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Summary

"The great thing about writing The Mark Steel Lectures is discovering how the great characters from history, who can be made so dull by teachers, are fantastically passionate and human. For example, what a joy to find out Aristotle was the first person ever to compile a comprehensive list of the winners of the Olympic Games. I love the idea of him in a bar with Plato going, 'Go on then, give me any year you like, and I'll tell you who won the pole vault.'

"Or that Tom Paine wrote a book pointing out all the places where the Bible contradicts itself and was accused of "preaching atheism". How do you "preach atheism"? Do you knock on the doors of religious people on Sunday mornings, and when they answer say, 'Have you heard the bad news?'

"The subjects of this audio programme - Lord Byron, Aristotle, Billie Holiday and Che Guevara - are classic examples of the flawed, brilliant, courageous, slightly barking, but beautifully human characters from history that can inspire the rest of us, which you certainly won't get from looking at our current leaders. It's unlikely, for example, that anyone has ever said, 'The man who really inspires me is Jack Straw.'"
Mark Steel

© and (P)2001 Laughing Stock Productions Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • Skipton, United Kingdom
  • 08-09-12

Dont bother

These are great, they really are.

However all are available for free from his website so paying for them is just stupid.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Biting, inciteful, educational

If you have seen or heard Mark Steele before, you'll know you're in for a treat. If not, give him a go! 30-minute oral essays on famous characters from history. Mr Hatton's history lessons were never like this!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

In this series of four lectures Mark Steel is at his superb best. Mark's chosen characters range from Aristotle to Billy Holiday. We are given as much genuine information about 'People of Passion' as it is possible to absorb in one go, and it ail done with fantastic humour and a truly genuine understanding of the historical context.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely brilliant! Very very funny!

Mark Steel as always is funny and clever. All lectures should be delivered this way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

The most unpatronising lecture I've ever heard.

If you could sum up The Lectures in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant. All lectures should be as irreverent and lively as this. A passionate narrator that chose passionate people to talk about. What an entertaining way to listen and learn!

What other book might you compare The Lectures to, and why?

The quality of the information presented in the lectures are on a par with anything the Modern Scholar series might provide.

I think those who are fans of the "Museum of Curiosity" might also like this book for its insightful quirkiness.

Which character – as performed by Mark Steel – was your favourite?

Mark's presentation of Aristotle was my favourite.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. Up to this point all that I've ever really known about Byron was that he was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," The portrait presented here of the man does not contradict that but rather qualifies it by indicating when, why and to whom Byron was all these things. I found it touching that a man should fall in love so easily.

Any additional comments?

Yes. Where is Volume 1?

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Colin
  • Blackpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom
  • 24-04-09

I'm missing something

I can't believe I paid for this...

2 of 13 people found this review helpful