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Beyond the Podcast: 10 Great Courses for Every History Buff

Explore the world’s greatest history lessons from your smartphone.

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  • Photo Credit: The Great Courses Plus

Podcasts are a popular way to acquire knowledge, with a wide array of hosts and subjects to suit your needs. But the world of personalized learning reaches far beyond the podcast, and The Great Courses Plus is the perfect next step for all those looking to expand their on-the-go education.

The Great Courses Plus is a video and audio streaming service that delivers unlimited learning into the palm of your hand. Subscribers receive commercial-free access to over 10,000 lectures on military history, current events, ancient civilizations, and more, taught by award-winning experts and professors.

New courses are added every month and are accessible on your TV, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Better still? Subscribers can easily toggle between the video and audio of each lecture so you never miss a word.  

Normally, subscriptions start at $19.99 a month. But for a limited time, The Great Courses Plus is offering a special deal just for our readers.

Click here to start a 14 day free trial, then use promo code ARCHIVE to receive 50% off your first two months. That's two-and-a-half months for the price of one.

Keep reading for our recommendations of courses that are sure to thrill every type of history buff.

For International Military History Enthusiasts

We recommend: 

History’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach

great courses plus great military blunders

How did a comparatively modest Parthian force defeat the mighty Roman military at the Battle of Carrhae? What led to the American Civil War's ill-fated Battle of the Crater? Professor Gregory Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin teaches this highly engaging 24-lecture course on the most catastrophic battles throughout history and the lessons we might learn from them.

For a 360° Worldview

We recommend: 

Foundations of Eastern Civilization

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It's all too easy to remain within the confines of Western history. Go eastward with this 48-lecture course to discover the incredible history of Asian civilizations, from Mongolia and China to the Korean peninsula, Japan, and beyond. 

For the Historical Tourist

We recommend: 

The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe

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There are a number of excellent travel-based courses available on The Great Courses Plus. This series is tailor-made for medieval history obsessives who plan to explore Europe this summer. The 24-lecture course takes you on an enlightening tour of a number of medieval European cities, including Prague, Dubrovnik, Krakow, Avignon, and Barcelona.

For the Cowpoke Itching to Hit the Trail

We recommend: 

The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy

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Discover the mystery, mythology, and reality of the American West, from the Louisiana Purchase to Manifest Destiny. Join Professor Patrick N. Allitt on this 24-lecture course, as he traces the transformation of the Wild West.  

For the History Lover with a Taste for the Dark Side

We recommend: 

The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague

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The Black Death, which killed millions in medieval Europe and the Middle East, is certainly the most influential disease to have ravaged our world. What triggered such a pandemic, and how did we survive it? Dr. Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University is your guide in this 24-lecture course about the Black Death and how it reshaped civilization.

For U.S. Military Obsessives

We recommend: 

American Military History: From Colonials to Counterinsurgents

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This engrossing series is taught by decorated U.S. General Wesley K. Clark. Clark, who served in Vietnam, Kuwait, and the Kosovo War, published two books and ran for president in addition to his accomplished military career. General Clark's 24-lecture course begins with America’s earliest colonial wars and journeys into our present-day conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan.

For Science and Math Lovers

We recommend: 

The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age

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You likely know that our numbers come from an Arabic system. But the wealth of knowledge that flourished during the Islamic Golden Age is often undersold. Discover the glories and achievements of an empire little studied in the United States, from astronomy and architecture to medicine and mathematics.

For a Look Beneath the Surface

We recommend: 

America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

great courses plus america in the gilded age

After the bloody chapter of the American Civil War and Reconstruction came to a close, the Industrial Revolution led to what seemed like a revitalization of American labor and agriculture. But with this rapid growth came radical social change—and massive income inequality. Explore the trials and tribulations of America's Gilded Age and how it led to the Progressive Era in this captivating course.

For a Deeper Understanding of America and the Middle East

We recommend: 

The U.S. and the Middle East: 1914 to 9/11

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The relationship between the United States and the nations of the Middle East is among the most contentious and confusing in the world. Examine the roots of this relationship with The U.S. and the Middle East. Taught by Professor Salim Yaqub, an American citizen who spent much of his young life in Lebanon, this course presents a unique and balanced perspective.

For Ancient History Obsessives

We recommend:

Pompeii: Daily Life in an Ancient Roman City

great courses plus pompeii

Pompeii is remembered for its fiery demise. Yet the story of this fabled city stretches far beyond its spectacular end. In this course, you’ll learn what everyday life was like in ancient Roman times. The video version of this course is especially engaging, thanks to Dr. Steven Tuck’s behind-the-scenes access to the Pompeii site. 

This is a mere sampling of the many courses available on The Great Courses Plus. In addition to its unparalleled history offerings, subscribers will also find courses on science, crafts, art, literature and more. 

A world of knowledge awaits; are you ready to explore? Click below to start your FREE 14-day trial —then use promo code ARCHIVE to get 50% off your first two months!

All photos via The Great Courses Plus