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Publisher's Summary

The history of human civilization is an astonishing story of migration, innovation, and social development. Now, the exciting new field of "big history" allows us to explore human civilizations in ways unavailable to historians of previous generations. Big history scholars take a multidisciplinary approach to study great spans of time, unlocking important themes, trends, and developments across time and space.
Unlike a traditional survey of history - with its focus on dates and events, kings and battles - The Big History of Civilizations is your chance to apply this cutting-edge historical approach to the epic story of humanity around the world. Taught by acclaimed Professor Craig G. Benjamin of Grand Valley State University, these 36 sweeping lectures trace the story of human civilizations from our emergence as a species, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and into the future.
It only takes a few minutes of one lecture for you to discover that Big History is an amazing approach to history. Its grand vision will give you powerful new insights into human civilization, and it offers a profound analysis of some of our biggest questions: What makes us human? Where did we come from? And where are we going? There may be no easy answers, but Professor Benjamin takes you on a powerful journey to the limits of our understanding.
What differentiates big history from any other field is the way it combines divergent fields, from archaeology and anthropology to ecology and philosophy, and ties them together, allowing you to see patterns of our past, present - and even future. From the just-right "Goldilocks factors" that allow civilizations to emerge to different ways civilizations have emerged across time and around the word, this riveting approach to history offers a multidisciplinary toolkit to tell the story about what makes us human.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Paulybrooklyn on 01-14-17

Horrible delivery, constant self-promotion.

What didn’t you like about Professor Craig G. Benjamin’s performance?

I don't know where to begin. He speaks in a mechanical, repetitive way--every sentence has the same delivery and intonation. He doesn't sound like he is talking naturally, more like he's reading a powerpoint presentation. But the worst part is that he is constantly interrupting his own lecture to promote his "Big History" brand of scholarship. It's more of an academic infomercial than a course. He can't seem to stay on any topic, because he keeps feeling the need to stress why his approach to history is so important. I understand that the whole idea is to make broad connections, but he jumps around so much that he starts sounding as though he has ADD. I love ancient history and can usually listen to lectures endlessly but I couldn't get through more than an hour of this before I turned it off in disgust.

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14 of 17 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Marie McCaffrey on 07-31-17

By lecture five I gave up

What disappointed you about The Big History of Civilizations?

The delivery was dull, and content was receptive and punctuated with constant references to "Big History". I am intrigued by patterns in history and thought this might interesting, however, by lecture five I had not learned one thing that I did not already know so I gave up.

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Yes, I have listened to two excellent series, one was so good that I listened to it twice.

How could the performance have been better?

Less self promotion and more sophisticated content.

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

Not really

Any additional comments?

No

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jay on 02-11-17

very interesting listen

a very informative set of lectures but will probably need to get updated in a decade or two as new discoveries and understanding occurs

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lewes, on 02-28-18

Enthralling

A wonderful journey through time. Informative and ultimately thought provoking. A must listen for all, especially our children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Adam on 03-07-17

excellent

my only issue is that the lecturer, especially during the earlier lectures, switches between "before present" (BP) and "before common era" (BCE) when referring to the past, sometimes un the same sentence, which was a little confusing

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By chris on 04-26-17

Compehensive and Interesting

Any additional comments?

over all it was very good and quite engaging, the only downfall was the completely unnecessary habit of running the feminist yard stick over the tail end of most chapters, but this is near impossible to avoid in modern literature unfortunately...

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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