Regular price: $52.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $52.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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.
Like traditional creation stories told by the world's great religions and mythologies, this lecture series provides a map of our place in space and time. But it does so using the insights and knowledge of modern science, as synthesized by a renowned historian. While you may have heard parts of this story before in courses on geology, history, anthropology, biology, cosmology, and other scholarly disciplines, Professor Christian provides more than just a recap of those disciplines. "Because of the scale on which we look at the past, you should not expect to find in it many of the familiar details, names, and personalities that you'll find in other types of historical teaching and writing," he explains. "For example, the French Revolution and the Renaissance will barely get a mention. They'll zoom past in a blur. You'll barely see them. Instead, what we're going to see are some less familiar aspects of the past. We'll be looking, above all, for the very large patterns, the shape of the past.
"Prepare yourself for a journey through time and across space, from the first moments of existence to the distant reaches of the far future."

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

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By John P. Gillespie on 09-01-13

The Big Picture of Big History

Where does Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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

What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

Professor Christian provides a stellar overview of history in accessible and engaging language.

Any additional comments?

I began listening to this at the same time that I was reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I found a lot of reinforcement of ideas and details through both. If you are seeking a basic framework for understanding our universe, this is a great asset.

Read More Hide me

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By C. Telfair on 10-13-14

Perfect Title for an Enlightening Experience

Thank you Great Courses!

I loved this listen! I bought it because I had read about Bill Gates' suggestion that this set of lectures be adapted for High School use. He thought it a brilliant new way of looking at the structure and content of the basic history course.

Well, I think he and Professor Christian are absolutely right. This course begins with the real beginning - progresses through the formation of our universe, our solar system, and our planet to the eruption of life, division of species, and, finally, the development of human civilizations.

It's all here and presented in a fascinating way. The Professor is a wonderful speaker, and his enthusiasm for this material is evident and contagious. My husband and I listened during many drives and found ourselves several times going out of our way to avoid arrival before a lecture ended!

I hope Gates can help encourage more school systems to consider "Big History" as a high school course. It's high time for a more inclusive approach to history.

"Big History" is a long trip, but it's a total pleasure. Embrace it!

Read More Hide me

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By M. A. Atkin on 07-27-14

Essential Reading for Humanity

What did you like most about Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity?

It provides an overview of Humans and their place in history in the larger context of our existence within the universe in a wonderfully accessible way.

What did you like best about this story?

It was compelling and fluidly delivered

What about Professor David Christian’s performance did you like?

He is a outstanding lecturer delivering enormous information I a wonderful way

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Read More Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 03-30-14

The history of everything important

A wonderful series which launches a wealth of knowledge at the listener in a manner which allows it to be absorbed easily.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book and was absolutely hooked. The expansive task of describing the history of the universe, our planet and humankind is expertly handled by the lecturer who delivers in a very professional manner. It is very easy to keep up with the information, as there is very little jargon or complicated material.

You will learn a ton of stuff and be smart as hell if you listen to this.

Fans of History or Science will love it and even if you're not, probably.

Read More Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tim on 01-27-15

Entertaining all the way through

Enjoyed this from start to finish. The history - and science - of the universe from its beginning to end.

Read More Hide me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 12-09-17

Quite dry but still enlightening at times

I knew very little about the origin of our solar system, planet, and our species, and i knew very little about our pre modern history as a species. If you already have a basic knowledge of these things this may not be for you as it covers the basics of a wide range of subjects including those above aswell as cosmology, geology, biology, anthropology and some I may have missed.

It does not try to explain any of the above in detail, but rather it gives a big picture of the relationship between the disciplines above and it does it in a very straightforward, no frills manner.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2018 Audible, Inc