I love The Great Courses, and this new title has been no exception. I'm a veteran negotiator myself, and studied negotiation many years ago in graduate school, so I wasn't sure if listening to this would add anything new. Of course I should not have underestimated The Great Courses.
A friend asked me if this course was more for professionals or for personal enrichment. I had to think about it. Could the course be equally valuable for both? The answer is a clear yes. For professionals, Professor Freeman provides detailed strategies and tactics for preparing for and conducting complex negotiations ranging from major business contracts to international peace treaties. And yet... he also takes care to apply all of these principles to the simplest of personal situations, with examples such as shopping for cars or dealing with the desk clerk when you check into a hotel and it's overbooked.
Professor Freeman is a natural -- offering the perfect blend of authoritative research and compelling illustrative examples and anecdotes to help make the information both relevant and sticky.
This is a long title -- with 24 lessons clocking in at over 12 hours. The listener would be advised to pace yourself so that you can reflect on each of the lessons.
Like most of The Great Courses, this is the audio version of a title that they sell on video format, with companion guidebooks. However, I did not feel like I was missing anything by listening via Audible.com.
This title truly lives up to the standard of The Great Courses -- 24 highly engaging lectures with a brilliant an entertaining professor who brings history to life and makes the time fly by, while also continuously bringing everything into perspective and reminding you of the big picture themes that tie it all together. I was sorry it ended.
There were so many! I learned many truly fascinating things I didn't know about the most famous explorers like Columbus, Magellan, Lewis & Clark, and Henry Hudson... but even better were the significant remarkable stories about which I had known almost nothing: the revolutionary Buddhist monk Xuanzang who dared to journey to the west, Alexander von Humboldt the "second Columbus" whose prolific explorations were about advancing the understanding of our planet rather than about grabbing land or spreading religion, and perhaps my favorite: Ida Pfeiffer, a Victorian woman who defied the conventions of the day by journeying alone to exotic and dangerous locales, and invented the genre of travel writing.
I've listened to many of The Great Courses, but this was the first I'd heard by Professor Liulevicius. I'm pleased to see that he has several other titles and I've added them all to my Wish List!
Engaging, Entertaining, Fascinating
I thought this course would appeal mainly to hypochondriacs, but after all of those 5 Star reviews, I decided to listen. Well, it was terrific, intriguing, entertaining, informative. It flew by. It's structured almost like a series of fascinating mysteries, and Professor Benaroch is a great storyteller. The word "course" is almost unfair. Yes, it's a highly organized lecture series, and you learn a lot, but this could also be called a mystery series. I'm really looking forward to his next Great Course planned for 2016.
I have listened to over 60 titles from the Great Courses series. They are almost universally wonderful, but of course a few professors rise to the top as my favorites. Professor O'Donnell has jumped to the top of that list. He is both incredibly organized and incredibly entertaining. Each of the lectures starts with a story, sets out objectives, and makes a strong and logical case for it's topic as a true turning point in history. Some of the turning points (such as the Boston Tea Party) would classify as "the usual suspects" (though not necessary for the reasons you expect), and others (such the eradication of hookworm in the South) are delightful surprises. O'Donnell's pace is consistently perfect.
You will be entertained. You will be informed. You will be a better citizen. 5 Stars for sure.
This is a higher level, more in depth study than most of The Great Courses on Audible. I suppose it ranks lower than others on the "entertaining" scale, but higher on the depth of information scale.
Other related series by the great courses would include Foundations of Western Civilization I & II (both excellent), Europe and Western Civilization in the Modern Age, and The Middle Ages series: Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages
Professor Bartlett also teaches The Great Courses series on European Civilization and the Italian Renaissance, plus their video series The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe. He is extremely knowledgeable. The other courses are less focused on the political evolution of Italy and more focused on civilization, art, and historic sites. It all depends on what you're interested in.
No. This is a long and detailed title with 24 lectures. I listened to about an hour a day over a couple of weeks.
This is a series for those who know European history and want to delve deeper re the politics of the Italian city states. Prof. Bartlett assumes that the listener knows European history, particularly of the middle ages. It is assumed you already know about the Byzantines, the Holy Roman Empire, the Turkish empire, the royal houses of Anjou, Habsburg, etc. With that as background, this series provides a survey of all the city states and their political (more than cultural) evolution, particularly vis a vis their relationships with Rome and the rest of Europe.
This was a spectacularly well-researched, comprehensive and entertaining look at what has arguably been most important driving force of modern history. Patrick Allitt beautifully balances this tour of the big picture forces and trends that drove massive societal change with the fascinating personal stories of many, many individuals who played pivotal roles in driving these changes in their respective societies (the focus is appropriately first on Great Britain and then shifts to the people and parallel developments in the U.S. and other parts of the world).
I listened to this course immediately after finishing another of The Great Courses called Big History (also very highly recommended). It was the perfect follow-up, as that title puts the human Industrial Revolution in perspective as the latest era in a 13 billion year trend of increasing complexity in our universe. But that's another course..
I have listened to 4 or 5 of Professor Allitt's courses from The Great Courses series and they are all uniformly excellent. He gifted both as a scholar and as a storyteller. Highly recommended. 5 Stars!
The course attempts to define conservatism and then track its evolution through the ages in both the U.K. and the U.S.. One learns how the philosophies have evolved and in some cases taken divergent paths based on the impact of the U.S. civil war, the world wars, industrialization, the rise and fall of communism, etc. It's a fascinating journey that attempts to explain why, for example, "conservatives" in the U.S. would be anti-gun control and anti-socialized medicine, while "conservatives" in the U.K. would be supportive of such measures.
