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
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.
While this course is described as exploring "the breadth and depth of human history" from the common man's perspective, it is in truth focused on European history and, more specially, classical civilization.I expected to learn more about life in ancient China, Japan, Russia, India, the Americas, African civilizations other than Egypt (their enemies, the Nubians, are not even mentioned) and other places, to give me a better idea of the Ancient world. Instead, this series of lectures focused on Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and the usual. Even here, he spends many lectures on Rome and Greece, while rushing through Persia and ignoring Thracians and Goths.These lectures also tends to treat each civilization as mainly homogeneous. Despite lasting a thousand years, Rome is treated simply as "Rome". The social changes as it progressed from a small village to a huge empire are not shown. Greece and other civilizations are treated the same way.
Perhaps, if they are specifically interested in classical European history. If they are looking for a broader scope, I would steer them away.
The use of the second person (you) to place the listener in the action, as it were, is gimmicky and not very effective.
157 holidays a year in ancient Rome amazed me. Then, if one killed their father, the punishment was to be sewn into a bag with a snake, a rooster, a dog and a monkey, and, then thrown into water? We are not so barbaric now as I had thought!
It all mesmerized me.
This is the only book I have ever reviewed. This one was just too interesting to believe, for me.
Age 30, love history. Mostly war stuff.
It was a little slow at the beginning, but after the first couple of chapters I couldn't turn it off.
The narrators humor.
Among the best lecture series I've listened to.
Being a child in Ancient Greece.
Perhaps some would say a little dry, but I found the content extremely interesting and well delivered. Offers great perspective.
Life for the ordinary Soldier, Slave or Citizen in the world of the Ancients was just a tad above awful. Reading about (hearing about) it was interesting but I made the mistake ( i think) of listening to 5 or 6 lectures at each session.
I will try again in 6 - 12 months and listen again, but only to one lecture per week. (Like a student would.)
"Nearest thing to time travel available"
Superb, loved his Greece and Rome, bought this and couldn't get enough. A natural story teller just brings the lives of ordinary people to life. Just relax and let Professor Robert Garland read the narrative to you. Got to be even better than reading it for yourself.
The leader of the Roman bandits which he did with an east end accent like Fagan from Oliver Twist or an English pirate.
Infant mortality in the ancient and medieval world 25-30%. Starvation of the children left behind after their family were wiped out by the plague and having to beg in the streets. Throwing ones relative onto a passing plague cart from an upstairs window which for a deeply religious people must have been terrible, but they had no choice.
At 53 years of age I want to go to university and study history under Professor Garland. Along with the Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England and the Time Travellers Guide to Tudor England by Ian Mortimer this is a must for those that wish to learn about history from the viewpoint of ordinary people. Works such as these have taken a long time to appear, but now they they have I hope there is more to come.
"Well worth the listening"
It informed about ordinary people through many cultures.
Very well researched and read. Obviously interested in his subject and puts it across in an interesting and accessible way.
"Brilliant Trip Back In Time"
This was one of the best audiobooks I've purchased. The 48 30-minute lectures give a fascinating glimpse of what life was like for ordinary people in ancient and medieval times. The lectures are informed by a wealth of learning but are never stuffy or dry. On the contrary, they are very well written and are delivered in an excellent speaking voice by Professor Garland who brings the people "on the other side of history" brilliantly to life. Another reviewer has said that they are the nearest we'll get to a a trip by time-machine and that captures the essence of the lectures: as Prof Garland speaks we are back there with those ordinary people, sharing their hopes and fears and marveling how they coped without basic things we take for granted - medicine that is effective, spectacles to correct our vision, and so forth. Highly recommended.
"A great Listen. plenty of it. Slight repetition."
Entertaining and informative. Well presented by the prof. who sounds a bit of a stereotype, but his enthusiasm is evident and his empathy for ancient lives is clear.
"No prior knowledge needed"
Never did he presume prior knowledge but was not patronising to those who had it, he connected with the audience rather than talking 'at' his listeners.
At 24 hours length that would be difficult, the half hour sections made it easy to listen to and easy to keep on listening.
Robert Garland involves the listener and makes them feel like a time traveller by staging the scene before describing the events. It is difficult not to relate to the topics as they cover daily life of the average citizen in various civilisations, from birth to death and beyond. His style is clear and easily understood with few 'long' words, it presumes no prior knowledge yet at the end of it the listener is left with a remarkable knowledge of the ancient world which can be used as a gateway to more indepth study or as a means to really understand and end enjoy dramas depicting the era covered.
Just get it, delivery great. Story great. I was very excited about listening to this, outstripped my expectations.
"Everyday history in a nutshell"
Really enjoyed this book. Although it is of historic interest it was like listening to mini autobiographies. Feel as if I know much more about ancient history and what life was like. Would have preferred more detail but at least the pace was good. Shame about the narrator - pleasant voice but too often a bit stuttery and robotic. Nontheless I would recommend.
"I've learnt so much"
I've always been interested in the ancient world. I purchased this series of lectures on whim and I am please to say that the good Professor has fondled my mind with his enthusiasm and knowledge. For the first time ever, I have actually listened to the entirety of an audio-book (ADHD?). I will probably listen to whole thing again in a year's time to refresh my memory and I will also be purchasing the other lecture that he has done on the Romans and Greeks.
The period of Egyptian history really fascinated me and got me hooked.
Learning that I am a descendant of the French...
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