The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History

Course No. 3890
Professor J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma
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Course No. 3890
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Course Overview

January 10, 49 B.C.: Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon River into Rome, igniting a civil war that leads to the birth of the world's greatest ancient civilization. October 12, 1492: The Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, weary after months at sea, finally drops anchor at the island of San Salvador and takes Europe's first steps into the New World.

September 11, 2001: On a calm Tuesday morning, a series of terrorist attacks on the United States of America ignites a global war on terrorism that continues to this day.

History is made and defined by landmark events such as these—moments that irrevocably changed the course of human civilization. While many of us are taught that anonymous social, political, and economic forces are the driving factors behind events of the past, acclaimed historian and award-winning Professor J. Rufus Fears believes that it's individuals, acting alone or together, who alter the course of history. These events have given us

  • spiritual and political ideas,
  • catastrophic battles and wars,
  • scientific and technological advances,
  • world leaders both influential and monstrous, and
  • cultural works of unparalleled beauty.

Without them, human history as we know it today would be shockingly unfamiliar. In short, because of these events, our world would never be the same again.

Such is the approach of The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History, a captivating new course in which Professor Fears—a master storyteller and one of the most popular instructors on our Great Courses faculty—provides you with 36 of the most important and definitive events in the history of the world. It's an intriguing and engaging tour of thousands of years of human history, from the creation of the Code of Hammurabi (1750 B.C.) to the Battle of Lexington (April 19, 1775), to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"speech (August 28, 1963), and beyond. And it's a chance for you to learn new insights about world history at the hands of an engaging historian.

An Expert's Guide to History's Greatest Moments

So what makes a particular historical event so defining?

Guided by his decades of immersion in the study of the past, Professor Fears narrows down the massive span of human history into 36 of its most powerful events. Using his expert knowledge and his impressive ability to draw out invaluable lessons from the past, he has chosen the events for The World Was Never the Same based on these three criteria:

  • The event in itself fundamentally changed history.
  • The aftermath of the event changed history.
  • The event and its impact still resonate with us today.

The result is a comprehensive and authoritative selection of events, each of which played a crucial role in transforming human civilization. What's more: Professor Fears avoids the common pitfall of treating his subject as a mere catalog or laundry list of events—instead, he takes great care to make these lectures feel like a grand, epic narrative of human history.

36 Defining Events, 36 Captivating Stories

Right from the first lecture, Professor Fears takes you back to the dawn of civilization; from there, you hopscotch across more than 3,000 years of history around the world, from the ancient city-states of Mesopotamia and Greece to medieval Europe and colonial America to revolutionary Russia and China. In each instance, Professor Fears weaves a captivating story about each event: what led up to it, how it unfolded, and how the world was changed as a result. More important, he uses these 36 events as guides for both understanding the past and learning from it.

With The World Was Never the Same, you'll learn about the importance of events that seem like logical choices, such as these:

  • The trial of Jesus in A.D. 36, in which the spiritual message of this religious leader was forever immortalized and would lead to one of the world's greatest world faiths
  • The discovery of the New World on October 12, 1492, which ushered in a profound era of exploration and conquest that would revolutionize the economic and political balance of Europe and lead to the creation of the United States of America
  • The Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, a pivotal battle in the American Civil War that would turn the tide in favor of the Union and the freedoms it sought to preserve
  • The dropping of the first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, which brought World War II to a swift conclusion but also signaled the start of the atomic age.

Professor Fears also makes compelling cases for events that you might not have considered to be so revolutionary:

  • The creation of the Hippocratic Oath in 430 B.C., a pledge (still taken today) that reflected the intellectual freedom of Athens and the sacred mission of a doctor
  • The opening of the University of Bologna in 1088, which was Europe's first university and whose structure provided the blueprint for many modern universities
  • The inspiration for Dante's Divine Comedy on May 1, 1283, when the Italian poet first laid eyes on his beloved Beatrice, the woman who would lead him to write one of the greatest poems in the history of Western literature
  • The Battle of Vienna on September 12, 1683, which pitted the Ottoman Turks against the Holy Roman Empire and laid the groundwork for today's tensions between East and West

Whether it's an obvious or not-so-obvious choice, Professor Fears takes great care to tie each event to the 21st century, pointing out just how influential these and other moments were in shaping who we are and how we live. As Professor Fears states at the start of his course, "The best reason for studying history is not the accumulation of facts. It is to use the lessons of the past to make decisions in the present and to look into the future."

