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The Wisdom of History | [The Great Courses]

The Wisdom of History

Do the lessons passed down to us by history, lessons whose origins may lie hundreds, even thousands of years in the past, still have value for us today? Is Santayana's oft-repeated saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," merely a way to offer lip service to history as a teacher-or can we indeed learn from it? And if we can, what is it that we should be learning?
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Publisher's Summary

Do the lessons passed down to us by history, lessons whose origins may lie hundreds, even thousands of years in the past, still have value for us today? Is Santayana's oft-repeated saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," merely a way to offer lip service to history as a teacher - or can we indeed learn from it? And if we can, what is it that we should be learning?

In this unflinching series of 36 lectures, a world-renowned scholar makes the case that we not only can learn from history, but must.

Drawing on decades of experience as a classical historian, Professor Fears explores history's patterns to conclude that ignoring them - whether by choice or because we've never learned to see them - is to risk becoming their prisoner, repeating the mistakes that have toppled leaders, nations, and empires throughout time.

In this personal reflection on history, Professor Fears has taken on the challenge of extracting the past's lessons in ways that speak to us today, showing us how the experience of ancient empires such as those of Rome and Persia have much to teach us about the risks and responsibilities of being a superpower.

He shows how the study of those who left their impact on an earlier world - Caesar Augustus or Genghis Khan, George Washington or Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi or Josef Stalin - can equip us to make responsible choices as nations, citizens, or individuals in a post-9/11 world where those choices are more crucial than ever.

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.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Cary Concord, CA, United States 03-01-14
    Cary Concord, CA, United States 03-01-14 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Very engaging history of the 20th Century"
    If you could sum up The Wisdom of History in three words, what would they be?

    Educational, valuable, enlightening


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wisdom of History?

    I really liked the Character sketches of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The descriptions really helped me understand how the World Wars came about.


    What does Professor J. Rufus Fears bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This is an audio course.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    abacs Praha 10, Czech Republic 03-21-14
    abacs Praha 10, Czech Republic 03-21-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More like a personal oppinion rather than a scient"
    What disappointed you about The Wisdom of History?

    The total lack of objectivity, or the proof of extraordinary claims. Appealing on fictional writings as historic documents.


    Has The Wisdom of History turned you off from other books in this genre?

    It has greatly shaken my trust in the value of the Great Courses series.


    Have you listened to any of Professor J. Rufus Fears’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    It was the first and probably the last.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment of the value of the Great Courses series.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are really contemplating on buying this course, just go to a pub and listen to the rumblings of an old drunk. It may be cheaper and more plausible.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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