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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2013 The Great Courses; 2013 The Teaching Company, LLC
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
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.
I am a former police officer turned history professor. I enjoy a good story, be it fiction or non.
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.
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
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.
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.
I originally gave this book 4 stars, but every book I've read after this seems so boring in comparison I had to reevaluate the rating: 5 stars. A really fun read, almost like reading an action movie.
While I enjoyed this book, I found it to be my least favorite of the Great Courses books that I have listened to. This one covers a lot of ground but the content tended to be less like a history book and more like one of those “strange facts” books. A large portion of the book is essentially conjecture that comes across as fact. It also seemed like there was an effort on the part of the Author to be politically correct in his selection of the battles he determined were decisive. The battles covered, while numerous, are described at the highest of levels – the content is broad just not very deep. Professor Aldrete seemed a little uncomfortable narrating the book which made some parts difficult to listen to. In the end the Professor says his goal in writing the book was to stimulate thought on behalf of the listeners and in that sense he accomplished his goal. It’s a good book, but not Great.
The lecturer clearly enjoys and is passionate about his subject. He makes it simple enough that there is no need to go into this series with a doctorate is history. He is honest about his shortcomings and personal preferences and he invites readers (listeners) to disagree with him. This is a great way to pick up some military history as each lecture is self contained and allows you to listen for 30 minutes at a pop and return without having to back up to figure out where you are in history.
This is an engaging and well-performed overview of the decisive battles in world history, informative yet colorful and packed with fun tidbits. Highly recommended for casual readers of military history like me.
Rather than pick the usual case studies, this book looked at what made some battles that were not so well known and considered a more holistic approach as to what deemed them decisive. A great read!
"Good insight into great battles"
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
Very interesting, I really like how he did it chronological. If your a history buff interested in how wars shaped the modern world.
Fascinating, intellectual, entertaining and far reaching. For any fan of military history, this excellent course tracks a thread through the historical era of human history that explores the confrontations that have defined our times. Extremely insightful and well delivered.
I studied Modern History at university level and have been blown away by just how much I enjoyed this series.
Professor Aldrete is engaging, thoroughly entertaining, enthusiastic and informative.
He makes reasoned, educated and informed arguments for those battles included, while providing excellent historical context and insightful digressions into causality and the ramifications of the outcomes of these battles.
Even though I disagree with a number of battles included over some disregarded as non-decisive, I can't help but feel that ultimately that is the underlining point.
My only disappointment is there is only one other series of lectures conducted by the professor and that this series eventually came to and end.
"riveting, thought provoking and enjoyable"
Superb. The narrator knows his stuff and conveys it with passion, insight and clarity.
I learnt a lot from this, not just the broad sweep of historical forces and turning points but also the impact of things tangible at a personal level, such as a delay of 30 minutes, individuals acting on their own initiative and the impact of miscommunication.
"Interesting and incisive lectures"
It was very enjoyable although some periods of history appeal to me more than others
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.
The narrator has a great delivery but some of the poor pronunciation really grates
It would be a documentary series of the history channel
Audio quality was mediocre.
"Great Courses are GREAT"
I like to read (or listen) about history and these Great Course series of books are very good.
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