Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.
The past truly comes alive as you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history's anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.
Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history's 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?
This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person - someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common - and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You'll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
Garland's ability as a story-teller and use of the second person to "put you in the sandals" of the ancient peoples that he describes, makes this is a vivid and engaging listen. He even has some pretty funny jokes if you listen for them. This would certainly be one of the most fun college courses to take at a University.
One of the most memorable moments I think is actually in the beginning, as he describes the chaos of the Thera volcano explosion and "your" flight from the island. I really got the sense of a peaceful fishing village in the Aegean bronze age being thrown into a nightmare-ish fit of destruction with the ensuing terror. But the description of medeival Britain and Chaucer's Canterburry Tales, battle as a Greek hoplite, and an Egyptian farmer are all quite memorable.
Although it's not a book but a lecture series, it would have been made for an entertaining read. However it's Garland as a story-teller that sets this apart as an audio-series.
This series would have been a pretty serious commitment to listen to all in one sitting, but with the continuity of topics, it's very easy to listen to for long periods.
This is curious; in fact very curious. You do not find much about normal life in taught history or in literature. Oh it is there, of course it is, to an extent, but it is not focused in on.
In this course the very idea of just normal boring life across our history is pulled together and presented in an such a delicate manner. I have to say it is so simple yet so moving and interesting considering how boring many would ascribe such a concept to be.
There is no great Generals, or great deeds, yet the lectures pull you in just as if there was. The lectures turn every day people, like us, into people as fascinating as great leaders by truly putting us in normal peoples shoes through a journey in time.
The lecturer is easy to listen to with such a nice flow because he really is excited about his course himself. You can hear this excitement and it carries.
Wonderful one of the more curious teaching company (great courses) or real life University courses I have experienced and I must have experienced 100's.
Highly recommended for those new to history and those experienced alike as the prospect either side of the coin in your educational journey will truly enlighten your grasp of history.
Although advertised as a cross-cultural perspective on ancient life, there's a nod towards ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia but the bulk of lectures concerns what it was like to be an ordinary, every day pre-Alexandrian Greek.
Was more interested in hearing about cross-cultural norms rather than simply ancient Greek life. Even a comparison between ancient Greece and ancient Rome would have proved more interesting; advertising this as a comparative look at ancient life is in fact incorrect.
Charismatic lectures that wrapped you in the sounds, sights, and smells of ancient civilizations past.
Though there are named characters this really does not seem to apply.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. It truly leaves you wanting more from Professor Garland.
Yes, definitely. It was very easy to get into and was packed with interesting facts and information.
It told history in a way that was easy to relate to and imagine. It also went into a lot of civilizations I love, like Egyptians and the Medieval period.
I'd say the chapters about the Egyptians. I also liked how informative the chapters on Greek and Romans were.
"History, told in a unique perspective."
Any lover of History or The Great Courses should definitely not miss this one.
If History has ever seem boring and dry to you, this is a truly incredible opportunity to find out what you have been missing. Extremely well researched, easy to follow, fun to listen at times, painful at others, but never dull. Professor Garland makes it so clear and human. He is the teacher that makes you love History. I will listen to it again...and probably again...
No - the presentation by the professor is outstanding and that would be missing from the book. However a book on the same topic would be interesting in its own right.
One of the theme throughout the whole 48 lesson course was how the common people were remarkably similar in that they shared the same hardships and threats throughout history. Indeed history does seem to repeat itself.
There really aren't any scenes as course in the great course series -
Again this course could never be made into a film.
Your can tell that this was a labor of love by Professor Garland whose knowledge and passion for the subject bring alive an insight to the other side of history, that of the common people. His presentation is perfectly pitched to provide interesting education together with that spark which brings to life his subject. This is only the second in the Great Courses series where I have awarded 5 stars and I don't do so lightly - all 48 lectures were a truly enjoyable experience.
I live in Madison, WI, and graduated University with 172 credits, because I was very bad at not just taking classes that interested me.
The author/professor who reads it has a great interest in the subject matter, and draws from a variety of sources. Each lecture has a focus 'Being Old in Greece' - for example, and really draws you into what their experiences would have been. Where there is not original material to draw from, he leans on archeology and similar contemporary societies.
It's the first 'Great Course' I've listened to of it's kind - however it is much more like you're sitting in a great University lecture hall - only without the 8am and hard, uncomfortable lecture seats.
I'm not finished with it yet - it's a run time of 24 hours! But so far I like the focus on Greece more than the Egyptian culture. The author did his doctoral work on that, and he's very enthusiastic.
Uh, it's a college course.
Definitely, and have already. Professor Garland brought to light the ordinary lives of ordinary people throughout history; and it was a fascinating story. Frequently inspiring, occasionally heart-wrenching, but worth listening to all the way through.
I know of nothing comparable, being new to the audiobook scene.
This is the first time I have been privileged to listen to one of Professor Garland's lectures; I wish he had taught at my alma mater, as he is easily the most interesting history teacher I have ever learned from. His diction is clear, and he clearly loves his subject.
Wanted to, yes. As it is 24 hours long, however, I was unable to. I spent a few hours a day over the course of a week listening to this.
Garland gives a very succinct and digestible, and yet impressively extensive and deep, account of the kind of details that "capital H" History, if you will, leaves out. This angle on history has garnered more and more interest in the past few decades, and yet it's still fairly difficult to find information on it that's this good. Garland gets into the details that let you really picture life in the ancient world.
This will be an excellent resource to anyone who is interested in ancient history and wants to be able to visualize what it was like to live back then. I'd also recommend it to anyone who wants to write fiction set in the ancient world, as it'll give you some idea of what your characters should be going through on a day-to-day basis: very important for realism!
Garland's diction is not smooth the way one might want the reader of a story to be, but his highly annunciated and somewhat halting speech patterns are actually great for a lecture; it's how one might read a history book aloud to oneself for maximum comprehension and retention of facts. Also, he's got a bit of a lisp, but don't let that put you off; it's really not unpleasant once you get used to it.
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