The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
Books in series13
ORIGINAL
(4.3 based on 941 ratings)
  • The Foundations of Western Civilization | The Great Courses

    The Foundations of Western Civilization

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas F. X. Noble
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (55)

    What is Western Civilization? According to Professor Noble, it is "much more than human and political geography," encompassing myriad forms of political and institutional structures - from monarchies to participatory republics - and its own traditions of political discourse. It involves choices about who gets to participate in any given society and the ways in which societies have resolved the tension between individual self-interest and the common good.

    Excellent course!

    This is my second, all time favorite history course thus far. I have only been a patron of the Great Courses for about 7 or 8 months when my favorite ..Show More »

    Reviewed on March 04 2014 by Tyler (Red Deer, AB, Canada)
  • Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World | The Great Courses

    Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Bucholz
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    Beginning with the Renaissance, the culture of the West exploded. Over the next 600 years, rapid innovations in philosophy, technology, economics, military affairs, and politics allowed what had once been a cultural backwater left by the collapse of the Roman Empire to dominate the world. This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and captivating lecturer will show you how - and why - this extraordinary transformation took place.

    good intro

    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 »

    Reviewed on December 10 2013 by Ilinca (Romania)
  • The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History | The Great Courses

    The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor J. Rufus Fears
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (125)
    Story
    (123)

    History is made and defined by landmark events-moments that irrevocably changed the course of human civilization. They have given us: spiritual and political ideas; catastrophic battles and wars; scientific and technological advances; world leaders both influential and monstrous; and cultural works of unparalleled beauty.

    Fun course but Professor Fears is not for everyone

    Storytime with Grandpa

    Reviewed on November 04 2013 by Quaker (Philadelphia)
  • Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers | The Great Courses

    Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Andrew R. Wilson
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (113)

    From Napoleon's revolutionary campaigns to the way insurgency, terrorism, and nuclear weaponry have defined the nature of warfare in the 21st century, the results of military strategy have changed the course of history. These 24 thought-provoking lectures give you an inside look at both the content and historical context of the world's greatest war strategists. From the triremes and hoplites of ancient Greece to the Special Forces in 21st-century Afghanistan, strategy is the process by which political objectives are translated into military action.

    Great Introductory Overview of Strategic Concepts

    This may seem like a clichĂ©, but what Carl Sagan did for science, Prof. Wilson has done for Strategy. I am a civilian with no military background. I..Show More »

    Reviewed on August 08 2013 by John H. Heitmuller (Glen Allen, VA United States)
  • 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

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Christian
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (227)

    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.

    The Big Picture of Big History

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

    Reviewed on September 01 2013 by John P. Gillespie (chapel hill)
  • Peoples and Cultures of the World | The Great Courses

    Peoples and Cultures of the World

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Edward Fischer
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    As the "science of humanity," anthropology can help us understand virtually anything about ourselves, from our political and economic systems, to why we get married, to how we decide to buy a particular bottle of wine. This 24-lecture course reveals the extraordinary power of anthropology - and its subspecialty, cultural anthropology - as a tool to understand the world's varied human societies, including our own.

    Interesting

    I would like to hear these lectures again. Professor Fischer describes the culture and habits of peoples all over the globe. I loved that he guided ..Show More »

    Reviewed on February 07 2014 by A. Smith (South Texas)
  • The Development of European Civilization | The Great Courses

    The Development of European Civilization

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    In almost every way that matters, historical Europe was the laboratory in which the world you now live in was conceived and tested. And you'll be living with the consequences for the rest of your life. These 48 lectures lead you through the doors of that laboratory and guide you through the development of Europe from the late Middle Ages through the eve of World War II.

    Amazing

    Everything

    Reviewed on August 01 2014 by William Powers ()
  • From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History | The Great Courses

    From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth J. Hammond
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.

    A good listen

    Yes because it is a great crash course to Chinese history and seems to cover all of the main events.

    Reviewed on October 10 2013 by Travis Greene (Monroe, NC)
  • The African Experience: From 'Lucy' to Mandela | The Great Courses

    The African Experience: From 'Lucy' to Mandela

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth P. Vickery
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    The story of Africa is the oldest and most event-filled chronicle of human activity on the planet. And in these 36 lectures, you'll explore this great historical drama, tracing the story of the sub-Saharan region of the continent from the earliest evidence of human habitation to the latest challenges facing African nations in the 21st century. By learning with these lectures, you'll finally be able to bust myths and correct potential misunderstandings about Africa.

    The History of European Influence in Africa

    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 »

    Reviewed on December 03 2013 by Saud (United States)
  • Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past | The Great Courses

    Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    How do historians create their histories? What role do the historian's viewpoint and method play in what we accept as truth? Answer these questions and more as you go inside the minds of our greatest historians and explore the idea of written history as it has shaped humanity's story over 2,000 years

    More Histrionics than History

    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 »

    Reviewed on October 08 2013 by Nelson Alexander (New York, NY, United States)
  • War and World History | The Great Courses

    War and World History

    • ORIGINAL (25 hrs and 1 min)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jonathan P. Roth
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    This fresh and challenging inquiry into human societies takes a deep look at the effects and roles of war. As the most complex of all human endeavors, warfare - from ancient to modern - has spurred the growth of essential new technologies; demanded the adoption of complex economic systems; shaped the ideology and culture of nations; promoted developments in art and literature; and spread faith across the globe.

    An essential history of war as a human condition

    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 »

    Reviewed on December 11 2013 by Saud (United States)
  • Foundations of Eastern Civilization | The Great Courses

    Foundations of Eastern Civilization

    • ORIGINAL (23 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Craig G. Benjamin
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (58)

    China. Korea. Japan. Southeast Asia. How did Eastern civilization develop? What do we know about the history, politics, governments, art, science, and technology of these countries? And how does the story of Eastern civilization play out in today's world of business, politics, and international exchange?

    A worthwhile "big-history" survey

    Perhaps...at least certain parts.

    Reviewed on November 22 2013 by Acteon (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
  • 36 Revolutionary Figures of History | The Great Courses

    36 Revolutionary Figures of History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allen C. Guelzo, Professor Bob Brier, Professor Dennis Dalton, and others
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Alexander the Great, Jesus, Darwin, and Churchill are just a few of the many politicians, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, authors, inventors, and generals who transformed our world in ways that still resonate today. Now, with this unique collection of 36 lectures from our extensive course catalog, meet the remarkable people without whom the world would never be the same.

    A hodgepodge

    This is an anthology of lectures pulled from other Great Courses. Apparently, someone decided on a list of revolutionary figures and then went in sear..Show More »

    Reviewed on October 16 2014 by Sean (BELVEDERE TIBURON, CA, United States)