History Taught by a Master

If you've taken a Great Course with Professor Fears before, then The World Was Never the Same is his most impressive course yet—the perfect way to reconnect with him and his unique perspective on the past. And if you haven't yet had the chance to learn with this master teacher and winner of more than 25 teaching awards, then prepare yourself for an engaging experience cherished by so many of our lifelong learners.

Witty, engaging, and always informative, Professor Fears is the consummate history teacher. He draws you deep inside each event with his storytelling abilities; in many instances, he makes you feel as if you're actually there alongside the ideas as they're being discovered, the conflicts as they're being fought on land and sea, and the powerful speeches as they're being delivered to crowds of thousands.

Perhaps the greatest reward of these lectures is that they provide fuel for further thought and discussion. Listening to Professor Fears's impassioned explanations of why these particular events rank as the most important in human history is sure to prompt you to think about how you yourself understand and interpret the past.

So join Professor Fears on this grand tour of history's greatest events. It's an intellectual journey that proves how a single event can forever change the tides of history.

More than just learning about history, you'll feel as if you're actually engaging with it.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Hammurabi Issues a Code of Law (1750 B.C.)
    Begin your survey of 36 events and ideas that changed history by taking a close look at the creation of Hammurabi’s code of law. With its concepts of minimum wage, family law, and victims’ rights, the code provided many fundamental elements that can still be found in today’s legal systems. x
  • 2
    Moses and Monotheism (1220 B.C.)
    Monotheism is a predominant religious tradition throughout much of the world, and its emergence dates back to the era of Moses. Here, discover how the life of Moses—including such iconic events as the Exodus and the issuing of the Ten Commandments—set the stage for three great religions that continue to influence adherents worldwide. x
  • 3
    The Enlightenment of the Buddha (526 B.C.)
    Explore another fundamental religious event that forever changed the world: the development of Buddhism through the teachings of Siddartha Gautama. The messages of this world faith—including leaving behind all that makes you angry and treating everyone with kindness—have helped billions ponder the meaning of their lives. x
  • 4
    Confucius Instructs a Nation (553–479 B.C.)
    Confucius was an ancient Chinese scholar who lost his job for speaking the truth and thus shaped the history of one of today’s most important nations. In revealing how Confucius shaped the world through the Dao (or “Way”), Professor Fears shows why all civilizations are indebted to this thinker and his profound philosophy. x
  • 5
    Solon—Democracy Begins (594 B.C.)
    The democratic ideals that form the core of Western civilization wouldn’t exist without Solon, the ancient Greek ruler responsible for introducing the first truly balanced democracy to Athens. Learn how this system was structured, why troubling economic conditions made the city-state ripe for political reform, and more. x
  • 6
    Marathon—Democracy Triumphant (490 B.C.)
    After democracy was created, it had to be protected. And no battle was more important to defending democracy in its formative stages than the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. Relive the clash between Athens and the massive Persian Empire; a conflict that involved decisive leadership and surprise tactics. x
  • 7
    Hippocrates Takes an Oath (430 B.C.)
    Thousands of years after it was first spoken, the Hippocratic Oath is still revered by doctors around the world. Travel back to ancient Athens and investigate how Hippocrates revolutionized our understanding of medicine—just in time for the Great Plague of Athens, which devastated the city-state in 430 B.C. x
  • 8
    Caesar Crosses the Rubicon (49 B.C.)
    Why was Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon River in 49 B.C. such a momentous event in world history? What was the story behind this dramatic moment? And how did it bring about a political concept that would dominate Western civilization for the next 1,800 years? Find out in this fascinating lecture. x
  • 9
    Jesus—The Trial of a Teacher (A.D. 36)
    In A.D. 36, Jesus of Nazareth was put on trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate—and the verdict would forever alter the course of human civilization and spirituality. Follow the path of Christianity’s founder and examine why he was considered to be, at the time, such a revolutionary figure. x
  • 10
