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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
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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
  •  
    P. Smith 04-27-14
    P. Smith 04-27-14 Member Since 2013

    ps

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    "Not much of a skeptic."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    Has The Skeptic's Guide to American History turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Skeptic's Guide to American History?

    The idiotic explanation of the Great Depression


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    50 of 79 people found this review helpful

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