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The History of the United States, 2nd Edition | [The Great Courses]

The History of the United States, 2nd Edition

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. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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:

  • The American passion for freedom-including religious, political, and economic freedom.
  • The pursuit of education, which has been the quintessential way for Americans to invent (and reinvent) themselves.
  • The unquestioned faith in the value of popular government.
  • The willingness of Americans to experiment with and adapt to new environments and situations.
  • The belief that the United States is a "city on the hill," a country the likes of which the world has never seen before.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Saud 12-03-13
    Saud 12-03-13

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    857
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    "Everything You Need to Know about US History"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Van 10-23-13
    Van 10-23-13
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    "HAS INTERMEDIATE BREAKS"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of the United States, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?

    Not sure what problems the other reviewer had but this audio book is broken up and has all the same breaks as every other Audible book I have ever purchased. On my iPhone app it is broken up into 7 downloadable parts and each lecture is its own separate chapter. So yeah, definitely has intermediate breaks


    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim R. Prussic St. Helens, Oregon, USA 06-25-15
    Tim R. Prussic St. Helens, Oregon, USA 06-25-15 Member Since 2015

    I like books. I really like beer. I love Jesus.

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    "A Wonderful Course on American History"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina 09-09-14
    Christina 09-09-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow!"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sumner SAN MARCOS, CA, United States 01-24-14
    Sumner SAN MARCOS, CA, United States 01-24-14
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    "Great highlights to US History for beginners"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of the United States, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?

    You can tell that the narrators are knowledgeable about their topics and seem to be unscripted.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    you can tell when they were really digging into details of a particular event.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell 09-26-14
    Russell 09-26-14
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    "enjoyable even on the third listen!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-22-15
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-22-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Wonderful overview, provides many viewpoints"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 05-20-15
    Robert 05-20-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Boom"

    Good insight, new facts, and strong contextual examinations.
    Enjoyed the British perspective on my countries history.
    I liked that the course had multiple professors.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judi Jordan 09-14-14
    Judi Jordan 09-14-14 Member Since 2013
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    "good to hear history you knew but forgot!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The History of the United States, 2nd Edition to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version, wasn't sure I would like a bunch of lectures, but the speakers really like their topics,so their zeal for the subject makes it interesting.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Liked Prof. Allitt the best; Maybe because he's British,; it's interesting to hear about American history from another perspective


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mrjoedave 08-18-15
    mrjoedave 08-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great content that is very well organized."
    Where does The History of the United States, 2nd Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of my favorites. I don't think you'll find a better US history book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of the United States, 2nd Edition?

    The organization of information was great. It followed topics through time which made events easier to follow. Rather than history books that follow a strict timeline, this one followed the timeline of specific events or related events which made them easy to understand. It did make it shift forward and back a little to keep the sections logical, but it was still very clear and easy to follow.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Professor Allen was probably the best. He was the first one and had the longest section.


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

    I wanted to, but didn't have 43 consecutive hours to spare.


    Any additional comments?

    All of the speakers have a slow speech cadence, so I played it a 1.25X speed which worked well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Richard Batty
    9/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent overview"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of the United States, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of the United States, 2nd Edition?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jess
    4/23/15
    Overall
    "Great book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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