The Foundations of Western Civilization : The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Thomas F. X. Noble
  • Series: The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
  • 24 hrs and 54 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary


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.
Within this series of 48 lectures, you'll discover the many ways in which Western civilization has addressed those questions, from its first stirrings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt in 3000 B.C to the beginning of the 17th century and the dawn of the modern world. Your learning will cover vast amounts of territory and thousands of years, beginning in the ancient Near East and moving to Greece and then Rome. You'll explore ancient empires, including those of Persia, Alexander the Great, and Rome.
You'll watch as western Europe gradually expands, both physically and culturally. And you'll examine the globalizations of Western civilization with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of exploration and discovery.
This broad and panoramic series, ripe with the telling detail on which history can turn, will help you pull an enormous sweep of history together into one coherent - though by no means closed - framework as you watch history develop under the influence of such critical factors as ecology and environment, geography, and climate; government and economics; technology; religion; work and leisure; philosophy; literature; art and architecture; and virtues, values, and aesthetics.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Highly recommended

Where does The Foundations of Western Civilization rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

top 10
I loved the material but a history major may already know all this stuff.
I will proceed directly to Vol 2.


Who was your favorite character and why?

n/a


What about Professor Thomas F. X. Noble’s performance did you like?

This is the weakness. The Prof is a good lecturer but his dynamic range is large so the audio volume varies greatly making it at times a difficult listen in the car. I frequently needed to replay sections that had fallen to a near whisper.
A *dynamic range compressor* add-on to the audible app would be a great idea! This same problem appears in many other recordings.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

n/a


Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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- Mike Keith

CLIP studying

I purchased this to review for the clep exam on western civilization. Very good information and overview of the fundamental concepts that shaped western history. I highly recommend it to learn something new. Professor Noble does a fantastic job organizing and keeping listeners engaged.
Read full review

- Jason

Book Details

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