These 48 lectures are your chance to relive the most groundbreaking moments in the fascinating story of the United States. They offer you a different perspective on the sweeping narrative of U.S. history. Spanning the arrival of the first English colonists to the chaos of the Civil War to the birth of the computer age and beyond, this lecture series is a captivating and comprehensive tour of those particular moments in the story of America, after which the nation would never be the same again.
Taking a chronological approach, Professor O'Donnell gives you new ways to understand American history and to appreciate it as a grand narrative pinpointed with key moments that changed things forever. Each lecture focuses on a single turning point, explaining the conditions that led up to it, immersing you in the experience of the event itself, and exploring its immediate and long-term ramifications.
Among the great turning points you'll investigate in depth are the trial of John Peter Zenger (1735), which popularized the ideas that freedom of the press is essential to liberty; the battle of Antietam (1862), which eliminated the possibility of England and France intervening on behalf of the Confederacy; and the Watergate scandal (1974), which signaled a heightened level of public distrust toward elected officials. Along the way, Professor O'Donnell often dispels some intriguing myths and half-truths about American history and provides an honest, unabashed look at the subject matter. These lectures are packed with unfamiliar anecdotes, stories, and side notes that just may change your views on the grand narrative of American history.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
I have listened to over 60 titles from the Great Courses series. They are almost universally wonderful, but of course a few professors rise to the top as my favorites. Professor O'Donnell has jumped to the top of that list. He is both incredibly organized and incredibly entertaining. Each of the lectures starts with a story, sets out objectives, and makes a strong and logical case for it's topic as a true turning point in history. Some of the turning points (such as the Boston Tea Party) would classify as "the usual suspects" (though not necessary for the reasons you expect), and others (such the eradication of hookworm in the South) are delightful surprises. O'Donnell's pace is consistently perfect.
You will be entertained. You will be informed. You will be a better citizen. 5 Stars for sure.
It has just enough information to make it interesting but not so much to put you to sleep. I also liked how he went in chronological order. I also liked how he structured each lecture with a story to begin with, then the objectives, the actual lecture and then why this particular event was a "Turning Point in History". Very well done.
I can't think of one I've enjoyed more of this type of audiobook. It was long - 36 chapters, I believe, but it flew by.
I can't think of one in particular but I enjoyed that history was presented in a way that showed the cumulative effect if has even now.
I do want to speak to a review that said it was at a High School level. That is somewhat true and perhaps because it's been a while since I've been in high school but I learned a lot I didn't know or had forgotten. The parts that were well known to most of us still had relevance to the Turning Point in History that was being presented.
Amy Life long avid reader, especially of poetry, literary and popular fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense, and some non-fiction.
This is my first Great Courses book and I am very impressed with professor and with the content! As I result, I am encouraged to continue with the Great Courses series. This may well be the best non-fiction choice I have made. The narration was excellent because the professor was enthusiastic about his subject.
I did not have a "favorite character" in history, but these lectures helped me understand that history is not only a "story of surprises" as the professor explains, but that the history of our country is a constantly evolving process. It has been said that life can only be lived forward and learned backward. Looking back at these turning points gives me a wide perspective of American history and a greater appreciation for current events.
I was fascinated to learn about the eradication of the hookworm epidemic in the South. Who would have thought that hookworms could affect the health and economy of an entire region of the US and that the our public health system resulted from that event.
Hurrah! for the Founding Fathers
I have ancestors who lived in Connecticut before the Revolution. As I pondered the events of American history, it made these people come alive for me. I more was able to see daily life as they may have seen it.
I have listened to almost 100 of The Great Courses over the last 10 years or so and this one ranks within the Top 5! Professor O'Donnell clearly knows his subject matter plus he is a superb presenter. The lectures are clear, well organized, and fast paced. There are 48 lectures, which certainly seems like a lot, but each one goes by very quickly. I really liked the mixture of very well-known and little known episodes in American history. It also has a nice mix of political, military, economic, and social historical episodes so it always seems fresh.
Ideally one would have a basic grasp of American history overall before starting this series, but frankly it isn't absolutely necessary. Enjoy!
Felt like a seminar with a wise , low key leader. Helped me let go of some of my predujices and preconceptions. Optimistic rather than fateful view of events.
Knows his history!
This is not a story but rather an examination of events in the history of America that the professor feels constitutes turning points -- had this event not happened, or it had turned out differently, our history may have turned out far different than it did.
There is no book to accompany this version of The Great Courses audio.
One event that stood out in particular was the section on Roger Williams, who in my opinion was the first of the early colonists to truly bring religious liberty to America. The charter of the Providence Colony did not require belief in a particular doctrine or mandatory church attendance. A man ahead of his time, and a man we need today.
I hated history in school so I missed a lot of these events and the significance of them. The lecturer was excellent. He kept the discussions fair and balanced, always presenting both sides in fair light.
No. Prof O'Donnell may be a good professor, I don't know, but he doesn't know how to craft a narrative, and he delivers everything as if he was reading from a book.
If you never took an American history class in college, this might be a decent choice for you. Otherwise, if you're like me, you won't find anything interesting, insightful, or new about this book. It just spins the same old yarn that you learned throughout high school and college delivered like a bedtime story.
The episodes themselves are intrinsically interesting.
The lectures are glib and unanalytical. They are like soundbites on radio between programs.
I fast-forwarded through many of the lectures. In fairness, some of them were interesting. But generally they were at a high school level.
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