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Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies | [The Great Courses, Robert Allison]

Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures. While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.
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Publisher's Summary

The history of colonial America is a story of extraordinary scope, with Europeans, Africans, and the native peoples of North America interacting in a drama of settlement and conflict that lasted nearly three centuries. Go back in time and relive this epic story in 36 spellbinding lectures.

While concentrating on British North America, Professor Allison also covers developments in the colonial outposts of Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the all-important British possessions in the West Indies, which were the source of the most lucrative crop in the New World - sugar - and the reason for the enormous growth in the slave trade.

As you'll discover, the colonies were often turbulent, dangerous places. You'll learn about Indian wars, slave revolts, witch persecutions, rampant piracy, and other upheavals, as well as the gradual cementing of social order and the development of customs that made the colonies distinct - and difficult for the British government to rule.

These lectures build toward a discussion of the roots of the rebellion that succeeded in toppling the colonial system - the American Revolution - covering its long gestation and closing with an examination of the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.

In fundamental ways, the world we know today emerged from the tempestuous and eventful history of colonial America. Deepen your appreciation for this formative era with these historically rich, captivating, and highly informative lectures.

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


©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses

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  •  
    James R. Ellis sacramento, ca 01-10-14
    James R. Ellis sacramento, ca 01-10-14 Member Since 2009

    dancing fool

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    "New Perspectives and great insights"
    What made the experience of listening to Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies the most enjoyable?

    I am researching the family tree in America from 1625 in Virginia and 1640 in New Hampshire. This series does a great job of describing each colony's progression and has explained migration issues and how native American blood lines entered the tree


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ben Franklin and Cotton Mather interactions


    What about Professor Robert J. Allison’s performance did you like?

    I could stay awake through his lectures any day


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

    36 1/2 hour sessions


    Any additional comments?

    I have been through the material twice and still picking up info

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 09-28-13
    Matthew 09-28-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Teacher ! Great Course!"

    This series presented a lot of information in an easy to absorb and interesting way. Loved it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer ND 02-25-15
    Amazon Customer ND 02-25-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Subject Matter is wonderful, Narrator no so much"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    What other book might you compare Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies to and why?

    This is a lecture series, but the first 1/4 of The History of the United States, 2nd Edition from The Great Courses might be considered to be comparable.


    What three words best describe Professor Robert J. Allison’s voice?

    So very slow.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were no big gotcha moments. However, I did learn quite a lot that I did not know before. This was especially true in the sections on the non-British efforts to colonize various sections of America.


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Allison's narration was nearly unlistenable on x1.0 speed. There is no nice way to put it, his delivery was slow and ponderous. Under normal circumstances would not recommend listening to this particular series while driving. The good news is, the Audible.com playback speed can be adjusted. Sped up to x1.5 speed, the lecture series was enjoyable and scarily normal sounding. This made me wonder of the issue lies not with Allison, but with the postproduction process. Either way, once the speed was adjusted I found the lectures extremely interesting, bordering on riveting. I feel I must inform readers that I am a huge nerd when it comes to American history and my bias may be showing with the riveting comment, but nevertheless, I standby it. The lecture summaries and transitions were smooth, and they did not detract from the body of each lecture. I would wholeheartedly recommend the series, just don't forget to speed that player up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne MD Smith Sunland, CA USA 02-05-15
    Yvonne MD Smith Sunland, CA USA 02-05-15 Member Since 2012

    Vonnie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Now I know!!!"

    Such a fascinating listen. I learned so much and was totally entertained. You need to hear this! The great migration










    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ark1836 08-19-15
    Ark1836 08-19-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding Survey of Pre-1776 America"

    This is an outstanding course covering the colonial period in America. If the course has a weakness, it is that it only briefly discusses the colonial period of areas other than the original thirteen states with the exception of one lecture dedicated to Spanish settlement in New Mexico. That being said, this course was exactly what I hoped and expected it would be—a discussion about the origins and development of the original thirteen states and the lead-up to the American Revolution. The course did a particularly good job describing the causes and events surrounding the famous Salem Witch Trials. The course stops on the verge of the Revolution and only touches on a few of the events that are directly part of the Revolution. It left me wanting to take the course on the American Revolution next to pick-up the story where this course stopped.

    The professor is clearly very knowledgeable and well-prepared. The professor is obviously interested in the material and does a good job conveying the history in a concise and informative manner. This is what a Great Courses class should be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott McMinnville, OR, United States 06-21-15
    Scott McMinnville, OR, United States 06-21-15 Member Since 2012
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    "One of the best of the Great Lectures series"
    What made the experience of listening to Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies the most enjoyable?

    Dr. Allison brings the American colonial period alive with fascinating and revealing details that creates a clear pictures of the times and events leading to the American Revolution. This is truly one of the most interesting, engaging, and well-presented lecture series I have ever heard, either in person or recorded. Dr. Allison's expertise and depth of knowledge on the subject is powerfully evident, yet delivered in a most approachable manner. It was both enjoyable and deeply informative. I am sure I will be listening to it again to tap into the wonderful stories that led to the formation of the United States as an independent country. My thanks to Dr. Allison for a wonderful series of lectures.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert J. Allison – was your favorite?

    Benjamin Franklin, followed closely by Cotton Mather. I learned much about the lives and contributions of these formative giants I had not appreciated before.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story of the Boston smallpox outbreak was particularly fascinating, given the tragedy of unnecessary deaths and the seminal experiment that was carried out during the epidemic that confirmed the effectiveness of inoculation..


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Nowell 06-20-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A GREAT course !! Really makes sense of history."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Before 1776: Life in the American Colonies to be better than the print version?

    This audio edition brought a lot meaning to the many of the "stories" and facts of colonial life that were told to us in school. By using short term, tangent explanations of his main themes, he really makes sense of why things happened the way they did. Just an awesome job. I wish I would have come across this years ago. I see why his audience applauds his performance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Herbert Ottenbreit 06-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Exceptional !!!"

    Fantastic narration with great details. Every lecture had facinating details of our wonderful history. Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Perry 06-05-15
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    "Great series!"

    Wonderful series on life before the revolution in the American colonies. How so many extraordinary events came together to create the environment for the revolution. Makes one realize hoe hard it is to try to "export" democracy to other nations with different histories...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney Florida 10-14-14
    Rodney Florida 10-14-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good overview"

    What I was looking for was something more along the lines of how your average citizen lived in the years before the revolution, like simple stuff - how did newspapers work, how did you buy groceries, all that sort of day to day stuff. Of course this is not that and it's not really covered here so I'm not deducting any points for that, I just wish someone did have a series on that since I think it would be interesting.

    Anyways, this lecture covers basically all the time before 1776. It started off a bit slow for my tastes, but as it goes along it gets better. I think Professor Allison does a good job of presenting various points of views and beliefs, in this day of political correctness that is refreshing.

    Overall I enjoyed this lecture, like all of The Teaching Company's courses this is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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