Go find Barbara Tuchman's A DISTANT MIRROR. This is a lengthy history but I can guarantee that you'll discover aspects of mankind you've never known, all from those relatively ancient times.
And her wonderful THE PROUD TOWER brings it all into a closer focus, too.
(I'm not recommending purchase, by the way - these books should be on library shelves all over.)
These two books, along with her others, were 'armor' in a strange way. Rather, they were answers to my not-so-silent queries, "Is this world now the worst ever? It feels so much worse NOW!"
No. Vulnerable, yes, and that always led to those screaming at the rain "Is our world worse off now?" comments. But Tuchman's books gave me a wonderful insight into the daily lives of centuries previous, and almost a soothing nudge, "It HAS been worse..." Vulnerability was always there, and it still is. But we've muddled along.
The new documentary HOW THE BEATLES ROCKED THE KREMLINis a pretty interesting hour-long video. A tale of repressive times and a generation that shrugged off those chains, and an interesting sociological study that arts and Wanna-Be's have a eroding effect on any set of walls and restraints. Yes, we're vulnerable. But so are They.