Quite a good intro. Heavy on some topics, rather light on others, but overall very enjoyable. Except for the last chapter, where all the philosophizin..Show More »g on the meaning of civilization left me cold. Other than that, and up to that point, it does the job very well.
This is the second of the Great Courses I have read which is done by Professor Fears, and I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them. He has a very livel..Show More »y and at times humorous way of telling his stories which is very easy to listen to. Also, he goes into detail enough about background and culture so that we can really understand why these stories matter to us today.
He covers a really large variety of topics, too. There are political events like Caesar crossing the Rubicon or the Athenians driving off the Persians or the ascension to power of Adolf Hitler. There are religious events like the life of Buddha or Jesus. There are scientific or medical events like the lives of Hippocrates, Pasteur or Darwin. There were a few events I had never heard of, but there were many more events I had heard of but didn't know much about. He brought these events into sharp focus and helped me understand that my life today would be very different than what it is if this or that event had not taken place.
Many of the events in the early part of the course were religious in nature--because, I suppose, religion was such an integral part of the lives of ancient peoples. I am not a believer in any religion, but I can see that these events were still very important in shaping our world into what it is today, so they needed to be included in this course.
Bottom line: I really enjoyed this, and I recommend it to you.
China is one of the most interesting and long-running civilizations in the world. This course covers the history of the Kingdoms before the Chinese un..Show More »ification, and move us through a rich history with colorful characters all the way to the twentieth century. I strongly recommend it for interesting presentation and thoroughness.
It starts off with courses explaining some theories regarding fossils and primitive communities in Africa, but seems to jump around a lot and skip to ..Show More »European colonization and slavery. It is still informative, but is more likely to be seen as a study of the folly of European colonization in Africa.
A previous reviewer criticized the overwrought delivery on the part of this lecturer, and I failed to heed the warning, in part because a second revie..Show More »wer rolled out an enthusiastic defense. From the sample, I thought I could manage. Wrong.
I hate to criticize a man who is obviously a good scholar, an enthusiast, and probably a fine, lively teacher in the flesh. But I'm afraid this venture just didn't work out. Perhaps at the publisher's urging, the material has been way, way over "popularized."
The thespian antics, wry chuckles, and jokiness seem aimed to hold the attention of a room full of six-year-olds. I almost picture the lecturer with hand puppets.I don't mind a bit of oomph and personality in a lecture. But this is so distracting I find it nearly impossible to grasp the content, which may be very good--but I'll never know.
There may be audience for this. If others feel differently, I hope they will write in. Perhaps I'm just old and mean, but I prefer scholarly lectures as I prefer a martini--straight up and dry, thank you.
This series of lectures is an unapologetic look at warfare as a human condition which explores the ways it developed technologies from the stone age u..Show More »p to the 2000's and how it influenced, and was influenced by, economic, political, social and religious factors.