For much of the past five centuries, the history of the European continent has been a history of chaos, its civilization thrown into turmoil by ferocious wars or bitter religious conflicts - sometimes in combination - that have made and remade borders, created and eliminated entire nations, and left a legacy that is still influencing our world.
This 36-lecture series from an award-winning teacher and honored scholar pursues an explanation for this chaos that goes beyond the obvious ones of political ambition, religious intolerance, the pursuit of state power, or the fear of another state's aspirations. In pursuing that explanation, Professor Liulevicius offers everyone interested in the "why" of history a remarkable look into the evolution of the European continent and the modern state system. His provocative lectures allow us to peer through the revealing lens of statecraft to show us its impact on war, peace, and power and how that impact may well be felt in the future.
As you learn to examine key points on history's diplomatic timeline in the context of attempting to establish - successfully and not - a lasting idea of order in the European world, you'll begin to grasp the key Professor Liulevicius offers to understanding the dynamics of international politics. And you'll see how such key concepts as the balance of power, power itself, sovereignty, and "reason of state" - the raison d'état first enunciated by France's powerful Cardinal Richelieu - fit into those dynamics.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
The back references to earlier occurring events and how those might have influenced more current decisions.
Interesting that this course covers roughly the time up to about 2007, the post-cold-war time.
In some cases I wished for more details, to make the "stories" more personal or connectable to.
not much about "being moved" in a "course".
compared to "The Development of European Civilization". Covers a similar topic and time-span but with a completely different focus. I suggest having both. I have the feeling the this course here ("Diplomacy") should be heard first and the "Development" later -- for some reason I think that goes more into some interesting details and it's good to have the overview first.
Professor Liulevicius gives an engaging overview of 500 years of the politics that changed the course of world history. From the Holy Roman Empire, to the rise of Napolean (and his not so successful nephew) to the emergence of the United States as the dominant "European power". The professor spruces up his lectures with plenty of biographical information and historical anecdotes. Stories about Charles V's obsession with clocks or Frederick the Great's excessive coffee consumption, or even retellings of bizzare events such as the "defenestration of Prague" make the course that much more exciting. Liulevicius is obviously obsessed and his passion for diplomatic history is infectious.
One of the new things I learned from this course was the crucial role of the ubiquitous Hapsburgs in European affairs. It seemed that behind every major turning point in European history there stood a Hapsburg; the family played a major role in events first as Holy Roman Emperors, then as kings of Spain. In addition, the French-Mexican War, the Seven Year’s War and even WWI all started or ended because of tragedy in the family.
My only complaint is that I wish the course had been longer; treatment of WWII and the Cold War seemed a bit rushed in comparison to his recounting of prior periods. However, at 18 hours, this course is already considerably longer than many of The Great Courses, we can at least be thankful for that.
Outstanding European History
Otto von Bismarck
He explains things very clearly, and makes the complex seem simple to understand.
This is one of the Great Courses by the Teaching Company. They're long, and involved. But if you really want to understand the subject, there are no better ways to learn.
I learned so much in this class. I knew the basics of what happened in history but this did a great job of telling why events unfolded in history and what the different perspectives were.
The class was well taught, and the narration never got bogged down
He seemed very Knowledgeable about the subject and made the class fun
No, the different lectures would be too much for one setting.
Professor Liulevicius is insightful and a pure genius at putting the threads of history together into an intertwining whole. Highly recommend this and any of his lectures!
Enjoyed the book and understanding more about European unity. The presentation was easy on the ears and the speaker has good inflection in his voice. Another great course.
The subjects are covered in a rather superficial manner.
Turning points in middle eastern history.
Probably yes, by treating events in depth.
it highlighted important events.
I found myself to often unable to stay focused on the lectures and was constantly having to go back three or four minutes at a time to catch up on what I'd missed
"An excellent overview of European Diplomacy"
I found this to be another excellent course from the Great Courses. Clearly covering 400 years means that it inevitably skims the subject matter somewhat but that is its brief so fair enough. What I found pleasing was the interesting angle that taking the diplomatic view of the period gave. Professor Liulevicius clearly explains the motivations of the states involved, especially the Great Powers and also why they came to those motives.
"Sweeping overview, but fascinating nevertheless"
This lecture series covers diplomatic history from 1500 - 2000. With such a wide scale of time you know going in you won't get many of the nitty gritty details, but the prof gives a very good overview of diplomatic paradigms, and a couple of up close inspections of characters and treaties. The most interesting for me was the formation of Italy and Germany, and the decline of the Hapsburg Austrian dynasty.
Practical aspects of diplomacy are covered (such as when diplomats started living in the places they were ambassadors to) as well as diplomatic theories that help explain lots of events in terms of sweeping "balance of power" machinations. Very worth listening to, unless you already know a lot of European history, in which case it may be better to listen to something on a particular topic instead.
I wholeheartedly recommend it!
"Mission impossible, mission accomplished"
Prof. Liulevicius is at his brilliant best in this fast paced account of European political history. If you are not at all familiar with European history you may struggle to keep up, there is so much ground to cover, notwithstanding there being all of 36 lectures here. But it should be well worth the effort. And if you have heard it all before, these lectures still make an ideal condensed refresher course, leavened by the Prof's wry style and light touch despite his seemingly all encompassing knowledge.
"Rigorous yet approachable"
Gives a great overview of the history of Europe and it's relevance to the state of the world as it is.
It's fascinating hearing about the history of the countries and their diplomacy, seeing the borders change and nations rise and fall. These lectures give a sense of perspective to the system of diplomacy in Europe, both at the large scale of nations and at the scale of individual diplomats.
I particularly liked that the first lecture is almost completely devoted to defining terms and setting a rational starting point for the discussion of the subject matter.
Professor Liulevicius is a fantastic lecturer, always speaking clearly and concisely, while constructing the lectures in a logical way. He also adds a touch of humour at points, with anecdotes and the like, which helps give a relatable feel to these lectures.
In conclusion I would highly recommend these lectures to anyone interested in the subject matter, and would also recommend Professor Liulevicius' lectures of the first world war, which I also own.
"A good perspective on Europe"
I learned much about the complex story of Europe in this 500 year overview of how we got to where the continent is now. For the first time in my life I was introduced to the 17th century Treaty of Westphalia. My life will never be the same !
An excellent primer for those who want to explore the sweep of historical developments in the key area of the world until the mid 20th century. It has certainly altered my preconceptions.
A most enjoyable read which is both informative and thought provoking. The American language and pronunciations was a little off putting.
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