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The Great Courses: History


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  • The Late Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Philip Daileader
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (184)
    Story
    (181)

    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"
  • The History of Ancient Rome

    • ORIGINAL (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Garrett G. Fagan
    Overall
    (1081)
    Performance
    (970)
    Story
    (958)

    Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

    Sean says: "Accessible"
  • Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (152)

    What is it about ancient Egypt that still captures our imaginations? How did it grow from a few villages along the Nile into the greatest power the world had ever seen? Explore these questions and more in these 12 entertaining lectures that tell the stories of the great pharaohs and the daily realities of Egyptian life.

    J. says: "Bob Brier all day every day..."
  • Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    Five days after Abraham Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois, John Locke Scripps, who had convinced Lincoln to write his first campaign autobiography, asserted that the 16th president had become "the Great American Man-the grand central figure in American (perhaps the World's) History." Historians still find it hard to quibble with Scripps's opinion."

    Rick says: "Great listen"
  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (1009)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (947)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
  • Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, David Zarefsky
    • Narrated By Professor David Zarefsky
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Abraham Lincoln was one of America's greatest public orators. The cadence, argument and power he brought to his speeches, like those of the Gettysburg address almost every American learns in school, still stir the hearts of not only Americans, but countless millions around the world. This series of 24 lectures examines Lincoln's rhetoric - the public messages in which he evolved his views on slavery and the preservation of the Union and by which he sought to persuade others.

    Quaker says: "A master class in rhetoric from the man himself"
  • The Age of Henry VIII

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Dale Hoak
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Henry VIII, who ruled England for almost four decades, provokes questions. What is greatness? How should we judge character? Who or what can be said to "make" or cause history? England's most famous king ruled an island only about the size of Pennsylvania, 500 years ago - yet he remains instantly recognizable to this day. In this series of 24 revealing lectures, an honored teacher offers an intimate portrait of the monarch who, in a recent biographer's words, "changed the heart, mind, and face of Britain more than anything between the coming of the Normans and the coming of the factory"

    Fara says: "Fascinating and enthralling!"
  • Famous Greeks

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (76)

    Join Professor Fears for this riveting 24-lecture examination of fascinating figures who shaped the story of Greece from the Trojan War through the rise of Rome. What do their lives, studied in the context of their times, tell us about virtue and vice, folly and wisdom, success and failure? Inspired and informed by the monumental works of Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch, these lectures allow you to do exactly that, guided by a truly great teacher.

    Abdur Abdul-Malik says: "Fine Introduction"
  • The High Middle Ages

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Philip Daileader
    Overall
    (285)
    Performance
    (248)
    Story
    (244)

    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"
  • The Origin of Civilization

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Scott MacEachern
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (64)

    What defines a civilization? How did the first states emerge? How were the world's ancient states similar and different? Answer these and other dramatic questions with this grand 48-lecture course that reveals how human beings around the world transitioned from small farming communities to the impressive cultural and political systems that would alter the course of history.

    Neema Kasravi says: "Not good as an intro to civilazations."
  • The Persian Empire

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John W. Lee
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (208)

    Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, you'll take on the role of a history detective to discover the truth about the Persian Empire. You'll discover the key to the empire's success lay in its greatest rulers, each of whom played a critical role in shaping and strengthening a civilization we still remember today. Take this opportunity to complete your understanding of the ancient world and discover the humanity of the ancient Persians.

    John Wayne says: "Ancient History Does Not Get Much Better Than This"
  • America and the World: A Diplomatic History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark A. Stoler
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    In barely more than two centuries, the United States evolved from a sparsely settled handful of colonies into the most powerful nation the world has ever known. How could such an implausible metamorphosis have occurred? These 24 insightful lectures address that penetrating question and many others. Professor Stoler offers you a fresh view of America's shift from the periphery of international politics to its very center as he explores the key components of American diplomatic history.

    ted says: "FSOT Prep"
  • Emperors of Rome

    • ORIGINAL (17 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Garrett G. Fagan
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (128)

    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.

    Hellocat says: "Informative and thorough"
  • The American Identity

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Patrick N. Allitt
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    What defines an American? Is it the love of liberty, the pursuit of justice, the urge to invent, the desire for wealth, the drive to explore, the quest for spiritual values? The paradox of American identity is that although the United States is a melting pot of many different traditions, motives, and ideals, there are nevertheless distinctive qualities that define the American character.

    Quaker says: "Endlessly Fascinating and Entertaining Stories"
  • The American Revolution

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (161)

    Why did 13 colonies believe they could defeat the most powerful nation on the planet? And how did they eventually manage such an impressive feat? Get the real story on the battle for American independence with Professor Guelzo's 24 gripping lectures.With a focus on the war's strategy, military tactics, logistics, and most fascinating people, these lectures are a must own for anyone curious about the origins of the greatest nation in modern history.

    Eli says: "What every American should listen to."
  • Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Robert Allison
    • Narrated By Professor Robert J. Allison
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (204)

    The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures. While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

    Amazon Customer says: "Subject Matter is wonderful, Narrator no so much"
  • A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Bucholz
    Overall
    (321)
    Performance
    (298)
    Story
    (298)

    During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called "the first modern society" and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.Those years hold a huge and captivating story. The English survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on earth.

    E. Stein says: "Old-fashioned and inaccurate"
  • The Peloponnesian War

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (155)

    The Peloponnesian War pitted Athens and its allies against a league of city-states headed by Sparta. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides captured this drama with matchless insight in his classic eyewitness account of what was arguably the greatest war in the history of the world up to that time. These 36 half-hour lectures draw on Thucydides' classic account as well as other ancient sources to give you a full picture of the Greek world in uneasy peace and then all-out war in the late 5th century B.C.

    Imre Balazs says: "An excellent choice"
  • From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth J. Hammond
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (371)
    Story
    (368)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.

    Travis Greene says: "A good listen"
  • Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John E. Finn
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (54)

    The civil liberties and constitutional rights possessed by our nation's citizens-not only in theory, but in the courtroom, where the state can be forced to honor those liberties-are a uniquely American invention.And when we were taught history and learned about the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, we were always made aware of that uniqueness, of the extraordinary experiment that gave to every citizen of this new nation a gift possessed by no others.

    aaron says: "Great Course. Good Narration."
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