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The Skeptic's Guide to American History Lecture

The Skeptic's Guide to American History

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Woodhouse Santa Monica, CA 10-01-13
    Woodhouse Santa Monica, CA 10-01-13 Member Since 2013

    JeannaRanae

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great to listen to while driving"
    Any additional comments?

    This lecture series was great to listen to while driving to work. It was interesting and the perfect length for my car rides. I would recommend this audiobook to anyone curious about US history.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Y. Taber Fort Collins, CO United States 07-13-16
    Thomas Y. Taber Fort Collins, CO United States 07-13-16 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Lectures and new perspectives!"

    Great Lectures and new perspectives!

    I have a new understanding of US history. I'm looking forward to more lectures.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Gilroy, CA, United States 05-25-16
    Paul Gilroy, CA, United States 05-25-16 Member Since 2010

    Cosmic Dreamer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How surprised do you think you will be?"

    I think I was hoping to hear some really earth-shaking, recently discovered history. Not so much. For example, I thought my feelings about the Civil War (that it really was about slavery ) would be challenged. But except for some substantial nuances, I was mostly reinforced. The deprivations that the Revolutionary Army suffered through I at least had some knowledge of. The way that the Great Depression lasted until WWII has already been well documented.
    So even though I self-identify as a skeptic, I thought I would really be challenged. OTOH, it did fill in a lot of holes in my knowledge so I'm happy to have made this purchase.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 02-19-16
    Michael 02-19-16
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    "Really expands your knowledge of history"

    Very good overview of many historical legends and events. The lecturer is very well spoken and knowledgeable and doesn't have any obvious political bent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark L. Robinson 01-25-16
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    "Realistic View"

    This course presented a realistic view of American History with all the twists and turns and conflicts that defines who we are as Americans. What an eye opener!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Sturm 12-04-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really passionate and informative"

    Very much enjoyed this. I didn't know much about U.S. history going into this, but I was still able to follow everything. The lecturer was also clearly really passionate about the subject matter.
    5/5 stars

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lil' Chantilly 07-18-15 Listener Since 2003
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    "Fantastic discussion of American History!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SEMH 06-02-15
    SEMH 06-02-15
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    "Fascinating and informative"

    Taught me many new ideas about American history and gave me a framework for further study and interpretation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KellysHero718 05-16-15
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    "Not Much Skepticism"

    I had hoped for more from the word skeptic in the title. This was a simple retelling of commonly accepted American history with only minor and infrequent deviation from grade school, one man's opinion. The considerable Russian contribution to the conclusion of WWII was the biggest bit of news.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 05-05-14
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 05-05-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A fresh take, honestly."

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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