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Publisher's Summary

Alexander the Great, Jesus, Darwin, and Churchill are just a few of the many politicians, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, authors, inventors, and generals who transformed our world in ways that still resonate today. Now, with this unique collection of 36 lectures from our extensive course catalog, meet the remarkable people without whom the world would never be the same.

You'll examine the world that was dramatically reformed by a particular individual, or plunge into a defining moment in an individual's life, or learn how an individual went on to influence some of history's other great revolutionaries. Most importantly: you'll come away with a thorough understanding of why history is so indebted-for better or, in some instances, for worse-to these 36 epic figures, including Socrates, Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, and Mohandas Gandhi. You'll also encounter figures that you may not have considered to be so revolutionary.

It takes a great professor to help you understand what makes a single person change the world. To that end, we've assembled individual lectures from some of our most highly rated and beloved professors and instructors. Drawn from a range of academic fields (including military history, science, literature, religious studies, and philosophy), each professor lends his or her expert knowledge and teaching skills to making this an authoritative learning experience.

Countless adventures await you with this carefully crafted look at titanic historical figures. If you have a friend who is new to The Great Courses, this collection makes for an accessible and rewarding first step into lifelong learning.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

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  • Sean
  • BELVEDERE TIBURON, CA, United States
  • 2014-10-16

A hodgepodge

This is an anthology of lectures pulled from other Great Courses. Apparently, someone decided on a list of revolutionary figures and then went in search of lectures that mention those people.

Unfortunately, the lecturers do not know that they are supposed to be talking about how or why these people were revolutionaries. Also, since the other courses vary in topic from art, history and politics it gives a very uneven feel to the work.

I couldn't finish it and would not recommend it.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Tina A
  • 2015-04-08

Disorganized Mishmash

I was very disappointed with this. This was snippets of chapters from many courses. Kind of just a middle lecture promising either to tell more of the story in a future lecture or not having a clear beginning. Some of these were boring- if you are looking for life and times of these leaders this will not suffice. Some were even very insignificant contributions. This one was a waste of time and of one credit. I learned very little.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • george
  • Bathurst, Australia
  • 2014-11-16

Cut and Paste version will disappoint!! (Again)

This and its companion 36 Books that Changed the World, is a compilation of material created for clearly different purposes and then pasted together under a flimsy rationale. I bought both, excited by the potential, but was very disappointed. GREAT COURSES has produced many excellent, educational and informative lecture series - this is NOT one.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mark A. Brezenski
  • 2016-12-02

ridiculous

i have purchased more than 30 Great Courses over the years. i have generally always been pleased. but this is a greedy attempt to repackage several unrelated lectures under the guise of being a "course" on revolutionary figures. pathetic

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma
  • 2015-01-04

Great Variety

I really liked this Great Course because it was 36 different lecturers talking about what they know best. There were a few historical figures I thought were missing (why a lecture on Churchill but not Lenin or Stalin or FDR?) but that's going to be the case in every series like this. What I loved was the variety of characters discussed: world leaders, artists and writers, philosophers, religious icons, scientists... It was a very rewarding listen.

Only thing to be aware of is that the lectures each individually come out of other courses, so occasionally the lecturer will refer to that course or reference previous or upcoming lectures that you aren't privy to. Otherwise really solid.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan David
  • 2019-05-04

The Best Great Course Ever... Seriously

This is most definitely the greatest of the Great Courses! Instead of being one giant course on a single subject it is 36 lectures, each focusing on different men and women that have changed the world and the way we think about it. Each of the 36 lectures has been been pulled from other Great Courses, and is taught by a different lecturer who is an expert on the subject. There is a brief introduction about the lecturer, which also lets you know the name of the Great Course that each lecture comes from. The format makes this one of the most (if not the most) wide ranging and interesting of all the Great Courses that I’ve encountered.

Each of the 36 lectures of this course shines a spotlight on a different “Revolutionary Figure” from world history. While each lecture is structured slightly different due to the person giving, they are all a combination of a biography of the individual, an overview of what made them significant (ie. conquests, teachings, writings, theories, inventions), and their lasting effect on the world around them. The individuals that are profiled vary greatly, with some hailing from leadership/politics to arts/philosophy. The only common thread is that each of the figures has a proud effect on the world around them. While some lectures are better than others, they are all quite good and definitely informative.

The only downside of the course itself is that, despite having 36 lectures, it almost seems a little short in that there are probably a few extra revolutionary figures that could be included such as Nikola Tesla, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King Jr or Steve Jobs. Still, this is was one of the most interesting and engaging of the Great Courses that left me wanting to learn more by following up with the course that the lecture is taken from.

One thing that is disappointing is nowhere, either on the page or within the app is a list of the individuals who are featured in each lecture. (There is no accompanying PDF with this info either.) For those that would like to know this information here it is: 1) King Narmer 2) Confucius 3) Socrates 4) Hippocrates 5) Artaxerxes II 6) Alexander the Great 7) Virgil 8) Julius Caesar 9) Augustus Caesar 10) Jesus 11) Constantine 12) Muhammad 13) William the Conqueror 14) Thomas Aquinas 15) Geoffrey Chaucer 16) Martin Luther 17) Copernicus 18) Galileo 19) Roger Williams 20) Isaac Newton 21) Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 22) Thomas Paine 23) Samuel Slater 24) Immanuel Kant 25) Napoleon 26) Karl Marx 27) Charles Darwin 28) Harriett Beecher Stowe 29) Abraham Lincoln 30) Queen Victoria 31) Albert Einstein 32) Adolf Hitler 33) Winston Churchill 34) Gandhi 35) Mao 36) Margaret Thatcher

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alex
  • 2015-01-03

36 History All-Stars

A well documented but brief review of the accomplishments and driving ideals of thirty-six of history's most important people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bay Area Girl
  • 2015-01-03

too disjointed and random out of context

this is a collection of parts from full courses. i knew that but expected more of an effort to create a semi-unified product. Some were great some were hardly understandable out of context. Too many were victims of forest for the trees because they had been plucked out of context. I would recommend a full course rather than these samplers -- now that I have sampled them I really do like the Great Courses and if this is all you have tried -- instead try the real full course (s) you are interested in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Moi
  • 2018-06-01

This was Awesome!

Great Great Courses! Definitely recommend! I really enjoyed learning with this course! It's fun! Yes!

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  • Owen T.
  • 2016-04-26

Smart Work

Very informative.
The professor's voice on the Churchill section was a bit jarring, though.
Enjoyed it from beginning to end.