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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
The comprehensiveness of this course. I was not expecting to hear topics such as Greek refugees or Viking raiders.
Alexander the Great. He attempted a social experiment with the marriages at Susa to unite the west with the east.
Seladdin, the sultan of Syria and Egypt during the 2nd Crusade.
The extremely violent eruption that occurred in the area of Sumatra 75,000 years ago that nearly caused the species homo sapiens to become extinct.
Professor Garland was really adept at providing descriptive scenes with numerous examples and providing dates to put everything into a clear perspective. His course was extremely thorough. The one question that I have is: Did the Indus Valley civilization leave much of an impact on western civilization?
Since it's an audio course, I'm ranking it against other courses I've listened to rather than audiobooks in general. This course's subject matter is fascinating, but the delivery of the narrator falls somewhat short.
Focus on the "great man" approach is extremely common, particularly in ancient history where the sources are limited and generally commissioned by said "great men." It's refreshing to see a general survey of what life was like in various ancient societies.
There aren't characters, but Dr. Garland's speech is a little off and took some getting used to. Once you get involved in the material, however, there shouldn't be any issue.
Strongly recommended if the subject matter interests you; not recommended if it does not or if you don't like listening to audio courses and/or history podcasts.
I greatly enjoyed these lectures. They cover a very broad range of human history in an interesting and engaging way. Due to the rather large range of history, the material can move quickly and without as much detail as I would have liked at times. Still I learned a lot through the lectures and would recommend them, especially if you are interested in the daily lives of the ordinary people thought history.
Listening to a professor discuss his life's work via a series of lectures is not always nearly so engrossing but this one was. Like everything else, not every section interested me the same, but overall, it was fascinating. There were times, of course, when I wondered how they could have possibly known something, but for the most part, all seemed credible.
Professor Garland is a very good orator and I passed many pleasant commuter hours with him.
Love history, love books. Love current events. Christian conservative. British history. Military history. Political history. Classic fiction.
Impossible to be disappointed with this one. The professor is a master of putting you in the place and making you care about the subject. He's a great narrator as well.
Robert Garland was interesting. He made me want to listen to this obsessively. This is the way I enjoy history. People are more interesting than a string of dates and events. I was glad this series was 24+ hours. I could have listened to more.
Mr Garland is truly passionate about his work. His enthusiasm makes listening a real treat. It is much like having asked a clever friend a question and receiving an most delightful interesting answer. Thank you, Mr Garland. I will listen to this one again. Perhaps again. Mr Garland is a story teller not a lecturer. He made it come alive for me. I thought about it when I was not listening.
I find the canned applause between each lecture trite.
I found the first half of this course very engaging. The narrator was way above five stars...So many details of daily life just exploded many commonly held beliefs..such as vomitorium being related to the spaces in stadiums that allowed a mass of people to exit the stadiums and not a place to throw up at an orgiastic meal... Many interesting names for places and customs were threaded throughout the narrative and shown to be the ancient link to words commonly used today. I did not find the later chapters as engaging mainly due to my own disinterest in the politics of the early powerful brainwashing done in the name of God...though if you are interested in the actual pilgrimages and crusades this too would reveal the horrible hardships that were part of these experiences. Poor pilgrims must have had powerful determination to stand in line to defecate over the ship's side and stand the smell of slop buckets below deck for the journey...the details of daily life make it hard to fathom that any of us still exist in this lifetime..just an excellent set of lectures!
Robert Garland presented an enthralling and engaging journey with this lecture series. Growing up, I never thought of myself as particularly interested in history, but I was drawn to the perspective promised in the title and description of this course, and I'm so glad I gave it a chance. I can't speak highly enough of Professor Garland; his depth of knowledge and obvious, genuine love of the subject matter brought to life the lives and culture of the people presented in a delightful and moving way.
"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.
"Excellent empathic history"
Excellent narration with extraordinary breadth of research and insight into the other side of historical life across the classical and medieval periods. Wonderful example of empathic social history done with wit, intelligent charm and compassion.
"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.
"like stepping back in time...."
very good but doesn't half go on a bit... all good though, just like stepping back in time ;-)
"A Captivating Journey!"
It was an adventure to be sure and one that has kindled a new desire to know more about history, society and the human condition.
The narrator is easy to listen to becuase he loves his job which brings you into the story without much struggle.
I managed to listen all the way through doing a bit every day and highly recommend. I'll certainly resist a lecture or two.
"loved every second of it"
The narration is excellent and makes easy listening of what is at times dense material. Professor Garland gives a very entertaining 101 style lecture
"Shame about the narration"
Good content but it was quite spoiled by the author pausing before almost every word.
Fantastic course. The information is invaluable and it is narrated in a very pleasant and easy to understand manner. Outstanding work! I enjoyed every second.
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