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.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
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.
Though I enjoyed the overall tone and general themes, I found myself wanting more comprehensive detail, especially during the earlier lectures covering the pre-1815 era. The lectures would have benefited from a more narrow temporal focus in my opinion.
Yes--I love the premise behind and execution of the Great Courses
Yes. Prof, Liulevicius presented all characters in a clear, concise and interesting manner.
"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!
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