We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity | [The Great Courses]

Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.
Regular Price:$52.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

Like traditional creation stories told by the world's great religions and mythologies, this lecture series provides a map of our place in space and time. But it does so using the insights and knowledge of modern science, as synthesized by a renowned historian. While you may have heard parts of this story before in courses on geology, history, anthropology, biology, cosmology, and other scholarly disciplines, Professor Christian provides more than just a recap of those disciplines. "Because of the scale on which we look at the past, you should not expect to find in it many of the familiar details, names, and personalities that you'll find in other types of historical teaching and writing," he explains. "For example, the French Revolution and the Renaissance will barely get a mention. They'll zoom past in a blur. You'll barely see them. Instead, what we're going to see are some less familiar aspects of the past. We'll be looking, above all, for the very large patterns, the shape of the past.

"Prepare yourself for a journey through time and across space, from the first moments of existence to the distant reaches of the far future."

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.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (146 )
5 star
 (96)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.5 (135 )
5 star
 (88)
4 star
 (33)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.5 (134 )
5 star
 (86)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    John P. Gillespie chapel hill 09-01-13
    John P. Gillespie chapel hill 09-01-13 Member Since 2009

    jgillespie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Big Picture of Big History"
    Where does Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This was my first foray into The Great Courses series of lectures, but it certainly will not be my last.


    What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

    Professor Christian provides a stellar overview of history in accessible and engaging language.


    Any additional comments?

    I began listening to this at the same time that I was reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I found a lot of reinforcement of ideas and details through both. If you are seeking a basic framework for understanding our universe, this is a great asset.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan United States 09-17-13
    Susan United States 09-17-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this audio lecture to others. It really makes you think about our place in the universe very differently.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The breadth of the series.


    What does Professor David Christian bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is such an articulate story teller that you get mesmerized listening to him.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The future of mankind in 1,000 years from now.


    Any additional comments?

    This series will broaden you total view of life and the world you live in.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 04-05-14
    harry PLEASANTON, CA, United States 04-05-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    98
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    28
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    17
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Great Lecture Series !"

    I have been wanting to try one of the "Great Courses" lecture series for some time. I had a little working knowledge of the Big History concepts so I decided to use a credit on this audio course.

    Initially I was a little concerned about whether or not these lectures would hold my attention for nearly 25 hours that would be required for the entire course. This concern turned out to be totally unfounded as I was completely taken in by the end of the very first 30 minute lecture!

    The scope of the material is vast and wondrous: From the Big Bang to our present technology driven civilization. Throughout the entire series of lectures David Christian moves just fast enough to instill excitement, always reviewing the material every few lectures and previewing what's to come.

    Because these lectures are only about 30 minutes in length they offer nice sized info-bites for the listener to digest. You can have as much or a little Big History as you want in nicely packaged increments. In fact, I think that the organization of the lectures in these easily digested increments is one of the more impressive elements of this audiobook as a whole.

    The narration is also absolutely first rate. Christian is a practiced speaker and this really shows in his wonderful delivery.

    If I have any criticism to offer it is on just two points:
    First, these lectures were obviously recorded in a studio environment so I don't see why Great Courses saw the need to dub in the same applause sound track at the end of each lecture. It's distraction and not necessary. Likewise the trumpet fanfare that precedes each lecture is completely unnecessary and artificial.

    My second criticism is aimed at the tact that I felt that Christian gets a little too "preachy" when discussing his ideas surrounding global warming. This is limited to only elements of one or two lectures but I did think that it marred an otherwise completely politically neutral outlook.

    On balance these are very very minor points of criticism. This is a masterwork that is matched with a flawless delivery and format and well wort one credit!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Peterson 04-02-14
    K. Peterson 04-02-14 Member Since 2001

    The Grey Pilot

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "WOW! History will never be the same!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is my fourth "Great Course" listen and by far the most fascinating and my favorite. Professor Christian is at the top of his game. I found myself thinking of all kinds of excuses to listen to "just one more lecture". The first lecture defines what "Big History" is and once you know that you are hopelessly hooked. From the idea of the Big Bang theory to where will our universe be millions and millions of years from now, put on your seat belt and prepare for one of the most interesting journeys of your life. I must say it is not for everyone. When bringing up (in a conversation with my spouse) what Professor Christian said about the formation of life and some thoughts about finding life on other planets (and what that life may look like), her reply was "Who cares". I just shook my head and wondered how Professor Christian would react to a student with that response.


