By Jeff Burns
a very short commute, thankfully, only 5-10 minutes one way. Nevertheless, I’ve developed the habit of
keeping some audio book or course in my car stereo. So whenever I’m in my car, I have the option
of learning some history.
are a number of great podcasts available, and that might be a future blog
topic. However, I want to talk about two
great sources of audio lectures. You’re
sure to find something of interest in these collections.
up is the Portable Professor series from Barnes and Noble. These are full courses taught by well-known
authors and historians. Each package
consists of 14 35-minute lectures and includes a guidebook. I own Masters of Enterprise: How the Titans of American Business Shaped
the US Economy by H.W. Brands, To Lead A Nation: The Presidency in the
20th Century by Robert Dallek, Shaping justice: Landmark cases of the US Supreme Court by
Kermit Hall, and Everything You’ve Been Taught Is Wrong: Fact, Fiction, and Lies in American History
by James W. Loewen. Each one is
engaging, challenging, and insightful.
relatively inexpensive, especially if, like me, you find them in the clearance section of the Barnes and
Noble Store. You can also find them on
the Barnes and Noble website, ebay, libraries, and used book stores.
great source is The Great Courses. They record first rate lectures on
just about any subject imaginable by some of the greatest university lecturers
and package them thorough outlines or guidebooks to follow along. So far, I’ve enjoyed The Skeptic’s Guide
to American History by Mark Stoler, Books That Have Made History by
J. Rufus Fears, and The American Identity by Patrick Allitt. They’ve all been terrific. The individual lectures a bit longer than
Portable Professor, 45-50 minutes each, but each lecture is extremely
the full retail price on the website can be pretty high, the Great Courses
Company often runs sales and has special offers. I purchased mine through ebay, and again, you
can find them in libraries and second hand markets for a more affordable price.
right in and listen to history as you drive, work out, craft, or whatever.