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A History of Eastern Europe Lecture

A History of Eastern Europe

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Publisher's Summary

Eastern Europe has long been thought of as the "Other Europe", a region rife with political upheaval, shifting national borders, an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity, and relative isolation from the centers of power in the West. It has also been, and continues to be, pivotal in the course of world events. A History of Eastern Europe offers a sweeping 1,000-year tour with a particular focus on the region's modern history. In 24 insightful lectures, you'll observe waves of migration and invasion, watch empires rise and fall, witness wars and their deadly consequences - and come away with comprehensive knowledge of one of the world's most fascinating places.

In examining this region's remarkable diversity and contested borders, you'll better understand the ever-present tension between the connections between East and West and the areas of marked contrast. These disparities were clear as the world globalized and the US and Soviet superpowers jockeyed for spheres of influence - epitomized by the imposition of the Iron Curtain across Europe and the rise of the Berlin Wall. And yet, throughout the 20th century and into current times, the connectedness of Eastern Europe to the rest of the world continues to be demonstrated beyond question. This region has made itself felt across the globe through:

  • The political and cultural reverberations of peace movements and armed conflicts
  • The crises of huge population migrations and the new expressions of cultural and economic exchange they spark
  • The successes and struggles of NATO and the European Union
  • And more

Explore the grand sweep of this epic history, from a series of early invasions to the rise of empires to the collapse of communism and into the new challenges of the 21st century. Meet brilliant poets, writers, artists, and other cultural figures who made an impact on Eastern European history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (482 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brooke L. Morris 12-05-15

    Brooke

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""MODERN" History of Eastern Europe"
    Any additional comments?

    Very frustrating that this was billed as a "sweeping 1,000-year tour" when the focus was entirely on the past century. Lecturer was excellent, however.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    romuald PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 12-29-15
    romuald PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 12-29-15 Member Since 2016
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    "True History of Eastern Europe"
    If you could sum up A History of Eastern Europe in three words, what would they be?

    Understanding and balancing


    What other book might you compare A History of Eastern Europe to and why?

    Norman Davis "Europa" also presents a talented writer who is at the same time a great historian.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. There is no book I could listen like this.


    Any additional comments?

    He is no bias, he understands mechanisms and presents his own interpretation of facts and trends, and he is very tactful , and he has a great sense of humor and writing skills. Could it be better?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Richardson 11-25-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Not much history"
    Any additional comments?

    Just dissapointed that the lectures moved so quickly to WWI and WWII. Glazed over a myriad amount of history so they could talk in depth about 20th century history. Which just plays to audiences not really interested in eastern european history but, how eatern europe relates to western europe and american audiences....just dissapoimted but, execution was excellent.

    33 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-29-15 Member Since 2012
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    "History You Cannot Do Without"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A History of Eastern Europe to be better than the print version?

    The audio version served my purpose, and that was to learn about Eastern European history as we drove on our holiday trip for ten hours at a time. I was mesmerized with the content and the presentation.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The sheer scope of Eastern European history is almost impossible to grasp, and only a series of lectures like this can get even a small part of the story across. It is no surprise that Eastern Europeans have different outlooks from those in the West. This series is a great start in putting the background of the current happenings in Eastern Europe and Russia into a current day perspective. The Ukranians, Poles, Czechs, and others have all been there before, multiple times. From Stalin, to Hitler, to Milosevic and other butchers, times have changed, but the memories linger. Is Putin then next international mass murderer?


    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zvi Vapni 06-16-16
    Zvi Vapni 06-16-16 Member Since 2016
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    "very good narated, well explained. if you want to "

    know about eastern europe history this is the course for you. reconand it very much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter 12-13-15
    Peter 12-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Not A Very Serious History"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not likely


    Any additional comments?

    This is a very poor history of Eastern Europe in that while it talks a lot about cultures and national stories and consciousnesses, it does little to explain why the major events in Eastern Europe's history happened. There is no economic analysis whatsoever, and so while the listener comes away knowing which poets came from which regions et cetera, the listener does not understand how Eastern Europeans actually lived, and how their livelihoods transformed over the centuries. It does not talk about the Industrial Revolution, or the Emancipation of the Serfs in Russia, or anything of the sort. It talks a lot about the rise of nationalism without saying anything about which economic groups and classes fought for nationalism. I understand that there is limited time to lecture, but not even a cursory explanation was given. Without addressing things like these, even if the listener picks up certain facts about Eastern European history, the listener does not come away with any better understanding of why these things happened.

    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald 06-10-16
    Donald 06-10-16 Member Since 2016
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    "An Exceptional History"

    Very few sources give an in depth but understandable telling of Eastern Europe. For many and me included, Eastern Europe fell into the age old stereotype of backlands. I now know the area as a vibrant and history rich area, even more history than you can really point at Western Europe in many cases. Fierce resistance, solid self determination. This audio book is a must read if you enjoy history and learning.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reno Houston, TX 06-09-16
    Reno Houston, TX 06-09-16 Member Since 2015

    Hop Head

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    "Wonderful. Eastern Europe needs more attention."