    What other book might you compare Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity to and why?

    There is not another "great course" that covers the span of the "Big History" however another very interesting "great course" is called "The Other Side of History" which is my second favorite listen. Highly recommended also.


    What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

    Every word is well spoken. Academy award caliber. He has an amazing and interesting way of presenting the facts and theories.


    If you could give Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Get to know the Big Bang and where it will end.


    Any additional comments?

    Every student dreams of having a Professor like Dr. Christian.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 02-21-14
    Paul Norwood Fresno, CA 02-21-14 Member Since 2005

    Paul Norwood

    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrific compilation of the origins of matter/life"
    Any additional comments?

    This wonderful compilation of the scientific facts of the origins of matter, life and the rise of humanity is well organized, interesting and a good review or numerous fields. It is a must for the educated.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke Bruges, Belgium 04-25-14
    Luke Bruges, Belgium 04-25-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The start of every thing."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity to be better than the print version?

    Not sure I do not have a printed version of this book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity?

    It was all memorable, I will be listening to this again


    What does Professor David Christian bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He brings real life to the audio version.


    If you could give Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity a new subtitle, what would it be?

    I think the title does not need to be changed.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Deerfield, IL, United States 06-18-14
    Steve Deerfield, IL, United States 06-18-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    84
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Maybe the best audiobook I've heard"

    This is an amazing story, told in an amazing way. You will understand our place in the universe in a very profound way. It's easy to listen, presented with great clarity. HIGHLY recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sheber 04-13-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the Author seems to hate humanity"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    people who do not care for modern human sociaty and believe in total distrubution of wealth


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Eliminate parts three and four


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Professor David Christian?

    No


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes the first two parts


    Any additional comments?

    Objectivity was missing from the discussion on " the rise of humanity"

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
Sort by:
  • M. A. Atkin
    brighton, uk
    7/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Essential Reading for Humanity"
    What did you like most about Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity?

    It provides an overview of Humans and their place in history in the larger context of our existence within the universe in a wonderfully accessible way.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was compelling and fluidly delivered


    What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

    He is a outstanding lecturer delivering enormous information I a wonderful way


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    KILMARNOCK, United Kingdom
    3/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The history of everything important"

    A wonderful series which launches a wealth of knowledge at the listener in a manner which allows it to be absorbed easily.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book and was absolutely hooked. The expansive task of describing the history of the universe, our planet and humankind is expertly handled by the lecturer who delivers in a very professional manner. It is very easy to keep up with the information, as there is very little jargon or complicated material.

    You will learn a ton of stuff and be smart as hell if you listen to this.

    Fans of History or Science will love it and even if you're not, probably.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Bojang
    Basel, Switzerland
    3/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best way to look at history of the earth"
    If you could sum up Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity in three words, what would they be?

    Absolutely fantastic book and Prof David Christian is brilliant.
    The idea to examine things from such a large scale is really thought provoking and allows us to provide some context to where we are today and where we could go.


    What other book might you compare Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity to, and why?

    Andrew Marr's world history book is a good introduction to the big bang, life on earth and the rise of humanity.


    What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

    Simple sounds like and feels like a very nice man who is able to explain complex subjects in a very understandable way.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Formation of the planets


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • JOHN
    County Cork, Ireland
    3/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "13.7 Billion Years in 24 Hours, 25 Minutes!"

    This is yet another excellent series of lectures from The Great Courses. Professor Christian brings a wealth of learning to bear on the history of the Universe to date and he conveys the information in an easily understood manner. He has a very good speaking voice and is a pleasure to listen to. Each lecture is approximately 30 minutes long and is thus easily digested but I have to say I found myself usually listening to two or more at a time as they are so interesting. Highly recommended. One of the best audiobook purchases I've made.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.