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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses
I am a television editor and producer. There are so many ways to tell a story, but novel writing is the purest form. I am working on my first novel. It is the hardest yet most satisfying endeavor of my life so far.
I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture series. Although this course had its fair share of specific dates and events, the context and overview of the time period made them relevant and easier to comprehend.
The19th century was a pivotal and complex time and Europe was the most powerful and volatile continent. A lot happened.
Professor Weiner is a master of the topic. He offers great insights into the trends of humanity, the effects of the events that shaped 19th century Europe and its impact on the 20th century and beyond.
I had a difficult time keeping track of all the political and social systems that came into play during this century because many were launched and tried during this tumultuous time. If I were to follow the book recommendations of the professor I'm sure I'd have a clearer understanding of 19th century liberalism, early anarchism and socialism - to name a familiar few.
This was my first experience with the "Great Courses" lecture series and I can only hope that my next one will be as informative and fulfilling.
Much too slow, much too simple. The speed of speaking isn't thoughtfully slow, but rather sounds like he adds unnatural pauses in between words in case his audience is trying to write everything down. The amount of information included in each sentence is , to the point where it sounds like he's just trying to fill up time by putting in filler sentences that restate the obvious. I can only guess that he's trying to make the lectures as simple as possible, but nothing for adults is ever this simplistic. Average middle school students (and probably younger children) would find this easy.
I've listened to perhaps ten "Great Courses" audiobooks, and have never found it so hard to keep going. Right now I'm at lecture four and feel like every minute has been a waste of my time. Don't know how long I'll keep listening.
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.
This is one of the best Great Courses, I have listened to many. The narration is engaging and perfectly paced, despite what some others have said. This filled in many holes of my historical understanding of the era and the build up to WWI. Very very good and I will be looking for more lectures by the same professor.
I have sat through countless hours of classroom lecture on the subject of WWI. I have read the best books and discussed this time period many times in the last few decades of my family and professional life. I have never heard a more precise and believable account of the proximate causes of that wars breakout in 1914 than this.
If for no other reason than to gain an understanding of how the tragedy of WWI could occur, listen.
Darn good course and I have an MA in the subject. I am still a little fuzzy about the Bismarck alliance system but who isn't? I am 67 years old but I wish I could be an undergraduate again and take these courses. This course puts me back in the classroom.
I love this lectures, they are comprehensive, the professor is an excellent lecturer. I expect to continue audiobooks on this subjects.
Not only was he very animated and captivating, but he made a great effort to tell the history of more than just the great, important politicians, but also the common folk and ethnic minorities.
A very thorough overview of the 19th century, giving varied perspectives with the understanding that history is seen through an ever changing lens of interpretation; also, provided suggested further readings on a number of the different topics covered. The outline of the course was nicely arranged to give depth and cover many of the various dimensions of Europe during this time period.
"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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