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The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations | [The Great Courses]

The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations

Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals. Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.
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Publisher's Summary

Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals.

Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.

This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and scholar sheds new light on this critical period by exploring the political, social, cultural, and economic revolutions that transformed Europe between the arrival of the Black Death in the 14th century to the onset of the Enlightenment in the 18th century.

It explains

  • how these startling changes came about;
  • the social, economic, and political factors that helped steer Europe away from the Middle Ages and into the modern world;
  • the kinds of patterns we can see during this time; and
  • how these centuries were critical to the entire narrative of history and have contributed to the Western world we know today.

Professor Fix covers a remarkable breadth of subjects relating to European history from 1348 to 1715. While religion, politics, wars, and economics dominate this period, he also pays close attention to art, exploration, science, and technology.

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

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  •  
    Carlos Perry New York, NY United States 09-12-13
    Carlos Perry New York, NY United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent! (...but the ending could be improved)"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations to be better than the print version?

    No idea. I didn't read the print version.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The narration is very good, the organization of the lectures is excellent. Key points are well emphasized so you end the course with a solid "big picture" perspective of several centuries. The ending was disappointing however. I'm not sure why, but I was caught up in the political and religious themes that dominate most of the course, and when science came towards the end it was a difficult transition. For me the best parts were Professor Fix's deep dive into the drama of the Reformation, as well as the reasons why different political traditions formed in each European nation during the Renaissance. You'll swear it's Bill Clinton speaking to you at times...uncanny how much he and Professor Fix sound alike! But then at the very end it just seems...to end. No summary of the course, wrap up of key points made over the 30 odd hours you spent listening. I wish there had been a final 30 minute session devoted just to summarizing the course. Hint hint...


    What does Professor Andrew C. Fix bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Just a naturally good lecturing style. Emphasis at the right points. Not overly dramatic. Very easy to listen to. I'm struggling to get through "The English Novel" now simply because of the narration style...so it drives home the point of how important the narration is for these courses.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The entire discussion around the Reformation. Speaking as a non-practicing Protestant, it made me uncomfortable with all Protestant denominations not to mention the Catholic Church. Professor Fix makes it crystal clear why Luther and others like the Calvinists found a ripe audience for their movements against Catholicism. When you hear about the "Indulgences Crisis" you'll see just how much the Catholic Church deserved the Reformation! But every movement was corrupted and became to some degree intolerant and oppressive. The only characters that, for me, emerge from this entire narrative as "noble" are the political minds that formed the Dutch republic. I had never really considered how remarkable Holland was for its ability to form Europe's (the world's) first republic. I'd like an entire course now on the political history of the Netherlands!


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent experience, excellent value. Would really suggest a final session that summarizes the course...not just this course but all the Great Courses.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Logical Paradox 03-09-14 Member Since 2009

    Irrational, but True

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    "Underwhelming Presentation"

    I just started this course, so this is only an initial reaction.

    I'm a big fan of history and this period in European history is one I've tended to veer away from because it seemed to me to always come across so dull. More recently I've become quite interested in events like the 30 Years War, the Northern Wars, and the power struggles between the Italian city-states prior to unification of Italy. So, I was quite excited to start this course.

    I love the Great Courses by the Teaching company, but I'm not very impressed with Prof. Andrew C. Fix. I'm admittedly only 4 lectures in, but it's very slow going and the lectures seem very poorly structured. The first lecture ends seemingly out of nowhere. He just stops and then the lecture ends and he starts again in the next. Worse, his delivery is poor. Prof. Fix has a very... homely... style of speaking. I found him inarticulate and vague in his description of the crises of the 14th century leading up to the Renaissance and his description of the Milanese and Venetian contests for power in Northern Italy, he twice used the phrase "went on the warpath" to describe the military expansionism of the two nations. He uses very ambiguous language at times like in describing a city state as having "not a huge army". His coverage of the 100 Years War was choppy and incomplete--granted it was only a brief overview to provide some backdrop to the content of the course, but even in that context I found it lacking. His attempt to explain the Black Death was really poor. He often seems to just avoid detail and use

    I'm going to continue with the course, and hopefully I'll get enough out of it to make the time worth it. Maybe it gets better. I might update this review after I've finished the course to give a more complete opinion.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilinca Romania 10-17-13
    Ilinca Romania 10-17-13 Member Since 2010
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    "very good"

    Informative and easy to read, indeed. Little in-depth analysis, but with the sheer amount of data, no wonder. I felt it failed to tie a few knots, but overall a good read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirsty 10-01-13
    Kirsty 10-01-13
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    "Fantastic while visiting Europe"
    If you could sum up The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, engaging, and memorable


    What did you like best about this story?

