," if it can be called that. It's actually more of an introduction to a course, really, with just enough information given to interest you but not nearly enough to provide true insights into the issues discussed.

    Tyson is a good narrator and quite articulate in the way he discusses the topics, and the topics themselves are pretty fascinating.

    But I must say I feel a bit cheated having been charged a full credit for this. It's barely a quarter of basically every other Great Courses title I've ever listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Life of Elizabeth I

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (341)
    Performance
    (299)
    Story
    (297)

    The New York Times best-selling author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The War of the Roses, historian Alison Weir crafts fascinating portraits of England’s infamous House of Tudor line. Here Weir focuses on Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, who ascended to the throne at age 25 and never married, yet ruled for 44 years and steered England into its Golden Age.

    R. Campbell says: "Masterful Historical Narrative"
    "Astounding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alison Weir has always been a cut above most popularisers of history, but with this book she has truly outdone herself.

    From start to finish this reads like a bestselling novel. It's a romance, adventure, thriller and tragedy all wrapped into one, and is above all a truly extraordinary study of one of the most fascinating people who ever lived.

    You feel so much a part of the story that by the time the book ends with Elizabeth's death, you'd be hard-pressed to not be truly moved.

    The narrator is perhaps not the best, and the general primer on Elizabethan society that is awkwardly placed in the middle of the book does break up the flow of the story, but other than that there is really nothing to complain about here.

    Highly recommended as the best biography of Elizabeth I in existence.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The High Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Philip Daileader
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    At the dawn of the last millennium in the year 1000, Europe was one of the world's more stagnant regions-an economically undeveloped, intellectually derivative, and geopolitically passive backwater, with illiteracy, starvation, and disease the norm for almost everyone. Yet only three centuries later, all of this had changed.

    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds says: "Wonderful teacher"
    "Good, but not his best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Of Professor Daileader's Medieval trilogy, this is probably the weakest offering. The reason I say that is mainly because of my own preference for narrative history rather than social/economic history, of which this course embraces mostly the latter.

    That being said, I still highly recommend this course for anyone interested in the period. Daileader's delivery is highly entertaining and he even injects a fair amount of humor to the lectures.

    Start with the Early Middle Ages though, since I think that is perhaps the best in the trilogy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Early Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Philip Daileader
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (78)

    The Early Middle Ages-the years from A.D. 650 to 1000-were crucial to Europe's future social and political development. These 24 lectures trace a journey from Scandinavia across northern and central Europe to the farthest reaches of the Byzantine and Islamic empires, providing an exciting new look an era often simply called the "Dark Ages."

    Mike says: "Amazing Look at the Transition to the Middle Ages!"
    "Great course, better Professor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This period of history can be rather dry for a variety of reasons, but Professor Daileader not only manages to put together a course that is fascinating throughout, but his delivery is excellent. There is even a fair amount of humour, which I almost never find in the Great Courses series.

    Professor Daileader is easily the best orator in the Great Courses series, and second only to Michael C. Drout from the Modern Scholar series.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Medieval Mysteries: The History Behind the Myths of the Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    • Narrated By Thomas F. Madden
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    The Middle Ages is not only a period of Romance, but of legends, tales, and mysteries. In this course, Professor Thomas F. Madden guides listeners through the most famous and enduring narratives of medieval Europe. Beginning with King Arthur, Professor Madden peels back layers of exaggeration and fiction to lay bare the historical basis for the mythical king.

    Philip says: "Entertaining And Enlightening"
    "Entertaining And Enlightening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Of all the courses that Thomas Madden has presented for The Modern Scholar series, this is perhaps his best.

    He chooses some very interesting topics for discussion and treats each one with the respect and skepticism it deserves. One never gets the idea that he is pushing an agenda or trying to convince us of anything, but simply lets the facts speak for themselves.

    My only criticism would be that the course is so short. I think there are many more mysteries he could have dealt with, such as those surrounding the Crusades.

    Other than that, highly recommended.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Nixon in Winter: His Final Revelations About Diplomacy, Watergate, and Life Out of the Arena

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Monica Crowley
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    This is the remarkable story of the final public and private years of the 37th president, based on full reconstructions of the conversations he had with Monica Crowley, his foreign-policy assistant and personal confidante.

    Drew says: "Nixon in Winter"
    "Remarkable, but a shame how Crowley turned out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This a tremendously entertaining book, made all the more remarkable because it was written by someone who was very close to Nixon. Unlike so many other books that crucify Nixon from a distance, the personal contact here makes for a fascinating read.

    Crowley, who spent many of the finals years of Nixon's life at his side, covers everything from his struggle for relevancy to his opinions on policy and his surprisingly tender human side.

    I highly recommend this, though it is a shame how Crowley turned out later in her life. I found her treatment of Nixon even-handed and objective in this book, despite her proximity to him, and though I might enjoy her more recent work. However, it seems as if she has hardened her political views significantly since this was published, and can now only be found on far-right radio shows saying some laughably ridiculous things about politics and the world in general.

    Still, this is classic that should not be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emperors of Rome

    • ORIGINAL (17 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Garrett G. Fagan
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (24)

    What sort of men were the Roman emperors (and they were all men)? What background and training, if any, prepared them for their awesome responsibilities? What depravities did they display? And what achievements can they claim: laws passed, monuments built, lands and peoples conquered? Dive into these questions and more with this introduction to the complex personalities of emperors such as Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.

    Philip says: "Informative and thorough"
    "Informative and thorough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fantastic and thorough examination of the Emperors from Augustus to Constantine.

    I appreciated his balanced view of each Emperor, and his frank appraisal of the sources. Too many "scholars" take the most sensational tales from lesser sources at face value, but Fagan is careful to point out the problems with many of the most famous and outrageous episodes that have entered popular culture about Emperors like Caligula and Nero.

    Fagan's delivery is entertaining throughout, although sometimes he does stumble a little, and it feels as if he is reading from a script rather than just delivering a lecture.

    Overall, I would highly recommend this. Perhaps the best summary of the period in question, and I include both written and audio books when I say that.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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