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.
You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.
From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically - advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.
In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses
Yes because it is a great crash course to Chinese history and seems to cover all of the main events.
That depends on the subject. He wasn't a particularly great story teller and didn't really make the subject come to life. I was interested in most of the lectures so I could pay attention, but occasionally he would dwell on some less interesting topics and I would lose interest.
I certainly enjoyed the audiobook but it was not one I could listen to for hours at a time because the Professor was not very energized. I was also disappointed that he did not talk about the building of the Great Wall at all. However, it was a great introduction/overview of Chinese History.
The professors speach candence was too slow for me. I had to play the entire thing on 2x speed for it to be tolerable.
Great information overall with some solid broad brush coverage of the subject. I would have liked to have gotten more details in a number of places, but that would have made it too long.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
China is one of the most interesting and long-running civilizations in the world. This course covers the history of the Kingdoms before the Chinese unification, and move us through a rich history with colorful characters all the way to the twentieth century. I strongly recommend it for interesting presentation and thoroughness.
This was a very thorough and enjoyable overview of Chinese history. The professor does a great job touching on many important subjects and nuances in Chinese history, including even an overview of Chinese geography, which I think is essential for understanding the history of any country. Like all history it can become a little dry or hard to remember or distinguish all the different peoples and dynasties at some points. I would highly recommend these lectures to anyone looking for a good, thorough overview of Chinese history from the earliest times to the near present.
For someone living and working in China, this course was interesting and informative. It gives only a broad overview of China's history and is really a starting point for those interested in China's history. The professor presented the lectures well, and held my attention.
I have been listening to books on tape for over 20 years. Starting with audio tapes, then CD's and now downloads.
It is in the upper part of my list. I have been a teaching company listener for years with over 50 series of lectures. I knew very little of China and now have scratched the surface
The Opium Wars compared Britain to a current drug cartel using violence to control the movement of drugs. It is such an interesting and awful mark on the west.
I learned a lot about Buddhism and the other religions of China, which I knew next to nothing about
No, it is so good and rich I tried to listen to no more than two lectures at a sitting.
as "Fall and rise of China "
while he goes through the history, it is mostly pedantic and lacks the depth I have come to expect from the great courses.
I use Audible books to educate myself on topics I'm interested in.
The content is interesting, engaging, and well-organized. The only problem is the speaker says "Uh" hundreds of times throughout the lectures, sometimes three or four times in one sentence. While this doesn't bother everybody, it is rather distracting and may prove intolerable to some.
Edit out the uhs.
I would not.
Mr Hammond actually works for the current Beijing communist party as their controversial "Confucius Institute" director. I wish this information was disclosed by Audible or Great Courses, if someone works under Hitler, I would had not buy that person's book on "Jewish History." I find this to be very crucial. I did not know this until AFTER I finished listening to his propaganda, I mean, lecture. Everything toward the end sounded more and more like a communist propaganda. I want to divide my review in 2 parts: the lecture on modern history of China, and the lecture in general. In the modern Chinese history section of the lecture, Mr Hammond basically glossed all over the atrocities and extremely brutal history of Mao and Chinese Communist Party. For example, policies where all the private property and wealth of the Chinese people were taken at the barrel of the gun, he called it "reform" and "important."Movements where millions of urban Chinese were forced to live in the country side, and forever had their status changed to "farmer," which made them illegal immigrants in modern China cities, Mr Hammond called it useful and important reforms for modern China.In the Great Leap Forward where millions of people were starved to death under collectivism, he called it simply an issue of error in reports of food production. Cultural Revolution, a movement that span over 10 years where teachers were paraded as traitors, mocked, attacked and many cases killed by communists, monks and priests were paraded as criminals, where endless cultural buildings, relics, art works, monuments, including the graves of Yue Fei and Confucius, were dug up and destroyed, Mr Hammond simply called it a conflict between Gang of 4 with those who opposed Mao. See, the reason Mao killed endless millions was because people are so mean to him.Right after he talked about how the misreporting of the Great Leap Forward, where officials offered unrealistic production number, was the cause of millions of deaths, he immediately praised the great "7% GDP growth" a few decades later given from the same officials. All the issues with Mao, according to Mr Hammond, was because people didn't follow his violent and brutal communism. All the issue with modern China, according to him, guess what: is because of capitalism!Yup.Those who do not learn from history will repeat it. Those who intentionally lie about history, then work for the communist party, however, are the much more vicious. His glossy account of the modern Chinese history is almost lifted right after a communist pamphlet, it almost reminds me of my childhood living under the same communist party.Maybe that is why the communist would hire him to be the director of the Confucius Institute, an organization's goal is to export communist propaganda to the USA.The other lectures on older history were very superficial for the most part. People who have some understanding of Chinese history might find it useful to chart up particular areas for further study, but many important events and characters were simply ignored. Of course, the amount of time given to 5,000 years, it is impossible to go deep into many issues.But I would not buy from Great Courses again until I careful research the presenter in the future.
"Wonderful set of lectures"
This set of lectures was definitely one of the best I have listened to. Really engaging, the lecturer covers an incredible range of eras in these lectures. One of the best things about it for me was that it give you an in depth outline of how each of the Chinese dynasties fits in with the other, which then enables you to read into which ever one interests you the most without feeling totally lost (the Harvard UP set on Chinese Imperialism is particularly good for this).
All of the lectures were really well put together, though perhaps a couple of the most memorable were the ones on the ancient civilisations and the evolution of the writing system, simply because it speaks to the origin of language itself, which is always fascinating. The other is probably when Wu Sangui opened the gates of the Great Wall at Shanhai Pass letting the Qing forces through, then allying his forces to help them take the capital at Beijing. Wu did all this mainly so that he could ensure that the recent usurper of the Ming throne, Li Zicheng, didn't take the woman he loved into his harem. Dramatic events!
The lecturer was really good, in all honesty I listened to the lectures at 1.5x speed, mainly because the speed people naturally give lectures tends to be a tad on the slow side.
"Interesting but slow delivery grated in the middle"
Chinese subject is perhaps too vast a subject to tackle in even a long set of courses such as this and certainly Professor Hammond seemed to struggle to make it manageable in the middle sections of this course. I confess I zoned out a little and got a bit lost in the series of dynasties in the Middle Ages. That being said the rest of the course was fascinating and it really picked up in the later periods when it is, perhaps, easier for a westerner to relate to the individuals involved.
My only serious gripe with the course was Professor Hammond's delivery. He is clearly knowledgable and highly qualified but at times it sounded like his heart wasn't in it with a lot of sighs and very flat delivery. That combined with a habit of finishing a sentence with "OK?" grated a little but not enough to spoil the overall product.
"Fabulously interesting series of lectures"
No idea but it was excellent in it's own right.
Prof Hammond delivered the lectures with an infectious enthusiasm for his subject
I was riveted to Prof Hammond's narrative throughout and wasn't bored once
The realisation that China has a 3000 year competitive advantage over Western economies, bureaucracies and political systems
I'm guessing it won't be long before our children are learning Chinese history as part of the mainstream curriculum unless we find a way to compete against the soft power and relentless expansion China has been exercising over the last 30 years backed up with the best part of 6000 organising themselves better than we do.
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