In January 2007, author John Green and his brother Hank started what would soon become one of the largest communities on the internet. As a part of a New Year’s Resolution they began a year of textless communication where they banned all forms of text as communication between themselves. Over the next four years the Vlogbrothers and their community of Nerdfighters became a large force on youtube and currently have One Million subscribers on their original channel and a series of other channels they have started with friends and colleagues. On January 26th 2011, they started two series on their channel Crash Course, one on Biology hosted by Hank, and the other on World History hosted by John. When those two series ended later that year, they were followed respectively by courses on Ecology and Chemistry from Hank and English Literature and US History from John.
The scientific courses are more purely educational and they present complex scientific concepts in accessible ways. However, the social science courses take the commonly accessible concepts of history and literature and complicate them with nuanced understandings that don’t get taught in classrooms.
Crash Course: World History is particularly interesting because of how it can be divided into seven parts each with a different focus both of (mostly) chronological history as well as a different aspect of why studying history is important. Each part is interesting in different ways and tells a different kind of story, and that’s why this review is happening. This isn’t just an educational course and it isn’t just entertaining. It is a challenging telling of the history of the world, something that we desperately need.