    Constantine I Wins a Battle (A.D. 312)
    Travel back to A.D. October 28, 312. Against a background of fierce Christian persecution, Constantine marches into Rome and becomes history’s first Christian emperor. In the process, this iconic—yet despotic—leader transformed his faith into a powerful religious force that would spread throughout Europe and the Near East. x
  • 11
    Muhammad Moves to Medina—The Hegira (A.D. 622)
    Islam is one of the world’s great monotheistic faiths, and in today’s world, is sometimes misunderstood. The spread of Islam around the world began in A.D. 622 with Muhammad’s flight into the city of Medina. This momentous date and its implications are the subject of this captivating lecture. x
  • 12
    Bologna Gets a University (1088)
    Before Cambridge and Oxford, there was the University of Bologna, founded in Italy in 1088. Here, Professor Fears details how Europe’s first academic institution emerged and, in doing so, reveals the origins of scholarly procedures and educational traditions that remain with us well into the 21st century. x
  • 13
    Dante Sees Beatrice (1283)
    Discover how Dante’s love for Beatrice—and the epic poem he would write to honor her—brought about the birth of the Renaissance. One of the most important works of literature ever written, The Divine Comedy focuses on the rebirth of the human spirit through the power of God’s love. x
  • 14
    Black Death—Pandemics and History (1348)
    Between 1347 and 1348, the Black Death killed 25 million people—nearly one-third of the population of Europe. Is it possible for tiny germs to transform the course of history? Or are humans above the ultimate destructive force of disease? Find out as you relive the traumatic story of this devastating event. x
  • 15
    Columbus Finds a New World (1492)
    Learn how Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the New World in October of 1492 set the stage for much of modern Western history. The story behind this iconic expedition—from the earliest attempts to gain political support to the last days of the explorer’s life—is one of high adventure. x
  • 16
    Michelangelo Accepts a Commission (1508)
    Just as important to history are beautiful events like the creation of artistic masterpieces. One of the most supreme of these: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Here, Professor Fears guides you through some of the work’s many powerful religious images, each of which illustrates the High Renaissance ideal of absolute beauty. x
  • 17
    Erasmus—A Book Sets Europe Ablaze (1516)
    Witness as Erasmus’s edition of the New Testament, which translated the Bible from Latin back into its original Greek, revolutionizes Christianity and paves the way for the Protestant Reformation. Along the way, learn what this work owes to the humanist ideology of the time and the invention of the printing press. x
  • 18
    Luther’s New Course Changes History (1517)
    One of the most defining moments in religious history was the Protestant Reformation. And it all started with the subject of this lecture: All Hallows Eve, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the door of Wittenberg University’s chapel and challenged Europe’s most powerful religious and political institutions. x
  • 19
    The Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588)
    One of the most decisive naval battles in human history, the defeat of the Spanish armada at the hands of the British navy, marked Britain’s transition from island nation into global empire. How did this epic clash come about? And what strategies did the British use to beat back the Spanish forces? x
  • 20
    The Battle of Vienna (1683)
    Using his expert storytelling abilities, Professor Fears recreates the 1683 Battle of Vienna—a defining moment in the struggle between the values of the Middle East and the values of the West. This battle between the Ottoman and Holy Roman empires would also create geopolitical tensions that remain even today. x
  • 21
    The Battle of Lexington (1775)
    The United States of America, the first modern nation founded on moral principles, wouldn’t exist without the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Explore the moment that sparked the birth of our country, and learn how it led to a declaration of independence and a full-blown revolution against Great Britain. x
  • 22
    General Pickett Leads a Charge (1863)
    Had the Confederacy won the Civil War, the history of the United States would have been vastly different. And the reason for the Confederacy’s ultimate decline and defeat was the iconic Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863—the subject of this dynamic lecture on a pivotal moment in American history. x
  • 23
    Adam Smith (1776) versus Karl Marx (1867)
