A History of India
Author(s): Michael Fisher
Imprint: The Great Courses
CD - unabridged
Audio (19 CDs)
Product Number: GC0821
Released: Oct 12, 2016
Narrator/s: Michael Fisher
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. by arrangement with The Teaching Company
I have had some experience with The Great Courses by The Teaching Company over the last ten or so years. I have had two DVD courses and several audio only ones. The majority of the course work fine in audio only with some exceptions like a course on the great works of art. I have not only learned a great deal from each course but have truly enjoyed them.
A History of India was offered as a review copy from Recorded Books. India, as a country, a culture and a people, has long fascinated since I received a copy of The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye for my 16th birthday. I have not really had the opportunity to experience any non-fiction looks at India. A History of India was an excellent learning experience and achieved my goal of familiarizing myself with all of India, not just the historical fiction India.
The course is taught by Michael H. Fisher, Ph.D., a professor of HIstory at Oberlin College. Professor Fisher spent time living in India, with shorter periods in Pakistan and Bangladesh.He has a true love for the subject matter and it comes through in his lectures. Since this is an audio course, I would like to mention that the sound and production quality are excellent. Professor Fisher has a pleasant speaking voice. His pronunciations of foreign terms are clear and distinct so the listener can truly catch the word. When the same word comes up later, it is not an unknown term. He really does an excellent job.
The course consists of thirty-six lessons of thirty minutes in audio format. Also included is a course guide in a pdf format. The course guide consists of a summary of each lecture, including some maps or photographs. The lecture summaries are rather more complete than normal summaries. Each lecture summary ends with a suggested reading list for those who want to explore more of the material covered in that lecture.
What I really liked about the course was the completeness of the material covered. The first lecture, “Earliest History of the Indian Subcontinent” covers India’s geographic history. One of the things my children learned early in their education was that history occurs where it does for a reason. There were mountains that formed a barrier. There was a river that allowed a civilization to rise. There were weather conditions that changed the land and how it could be used. All of these are very important factors in why history happens where it does. The first lecture helps the listener understand how the geography of the Indian subcontinent shaped what was to come.
The lectures continue with the migration of different peoples into the different areas of India. Literature and religion are not neglected but have several lectures dedicated to them. Each Indian empire is discussed. Lecture twenty-three begins the exploration of the influence of European Countries. The European conquest, rebellions and eventual Indian independence are covered next. The last two lectures examine the modernization of India beginning in the 1960’s and the 21st Century from the perspective of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the surrounding nations). It really is a complete course on the history of India.
There are several ways to enjoy or utilize this course. The lectures can be listened to as time allows without reference to the course guide. The listener can read the lecture notes from the course guide and then listen to the accompanying lecture. This allows the listener to have familiarized themselves with the material similar to doing the required reading before a college class. The reader could also listen to the lectures and refer to the course guide only as they feel necessary. There is no wrong way to utilize the course.
I took thirty days to complete the course. I listened to one lecture per day, two if time allowed. I did read over the course guide for each lecture before listening to the lecture. This method required an hour at the most of my time per lecture. I chose to do it in this manner to make sure that I had a full understanding of what I was hearing. I am planning on listening to the course again in a more informal manner, probably starting in April. I learned quite a bit. I highly recommend A History of India in audio format. While driving, working at home or the office, the listener could enjoy an educational field trip to a country, culture and people unique in our world.