History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration : The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
  • Series: The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Mutiny. Disease. Starvation. Cannibals. From the ancient wayfarers to modern astronauts, world explorers have blazed trails fraught with danger. Yet, as History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration vividly demonstrates, exploration continues to be one of humanity's deepest impulses.
Across 24 lectures that unveil the process by which we came to know the far reaches of our planet, you'll witness the awe-inspiring and surprisingly interconnected tale of global exploration. An award-winning history professor from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, revolutionizes how you view the world as he introduces you to some of the greatest and most influential explorers ever known-successful as well as unsuccessful, admirable as well as flawed. You'll be spellbound as you learn of the treacherous, at times fatal, expeditions into the unknown these adventurers embarked upon, whether to the frozen Poles, Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, the ocean's depths, or the final frontier of space.
Through it all, you consider what drove these intrepid individuals, from proselytizing and pilgrimage to the lure of wealth, conquest, fame, and new lands, as evidenced by the Vikings' arrival in North America; Marco Polo's journey along the Silk Road to China; Christopher Columbus' "Enterprise of the Indies"; the conquistadors' ravages in Latin America; and the tiny kingdom of Portugal's triumphant circumnavigation of Africa to seize control of trade in the Indian Ocean.
In every lesson, you'll follow these fascinating figures - including several remarkable women - as they venture into uncharted territory and put themselves, and often their crews, in dire peril. With Professor Liulevicius' uniquely global approach, you also get a meaningful portrait of the travels of non-Westerners, as well as the perspectives of discovered people.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Captivating from start to finish!

What did you like best about this story?

This title truly lives up to the standard of The Great Courses -- 24 highly engaging lectures with a brilliant an entertaining professor who brings history to life and makes the time fly by, while also continuously bringing everything into perspective and reminding you of the big picture themes that tie it all together. I was sorry it ended.


Which scene was your favorite?

There were so many! I learned many truly fascinating things I didn't know about the most famous explorers like Columbus, Magellan, Lewis & Clark, and Henry Hudson... but even better were the significant remarkable stories about which I had known almost nothing: the revolutionary Buddhist monk Xuanzang who dared to journey to the west, Alexander von Humboldt the "second Columbus" whose prolific explorations were about advancing the understanding of our planet rather than about grabbing land or spreading religion, and perhaps my favorite: Ida Pfeiffer, a Victorian woman who defied the conventions of the day by journeying alone to exotic and dangerous locales, and invented the genre of travel writing.


Any additional comments?

I've listened to many of The Great Courses, but this was the first I'd heard by Professor Liulevicius. I'm pleased to see that he has several other titles and I've added them all to my Wish List!

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- Quaker

Wonderfully entertaining stories

I've loved many of The Great Courses but this one was among the most fun to listen to. I thought Liulevicius found just the right balance between the grand narrative and intriguing details from each voyage of exploration & discovery. I loved that he began "at the beginning," with human wanderings across the earth. His lecture on the colonization of the islands of the Pacific was particularly fascinating. He has lovely "asides" into Montaigne's early cultural relativism, Jules Verne's classics, The Odyssey, T.S. Eliot & more that contextualize the voyages he describes in wider social history. On top of all this he has an energetic and precise speaking-style that I found very pleasant to listen to.
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- Becky Popenoe

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses