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Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Where do we come from? How did our ancestors settle this planet? How did the great historic civilizations of the world develop? How does a past so shadowy that it has to be painstakingly reconstructed from fragmentary, largely unwritten records nonetheless make us who and what we are?

This course brings you the answers that the latest scientific and archaeological research
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Published January 1st 2003 by The Teaching Co. (first published 2002)
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Professor Fagan provides an excellent introduction to the topic, covering in 36 lectures enormous stretch of time starting with appearance of first humanoids to the dawn of last pre-industrial civilizations. My relatively low 'score' is based in the fact that the definition of term 'prehistory' is very different for me and the professor. I expected a lot more time dedicated to what I consider prehistorical times, i.e. period of our evolutionary ancestors, such as Australopecus, Erectus, Neandert ...more
Audio download...36-30minute lectures
This is a very ambitious survey set of lectures that traces the origins of homo sapien sapien from Africa to the four corners of the world...a 2.5 my journey. Dr Fagan's presentation is extremely well-organized and delivered in a college lecture series style...describing what will be discussed, followed by the discussion and concluding with a summary. His style reminded me of David Attenborough's many nature productions that have been around for years.
The lec
Jan 12, 2009 Paul added it
I can not stand how this guy speaks!
A fairly light course/audiobook (if it's college-level as advertised, it's 1st year stuff at most).

This lightness is, as one might guess, due to the breadth of topics. Millions of years of prehistory and coverage of many early civilizations insures shallowness. Since buckets of ink have been spilt on books on various civilizations, I think a better strategy would have been to have omitted the early civilizations stuff and focused on the more rapidly advancing field of prehistory and human evolut
I'm not sure why these lectures are described as college-level. They cannot be more basic or cursory, and there isn't much need for any thinking or understanding on the listener's part. Young children can follow this as long as they are interested.

The professor is just ridiculous in his delivery. I guess he's trying to make it more interesting, but his performance is completely over the top.

I found the prehistoric parts extremely fascinating. The civilization stories, however, are basically vari
Travis Mueller
It took me rather too long to get through this entire series; I listened to the first two parts and watched the final part on DVD, which was the slowest section since I am less able to find time to watch lectures than I am to listen to them (the opportunity conveniently comes up every time I drive somewhere). So the impact of the series is a bit lost on me, as I only vaguely recall the earlier lectures. Still I think it is a solid 3.5. Fagan has a fairly distinct style of speaking, but he has a ...more
Flash Sheridan
The first parts of the course, on the author’s specialty—human and pre-human prehistory—is excellent and detailed. The later parts on civilization are often too general, though parts, as befits an ex-classicist are quite inspiring. There was some padding, though, e.g., generalities about decisions in general around lecture 16. I would also have appreciated more detail on the first civilization, ancient Sumer.
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Brian Murray Fagan (born 1 August 1936) is a prolific author of popular archaeology books and a professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA. Fagan was born in England where he received his childhood education at Rugby School. He attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology (BA 1959, MA 1962, PhD 1965). ...more
More about Brian M. Fagan...
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations The Rape of the Nile: Tomb Robbers, Tourists, and Archaeologists in Egypt

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