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This is the first of all the Great Courses lecture series that I have listened to that I didn't enjoy. Most courses are incredibly well-balanced - they expect a certain amount of pre-existing knowledge on the topic but then give you plenty of new and interesting information to go on top.
This did not. It expected a huge amount of pre-existing knowledge (I have listened and read a fair bit on this topic and was still in the dark at times) but didn't really give you anything much new to chew on.
Presenter was okay, but very stilted with very long pauses at times, which make it hard to follow and even a little unsettling (kept checking to see if Audible had stopped working)
A swing and a miss.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I was looking for an entry point to the study of how civilizations arose. This lecture series ended up going into significant detail about archeological methods and various early civilizations (much much more detail than I wanted). If you're looking for a basic intro to summarize basic archeology and how and in what context the major civilizations arose, this is not ideal. Though, I imagine for somebody who already has a basic understanding of ancient civilizations, this degree of detail would likely be welcomed.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Cutting the First 3 Hours. Scott repeats himself enough that pretty much anything of interest covered in those first 3 hours, is revisited again later when its more revenant.
Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?
Yes, but only because I have had several other positive experiences.
Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Scott MacEachern’s performances?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Origin of Civilization?
The first 6 Chapters.
Any additional comments?
Professor Scott MacEachern’s does not respect you or your time. The first 3 hours (6 lectures) of this course are on Archeological theory and personal anecdote. Professor Scott MacEachern knows that that students dislike how he presents this content, because he makes a Joke about it.
It's not only that the first 3 hours of this course are archeological theory, which is BARELY hinted at in the description of the course. It's that it includes a comparative the history of archeological theory with almost everything happening in the abstract.
Yes I get it the theory is important, but weave in in throughout the lecture. Introduce concepts at the same time it become relevant. Demonstrate the weakness of models in describing reality, don't just talk about them.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Really interesting overview of the origin of prehistoric civilisations and the archaeological methods and theories of the rise of states.
This was my first download of the great courses series and I'm looking forward to listening to many more. I was surprised how well the half hour lecture format suits the way I use the audible app.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
As usual with all the long 48 lectures the lecturers are stretched to the limit to fill it out and they would be much more satisfactory at half the number so I more of less skipped the first 10 lectures. Otherwise its interesting but there are other courses with similar content