Few periods of history offer such captivating complexity as Europe in the long 19th century between 1789 and 1914. From the idealism of the French Revolution to the power of the Industrial Revolution to the chaos of World War I, this fascinating whirl of events, personalities, and forces formed the foundation for the modern world.
Over the course of 36 engaging lectures Professor Weiner leads you on a spirited journey across an ever-changing European landscape, examining the forces and personalities that reshaped the continent's physical borders, diplomatic relationships, and balance of power. Assuming no prior knowledge of this era and no professional vocabulary, he explores this turbulent and important era with interest, curiosity, and passion.
You'll look at what the transition to modernity meant for peasants, workers, the middle class, aristocrats, women, and minorities. And you'll consider the political and diplomatic moves of the great powers - Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Italy - in the context of the deeper economic, social, and cultural forces at work and how they reflect the impact of some of history's most significant names, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Otto von Bismarck, and Kaiser Wilhelm II.
With this ambitious look at the evolution of the environment that ultimately made World War I possible, Professor Weiner explores more than factual history - the dates, battles, and treaties. He repeatedly steps back from on-the-ground events to clarify historical trends or patterns, providing a comprehensive look at this engaging era.
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.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
I think the four stars are more because of how interesting and complex the topic is, rather than for the actual analysis. I feel I know a bit more, indeed, and it's hard to make sense of such a complex set of circumstances all over the place. I could have done without the side remarks (no, I'm not impressed at Prof. Weiner's having spent New Year's Eve in Berlin once, or by how he and his wife once saw a rally in Paris. Seriously?) and without the over-emphasizing of half the words in a sentence and without him telling us how professional the people at the TC are. I guess I'm more of a barebones kind of reader.
Poor and too much philosophical HIS OWN views
I cannot even finish listening. I stopped half way.
"Really very good"
Engrossing from beginning to end. Highly focused on the diplomacy (as advertised) which was a nice change from one battle followed by another.
"Interesting but nothing terribly new"
Having previously enjoyed the Great Course on the Italian Renaissance I was expecting a similarly insightful and enjoyable listen with this series. While I was not wholly disappointed the course is not of a standard with my previous one for a number of reasons.
First and foremost Professor Weiner's delivery is not suited to an audiobook. I suspect his odd emphases (particularly overstressing the last word of a sentence seemingly regardless of context) work well in a lecture room when accompanied by visual aids and body language but after a few hours it really started to grate.
Secondly the content seemed a little thin at times. I would have preferred a more detailed look at more events rather than repeated half hour skims across 30 years of a given nation's history.
That said there are some excellent chapters where I learnt much, especially in the mid-century period around Metternich and Bismarck and I would say this is an interesting listen for those with an interest in the subject matter but definitely not for the casual listener who will be confused and irritated.
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