Reading and studying history has always been on of my hobbies and I would say that the Frist World War is one of my favorite subjects of study. I usually read and listen to any books or courses on the subject that I can find and generally while I learn one or two new items of interest from each book or course, I generally have never found anything that gave me a new persepctive. This course changed that. I found it to be excellent. Although he made a couple of minor factual errors in a few of his lectures, I found both Professor Ramsden's course to be very well organized and presented as the course focused not just on the war and its causes (which is the traditional material) but also its legacy to this day. Most interesting to me were the lectures on the war's impact on art and literature (first time I ever took a course that focused on this area) and the impact of the war on the post Second World War world (all the way down to 1987). I would strongly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in the subject matter as well as to anyone who has never read or studied the First World War and has had an interest to learn something about it. This course is a great addition to the Audible library
I first read this book years ago when I was teenager and found it be so fascinating and well written that it stimulated my interest in history (especially World War One) which I have maintained to this day. Although she went on to write several other excellent books , I believe that this was Barbara Tuchman's best book. This audiobook has reinforced my opinion. By listening to the audiobook, one really acquires a great understanding of just how August 1914 transformed the world. Up until that point, the old order (monarchs and aristocracy) held strong in Europe and Europe controlled the world. After 1914, things would never be the same. Although the war lasted until 1918, by the time it ended, nothing was left of the old order and it was really the personalities of the new order (Lloyd George, Clemenceau and Wilson) who brought about the peace. What makes the book great is the manner in which the author takes the historical figures of that time period (such as the Kaiser, Foch, Joffre, Churchill, French, Kitchner, Von Moltke, Poincare) and paints a very human portrait of all of them through short biography of their pre 1914 lives and how these pre war events shaped the decisions that they made during the first month of the war. The narration is quite good as the narrator does her best to put foreign accents on all of the French and German personalities (I actually think it might have worked better if a man had narrated the book- namely because all of the main characters were men-but Ms. May does a very good job). I also believe that listeners will enjoy the chapter that chronicles the flight of the German cruiser Goeben during the first month of the war. I would strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone who is interested in history and to anyone who has never been interested in the subject, because they found history to be boring when they studied it in school. It is very well done- a good recording
Although I am an avid student and reader of history, I must admit that my knowledge of European history during the 19th century is somewhat sketchy- especially when it comes to the details leading up to the revolutions of 1848. This book was excellent at explaining those details. The authors start out with a detailed description of the catylist for the change in Europe during this time period- the industrial revolution- and they move forward covering critical events all the way up to the declaration of the German Empire at Versailles in 1871. Chapter 1 focuses in great detail on the industrial revolution and at times I found the description to be almost too tedious (I decided after a while to skip over this part)- but for those who are intently interested in the actual mechanics of the industrial revolution, it is quite good. The subsequent chapters focus on the changes between 1815 and 1870 on a country by country basis- starting with France, working through Austria, Prussia, the German Confedreation, Spain, Italy and finally Russia. The analysis is quite detailed and excellent. Great historical names of the past such as Metternich, Bismarck, Mazzini, Louis Napoleon, and Cavour together with their contributions are all woven into the fabric of the volume. The narrator does a very good job with his narration as well. I enjoyed the volume enough to purchase the second volume as well. In conclusion, I would recommend the volume to anyone who wishes to acquire better knowledge and understanding about Europe during the period
For me this was one of those 'Can't put it down' epic audio titles. What's more I feel a better person for having listened to it.
Overall, very informative, thought provoking and truly entertaining. I've learned loads and am now looking for more history titles of comparable quality.
It's massive in scope and is truly global in that it manages to weave in all the major civilisations of antiquity. I'd say he's best on Mediterranean and European cultures. At least the coverage of these cultures seems more detailed. It seems to me a Westerner's perspective. However, there's some good stuff on China, India and the Americas. I found it gave me a good introduction to these other cultures.
It's very easy to turn history into a dry collection of facts and dates. This lecture series strikes a good balance between facts and colourful anecdotes character examinations and other diversions. For example, there is a wonderful section on the mind boggling and downright weird Spartans. I couldn't stop laughing as he talked about them. But at the same time, I learned all about a culture that up until a couple of weeks ago, for me had been little more than the name of an ancient group of war-like people who'd once fought the Persians.
His presentation style is really good - full of enthusiasm, wonder and humour. For me he spoke at just the right pace, too. Unlike many other titles, even history - I found this very easy to listen to whilst on the treadmill, walking or doing household chores.
I'm going to listen to this again in a month or two. Can't recommend it highly enough, it's a really excellent listen.