|The view out my window|
In the meantime, I'm stuck inside. So what should I do? I'm reading a book, Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo. But that gets tiresome after a while. So I decided to take a couple of online courses. Maybe you already know about these . . . or maybe you know of others?
Anyway, last year my daughter recommended to me a Dan Carlin podcast called Blueprint for Armageddon, a series of six podcasts covering World War I. Carlin is a former news reporter and radio host who has a wide-ranging interest in history and has used his easy manner and good presentation skills to produce a whole library podcasts called Hardcore History. Some are stand-alone, one-to-two hour lectures that approach a subject from an unusual point of view. In one he discusses whether the toughness of a people plays a role in history. In another he approaches the discoveries of Magellan as Globalization 1.0.
I also listened to a series, Wrath of the Khans, on Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. And now, this snowy day, I decided to start another series, King of Kings, which covers the rise of the Persian empire in the 7th century BCE and then proceeds to tell the story of Alexander the Great.
Now Carlin is not an historian, and perhaps academics would be appalled at how he popularizes history. But if you are interested in history and want something to listen to that has a little more substance than the latest Youtube video, I can recommend turning to Hardcore History, whether you're at home in front of your computer, or at the gym pedaling out the miles on your stationary bike. Many of these audio files are free; and they can be accessed on your computer or on your phone as podcasts.
I sat through The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845 - 1877, a fascinating look at that period of American history hosted by Dr. David Blight. But the Yale courses go well beyond history to include subjects ranging from African-American Studies and Astronomy to Sociology and Spanish.
One more suggestion is edx, a compendium of courses from a number of top universities around the world. You have to enroll in the website to take these classes, and I have not yet done that. But if this snow keeps up, I might be spending yet another day or two back in college.