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
I found World History 101 to be as boring a subject as every I took. Kings and princes, the power elite of Western nations. I kept wondering what life was like for the "common man or women." When I saw the description of this book, I jumped on it. Jumped too soon, as it turned out. I felt like I was back in World History 101, but with a professor with an English accent who was even more pedantic than good old Sister What's-Her-Name. I'll think long and hard before I try anything else from The Great Courses series.
I am about 2/3 of the way through this audiobook and have found it to be extremely interesting throughout. I look forward to listening every day.
I am not familiar with any similar books. Perhaps some of the Feynman lectures could be a rough comparison. Think back to a professor whose class was enjoyable to attend, with lectures that were fluid, who could effortlessly recall interesting facts. From my perspective, this is a more reasonable analogy than any other books with which I am familiar.
The overall experience is much more interesting, and the words are pronounced much more precisely by Professor Garland than my "inner voice" if I had read the book myself. Also, I can safely drive while listening. I cannot say the same for reading a book. :)
My extreme reaction is two-fold: 1) Wow, it is good to live in the present! 2) The ancients were really not that much different than us. Obviously general cultural and societal expectations were a bit different, but not as much as I had expected.
The professor really knew his stuff, and related the information in a humorous, relaxed tone.
This is my first Great Course, so can't compare.
I really enjoyed hearing about women in the various societies.
The professor had a great sense of humor that made me smile quite a few times.
This is my first Great Course but won't be my last. I'm hooked!
Really enjoyed hearing the history of civilization as witnessed by the ordinary person of each period. The subject matter is fascinating, the lectures are well-written and impeccably researched and the delivery is fine - if not perfect. I would have listened around the clock if I hadn't had the inconvenient interruptions of life and work.
This is recommended reading/listening for any dedicated history buff! I've already suggested 'The Other Side' to many friends...
I was led to believe that this course was going to be an unbiased look at how commoners lived in various ancient societies. It does give a lot of interesting historical information, but I found the professor giving the lecture to be very narrow-minded, in practice. He applies all sorts of 20th/21st century biases to his talk -all sorts of condescending little remarks about how "unenlightened" or "misogynistic" a society was, for example. He seems to take it for granted that our modern attitudes and morals are unquestionably correct, and evaluates and judges the past based on them, which I find unacceptable in an academic historian, though it is sadly very common. There is more to ancient Greece or Egypt than "OMG, they had slaves!!!" Part of being a historian is to recognize our own biases, and attempt to minimize them in our evaluation of history, rather than embracing them. Education is about broadening horizons and thinking critically, rather than smugly judging everything based on our own prejudices -right or wrong though they may objectively be. This is an interesting set of lectures, make no mistake, but it is definitely geared toward popular taste, rather than academic.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
The lectures start off well, explaining aspects of life to you and explaining how life would be like for you to have been an ancient Egyptian, a Persian, a Greek, a Roman and a Celt, and explains in detail how you'd live your life and what you're likely to believe if you were poor, rich, male, female, a soldier or an outlaw.
I took a star from Overall and Story because it spends the final 30% of the book covering England and turns the book into a history lesson. It wasn't what I paid for.
This was supposed to be a history book but instead it was a collection of recorded lectures and bombards you with evolutionary assumptions and pseudoscience. Very disappointing.
Just listening to this nonsense is painful. There is little or no basis for much of the dialog Garland mutters through. They should have hired someone else to try and give this information, but the fact is that there is little or no meaning in this course at all. It's all conjecture and opinion. (I've only completed listening to the first segment and I'm dreading the rest of it.)
I think what fascinated me the most was how little humans had changed over the thousands of years covered in this course.
I keep getting distracted by the guy's slur or lisp. I just can't get past it. The story is really good but I just can't concentrate because of the voice.
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