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The Decisive Battles of World History | [The Great Courses]

The Decisive Battles of World History

Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events. In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.
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Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events, causing major changes both on a global scale (the battles of Yarmouk & al-Qadisiyyah in 636 determined the religious/linguistic orientation of the Middle East that persists today) as well as within individual cultures (the 1836 battle of San Jacinto gave the United States nearly one-third of its continental territory). For these reasons and more, the study of pivotal battles is a highly useful analytical tool and an important component for understanding world history.

In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.

Through his dramatic and evocative descriptions, using special maps and animations, Professor Aldrete brings the events vividly alive, taking you through the moment-by-moment unfolding of each battle. Throughout the lectures, he uncovers fascinating background material that highlights the drama, poignancy, and scope of the experience of war. This engrossing course provides unique insights into world civilizations by revealing the profound impact of military battles in human history.

©2013 The Great Courses; ©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

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  •  
    IRP Falmouth, ME United States 05-23-14
    IRP Falmouth, ME United States 05-23-14 Member Since 2007

    IRP

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Course- Needs Battle Maps"

    I found this course to be well taught and fascinating. The Professor was excellent. Although I may not agree with all of the battles selected by the Professor as being the most important in world history (especially some of the ancient ones)- I did enjoy the manner in which he described his methodology for choosing the battles and I learned a great deal about some historical events that I really knew nothing about. The biggest complaint that I have with this course is the lack of maps for each battle. You really cannot understand strategy, movement and terrain withoug some form of visual display. I really think that Audible should contract with the Great Corses to add a pdf file of the maps for each battle. Otherwise I would recommend that one purchase this course directly from the Teaching Company

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Mitchell Edina, MO USA 05-13-14
    Ken Mitchell Edina, MO USA 05-13-14 Member Since 2006

    sabbath999

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent survey of decisive battles in history"

    This is an excellent survey of some of the most important/decisive battles in world history.

    This is an overview of battles that made a difference, whether that means they were a turning point in the history of empires, or the introduction of a game-changing technology, or whether they were the most important/indicative of a series of battles that changed the fate of the world.

    You could argue that some battles not included might have been more important, but this is a survey, not a compete history of all important battles.

    Professor Aldrete does a good job of explaining both the battles, and why they were on his list as key decisive battles in history.

    Folks, let me be concise in this review. Spend a credit on this if the topic interests you. It's worth your credit.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iriskat 07-23-14
    Iriskat 07-23-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Interesting and Well Narrated"
    What did you love best about The Decisive Battles of World History?

    The author, Prof. Aldrete, who is also the narrator, does a fantastic job of describing not only the occurrences on the battlefield, but also of the history behind and beside. This way, this course actually offers a bit of an overview of the last 3000 years of human history, in light of decisive battles. I really liked that Prof. Aldrete offers this list of battles as his own view, debatable and open for discussion. I have to admit - every time I thought to myself "why did he not include this", or "here his biases do come into view", I would always get my answer later in the lesson for why a battle was not included, or the battle I thought of was included in a later lesson. All in all, a truly interesting, engaging course. One caveat: for ancient times, Prof. Aldrete does not struggle with ancient names. He simply makes no effort to pronounce them in anything but a very American accent. As a narrator, he cautions in the beginning of the course that the course may reflect his own biases - well, this is the only bias I have found.
    By the way - one of the reviewers said battle-maps were missing. In the one or two instances I really felt the need to see a map - I found it on Wikipedia. Hence, I don't find the lack of maps to be a real shortcoming. Their addition would of course have been welcome.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Hutch Texas 05-17-14
    Lee Hutch Texas 05-17-14 Member Since 2013

    I teach history at a community college and thus enjoy historical non-fiction. I also enjoy a good mystery novel from time to time.

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    "Excellent!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a very good overview of major battles in world history. The professor's delivery is excellent. He does a good job in the first lecture at explaining his rationale for choosing the battles that he did. The lectures on the battles themselves are a perfect blend of background information, the battle, and the aftermath. I am a military history buff, so this course is right up my alley! That said, I think that anyone interested in world history would benefit from listening to it. Do it today. You won't be sorry.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judd Bagley Utah 05-05-14
    Judd Bagley Utah 05-05-14 Member Since 2012

    Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding content. Grating delivery."

    This is a compelling lecture series. The instructor is very knowledgeable in the subject and manages to bring these battles to life in the relatively short time dedicated to each. Highly recommended to any student of military history.
    My only complaint deals with the delivery. Prof. Aldrete pronounces every third word as though it comes as a complete surprise to him. It's exhausting to listen to. That said, the information is well worth the effort to consume it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Carter 01-20-15
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    "Great overview of warfare"

    My favorite part of this was the insights and patterns I start to pick up by looking at millennia of battles so quickly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise J. Mills Roseville, CA United States 01-09-15
    Denise J. Mills Roseville, CA United States 01-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Must read for students of military history"

    Awesome and insightful. Narrative was full of griping details and keen insights of strategy the focus on contextual factors and resulting impacts to world history was illuminating.

    All military members required to further their professional military education must listen and use as a reference.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Edward Yue San Francisco, CA USA 01-07-15
    Alan Edward Yue San Francisco, CA USA 01-07-15 Member Since 2013

    PMP, PMI-ACP, CISSP, CBCP

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    "Good overview of history and historic analysis"

    I never was much of a history buff, but this book made learning about world history fun and applicable to understanding today's world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norbert S. Matson San Francisco 01-01-15
    Norbert S. Matson San Francisco 01-01-15 Member Since 2014

    Scott

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    "Excellent high level review of military history"
    Any additional comments?

    Each battle is reviewed in about 30 minutes. I have read military history my whole life and he covered several battles I haven’t read anything about. Battles that you have read heavily on you may be frustrated about some details the author had to leave out due to the time limitations. But overall an excellent review. The author covers a lot of history around each battle giving you a good overall history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Navy Dad 12-27-14
    Navy Dad 12-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    46
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    "Multi-dimensional Approach"
    Any additional comments?

    Up front, Prof Aldrete admits these are "his choices" and maybe not those of other authorities...but not because others are necessarily wrong. Rather, he is capturing these particular battles as each contributes uniquely to history as a whole - technology, leadership, tipping-points of culture and civilization - thus providing a broad range of ideas and impacts for the listener to consider.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 17 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • gordon
    RADLETT, United Kingdom
    1/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good insight into great battles"
    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    didn't finish this one as it got a bit much towards the end. A big problem with audible in general is that the chapter numbers give no indication as to what they contain. For a book like this, chapter titles are important as there is no index one can consult to establish where particular information is. This is a problem with all non-fiction on Audible


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C Ginty
    11/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and incisive lectures"
    Where does The Decisive Battles of World History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It was very enjoyable although some periods of history appeal to me more than others


    What other book might you compare The Decisive Battles of World History to, and why?

    Have not downloaded any other audio books that I could compare this to. It does give a decent idea of some of the great battles of history, difficult subject without some diagrams and illustrations.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narrator has a great delivery but some of the poor pronunciation really grates


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    It would be a documentary series of the history channel


    Any additional comments?

    Audio quality was mediocre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Warren M. Parkinson
    uk
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Courses are GREAT"

    I like to read (or listen) about history and these Great Course series of books are very good.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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