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The Great Courses: History


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  • The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest

    • ORIGINAL (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jennifer Paxton
    Overall
    (753)
    Performance
    (686)
    Story
    (672)

    These 36 lectures tell the remarkable story of a tumultuous thousand-year period in the history of England. Dominated by war, conquest, and the struggle to balance the stability brought by royal power with the rights of the governed, it was a period that put into place the foundation of much of the world we know today. As you journey through this largely chronological narrative you'll see key themes emerge, including the assimilation of successive waves of invaders, the tense relationship between kings and the nobility, and the constant battles over money and taxation.

    Claudia Murray says: "I'm sad it's over!"
  • Turning Points in Modern History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (417)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (375)

    This lecture series takes you on a far-reaching journey around the globe - from China to the Americas to New Zealand - to shed light on how two dozen of the top discoveries, inventions, political upheavals, and ideas since 1400 have shaped the modern world. In just 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll get the amazing story of how life as we know it developed. Starting in the early 15th century and culminating in the age of social media, you'll encounter astounding threads that weave through the centuries, joining these turning points in ways that may come as a revelation.

    Nicole says: "One of the best "Great Courses" I have listened to!"
  • Turning Points in American History

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Edward T. O'Donnell
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (281)
    Story
    (281)

    These 48 lectures are your chance to relive the most groundbreaking moments in the fascinating story of the United States. They offer you a different perspective on the sweeping narrative of U.S. history. Spanning the arrival of the first English colonists to the chaos of the Civil War to the birth of the computer age and beyond, this lecture series is a captivating and comprehensive tour of those particular moments in the story of America, after which the nation would never be the same again.

    Quaker says: "Brilliant, Informative, Entertaining!"
  • Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (825)
    Performance
    (738)
    Story
    (739)

    Step into the real world of the spy with this detailed and unforgettable tour of the millennia-long history and enduring legacy of espionage and covert operations. While most of us associate this top-secret subject with popular fiction and film, its true story is more fascinating, surprising, and important than you could possibly imagine. These 24 thrilling lectures survey how world powers have attempted to work in the shadows to gain secret information or subvert enemies behind the scenes.

    Rachel says: "depends what you're after"
  • Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jeremy McInerney
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (81)

    This series of 24 lectures examines a crucial period in the history of the ancient world, the age ushered in by the extraordinary conquests of Alexander the Great. In all the annals of the ancient world, few stories are more gripping than those from this era. In the opening lectures, you'll explore the enigma of Alexander, son of a brilliant father, yet always at odds with the man whom he succeeded. Just as important to these lectures are the in-depth discussions of the bounties of Hellenistic culture, which contributed landmark ideas in everything from philosophy, art and architecture, and religion.

    Mike says: "Good Overview of Alexander and Hellenistic Empires"
  • Exploring the Roots of Religion

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John R. Hale
    • Narrated By Professor John R. Hale
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (156)

    What impulse drove ancient cultures to create sites like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, and the pyramids at Giza? Why are we so transfixed by their presence today? And what do they reveal about our ancestors-and humanity? The dynamic force of religious belief is responsible for some of the world's most popular and ancient locales.

    karen says: "My Favorite Course"
  • Interpreting the 20th Century: The Struggle Over Democracy

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Pamela Radcliff
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (45)

    Consider the intense and rapid changes that transformed the political, social, and economic struggles of the world during the 20th century: the first flight and space flight, the Manhattan Project and the Welfare State, Nietzsche and Freud, the Great Depression and inflation, moving pictures and home computers, the Cold War and terrorism - and war and peace.

    Lance says: "Philosophical differences aside, well worth it!"
  • The World of Byzantium

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (237)

    Byzantium is too-often considered merely the "eastern rump" of the old Roman Empire, a curious and even unsettling mix of the classical and medieval. Yet it was, according to Professor Harl, "without a doubt the greatest state in Christendom through much of the Middle Ages," and well worth our attention as a way to widen our perspective on everything from the decline of imperial Rome to the rise of the Renaissance.

    Mike says: "Traditional History at it's Best"
  • The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert I. Weiner
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (211)
    Story
    (213)

    Few periods of history offer such captivating complexity as Europe in the long 19th century between 1789 and 1914. From the idealism of the French Revolution to the power of the Industrial Revolution to the chaos of World War I, this fascinating whirl of events, personalities, and forces formed the foundation for the modern world.

