A Crash Course in World History

Give John Green 40 weeks, and Green will give you a playful and highly visual crash course in world history, taking you from the beginning of human civilization 15,000 years ago through to our modern age. If you’re not familiar with him, Green is a bestselling author of several young adult books (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns). He’s also part of the popular vlogbrothers and an active Twitter user with more than 1.1 million followers — that’s about 22 times what we have, to put things in perspective.

The series starts with The Agricultural Revolution (above) and the Indus Valley Civilization (below). New video installments will be released throughout the year here. And more university-level history courses can be found in our big collection of 1,300 Free Courses Online.

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Comments (16)
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  • Corinna Spickermann says:

    This is great!
    Maybe a bit fastly spoken for some listeners? Shouldn’t you name Jared Diamond as a first thinker who looked at history this way?

    Very interesting thought: Most societies chose agriculture, but was this a good choice? Is the crowd really that intelligent or is it 50% not? Or 70 %? Are there theories about crowd intelligence coming later? Thank you.

  • Jay Stark says:

    What a great series. My problem is that if my attention wonders (thanks to the other interesting info on your web page) I will miss some of the great monologue.
    Keep up the great work!

  • Ramanuj Shastry says:

    Fabulous stuff. Look forward to the whole series. The humour and pace makes it very watch worthy. Well done!

  • Stacey Flynn says:

    These are wonderful, but please slow it down for all the ELL learners and those who read with captions.

  • k nichols says:

    This is the perfect teaching mode for most students middle school+ If I could just speak that fast…

  • Sergio Salinas says:

    ¡Awsome, incredible and terribly funny! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Kerry Levingston says:

    Intelligent, thought-provoking, delightful. I like this guy.

  • Molly says:

    I stumbled upon this through Holly Tucker’s Twitter feed. So fun and thoughtful! Love history with a little life to it! :)

  • Mehmet Arat says:

    Very interesting simplification.
    It is also interesting to start this with a hamburger.

  • kerry says:

    this is a great series (at least the first two)! i’m a homeschooling parent and history major. generally speaking, i can’t stand most stuff claiming to cover world history; i was very pleasantly surprised with this! and my 9 and 7.5 yr olds love it. :)

    one point you may want to rethink: foraging and agriculture are not *usually* an either/or for most societies. in fact, in greece (which has had agriculture for probably the longest in all of europe), collecting wild greens or artichoke and bringing them home for dinner is a special treat (and not uncommon). in this country at least as recent as the Great Depression, foraging for mushrooms and wild plants and frogs were common. to this day there are people here who forage, but these days they are more fringe than mainstream.

    it seems that foraging/agriculture is usually a balance that shifts with time, priorities (like the 1950s love affair with “science” and therefore TV dinners and formula, et al), technology, resources (there being very little unpolluted places to forage in this country these days), and other factors.

    this slow process of shifting balance seems pretty ubiquitous (at least from what i’ve seen), and is in support of your thesis that revolutions are a process of irrevocable choices instead of an event.

    we are looking forward to the next installment! :)

  • Sean says:

    I think the phrase is be a better boyfriend

  • joan says:

    dododopdisah xjs xjjjjj

  • EWOcean says:

    The videos on Crash Course are incredibly humorous, informative, entertaining and colorful. I love it! My dad enjoys it too which is a big thing. It’s a pity next week is the last episode. Nevertheless, I would love to hear more (hopefully) in the near future and more hosting by John Green. :)

  • stevelaudig says:

    Does anyone else find it rather shallow and reminiscent of cotton candy? A little sugar and lots of air?

  • Will Peterson says:

    While slavery WAS appropriate in ancient Greece, the statement that Slavery was not a concept of Persia is misleading. Everyone except Xerxes was considered a slave at this time. If it wasn’t given the name of slavery, the fact is that people in the Persian Empire had to be fearful of the regime at ALL TIMES.

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