    I listened to this download while traveling in France for six weeks. It is a fantastic series of lectures, and helps get both historical and modern Europe in focus. The professor is engaging, full of humanity, and I am far more confident now of both the linear history and the intertwining strands through the continent. I hope there is another series coming from Professor Fix.


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

    Not possible


    Any additional comments?

    Recommended for people who may be touring Europe and looking at historical sites - they will get so much more out of the trip

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    richard los angeles, cA, United States 08-06-13
    richard los angeles, cA, United States 08-06-13 Member Since 2004
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    "I enjoyed this overview"

    I found this series of lectures informative, well delivered and much more interesting that I had expected. If you are looking to brush up on this fascinating and deeply interconnected period of history, or to delve into it for the first time, I think it's a good listen.
    Each lecture is short, to the point and easy to reference.
    The total time is not 90+ hour by the way...
    Each of the 4 parts are about 6 hrs, so we're talking roughly 24 hrs of listening time.
    94 is a bit extreme.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 12-20-14
    Matt Parkdale, Australia 12-20-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Great Stories & Insights - Easy to Absorb"

    I'm constantly amazed at what you can get for the cost of a monthly membership. I think I'll go back to this and listen again several times over.

    I like to listen when I'm doing other stuff - gym, cooking, driving, falling asleep etc. I tend to judge an audio book on how well I can absorb it when my attention is divided. While I definitely found myself having to rewind over some key sections quite a few times, it passed my listenability test with flying colours. It became one of those 'can't put it down' titles.

    I was almost totally ignorant of the Renaissance before I listened to this. I just had a rough idea of the dates, where it all kicked off and a few of the major players. I thought, I really should know at least a little about the Renaissance. After one listen I'm sure I now know more about it and the profound ways it influenced the Western world than anyone I know, and almost anyone I'm likely to meet.

    Prof. Fix's delivery is not as polished as some of the other history lecturers contributing to this series. Quite a few ums and errs. He has a more casual and perhaps irreverent style. He's very engaging nevertheless, while giving a deep, scholarly set of lectures covering some complicated issues.

    I really like the way he manages to keep it light and easy going for the most part. Never stuffy or boring.

    One thing I've come to appreciate about audio history lectures is that the pace at which material is presented and how it's then referred back to is important. I've listened to a few where I've not been able to keep up. This is well paced and I don't recall struggling to recall people and events from earlier lectures he referred back to.

    He tells great stories, gives really deep insights and does a marvellous job of piecing together many pieces of a complicated jigsaw puzzle.

    A major theme of the lectures is the religious feuding that gripped post medieval Europe, the fragmentation of Christendom and the birth of the various Protestant branches.

    If you're at all interested in the history of Christianity and how it influenced national boundaries and government you'll love it.

    Even if you've studied the Renaissance I think you'll learn heaps from it. I certainly did.

    Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tha U 10-04-14
    Tha U 10-04-14
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    "He can tell the story very well."
    What made the experience of listening to The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations the most enjoyable?

    Except for 1-2 of first few chapters are kind of boring, Prof Cox got better in the rest of the chapters


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations?

    Italian renaissance


    What about Professor Andrew C. Fix’s performance did you like?

    Good presentation


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

    NO for firs a few chapters, BUT yes for the latter parts


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric C. Erickson Washington, DC United States 09-27-14
    Eric C. Erickson Washington, DC United States 09-27-14 Member Since 2013

    AxelDC

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    "Tedious"
    What did you like best about The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations? What did you like least?

    I love European history but the Renaissance is one my weaker areas. I was very interested in learning more, but Prof. Fix is a terrible lecturer. He labors over the simplest points, using 10 words when one would do. For example, he describes how the Florentine banking industry developed to finance Florentine wool trade across Europe. Instead of simple stating this, he spends 10 minutes talking about how you need to trade pounds for florins to do business. I think anyone who has stepped out of the country does not need a remedial lesson in currency exchange, but Fix spends 1/3 of a lecture on it.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I'm still struggling to get through this. I think it ends with Napoleon or something.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get a better lecturer. Is this seriously the best Renaissance history professor you could find?


    Was The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations worth the listening time?

    For subject matter, yes. For delivery, no, it is one of the worst of the Great Courses history programs I've heard.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Nell
    United Kingdom
    10/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Below standard"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone with little grasp of any history and who enjoys a very homespun delivery with limited analysis.


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    These courses could have been better written, the context better understood and conveyed to the listener. Analysis needed to reach a higher standard. There were a number of historical howlers and was very poor on the English Reformation.


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Andrew C. Fix?

    Not applicable for this work.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Very few.


    Any additional comments?

    Suggest the lecturer go back to basics and rewrite the whole thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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