    Peter says: "A great historical overview with no academic pressure"
  • War, Peace, and Power: Diplomatic History of Europe, 1500-2000

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (148)

    For much of the past five centuries, the history of the European continent has been a history of chaos, its civilization thrown into turmoil by ferocious wars or bitter religious conflicts - sometimes in combination - that have made and remade borders, created and eliminated entire nations, and left a legacy that is still influencing our world.This 36-lecture series from an award-winning teacher and honored scholar pursues an explanation for this chaos that goes beyond the obvious ones of political ambition, religious intolerance, the pursuit of state power, or the fear of another state's aspirations.

    Torsten Will says: "A real quick-paced ovrview"
  • Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Don Howard
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    These 24 lectures present a wide-ranging intellectual exploration of this iconic scientist, genius, and champion of social justice. More than just a biography of Einstein's life, Albert Einstein provides you with an inside look at how this brilliant thinker arrived at his various revolutionary breakthroughs.

    kevin spadafora says: "Albert Einstien-Moses of the Twentieth Century"
  • The History of the Supreme Court

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Peter Irons
    • Narrated By Professor Peter Irons
    Overall
    (231)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (200)

    For more than two centuries, the Supreme Court has exerted extraordinary influence over the way we live our daily lives. This series of 36 clear and insightful lectures - delivered by an award-winning teacher and widely respected authority on the Supreme Court - answers many questions about the Court as it traces the development of the Court from a body having little power or prestige to its current status as "the most powerful and prestigious judicial institution in the world."

    Bill Martin says: "Professor's Bias Does Not Detract"
  • Great Presidents

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Allan J. Lichtman
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (88)

    The creation of the executive branch of government was one of the most audacious decisions in American history. The story of our greatest presidents create a narrative as compelling as an historical novel, and these 48 compelling lectures look at the lives, the achievements, and the legacies of those generally considered our 12 greatest presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

    J. Houghton says: "I'm clearly in the minority here..."
  • The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
    (989)
    Performance
    (897)
    Story
    (897)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
  • Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (119)

    From the trenches of World War I to Nazi Germany to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the 20th century was a time of unprecedented violence. Yet while such monumental violence seems senseless, it is not inexplicable. If we can understand the origins of violence, we may prevent even greater horrors in the century to come. These 24 necessary lectures trace the violent history of the 20th century, beginning with its early roots in the American and, especially, the French revolutions.

    MasterPsych says: "A Great Lecture Series"
  • A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Thomas Childers
    Overall
    (233)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (210)

    Know thy enemy. That's what the wisdom of history teaches us. And Adolf Hitler was surely the greatest enemy ever faced by modern civilization. Over half a century later, the horror, fascination, and questions still linger: How could a man like Hitler and a movement like Nazism come to power in 20th-century Germany – an industrially developed country with a highly educated population? How were the Nazis able to establish the foundations of a totalitarian regime in such a short time and hurl all of Europe – and the world – into a devastating war that would consume so many millions of lives? Professor Childers has designed this gripping 12-lecture course to shed light on these and other questions that have plagued generations.

    Dana Keish says: "Forewarned is Forearmed"
  • The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Andrew C. Fix
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (245)
    Story
    (238)

    Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals. Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.

    FN2187 says: "Excellent! (...but the ending could be improved)"
  • The Greek and Persian Wars

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, John R. Hale
    • Narrated By Professor John R. Hale
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (131)

    Spanning more than two centuries, the Greek and Persian wars forged a new world order, sparking developments in battle strategy, naval technology, world exploration, and art and culture that impact the world even today. These 24 lectures are your opportunity to survey this globe-spanning conflict and see the human experience behind some of the most remarkable episodes in ancient history.

    Feedback says: "Outstanding"
  • Conquest of the Americas

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Marshall C. Eakin
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (67)

    Was Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492 the most important event in the history of the world? Professor Eakin's provocative answer is a resounding "Yes" - as he presents his case in an intriguing series of 24 lectures. These thoughtful lectures will remind you that when Columbus completed his voyage, he found a people unlike any he had ever known, living in a land unmentioned in any of the great touchstones of Western knowledge. You'll learn how the European world, animated by the great dynamic forces of the day, Christianity and commercial capitalism, reacted to Columbus's discovery.

    Cássio says: "Brilliant"
  • The Age of Pericles

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jeremy McInerney
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (34)

    The career of Pericles, the leading Athenian politician and general from c. 450 to 429 B.C., is a prism through which to view the "Golden Age" of Greece, a brief but remarkable era when Athens experienced a cultural flowering of extraordinary power and importance for Western culture. These 24 stimulating lectures present a well-rounded portrait of almost every aspect of Athenian life during the Golden Age.

    Sean says: "Unflinching look at the Golden Age of Athens"
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