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.
In the "enjoyed very very much" category.
It provides insight into why the current Chinese government acts as it does – and why its efforts to only slowly open its society to outside influences, and to put the brakes on at least some personal liberties that it believes could result in uncontrollable political disruptions, make sense from a Chinese historical perspective.
I have not.
The tragic, opium-driven destruction of Chinese government and culture by the 19th Century British narco-state.
The lectures give lie to the commonly-held Western myth of China being a relatively continuous political state for several thousand years. There probably have been greater cultural continuities than can be found elsewhere, but politically the region has been, like most parts of the world, subject to repeated fracturing, re-assembling, foreign conquest, assimilation, and dis-assimilation.
Yes, definitely, China being important on world stage, it is important to know where they come from and this book does a very good job explaining it. For instance why Chinese dislike foreigners because they were abused many times by them particularly the neighbors and the western powers. At least according to the book.
The chronological length: 5000 years of history in 18h. It is genial to capture the most important events. It was good for me to know that chairman Mao had a lot of challenges to get thing under control. We have been told that he could do what he wished that sound not to be the case.
There was not much to laugh about but a lot to cry about.
The Professor is a great story teller but did not like the long pause he did sometime. At the beginning I thought something was wrong with my system. I then realized that they are just part of the audio. I would love to listen to any other audio book he has. Great job.
This is a must listen course for people interested in understanding where China has been and where it is going.
the first third had its ups and downs, was too high-level to hold my interest sometimes, but i got more into the narrative as it moved into history i was a little familiar with (e.g. the mongols). highly recommended for anyone completely new to chinese history.
"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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