Summary

Do the lessons passed down to us by history, lessons whose origins may lie hundreds, even thousands of years in the past, still have value for us today? Is Santayana's oft-repeated saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", merely a way to offer lip service to history as a teacher - or can we indeed learn from it? And if we can, what is it that we should be learning?  
In this unflinching series of 36 lectures, a world-renowned scholar makes the case that we not only can learn from history, but must. 
Drawing on decades of experience as a classical historian, Professor Fears explores history's patterns to conclude that ignoring them - whether by choice or because we've never learned to see them - is to risk becoming their prisoner, repeating the mistakes that have toppled leaders, nations, and empires throughout time. 
In this personal reflection on history, Professor Fears has taken on the challenge of extracting the past's lessons in ways that speak to us today, showing us how the experience of ancient empires such as those of Rome and Persia have much to teach us about the risks and responsibilities of being a superpower. 
He shows how the study of those who left their impact on an earlier world - Caesar Augustus or Genghis Khan, George Washington or Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi or Josef Stalin - can equip us to make responsible choices as nations, citizens, or individuals in a post-9/11 world where those choices are more crucial than ever.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £39.39

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Buy Now for £39.39

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Deus on 19-01-17

A lecture by Uncle Sam himself

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

It will be enjoyed more by the jingoistic crowd from America. The America F&$k yeah type.

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Removing factual inaccuracies. His grasp of history seems very slim.

What about Professor J. Rufus Fears’s performance did you like?

Nice storytelling.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Wisdom of History?

The later aspects involving Lincoln, Roosevelt and the Vietnam war.

Any additional comments?

Please do not label this as "The wisdom of world history". That is false advertising. This should be labelled as "An American perspective on world history" or something of the sort. This is the most biased course I've ever listened to. Even things I generally agree with come out as propaganda in the manner with which it is told.

Read more Hide me

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

See all reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Eric S. White on 22-10-16

History in broad strokes

Any additional comments?

An insightful, entertaining search for the patterns of history. Reminds me of a quote attributed to Mark Twain: “History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes".

Read more Hide me

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mikko SF on 10-03-18

Excellent performance but factually flawed

The lecturer was obviously a world-class chronicler of history, but his conjectures of historical logic are lacking, specifically having a particular viewpoint. Dr Fears subscribes to the "Great Man Theory" of historical explanation (very popular in the 19th century) and outright refutes the idea that sociological phenomena or ideologies shape the course of history. This is evident in the multiple times he claims that WWII would not have happen had it not been for Hitler. Highly speculative, and contested by multiple historians. He also takes American Exceptionalism as a given, even an ideal, and claims that recognition of Israel was the "most moral act ever taken by a President". So while this is excellent storytelling about history, the listener should be aware of the subjectivity of the historical explanations adopted by the lecturer. However, if you're looking for ideas with enough fervor to even breath life into Manifest Destiny and other past conservative ideas, you may well like what Dr Fears has to say.

Read more Hide me

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

See all reviews