    Separated by almost a century, Adam Smith and Karl Marx could not have been more different in their economic views. And yet, as you discover, their respective works—Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Marx’s Das Kapital—established two conflicting views of capitalism that are still with us today. x
  • 24
    Charles Darwin Takes an Ocean Voyage (1831)
    Encounter another book that shook the foundations of history: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The product of an ocean voyage in 1831, the work described the theory of evolution by natural selection, an idea that would revolutionize not only the science and culture of Darwin’s time, but of the 20th century as well. x
  • 25
    Louis Pasteur Cures a Child (1885)
    In this lecture, Professor Fears explains why Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of disease changed history and, with it, the life of every man, woman, and child on the planet. It’s an engaging medical story that transformed rabies, anthrax, cholera, and more from immediate death sentences into conquerable illnesses. x
  • 26
    Two Brothers Take a Flight (1903)
    Humanity’s conquest of the air began with a single flight taken by two brothers from Ohio. Discover the story behind the Wright brothers’ 1903 first flight at Kitty Hawk, an unprecedented event that would have enormous implications for the future of commercial travel, warfare, and space flight. x
  • 27
    The Archduke Makes a State Visit (1914)
    With the 1914 assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the stage was set for World War I and for the turmoil that would last most of the 20th century. Travel back to Sarajevo as political terrorists commit one of the most shocking murders in modern history. x
  • 28
    One Night in Petrograd (1917)
    November, 1917: The Bolsheviks seized power from the broken Russian Empire. What emerged was the Soviet Union, which would become one of the most powerful geopolitical forces of the 20th century. Unearth the roots of Communist Russia and the revolutionary moment that turned the dream of a Communist state into a bitter reality. x
  • 29
    The Day the Stock Market Crashed (1929)
    It was a devastating economic event that shattered the lives of millions and created a tidal wave of effects around the world. Here, experience the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, from the personal perspective of an everyday American family; also, learn how it set the stage for events covered in subsequent lectures. x
  • 30
    Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany (1933)
    Professor Fears’s theme in this lecture is Adolph Hitler’s inauguration as chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Once in power, this political leader would unleash both World War II and the Holocaust. So how—and why—did history’s greatest monster gain such a strong hold over the German people? x
  • 31
    Franklin Roosevelt Becomes President (1933)
    The very same year Hitler became chancellor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president of the United States. Focusing on the honest and inspiring inauguration speech delivered on March 4, learn how Roosevelt instilled hope in a disillusioned and wounded nation, as well as prepared it to face the tough times ahead. x
  • 32
    The Atomic Bomb Is Dropped (1945)
    Visit the birth of the Atomic Age with the explosion of the first atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It was a terrifying moment in world history that had an untold impact on the future of warfare, science, and geopolitics. x
  • 33
    Mao Zedong Begins His Long March (1934)
    No one in 1900 would have predicted that, a century later, China would become one of the world’s superpowers. And it all started in 1934 with the rise of Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party—whose authoritarian rule is the heart of this intriguing lecture. x
  • 34
    John F. Kennedy Is Assassinated (1963)
    Why, and how, did the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, change the course of history? Find out the answer by exploring this iconic leader’s rise to political success, his handling of important international crises—and the tragic day that signaled an end to America’s innocence. x
  • 35
    Dr. King Leads a March (1963)
    Along with the Gettysburg Address and the inaugural addresses of Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Professor Fears retells the life of the civil rights leader behind this landmark moment, along with the ways he sought to heal a racially divided nation. x
  • 36
    Conclude the course with a pointed examination of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the new world they created. Afterward, meditate on the lessons learned from the past 35 lectures and come to realize one of the most fundamental lessons of history. x

