You no longer follow Amazon Customer

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Amazon Customer

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Amazon Customer

Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA | Member Since 2013

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 62 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0

  • A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Mark Steinberg
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (81)

    It's difficult to imagine a nation with a history more compelling for Americans than Russia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, this was the nation against which we measured our own nation's values and power and with whom war, if it ever came, could spell unimaginable catastrophe for our planet.Yet many Americans have never had the opportunity to study Russia in depth, and to see how the forces of history came together to shape a future so different from the dreams of most ordinary Russian people, eager to see their nation embrace Western values of progress, human rights, and justice.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not story-telling but history-telling at its best"
    "less Russia than Russian celebrities"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about A History of Russia: From Peter the Great to Gorbachev? What did you like least?

    I am not a fan of history via personalities, preferring to approach via impersonal forces like trade and technology. This is not to deny the validity of Steinberg's approach, though sometimes he carries it to extremes.

    He is at his best describing attitudes of peasantry and intelligentsia later in the course, using anecdote to exemplify movements rather than to imply singular causality. He is weaker early in the course, when it seems all Russian history bends to the will of a single person, turning on a dime each time a new tsar takes the throne--a very disjoint narrative. In one absurd case, he spends an entire lecture on Pushkin only to conclude that Pushkin is historically irrelevant. An odd choice, then, for a history course.

    International relations get short shrift. Russian imperial ambitions (a warm-water port, pan-Slavic leadership, clashes with Britain in central Asia) and their implications get no attention. The Russo-Japanese war is covered in two sentences, and apparently there was some kind of war going on in Europe while Lenin began his revolution. Again, a valid approach to a course devoted specifically to Russian history, but listeners should know what they're getting.


    If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

    Even among great lecturers, Steinberg has an excellent delivery, with a beautiful voice and few of the verbal tics one notices after 18 hours listening to a single person.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • World War I: The Great War

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (119)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (108)

    Touched off by a terrorist act in Bosnia and spreading all too quickly beyond the expectations of those who were involved, World War I was an unprecedented catastrophe with a ghastly cost. After this first "total war"-the first conflict involving entire societies mobilized to wage unrestrained war, devoting all their wealth, industries, institutions, and the lives of their citizens to win victory at any price - the world itself would never be the same.

    Amazon Customer says: "a case for WWI as watershed"
    "a case for WWI as watershed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to World War I: The Great War the most enjoyable?

    The exploration of sociopolitical ramifications was particularly rewarding, a theme I would not have appreciated in my youthful fascination with battle. Professor Liulevicius has a strong delivery, and the intensity of his interest in WWI's aftermath as well as its progression shows.


    What other book might you compare World War I: The Great War to and why?

    Listeners who liked this should definitely try Liulevicius's lectures on Terror and Utopia in the 20th century, also excellent. His lectures on European diplomacy 1500-present are decent but less engaging.


    Any additional comments?

    Among the generally excellent Great Lectures, I found this one outstanding. I respectfully disagree with Saud and Bobbie, feeling there was a strong arc, hammering hard on the theme of ever-greater desperation in a race against internal collapse as much as defeat by the enemy.

    A mere chronology of interconnected battles would have been relatively unenlightening and uninteresting, especially in light of trench stalemate. The real significance of WWI lies in its mutual exhaustion, social reaction to that, and the surviving institutions originally designed to combat it. The "theater" approach here, explaining how each theater fed into total war, contributing to stalemate, exhaustion, and collapse, serves the subject well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.