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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

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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
  •  
    RealTruth Investor Relations, MN 12-08-16
    RealTruth Investor Relations, MN 12-08-16 Member Since 2011

    RealTruth

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    "puzzling"

    There is some good and bad in this title. One of the authors' main points is that history doesn't repeat itself and if we think so, we are misjudging current events. He also makes light of what he believes to be a fallacy: that the computer is the "most important invention in the history of the world", adducing as evidence the identical demotic cry heard with the invention of the: steamboat, telegraph, telephone, TNT, electricity, automobile, nuclear power, and jet technology in the 1950s. He emphasizes the importance of re-examining and re-interpreting the past.

    Those his methodologies seem sound, his views are arrantly slanted. In discussing other historical events, such as wars and politics, although he does criticize both political parties, he tends to take the view more of an outright liberal like Bernie Sanders as opposed to that of many conservatives. I don't know his background but he appears to not have had any personal family stake in most of these pre-20th century wars.

    However, what is most puzzling to me is why Mr. Stoler seems to criticize the American participation in wars such as the Mexican American war, the Spanish American, the War of 1812, and Vietnam, despite the fact that as an apparent American citizen, he directly benefits from the results of these conflicts, not to mention most of the parties on both sides. He cities "virtuous" Mexican army solders calling American militia men scoundrels, plays down all the good done in the Caribbean by the United States defeating the Spanish, and doesn't mention the victory of the 1812 War which gave America most of the Western United States and stopped harassment of shipping. He also forgets the outcome of the Vietnam war was highly influenced by detrimental government protesters in the US seeking to avoid the draft, and Chinese and Soviet military hegemony, the later of which no doubt had a great influence on the forces of Ho Chi Min. How many Vietnamese friends that you know, in the US, or elsewhere, are communists?

    1 of 1 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 2017
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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
  •  
    Joshua 05-27-15
    Joshua 05-27-15
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    "Interesting, If Not Deeply Skeptical History"

    Stoler is an insightful historian and a captivating lecturer, but only someone very new to American History will find their beliefs significantly altered. Still, I enjoyed every lecture; Stoler makes it interesting to learn things I mostly already know. He discusses events running the range of American History, while clearly explaining relevant subjects like economics, warfare, politics and historiography. I especially liked his analogy of the blackboard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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