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Give your student a time travelling tour of world history with this brilliant lecture series taught by award winning educator Linwood Thompson. In 30 lectures your student will cover the full story of human civilization, analyzing geography, technology, economies, social institutions and cultural achievements. The magnitude of the material would be daunting for most teachers, but not this one.

One Visual Aid

This is a very unusual course in world history. It is taught by Professor Linwood Thompson, a teacher of both history and of drama at his school. And that’s why this course is special.

Professor Thompson is the visual aid for these lectures. Every lesson is delivered in special period costumes and in characters often invented to illustrate the life of their times. Professor Thompson has an arsenal of costumes as well as a firm grasp on the personae of great historical figures. He dresses, talks, and acts like them. He actually becomes them! He’s such an entertaining presenter that you learn without knowing it. Every lecture is delivered in costume and in character.

Just sit back, relax, and learn.

The Big Picture

Professor Thompson’s character will inspire students to look at history from new perspectives. Each guide on the student’s tour through history will show students the big picture, the lasting effects of these civilizations were on Western civilization as we know it today.

Through this course students will discover:

  • How the Nile River and its surrounding deserts shaped the history of ancient Egypt
  • The importance of myths and literature, such as Homer’s Iliad, to the people of ancient Greece
  • How ancient, isolated, imperial China developed its unique culture
  • The birth of Athenian democracy and how it compares to American democracy
  • How Byzantium survived 1,000 years after the fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Scandinavian raiders the Vikings, their history, religion, strategies, and ultimately what caused the end of their raids
  • What was happening in Europe during the Dark Ages
  • The rise of Christianity from a few followers to the religion’s central role in the Crusades
  • The resurrection of the humanities during the Renaissance
  • The rise of Europe’s superpowers and Western civilization’s first nation-states
  • Colonialism of European powers in the New World and Africa
  • Early America’s break from the British Empire.

How to Use the Course

Professor Thompson describes the course and how he wants students to approach it:

“We will start our exploration of world history with ancient river valley civilizations in what is now termed the Middle East. Our study explores these fascinating places and tries to discover the influences that they had on subsequent nations in such things as art, architecture, philosophy and religion, political and legal systems, and literature.

“We end with the transition from the ‘old world’ of 18th-century Europe to the ‘new world’ of the just-created United States.

“Many of the characters I portray in these lectures are actual historical figures. Other composite characters can be distinguished by the use of my name within the character’s name.

“Remember that the lecturers from each period will share certain attitudes and biases while sharing the story of their day and their world. It is important that you gain a truly historical perspective by reading and studying these same incidents as recorded and analyzed in various articles and books.

“Although there is no bibliography with this outline, you can readily find books on all these subjects by going to your school or public library, or using the Internet. This will be a good way to develop research and reading skills that will help you as you advance through your schooling toward college.

“What I have provided you with are questions—essay questions—at the end of each lesson. Use these questions to guide your investigation into the topics. To get the most out of this course, write out the answers after you have found a source. Show it to your teacher or someone who can evaluate it to be sure you have covered all the important facts.

“World history is a vast and rich story of the events that have shaped the modern world, both East and West. We will touch on the civilizations of Africa and Asia, but the majority of the lectures deal with the shaping of Western civilization. Allow the stories to transport you back in time to marvelous places and people. I love world history! I hope you will love it too.”

Thumbs-up from Students

Professor Thompson’s history program at Bellflower High School in the suburbs of Los Angeles has attracted international attention for its creativity and innovation.

“History is a blast!” and “He makes history come alive!” are just some of the comments collected from his students.

We should add that this course is too good to restrict it to high school students. Adults will enjoy these performances too. And history, in the hands of these many characters, has far more “sticking power” than any chronological narrative you’ve ever heard or seen.

Visit High School Level-World History: The Fertile Crescent to The American Revolution (The Great Courses) to read more...


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