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Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century Lecture

Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century

From the trenches of World War I to Nazi Germany to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the 20th century was a time of unprecedented violence. Yet while such monumental violence seems senseless, it is not inexplicable. If we can understand the origins of violence, we may prevent even greater horrors in the century to come. These 24 necessary lectures trace the violent history of the 20th century, beginning with its early roots in the American and, especially, the French revolutions.
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Publisher's Summary

From the trenches of World War I to Nazi Germany to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the 20th century was a time of unprecedented violence. Yet while such monumental violence seems senseless, it is not inexplicable. If we can understand the origins of violence, we may prevent even greater horrors in the century to come.

These 24 necessary lectures trace the violent history of the 20th century, beginning with its early roots in the American and, especially, the French revolutions. With each passing lecture, you will see how the 20th century's-violence was the result of specific historical developments that eventually combined, with explosive results.

You'll see how

  • the French Revolution proved that ideological movements could mobilize the public and, through violence, transform society;
  • the Industrial Revolution and subsequent technology created vastly more powerful weapons; and
  • Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection was perverted into Social Darwinism and eugenics.

The most sinister development of all, however, was the notion that utopia was not just a perfect paradise to look forward to in the afterlife. Instead, utopia could be built right now, in this life. Such 20th-century ideologies as Marxism, Nazism, Communism, and Fascism embraced this idea willingly - even enthusiastically - and used terror to implement it.

You'll see how leaders of totalitarian governments act as mobsters, and how regimes create fear and command allegiance through the use of bureaucratic "machines," such as the cult of the leader, secret police, and the media. In the final lectures, Professor Liulevicius considers recent figures such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and assesses terrorism in the contemporary world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses

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  •  
    MasterPsych Louisiana 11-10-13
    MasterPsych Louisiana 11-10-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Lecture Series"
    Where does Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The thread that haunted my understanding of modern history is why so many utopian dreams degenerate into mass murder, aggressive suppression of human rights and war.. At last, here is a rational and well documented explanation that gets away from the petty details in individual events that weighs down the usual histories. Utopian-ism is bound to fail because its components (unreasonable promises, the making of opposition illegal and inevitable terror) at always seen as necessary and used to justify all forms of crime. This should be heard by everyone.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Cohen 12-22-15
    David Cohen 12-22-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    0
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    "Informative"

    Professor is well spoken and unbiased. Good overview of communism, Islamist and nazism. Would recommend.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew E Troupe 06-12-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding content"

    Definitely worth your time! You'll probably learn things you didn't know about these totalitarian regimes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deep Reader 03-24-14
    Deep Reader 03-24-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    961
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    385
    315
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    "The Last Stretch of Modern History"

    This course explores the biggest global movers and shakers of the twentieth century, covering events leading to the World Wars up to the first Gulf War. While the Professor tries to present ideas in unbiased form, it is obvious that he is strongly biased against some of them.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • DaveW
    11/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Same old rather lame perspective"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This is an academic-centric version, rather than an objective history.

    What in particular is unforgivable is the omission of the Oxford Union King or Country debate, when on the topic of Hitler's motivating factors in the 30's.

    It smacks of an academic conveniently side stepping his own profession's culpability.


    What other book might you compare Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century to, and why?

    Churchill's diaries. Churchill could 'write'.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The subject it covers is fine, but how can't you trust what is a version?


    Any additional comments?

    As a rule, I love the Great Course's series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    11/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfect balance"

    This presentation was one of the most informative I have listened too. The presentation has added greatly to my understanding of this important period .A perfect balance between detailed information historical events and dates made for compelling listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    12/6/14
    Overall
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    Story
    "Excellent"

    A lot better than I thought and my only complaint is I wanted more. A broad overview of idealistic movements devolving into, well words don't do it justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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