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  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
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  • 144-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

J. Rufus Fears

About Your Professor

J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma
Dr. J. Rufus Fears was David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. He also served as David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Professor Fears was Professor of History and...
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The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 192.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Story type narration I have got over 100 Great Courses' courses. This is the first ever review. I do not like his story telling. If a consumer likes hearing stories, that is different. I think around 50% of my time listening to this audiobook, was wasted due to his style. Also he seems to be a great American patriot, mentioning the US's many virtues, etc, including: "The US is the only country in the world founded on moral values". Perhaps he will be more suited to do a course on American Patriotism or some similar topic. The last straw for me was his attitude towards Charles Darwin, which I got the impression that he was blaming him for the evils of the 20th century, including the evils of Nazis. Darwin, to me, is the greatest man ever lived. So my camel's back broke by this last stance, prompting me to write this review. I won't buy any more courses prepared by him.
Date published: 2019-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is the best course I have ever listened to. The subject matter is fascinating, and the lecturer terrific.
Date published: 2019-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great refresher course on world history Enjoyed the lecture series tremendously. I found myself doing extra research on some of the lectures I found intriguing. My extra research is a testament to the material and presentation of the lectures. Some reviews found the lecturer too much like a preacher off putting. I like the bravado storyteller aspect of the lecture entertaining and help keep me in engaged. Some reviews found the lecturer too patriotic and bias toward America. He is pro-Amercia but he presents other cultures in an unbiased and respectful manner. His lectures demonstrates that major events throughout world have contributed to Earth's world history.
Date published: 2019-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Churchill was a great man, and had a great influence. These lectures tell a LOT about what he did and how it affected history.
Date published: 2019-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great presentation. Starts with good review of last lesson and good story line follows! I like not having to learn for a test--just learn!!!
Date published: 2019-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Fears is the absolute best! I have several of his courses, and they are all wonderful!
Date published: 2019-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding course by a brilliant educator. Have recommended to friends and responses have been outstanding.
Date published: 2019-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy buy buy! Very informative with a very entertaining lecturer. Professor Fears does not hide his opinions but allows the listener to form his or her opinion by providing alternatives facts
Date published: 2018-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intriguing Title I bought this recently and am enjoying listening to the audio version. Prof Fears presents well and each lecture moves along. He makes interesting parallels to more recent events, particularly US history. Although I was a history major he discusses ancient leaders and civilizations about which I know little, which I find fascinating. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from The lectures are supposed to be about world events and the lecturer includes in all the lectures examples of US history that are not relevant He over emphasizes the fact that the USA is a country with virtually no flaws
Date published: 2018-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought provoking and wide ranging discussion The course covers a nicely selected set of historical turning points. The professor is entirely clear and rigorous about how he selected the turning points in question, and I think he did a good job of covering many of the true hinge points in history. Of course, there can be debate on particular moments, but it's a good list. I found it interesting to take some time at points during my enjoyment of the course, and as I finished it, to consider other turning points in history that might have qualified and whether or not these other moments were more or less appropriate that certain ones actually included in the course. Sensitive listeners will detect a bit of bias in his outlook; he is unabashed and honest about his patriotism, and I sensed a decided right-wing lean to his thinking. I have no issue with either, but it's worth mentioning. There may be some that find these issues disturbing. The presentation is almost theatrical in character at many points, with the professor speaking in the voice of the primary players in the turning point at hand (and here I refer not to performing voices, but rather to their editorial voice). This is entertaining at most points, but goes on a bit long in places, especially given the folksy approach the professor uses. Also, it's a pet peeve of mine when a speaker mispronounces nuclear. I absolutely recommend this course, subject to the above minor concerns. It made me think about some of the events in question in more detail than I had previously considered.
Date published: 2018-06-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Annoying presentation! This is really a critique of the lecturer: I couldn't get past lecture 2. Made the mistake of buying the course without checking the identity of the lecturer. Worked my way through another of Professor Fear's courses some while past. Left me cold. He presents as if he is telling a tale to children. He paraphrases to the point where one is totally at a loss to determine where the historical character's words/actions end and the lecturer's "clarification" of what it all really means begins. Very free and loose with his commentary with little effort to support with references. The whole is very condescending and I so very much wish I had paid better attention to who was teaching this course; fool me once ...
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun learning Dr Fears reviews historical moments with whit and interesting antidotes.
Date published: 2018-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Educational Very good and events are evident today. Educational and presented well by Rufus Fears who also is entertaining. A joy
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lecture 13 is enough for 5 stars In reference to others low marks: you can agree or disagree with me; you can agree or disagree with a Professor but as long as it moves you, I think it is great. It moved me, that is all.
