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
I heard two of the lectures when they were on the Audible channels. I loved the way he presented the history from a regular person perspective as much as possible. Professor Garland is engaging and enthusiastic about the subject matter and often builds on previous lectures.
I really enjoyed listening to this lecture, I learned a lot of information about the common people front different cultures. Now when I read of particular culture I can understand better knowing their background.
Easy to understand, pleasant listening. Learned a lot about ordinary people.
Learned that when Romans left Britain, society fell seriously into decline.
The woman warrior - Queen Boddicca
... Not able to do that, but did listen nightly to all lectures.
PLEASE, tell me how to access additional info on these lectures. There is a statement that says these materials are in my library. I cannot find them.
I love to read. I love to chat. I love to help. However the thing I love most of all is to learn about anything and everything. Hit me up!!!
The vast majority of all of human kind both past and even present are those people who make up "the other side of history". Dr. Garland gives an excellent perspective on the common people's daily lives. He makes their stories accessible to the modern day person and even tells us how he and other historians have come to these conclusions about their daily lives. all 48 lectures do a great job of giving us a glimpse into our ancestors past and he even ties it altogether with us in the modern age in his final lecture.
If I had any complaint it would be that the lectures are really only focused on the "Western World" but at 48 lectures as it is I can understand partly why and given Dr. Garland's expertise in this particular field.
I have listened to many of the Great Courses and to date this is by far my favorite. If you are interested in history this is a must listen.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Professor Robert Garland has made a career of piecing together cultural details of ancient civilizations. Garland’s journey back in time is highly speculative. It addresses the lives of losers and the underclass of social groupings and civilizations that have no written records of their thoughts, feelings, or life struggles. Any written record of the early years of human events are revealed as legend, or surmised from preserved remains.
As Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” Garland acknowledges Churchill’s observation while offering educated guesses about what life was like for the unsung and defeated. He goes back to the beginning of the human race by noting that Homo Sapiens were the only human species to survive in the family of great apes. Though Neanderthals and Denisovans once roamed the earth, the purity of their genetic makeup is overwhelmed by the DNA of North African Homo Sapiens. Though Neanderthals and Denisovans had similar brain sizes, were bipedal, and similar to Homo Sapiens, they disappear as a distinct species of human either through internecine war, or evolutionary selection. Garland suggests it may have been both; i.e. warfare and evolution, with a cognitive growth burst for the singular hominid called Sapiens. No one really knows.
Life in these tumultuous times remains a struggle for survival. Women are still discriminated against; rule is hierarchical, and the gap between rich and poor remains in place. Slavery is somewhat diminished but poverty becomes the new form of citizen enslavement. Agriculture is the main source of wealth but growth of cities like London, Norwich, and York begin the march toward mercantilism, industrialization, and the rise of the middle class.
One concludes from these lectures that “The Other Side of History” is as brutal for a small minority of victors as the general population. The threat of disease and death seem equally prevalent for victors and the poor; however the victors live a life with many more pleasures than the vanquished or poor while they are alive. Perhaps, a minuscule middle class, that is destined to become a dominant population cohort, lives best by neither being a beggar or an aristocratic leader. Garland notes that leaders are many times more likely to die from murder than the general population.
All in all, this was an interesting perspective on history and one we always miss in traditional history lessons. However, Robert Garland's affected tone got to me after a while. I forgot just how pompous professors sound. I also got tired of the worn out Beatle's references and his blatant liberal comparisons to modern society were misguided and unnecessary. For example, when talking about women as having no rights or identity he compares it to colonial America as if that was the last bastion of female inequality. There are plenty of societies with this exact same view of women today and they operate basically the same as they did thousands of years ago.
Another example was talking about infanticide in Spartan and other cultures and talking about it as if it was a bad thing then and as if it's also not in existence today when it was actively promoted in China not that long ago and all Western cultures willing abort children every day. What makes ours "right" and theirs "wrong"? That would have been a more interesting (and accurate) comparison and discussion if he's so intent on making comparisons.
He misses some great opportunities to show that we haven't evolved as much as we think but was too focused on bashing modern Western (particularly American) culture.
The subject matter was very interesting but it suffered in the telling and editorializing.
If you are looking to develop empathy and understanding for how we, the human animal, behave in the current age, look into past civilizations at the common person, rather than at the exalted heroes and villains of millennia past.
This course was truly enlightening, focusing on social norms regarding food, social hierarchy, hygiene, medicine, courtship, and everything in between.
The lecturer is also humorous and relatable. This is an excellent listen if you want a paradigm shift that brings history alive by making Our past more relatable.
It should also be noted that this is from a predominantly Western perspective, and that a similar book could be written through other lenses.
Not from Professor Garland. I have some other TGC audible books to listen to, and I have listened to some others.
I haven't reached the ending. I felt motivated to write this review because of suppositions and inaccuracies I've already heard concerning Egyptian and Greek history. I will continue to listen to the rest of these lectures, but given my knowledge of Anglo-Saxon and medieval English history, I suspect I will detect other inaccuracies and sloppy reporting.
Garland said that only an expert could distinguish between Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian art. This is incorrect. When I was a student at Wellesley College, I studied Ancient Near Eastern Art with Professor Miranda Marvin. Not only was her delivery better than Professor Garland, but she taught undergraduates how to distinguish between these periods of Egyptian art, in less than one hour-long lecture.
Garland has made too many assumptions concerning life in the ancient world - probably coloured by his modern, personal beliefs. For example, he assumes the life of a wealthy Athenian woman would have been one of little to do. Interested listeners who want to know at least part of the truth should read "Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years," by Professor Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who teaches at Occidental College and who earned her PhD from Yale University.
What a silly question, and based upon the goal of dumbing-down history and inserting modern Western cultural beliefs as implicit commentary.
Audible needs to change the questions it uses as prompts for reviews. These questions might work for the usual fictional drivel bought by the masses, but not for works which attempt to be or are non-fiction.
"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.
One of the best Great Courses I have taken. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in history.
"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.
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