To take a skeptical approach to American history is not to dabble in imaginative conspiracy theories; rather, it's to reframe your understanding of this great nation's past and actually strengthen your appreciation for what makes American history such a fascinating chapter in the larger story of Western civilization. And in this bold 24-lecture series, you can do just that.
Travel back in time and examine many commonly held myths and half-truths about American history and prompt yourself to think about what really happened in the nation's past - as opposed to what many believe happened. These lectures demonstrate how reconsidering some of the most popular notions of U.S. history can yield new (and sometimes startlingly different) interpretations of political, social, economic, and military events. But more than just debunking commonly accepted accounts, you'll be able to replace these misconceptions with insightful truths. Exploring both America's history and the verdicts that have been rendered about some of its most enduring figures - including George Washington, John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and many others - these lectures investigate a wide-ranging list of questions. What impact did other nations have on the American Revolution? Has George Washington always been revered as president? Do we now understand the true blunders in America's Vietnam policies and tactics?
In exploring these and other questions, these lectures prove themselves to be a delightful intellectual experience that will allow you to rethink not just the facts of U.S. history, but also their meaning.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
More of a decent overview of American History. A bit of skeptic stuff thrown in but not much. I expected thorough debunking of commonly held beliefs.
Another Great Courses listen. They are great.
Not much. There were words he used ad nauseum and pronounced incorrectly. It was ridiculously distracting.
Sure. There are plenty of good things in there. I just didn't think it lived up to the title of "Skeptics". Again, was looking for George Washington/cherry tree myth debunking type things.
Someone whose only exposure to history is what they 'learned' in public schools. For those with no additional exposure to history this would be an ok starting point, but his skepticism is borderline at best.
The idiotic explanation of the Great Depression
I found this book puerile at best. Professor Stoler has either never heard of, or is deliberately avoiding discussion of some of the most important aspects of American History to wit:
1. the role of the bankers and establishment politicians in destroying the anti-federalist papers, and forcing votes, including kidnapping representatives to obtain a quorum for votes during the constitutional ratification process
2. The extensive correspondence between Robt. E. Lee and Lord Acton concerning the need to rein in the US federal government and the dire consequences for the world if this was not done (how prescient of them!)
3. Anything other than warmed over Keynsian-light economics regarding the Great Depression e.g. Murray Rothbard's tome on that subject, or anything by Von Mises or Von Hayek.
4, the recently declassified documents showing that Roosevelt ordered a course that would force the Japanese to attack including firing all the commanders the month before Pearl Harbor because they objected to their forces being, 'sitting ducks.'
No, this is not a skeptic's history. This is a slight alteration of the standard government issued history.
A nice crash course that starts at the beginning. If the idea of a "sceptic's" approach to studying history is new to you, and you studied history only in high school, some of the facts presented will make you look at many events in a completely new way. I've spent the last year reading history, and still, at least 60% of his material was new to me. I felt like his economic analysis of the Roosevelt years was sound, but overlooked a several facts that led Paul Krugman to what I think is a more convincing conclusion in Krugman's "Conscience Of A Liberal". I found the material on the early republic and the 19th century to be fascinating. Especially important is the fact that the United States was never intended to be have the system that is does today. The way that I was tought history was that the founders wanted a completely democratic nation with equal opportunity for all, religious tolerance, and poplar government. If you still believe this myth, I recommend checking out these lectures.
I sometimes need a cure for insomnia, so I might try another book for that purpose.
I might try if by a different author
The material was pedestrian. The supposed myths about American history are not myths held by anyone who has ever picked up a history book on their own volition. They might be held by someone with no interest in history. In that case they are unlikely to buy this book.
It was disappointing and painful to listen to this slow and belabored recitation of elementary history. It was like like dying of thirst trying to drink from a faucet that drips out one drop of water a minute.
It could be helpful to rate history or other non-fiction as "Beginner", "Intermediate", "Advanced".
I knew most of the issues that were raised on this course. But what I had not been aware of what the ramifications and consequences before and after these common myth.
I thoroughly enjoyed this recap of U.S. history, with a fresh point of view on the most important controversies. While some of the myths dismissed by this course have long since been debunked, others were news to me. In particular, I was surprised to learn that the Battle of Gettysburg was not nearly as crucial as I had been led to believe by the movie with Martin Sheen.
Professor Mark Stoler is a very compelling speaker, and did a much better job of holding my attention than most of my college professors.
Wish that high school history had been this interesting. Never did like to memorize dry, boring dates. Sucked all the fun out of history. Listen to this lecture and think about the subject being discussed. It will broaden your perspective.
The course is well constructed, provides significant insight into our collective past and is entertaining.
If you appreciate history, you'll enjoy this selection.
I appreciated the details on alternate points of view and the discussion on the political and societal perspective at the time of each historical event or era.
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