Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past : The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Allen C. Guelzo
  • Series: The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
  • 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

How do historians create their histories? What role do the historian's viewpoint and method play in what we accept as truth? Answer these and other questions 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.
These 24 intriguing lectures introduce you to the seminal thinking of historians such as: Herodotus, considered by many the first history writer, who replaced the poetic imagination of Homer with istorieis, or inquiry; Livy, the author of a 142-volume didactic history of Rome that spanned three continents and seven centuries; David Hume, who framed English history with an evolutionary vision of economic, political, and intellectual freedom; and Edward Gibbon, whose monumental Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire forged a complex picture of epic collapse and decay.
From the dramatic and military exploits of Xenophon and Thucydides in ancient Greece to Macaulay's dynamic career in the 19th century, from the bloody era of Christian Reformation to the revolutions of the Enlightenment, Professor Guelzo takes you into the trenches with great minds throughout history.
And beneath the surface of written history, you'll examine the processes that create accepted views of historical events, and you'll uncover the ways in which understanding how history is written is crucial to understanding historical events themselves. The journey rewards you with an unforgettable insight into our human heritage and the chance to look with discerning eyes at human events in their deeper meanings.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Professor Shows Amazing Breadth of Knowledge

Would you listen to Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past again? Why?

I was aware that Professor Guelzo was a renown Civil War scholar, and I had listened also to the excellent job he did on his American Revolution Great Courses audio. Turns out that he has an incredible breadth of knowledge of history spanning the world and all periods. This course is not for everyone. It is for those who deeply appreciate history and who want to delve more into how historians have thought over the years and how the presentation of history has evolved over the years. Those who are patient will be amply rewarded.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Even thought all periods of history are covered, I still like the lectures on Greece and Rome, including Heroditus, Tacitus, and the lessons of the ancient Greek Wars.

What does Professor Allen C. Guelzo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Professor Guelzo clearly appreciates this topic and the great historians of the past. His enthusiasm is contangious.

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- cmurrell

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 reviewer 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.
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- Nelson Alexander

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses