What were the forces that thrust the British Empire to its extraordinary position of greatness and then just as powerfully drove it into decline? And why is nearly every nation on earth, in one way or another, the consequence of the British Empire?
In these 36 lectures, Professor Allitt leads you through four centuries of British power, innovation, influence, and, ultimately, diminishment - four profound centuries that literally remade the world and bequeathed the complex global legacy that continues to shape your everyday life. This is a remarkable lecture series; one that will give you fresh insights into world history in a wide range of areas - political, economic, technological, social, and more. And it will also give you a comprehensive overview you won't find offered anywhere else - a context into which you can integrate new knowledge about this country, as well as understand the background of current events in so many other countries that were once part of Britain's empire, from Ireland to China, and in Africa and the Caribbean. Indeed, it seems fair to say that one cannot truly understand the most important aspects of world history without a firm grasp of the history of the British Empire. In giving you that grasp, these lectures draw on a vast range of critical events, riveting personalities, revealing anecdotes, and eloquent quotations.
Compelling, comprehensive, and astonishing in the force of its narrative power, each lecture will give you a refreshing new understanding of what made the British Empire both great in its achievements and vulnerable to its eventual downfall.
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.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
Professor Patrick N. Allitt's clear and easy-to-understand presentation on the history of the British Empire.
It gave me a good prospective on world history esp. between the world wars.
I would recommend this to anybody interested in British history. It is easy to follow, with key events well presented.
I would for someone interested in history
I liked that each of the lectures were generally around 30 minutes. Each lecture was well organized and presented in an easy to understand manner.
He does bring to life many interesting topics, such as Britain's various colonial occupations of India, Australia, the US, Canada, Egypt and the Middle East, South Africa, West Indies. The more modern chapters were particularly compelling, particularly how Britain ultimately dissolved the empire in India/Pakistan and Israel/Jordan/Palestine/Egypt.
Many, but the chapters most interesting were on Africa - Boer War, finding Dr. Livingston, Egypt.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
The full consequences of the rise and (perhaps especially) the fall of the British Empire are still very much unfolding in our world. In Africa and the Middle East especially, the transformation to independence has been so recent that no historian can give true perspective to the influences, rights, and wrongs of the Age of Empire.
That said, it seems to me that Professor Allitt's course is very comprehensive and as balanced as any modern European historian's can be at this point. I learned a tremendous amount and am so glad for the recent inclusion of "The Great Courses" series into the Audible library.
There are 400 years of stories in this (some familiar, some not), well organized and very entertainingly presented. My husband has been abruptly disturbed many times by my exclamations of "did you know?" and "can you believe?" and "wow, I didn't know that!"- always a sign that I'm deeply involved in an absorbing and valuable listening experience!
This is certainly a wonderful overview of a long arc of history which has so influenced the development of today's political map. The evolving and widely differing motives and opinions about empire are presented with modern sensibilities (of course), but also with an attempt to recapture the mindset of the times, both in Britain and in the countries of the Empire. Non-Western historians no doubt have differing points of view, ones of equal value, but this is a great introduction to the complexities that have defined the age of imperialism.
Whether inclined or not to agree with his perspective and his conclusions, I believe anyone will benefit from listening to Professor Allitt!
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This is a course that explores the history of the British Empire without glorification or condemnation, giving a balanced look at both the good and the bad. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Have not seen the print version.
He delivers the lectures in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable manner. Very listenable despite the complexity of the subject manner.
Yes! I listened to it as much as I possibly could over the last several days, and many times drove longer routes so I could listen in the car.
Just wonderful. I recommend it very highly. My only complaint is that it brought up so many interesting topics and ideas and perspectives that I have more avenues of interest to pursue now than I have time for :)
Flowing, well-structured, enjoyable voice
He goes to great lengths to appear impartial. This can get frustrating over time because tidbits of positivity are sprinkled liberally through otherwise grave episodes in history. A good example is his anecdote about how 'house slaves' were treated more favourably then 'field slaves' on the plantations. Fine, maybe so, but I'd rather hear more about the awfulness of slavery, and for him to outright say that it was awful. Also, he cites Niall Ferguson and other celebrants of empire quite regularly. Would be good to hear some references to post-colonial historians. Overall though, a fantastic series.
This review is more a reflection on the idea of "the great courses" than the actual content of this audiobook. I could not get through half of it as the information was shot at me in sporadic stints of haphazard lumps. The presenter jumps frequently through time and space and subject. There is no opportunity to absorb anything or even to be entertained and reflect on a gladwell-ian attempt at perspective.
I for one will be staying away from these lectures as a whole from here on out.
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