    Exceptional. Organized in delivery paints a fascinating picture of an underrepresented and very important part of European history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Ballston Spa, NY, United States 05-15-16
    Chris Ballston Spa, NY, United States 05-15-16 Member Since 2015
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    "A good book but not what I was looking for"

    This was an interesting history of Eastern Europe. It wasn't really what I thought it would be though. I was looking for more information about ancient and medieval eastern Europe. This is not the lecture series for that. There ar 24 lectures (iirc) and by lecture 9 he was already talking about Hitler. This should really be titled a History of Eastern Europe during the Cold War, because that was the focus.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JBF 05-13-16
    JBF 05-13-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent Overview of the Region"
    What did you love best about A History of Eastern Europe?

    Well-balanced treatment with respect to eras, regions, individual figures, and historical trends.


    What other book might you compare A History of Eastern Europe to and why?

    Prof. Liulevicius' lectures on the history of espionage and covert operations uses a similar style and is similarly well-conceived and delivered.


    What about Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, PhD’s performance did you like?

    Efficient delivery with a personable style, and effective use of both solemnity and humor.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Thomas
    11/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insight into an often overlooked part of the world"

    As a Western European, I've always wanted to know more about my Eastern European neighbours. Although I have listened to some courses that feature Eastern Europe, it's always been in the context of another part of history, such as Russia or the First World War. This time, however, the story is really about Eastern Europe itself.

    Prof. Liulevicius is clearly enthausiastic about the subject, and delivers a good mix of large-scale political and societal developments and stories about individuals, including some anecdotes about his own experiences in the places he talks about.

    I think the professor does a good job dispelling some of the common stereotypes about the region, like the notion that people in the Balkans "have always been killing each other at the drop of a hat". As it turns out, the Balkans have also seen long periods of peaceful coexistence and intermingling of different ethnic groups.

    If you're like me, and want to get a deeper understanding of a part of the world that's often overlooked or grossly simplified, this is the course for you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • cole
    4/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible: strong focus on modern history"

    I enjoyed it immensely however it seemed to focus too much on the 20th century for me and ignored quite a lot of the fascinating history of the region from an earlier time

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "loved it"

    bittersweet rediscovery of my Eastern European identity. plan to visit some of these countries soon. this course does an amazing job analyzing and explaining why Eastern Europe is so different from the west even now 25 years from the collapse of the communist regime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mat
    4/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great listen"

    I've listened to a few courses in the series and this has been one of my favourites!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sabina
    3/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really good!!"

    Great narration, brilliant insights and some great suggestions for further reading. Really really enjoyed it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    3/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and well written, but lacking"

    This course covers a millennium (ish) of Eastern European history. Given the wide spread of both time and geography this includes, it's unsurprising how quickly the pace moves and how little details can be covered.

    Some of the most interesting lectures were ones in which the prof. discussed the emergence of the stereotype of eastern Europe, and how this propaganda was spread and used by great powers to carve up the nations involved.

    Unfortunately, I think this course fails in one striking way. In trying to show how Eastern Europe has been maligned as just a sideshow to the great power battles over and around it, the course spends a lot of time discussing the world wars and the soviet times. Of course, these are hugely important periods in the development of all the Eastern European nations, but the course covers only the relatively well known bits of history and I think people wanting to learn about Eastern Europe will not be wanting a rehash of Stalinism and the cold war.

    I think this course would be better served with being split up and different areas of eastern Europe being discussed on their own. It is clear that Polish (and Lithuanian) history alone deserves a 24 lecture course. You can feel yourself being rushed passed a lot of interesting history - I think the fall of Yugoslavia is covered in about fifteen minutes!

    Nevertheless, this course deserves a listen and is very well written. The lecturer is engaging and the content is interesting. I would recommend to those who know nothing about the subject, but otherwise go elsewhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ariel
    United Kingdom
    1/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent and informative reading"

    It was informative and entertaining. I haven't given it 5 stars only because there is very little history earlier than the 18th century but still worth listening to it if you know little about eastern Europe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Acapella
    Cornwall, UK
    1/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent history"

    The lecturer speaks with great knowledge, enthusiasm and sympathy. He has the ability to pick out illustrative incidents and facts which inform and even amuses the reader without overwhelming them with too much detail. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • nathan jones
    1/17/16
    Overall
    "broad scope"

    really enjoyed this series of lectures. perhaps inevitably a lot on Germany and Russia, but also some great stories, anecdotes and dark jokes which helped me get a glimpse of e Europe state of mind. particularly surprising was the contemoraneaity of the later lectures, on Ukrane situation. highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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