This comprehensive series of 84 lectures features three award-winning historians sharing their insights into this nation's past - from the European settlement and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, 19th-century industrialization, two world wars, and the present day.
While American history spans not much more than two centuries, it is filled with a wealth of leaders, wars, movements, inventions, and ideas - each of which contributed in its own unique way to America's transformation from 13 disparate colonies on the east coast of North America into a global superpower.
These lectures give you the opportunity to grasp the different aspects of our past that combine to make us distinctly American, and to gain the knowledge so essential to recognizing not only what makes this country such a noteworthy part of world history, but the varying degrees to which it has lived up to its ideals.
The lectures chart the five predominant themes that run throughout the chronicle of U.S. history:
Placing familiar historical events in the context of these overarching themes will help you see American history less as a series of separate events and more as a mosaic in which everything is interconnected.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
I have always heard of the formation of the United States, slavery, the Constitution, the Civil War, the reformation, the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars from the perspective of the United States. This book takes all of those, plus everything in between, and sets it up in an easy to understand framework. If you are a history buff, this is a piece of history you cannot afford to overlook, no matter how much you think you know (or care) about it.
This is my third Great Courses lecture series, and it was as amazing as the other two. I especially enjoyed Professor Guelzo's enthusiasm, which was contagious, but I give high marks to all three. They did a great job of breaking the series at logical points, which makes it possible to break off listening for a bit while you go read or listen to something less weighty, then come back and pick it up, no problem. I really feel, after listening to this series, that I have a more well-rounded grasp on American history, more than just the cold dates and facts. The various eras and the individuals who left their marks really came alive for me. I'm so glad that Audible and The Great Courses have teamed up! And now off to find another new favorite.
I like books. I really like beer. I love Jesus.
Based on past experiences with the Teaching Company / Great Courses, I have come to expect quite a bit from their courses. With expectations high, I say this course through American history is a winner.
Let's face it: A course of 84 half-hour lectures is long and arduous. Even so, it is not much space and time in which to tell the wildly diverse story of the United States. This course, like most history courses of this scope, is an overview. Overviews, by nature, tend to be cursory and selective. Moreover, while I certainly would not call myself well-read in American history, I have read and taught through various courses/texts on United States history. Thus, even with the overview-type nature of the course and my familiarity with the material, there were *plenty* of insightful, detailed, and connective moments of teaching that were enlightening to me.
The lectures (both in content and selection of materials) betray a moralism that leans toward contemporary Western, liberal, enlightenment-rooted values. This is most evident in the selection and ordering of materials in the later lectures. As an example, here are some lecture titles: "76 - The Vietnam War; 77 - The Women's Movement; 78 - Nixon and Watergate; 79 - Environmentalism." Ordering American history in this way reflects the fragmentation of the history department into myopic partisan attempts at generating their own meta-narratives. This fragmentation seems quite prevalent in the institutions of higher education, certainly at my University. Even so, the professors (all of them) avoid being narrow and partisan (which is one of my expectations of Great Courses). The lectures specifically mentioned above were themselves quite helpful in developing my personal understanding of those particular issues not only by summarizing all the recent partisan historical scholarship (a very helpful thing of itself), but also by connecting the many particular groups and viewpoints with the broader American story. That is, these professors are gifted storytellers. They did a good job of telling all of these partisan stories within the bigger story of American history.
Probably one of the best credits I've spent on Audible. 42 hours - 84 lectures covering a pretty thorough survey of the history of the U.S.
Much of it I remembered from school, much I had forgotten, and still more I had never heard before. It was particularly interesting towards the end, hearing historical lectures about the recent decades that I have lived through.
Overall, I found it to be a pretty even handed telling. This is our story - the good and the bad. Going through it all with a more sober and adult level of comprehension offered me some new insights into how our nation and society have come to be where they are now.
The one minor ding is that I believe this was recorded back in 2006, so the presenters do not have the benefit of being able to incorporate or compare with some of the most recent major events in our history. Still, the journey was well worth taking.
You can tell that the narrators are knowledgeable about their topics and seem to be unscripted.
you can tell when they were really digging into details of a particular event.
Definitely a great program to obtain if you are wanting a good intro into US History thats not boring or excessive. The 30 minute lectures are great for commuting to work.
This is one of the few audiobooks or lectures that I have listened to multiple times. Even on the third listen I find it fascinating. Amazingly well done, informative, entertaining.
Very cogent and insightful through the WWI period. The story transitioned to a more sociology perspective at that point so you have this dichotomy of purpose. Towards the 21st century, the story turned into a catalogue of pop culture and social issues, while still a good summary, provide few insights to actual unfolding of historical events. The storyline became more entertainment than historical narrative.
I got this to help myself refresh on US History so that I could test out of a college course. The lecturers are all engaging and knowledgeable, and I definitely learned more than I expected.
Thanks to this book I almost scored perfect on my test.
I loved the content and enthusiasm the narrators injected into their lectures. Professor Guelzo and Professor Allit in particular were very engaged and passionate about the subject which made it so much easier to become passionate about American History myself. I highly recommend this course to those interested in American history or history in general.
This is a great primer of US History-- as grotesque as that sounds, given the 43-hour running time.
But the lecturers do a very good job of explaining how complex certain episodes really are. While leaving you with a basic understanding of historical events, you also are fully aware of just how little you really know.
I was particularly impressed with how each lecturer addresses several historical viewpoints. This is no way felt like a textbook version of events. Rather, they explain dissenting and extreme viewpoints and don't give any particular weight to anything besides the indubitable facts.
It was a riveting overview of American History, with a good balance of political, social, and economic topics. It was so good that I've been listening to it at almost any spare moment when I've been walking, commuting, or cooking.
The lecturers were engaging teachers and the depth was just right for an introductory audio course - not too academic but also not dumbed down. I feel that I have a much better grasp of the broad sweep of American history and can now go on to learn in more depth about particular topics.
I particularly enjoyed the discussion of economic and social topics in the late 19th century as the US expanded westwards and became more industrialised. There were some wonderful lectures on the challenges of western expansion, the consequences of industrialisation, and the attitudes to gender of the time.
I wish the third lecturer had explained why the Democratic and Republican parties seem to have switched ideological places in the mid-twentieth century.
Also, audible should provide the option of buying the PDF guide that comes with Great Courses courses - it would be helpful for reviewing what I've learned.
"Detailed and engaging."
There are three narrators who each bring their own style. The first is worth the price of the book alone. He covers pre civil war America, in a concise and clear way.
The second part about the civil war is less clear because the lecturer goes into far more detail.
I don't really like the 3rd part which is the longest. The narration is weakest here, the lecturer keeps jumping back and forward in time, and often goes off in little side notes. I think if he restrained himself more it would have been better.
"Very broad and deep"
A very big lecture series which covers such a massive variety of US History and accordingly draws on expertise of a broad range of professors. highly recommended.
Very interesting, not to bogged down in detail but enough to spark more research in areas of special interest.
Also very useful chapters for my daughter doing history a level.
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