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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses
This book was a great and engaging way to learn modern Chinese history, in prep for moving there. The professor is a bit self centered, and a lot of the anecdotes from the last 30 years are from him-- but he is certainly engaged in the topic!
This is a great way to learn this sort of thing. It gives you a very good understanding of the nature of this story, without the stress of actually studying.
Thanks audible for another great listen!
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
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.
Professor Baum does a wonderful job of showing both sides of the conflict and interjects great personal antidotes.
Excellent set of lectures covering the fall of China's monarchy, the dual rise of the nationalist and communist factions, Mao's tenure, and China's economic coming of age in the 1980s through the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Eye opening and expansive. Only complaint is the lecture does not incorporate some of the more recent scholarship on the Empress Dowager Cixi and puts forth some of the widely circulated, but perhaps inaccurate, characterizations of her and her role in the final downfall of the monarchy.
i was looking for a complete history dating back thousands of years. got this and found out it was starting in Manchu dynasty. Learned a great deal and parralled my own life growing up and not realizing what was happening
Absolutely brilliant presentation of China's modern history. The book focused on the last ~200 years of China's history, particularly the Mao and Deng Xiaoping periods. I could not stop listening to this. Highly recommended for anyone remotely interested in China.
Data analyst, history student, baseball player
that's such an amazing, informative, and Well Done lecture series that I looked up the lecturer in order to pursue dialogue with him. Unfortunately comma I'm a few years too late. the lecture was that good. He doesn't waste time on tedious topics.
The one portion of the lectures that I thought was tedious ended up being the biggest surprise of the entire lecture.
The professor narrating this could not have been a better choice. Professor Baum was a professional China Watcher, by which I mean he worked like the likes of the White House as a liaison with China both to observe going-ons, anticipate future moves, and advise on how to deal with them. This puts him in an exceptional position to speak on the history of modern China from the fall of the last imperial dynasty to the present day. His interest in the history itself is downright obsessive for obvious reasons, so I felt like I was missing nothing. His personal stories and adventures were a real treat.
The incredible depth of discussion. I am usually listening to courses about ancient and classical history, which can get a little difficult due to the lack of primary sources and general detachment from the time period. It was somewhat refreshing to be able to hear darn near everything there was to know.
I admire Professor Baum's ability to speak on things like Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward and provide details and opinions without any apparent bias. The course was a brilliant work on history and little but, with the occasional personal anecdote and the such only serving to immerse the listener in the history.
I hugely suggest listening to this, whether it be out of an interest for history itself or wanting to better understand China. Both are worthy reasons and this course will deliver.
This series of lectures paints a balanced and multifaceted portrait of the evolution of modern China that certainly gave me a solid foundation of knowledge about this emerging superpower. At times - especially during the early chapters - maintaining interest was a challenge as the names, dates and political machinations blurred together. This is more a result of the ambitious scope of the subject matter than the efforts of the lecturer, who speaks with authority and weaves in occasional personal anecdotes to avoid tedium. I found that alternating between listening to this course and Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos - which takes a more journalistic, deductive approach understanding contemporary China - made for a richer (and more enjoyable) experience.
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