Date published: 2018-03-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for everyone This is my second time around with this set (the first was in 2012), in the beginning of my Teaching Company experience, before I had any intention of any 'reviewing' lectures. Since listening to these Dr Fears' lectures (twice), I have experienced many other lectures series over the years from many other, better lecturers of history. However, Dr Fears particular style might appeal to a wide audience of those interested in history, but maybe not those who want to know details and innuendos about causes and effects. Dr Fears offers opinions and suppositions, sometimes with a jingoistic and religious overtones...that may be acceptable for some learners, just not everyone. The Turning Point lectures (Armstrong and Liulevicius) are particularly good and cover much of the same ground that the good Dr Fears covers, just a little more professionally. Each historian has his/her own idea of important happenings in our past that are more relevant than others, as well as different approaches of presentation. Dr Fears' approach is folksy, often involving confederate rebel 'yells' or Nazi German folk songs, that doesn't appeal to me...much. Having said that, I do recommend the series to those who enjoy a folksy, patriotic, semi-christian approach that may be more US philosophical than dispassionate history. Please read other, much better written reviews on the Great Courses for a larger, more well-balanced point-of-view. Wait for a sale and have that coupon handy...
Date published: 2018-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One Omission - Cold War I can’t imagine why the Cold War, Defeat of Communism and Fall of Berlin Wall was not a chapter of this course
Date published: 2018-02-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from good title I have read three episodes. This presenter is really boring in what could have been spine tinglingly great. He also presents a bad public appearance what with his shirt out and bad posture. You could have done much better.
Date published: 2018-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent experience. TY Have always wanted to try these and now I'm hooked. This course is wonderful. I've never taken a history course and now, in my "middle" years, I craved this kind of learning.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from beyond bad terrible. Lecturer is boring; haughty & insufferable. I was expecting history - instead it's a preacher spewing theology. title is not even close to being an accurate description.
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not up to Teaching Co. Standards First, despite all the awards that the instructor has, I find his teaching style to be hard to tolerate. He states as facts things that he can't possibly know, he doesn't cite credible sources. The first three "events" that he discusses are out of the Bible, and are undocumented anywhere but the Bible. The rise of Christianity is fact, and that is a series of events that changed to world, but to use those three examples as the first three turned me off completely. There have to be other better choices for important events that can at least be credibly proven to occur.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Topics The idea of 36 events that changed the world is fascinating. Some topics really interesting - a couple not as interesting - but overall a good course.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Revivalist Delivery I rarely write a negative review for a course; I have bought and enjoyed many. I was looking forward to this course as support for other overview courses I have purchased. However, after listening to the first four lectures, I donated the set to my local library. Some reviewers here praise Professor Fears' "storytelling delivery." To me, he sounded like a revivalist preacher, intoning every phrase as if it were sacrosanct. This style may work in Oklahoma colleges, but I found it very offputting. I prefer my history as factual as possible, supported with the latest discussions and varied opinions. This sounded more like mythology. I kept the book, because at least I can scan the information there, and research it to learn how it compares to other histories.
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from poor presentation, biased views Great courses # 3890 The World was never the same: events that changed history Teacher J. Rufus Fears Published 2010 One star – returned this one. 1. Is too slow – repeats a concept several times before moving on. 2. Presenter is pompous – often has one hand in his pocket & I feel he talks down to us. 3. Jumps around in time 1750 to 1230, etc. 4. Chapter 7 on Hippocrates mentions, but does NOT give, nor display the Oath! 5. Often says: “of course” assuming we know what he is talking about 6. Chapter 10 on Constantine does not mention the Creed! 7. Too many “ Greatest” “most important of all times”, most beautiful of love poems”, etc. 8. On Black Death – “—germs make history, these anonymous, evil little creatures” Never heard of evil bugs before – bugs are just doing their thing. 9. Same topic – “The lesson learned here is that history is made by humans, not germs”?? it is BOTH – see Germs & steel, etc. 10. In the bio it states : -- was named Most Inspiring Professor at Oklahoma University “ !! Hard to believe. He is not inspiring in these lectures, at least to me. 11. Biased or missing interpretations of many of the events mentioned. 12. No basis for choosing these events versus many others. 13. Only poor graphics are unlabeled poor orientation maps. 14. Almost all sentences are as tho they had an exclamation point! No real smooth running narrative.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Passionate I really appreciate the professor and his passion. It is completely evident in this series, and while you may think of other events, the one's that are put forward certainly fit the bill. This is truly one to consider in your purchasing.
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining, instructive and thoughtful. This course provided a truly enjoyable discussion of critical historical events. The events are discussed and put in proper historical context.The instructor is invariably entertaining and thought provoking. The criticisms of the course in some reviews reflect the reviewers' own biases and are not a fair reflection of the value of the course.
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview This course kept me company on a 32 hour round trip. The lectures tied together very well and the brief summation of the previous lecture and it's impact on the future was quite useful. Professor Fears had an outstanding teaching manner and I will try to listen to all his courses.
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insights and Context For the most part I know the event but Professor Fears puts the events into context with a broad knowledge of history. I learn something new every couple of minutes. Thank you.
Date published: 2017-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best! Dr Fears was one of the great story tellers of all time. We love history and this is our favorite Fears course. He makes history come alive with facts and just enough theatrics to make you feel like you were there.
Date published: 2017-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fears is the best I find it indeed puzzling that anyone could rate this course less than a 5. I have tons of courses from TTC and Dr. Fears is by far the best lecturer they have.
Date published: 2017-03-31
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