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The Fall and Rise of China | [The Great Courses]

The Fall and Rise of China

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.
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Publisher's Summary

How can we account for China’s momentous - and almost wholly unanticipated - global rise? And what does it mean, for us in the West and for humanity’s future?

Speaking to these vital and fascinating questions, these 48 penetrating lectures by Professor Baum bring to vivid life the human struggles, the titanic political upheavals, and the spectacular speed of China’s modern rebirth. Offering multilevel insight into one of the most astounding real-life dramas of modern history, the lectures weave together the richly diverse developments and sociopolitical currents that created the China you now read about in the headlines.

You’ll get a detailed understanding of all the core events in China’s century of stunning change, including the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Republican era and civil wars, the "Great Leap Forward", the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao economic "miracle". Throughout, Professor Baum reveals highly unusual details that enrich the cinematic sweep of the story. For example, you’ll learn about the Christian warlord who baptized his troops with a fire hose, the strange kidnapping of Chiang K’ai-shek, and Professor Baum’s own smuggling of top-secret documents out of Taiwan.

A core strength of these lectures is that they make sense of the dramatic events of the story by getting deeply at what underlay them, culturally, socially, and historically - leaving you with a nuanced knowledge of the forces moving China’s modern emergence. Bringing alive the passionate reinvention of China with deep discernment and humanity, they portray the confounding, majestic, heart-rending, and visionary story of a modern giant.

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.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Yu-Chin Porirua, New Zealand 12-15-13
    Yu-Chin Porirua, New Zealand 12-15-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
    What did you love best about The Fall and Rise of China?

    Objective perspective of the events and captured the essense of leader's characteristics.


    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The tone used to describe the events and his personal encounters which would not be conveyed through text alone.


    Any additional comments?

    As a Taiwan-borne Chinese, it was interesting to contrast the objective narrative of the last 100 years or so history with what I had learnt in Taiwan during childhood. Great to learn aspect of China that was foreign to me before taking this course. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of understanding of not just the historical events, but the Chinese psyche during those times. Highly recommend it! (I've already recommended this to friends and family)

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirk SAN ANTONIO, TX, United States 12-30-13
    Kirk SAN ANTONIO, TX, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Must listen to this!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Fall and Rise of China to be better than the print version?

    This audio version of The Fall and Rise of China is very interesting and Professor Baum is so excited about his subject matter, he makes it entertaining! His passion transfers to the listener! I will probably listen to it a second time!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I am around a lot of Chinese people so I wanted to learn about their country so I downloaded this course and I was so surprised at how interesting China's History is and the professor is fabulous! Highly recommended! It was so interesting how he got his material for his Ph.D. dissertation. Amazing story! Listen to find out!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Some of the situations that occurred while he was in China were my favorite. He was able to witness history in the making.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly CHICAGO, IL, United States 11-22-13
    Kelly CHICAGO, IL, United States 11-22-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Gripping!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Fall and Rise of China the most enjoyable?

    This was just great story telling by a true enthusiast and expert.


    Any additional comments?

    I was sad when it ended.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shaun SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ, United States 01-11-14
    shaun SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ, United States 01-11-14
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    "Simply Stunning"
    If you could sum up The Fall and Rise of China in three words, what would they be?

    an amazing gift! this series really opened my eyes to the culture and I couldn't have been more happy!


    What other book might you compare The Fall and Rise of China to and why?

    a text book, however, the narrator does a fantastic job and is very engaging


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. E. O'leary Lewiston, NY USA 07-22-13
    R. E. O'leary Lewiston, NY USA 07-22-13 Member Since 2012

    Raithea

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    "Excellent course on modern Chinese History"

    This course offers a fairly in depth history lesson for the last century in China. It starts out with a summation of the previous events, ideas and principles that led up to the collapse of the dynastic system. The author provides analysis of the events by referring to other historical references. During the more modern era the author is able to add in his own experiences to give the listener a more personal look at the daily realities of the Chinese today. Though there was less of an analysis on the financial history then I would have hoped for, particularly the financial practices of several groups in modern day China. I will admit this is simply my own preference and likely not a notable deficit for most listeners.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 02-08-14
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 02-08-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You dont need a tweed jacket to enjoy these books!"
    Any additional comments?

    I've always enjoyed history. This is my second book of "The Great Courses".
    My first one was "The Other Side of History".

    The Professor in both cases are contagiously passionate. They are authorities of thier respective fields yet demonstrate natural humility. World class speakers giving exciting lectures meant for anyone interested in history. Not just scholars.

    Extremely refreshing audiobooks after listening to so many bestsellers.
    I hope Audible continues to expand The Great Courses library.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Rither Richland, WA USA 03-27-14
    Alan Rither Richland, WA USA 03-27-14 Member Since 2003
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    "Best of the Great Courses - Top 10 of all"
    What did you love best about The Fall and Rise of China?

    Professor Baum's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and his personal love for the culture and the people.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The embalmed remains of Chairman Mao looking green from too much formaldehyde. It was an insight 'behind the curtain,' so to speak, that one would never read in a serious work about China but that revealed the humor behind the god-man's image.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Richard Baum’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is his only audiobook that I know of and he died in 2012 from cancer that he thought was gone when he recorded these lectures.


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

    It is far too long and complicated to listen to it in one sitting, but I wanted to get back into the car where I keep my player and sometimes went on extended drives to avoid turning off a lecture in the middle.


    Any additional comments?

    The world has lost a great scholar and a generous human. I can only hope that his lectures in this Great Courses audiobook will inspire a new generation of people to learn more about China as the 'Sleeping Giant' takes a leading role on the world stage in this century.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Millar Washington, DC 01-30-14
    D. Millar Washington, DC 01-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Like everybody says. Excellent."
    Where does The Fall and Rise of China rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high. I am a scholar on the subject and even I find some of the minutia of Chinese Communist history tedious. Yet Richard Baum makes it so compelling that I think even the non-expert will find it enjoying-- all 16 hours of it.


    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His personal anecdote about his own role in discovering the split between Mao Zedong and his top lieutenants (Deng Xiaoping and Liu Xiaoqi) was excellent. Also, thank god you have someone who can pronounce Chinese!


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica LAYTON, UTAH, United States 03-04-14
    jessica LAYTON, UTAH, United States 03-04-14 Member Since 2013
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    "awesome"
    What does Professor Richard Baum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Professor Baum does a wonderful job of showing both sides of the conflict and interjects great personal antidotes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud United States 04-25-14
    Saud United States 04-25-14 Member Since 2007

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Modern Chinese History Comes Alive"

    One of my biggest complaints on a lot of courses and books is that halfway through, they start to drag on about some topics or ideas I just don't find as interesting as some other topics or ideas the author/lecturer could have chosen.

    This stays strong all through the course. There is no lecture that made me fall into passive listening. In fact, the second half is orders of magnitude above and beyond anything I have heard in a long while, because the professor has been to China and followed key events of modern history closely. In other words, it gains that vivid image and personal touch only a person who has witnessed the events can communicate.

    If you get a single course, this is where you should start, hands down.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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