Many lessons stick with me, but I was particularly struck by the discussions of U.S. revolutionary era and civil war-era politics, where in each case, we had two sides that each considered themselves perservers of conservative tradition. In the case of the U.S. revolution, the Tories wanted to remain loyal to the King, yet the separatists felt they were fighting to preserve English republican traditions that the King had abandoned. In the civil war, both the North and the South were fighting to preserve their own definitions of a traditional way of life and governance. If you are somebody who puzzles over whether the founders of our country would consider themselves conservative today, you'll love this course, and perhaps be frustrated by the ambiguities!
This was my 3rd course from Professor Allitt, so obviously I'm a fan. It's a given that the topic is, shall we say, politically loaded, but I trusted that Professor Allitt would do his best to approach the topic as a historian, and not with any idiological point of view. I dare say after listening to it that the course is likely to frustrate anybody with a strong-leaning political agenda (in either direction), which is to say that Professor Allitt succeeds!
I may be just biased myself, but as the course approached the modern era, it appeared to me that Professor Allitt couldn't help but reveal his biases, as his descriptions of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Reagan Revolution," Margaret Thatcher, and particularly the abortion issue felt somewhat one-sided and yes, conservative. It follows that anybody who would teach a course called "Conservative Tradition" is likely to be an admirer of the that tradition, so consider yourself warned as the final lectures approach, but don't shy away because of it. The course succeeds as both an entertaining listen and a historical study filled with examples of the conflicts, struggles, complexities, and changing definitions of conservatism.
A must listen.
I selected this audio series because I'm planning a trip to France and wanted to brush up on France's modern history. I ended up racing through all 24 riveting hours, covering Europe from the Enlightenment and French Revolution through the Cold War.
Yes! Though at 24 full hours that would have been impossible. As the course continued, I found myself racing through it, listening wherever and whenever I could.
This course overlaps substantially with another outstanding title from The Great Courses by Professor Robert Bucholz, Foundations of Western Civilization II, which I listened to last year and loved. I could not begin to tell you which course is better.
Bucholz's course ("Foundations") covers a wider geography and time period, and is memorable particularly for his rich descriptions of life under the great pre-enlightenment monarchies (particularly that of Louis XIV of France), and for the vivid portrait he painted of the mood in Europe through the industrial revolution leading up to World War I.
Professor Childers is an equally gifted historian and storyteller, and listening to this course was a similar experience in that once it got going, I couldn't stop listening.
More than the "foundations" course, this course -- particularly the first half -- focused much more on the political and philosophical evolution within the era covered. There is ample discussion of the contributing forces and evolution of nationalism, conservatism, imperialism, capitalism, liberalism, communism, socialism, fascism, and more. But make no mistake -- this is not simply a philosophy class. Childers paints vivid pictures of the leaders of the day, and of the many circumstances and turning points that propelled Europe through the last 200 years. Highlights for me included the several lectures which offered a detailed dissection of the rise, reign, and philosophy of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers ("Nazi") party in Germany in the 1930s.
It was not until the final lecture that I realized this course was recorded a good 15 years ago. Childers ends his accounting of history as the new millennium is dawning. While it would be nice to hear Childers' take on the 21st century, it's to his credit that his summation in lecture 48 remains meaningful, and in the end the age of the course is irrelevant. Loved it.
I have watched or listened to many of The Great Courses series, and Professor Patrick Allitt ranks among my very favorite professors. I had previously listened to his course called American Religious History, and loved it. He is both a scholar and a natural storyteller. His lectures are filled with fascinating portraits of historical figures that rival any audio book in terms of drama and intrigue.The moment The American Identity started playing through my car speakers, I heard Professor Allitt's voice and a broad smile of recognition came across my face because I knew I was in for an entertaining treat. 36 half-hour lectures flew by like the wind, and I found myself looking for excuses to spend more time listening.
Each lecture profiles a different American selected by Professor Allitt as representative of various aspects of American Identity. Professor Allitt is a Brit who has been the Cahoon Professor of American History at Emory University for over 25 years. He is like a modern day de Toqueville, offering a brilliant perspective on what makes America unique.The very first lecture about the settler John Smith set the tone. What a fascinating character. Forget the myths you were told in elementary school. Turns out Smith was an insufferable social climber and pragmatist who didn't actually spend that much time in America, but set the tone of meritocracy for the new land. By the end of that first 30 minutes, I knew I had already gotten my money's worth.
This was my second of The Great Courses by Professor Allitt. Fortunately, he has a half dozen other titles, and I plan to listen to or watch them all.
This recorded course from the spectacular Great Courses series serves as both a master class in the art of rhetoric, and a deep dive into the evolving philosophies of Abraham Lincoln through his remarkable career. Listening to this course will forever change your view about the 16th president, the civil war, and the state of the union and racism in the mid-19th century.
Perhaps it's because my interest was more about the latter than the former, but I will admit that I didn't really get seriously into this course until about halfway through, when we got to Lincoln's presidency, the Civil War, and his most famous speeches.
The Lincoln Douglas debates during his early Senatorial race are fascinating, but they took up a lot of this course and the discussion around them was as much about Lincoln's debating style and tactics as it was about the substance of his developing philosophy. All that being said, I must admit that understanding how his philosophies developed over time is critical to understanding the man in his later years (and critical for understanding how his 1858 "House Divided" speech was misunderstood then and still today).
Professor Zarefsky is passionate about the subject and is clearly among the foremost Lincoln scholars.
It is worth noting that this course is one of the oldest of The Great Courses recordings, dating back to the 1990s. It's introduced as "The Great Courses on Tape"(!) and Professor Zarefsky can actually be heard flipping pages of notes as he speaks. This of course takes nothing from the excellent presentation of the material.
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