This fresh and challenging inquiry into human societies takes a deep look at the effects and roles of war. As the most complex of all human endeavors, warfare - from ancient to modern - has spurred the growth of essential new technologies; demanded the adoption of complex economic systems; shaped the ideology and culture of nations; promoted developments in art and literature; and spread faith across the globe.
Over the course of 48 highly provocative lectures, Professor Roth explores armed conflict across five continents. Far from a traditional approach to military events, this panoramic series is not the history of battles or military campaigns, but the story of the intimate interconnections of war with human cultures and societies and how these connections have shaped history.
You'll study the complex effects of culture, economics, politics, and religion on war - and war's influences on them. In this context, you chart the colorful history of the practice and methodology of warfare. Among many other things, you'll learn about
Probe these pivotal and revealing features of history and deepen your understanding of our extraordinary, evolving world.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This series of lectures is an unapologetic look at warfare as a human condition which explores the ways it developed technologies from the stone age up to the 2000's and how it influenced, and was influenced by, economic, political, social and religious factors.
I've listened to easily about 50 or so lecture series from The Teaching Company and Great Courses and so far this one is my favorite! I've listened to lectures which have covered some of the same topics that he covers, such as early human history, and yet he brings many new details to them that I had not heard elsewhere and is very good at making things interesting.
I would even recommend this to people who aren't as into military history as I am. I think many historians now downplay war as a factor in history to focus more on social change, but this is a mistake as looking at how war has evolved along with human civilization leads to some very fascinating insights on how both have evolved together. For instance, most historians tend to simply accept as a given that iron working was a revolutionary technology, but Roth actually goes into detail about the pros and cons of switching from bronze to iron and why some civilizations, such as the Egyptians, waited for hundreds of years to adopt it.
This course seems more like a survey of World History than the title would suggest. I found the lack of detail regarding both Military and World history often left me wanting more. Given the scope of the course - from the dawn of mankind to the present - I guess this isn't surprising. I stuck it out to the end, but I was more than ready to be done with it.
Only if they are very interested in war and history
This book had great information, I felt that I learned a lot.
Not put in chronological order, maybe this is why I was often confused about when, what, and whom he was talking about. The lecture was hard for me to follow.
First, terrible speaker. His voice ranges from very quiet to very loud. He says "uh" a lot, and seems to forget what he's talking about. Second, he drones on and on about irrelevant, trivial facts at the expense of the bigger picture. Third, he may be a university professor, but he doesn't know his facts. His account of early Islam is alarmingly inaccurate, and elementary. There's a Great Course about Islamic history that attempts to tell the story from a neutral view and does a fair job. This author, however, referenced an incident in early Islamic history of which the only source is laughable at best, having had been written several centuries after the event in question. I don't expect Western historians in the modern era to be entirely accurate or fair when telling Eastern history, especially Islamic history, but that wasn't worthy of a Great Course lecture.
War in Context
Not only does Professor Roth discuss all aspects of warfare from the stone age to the present, including technology, tactics, strategies, training, organization, major historical figures and major events and trends, he also illuminates how war has affected the rest of society and how the rest of society has affected war. Here are just a few examples:
He discusses the adoption of iron not just from a weapons effectiveness point of view, but also from an economic point of view, which was at least as important, if not more so.
He discusses how banking grew out, to a great degree, of the need of European monarchs to finance wars which had become far more expensive due to advances in technologies such as gunpowder.
He discusses how ideology influenced both the successes and failures of Nazi Germany.
The only real negative of the book was the strange emmmphaasisss that Professor Roth often employed, drawing out sooomme words and enunciating otheeerrsss LOUDLY.
Opened my eyes to the full range of factors involved in warfare through the ages. Of special note were the extremely long times it took certain technologies to be properly utilized. For example, when cannons were first placed on ships, they were positioned in the bow in place of a ram, instead of along the side where firepower could be concentrated in a broadside on the opposing ship.
Correct information. Specifically, the lecturer claims that the 20th century is the most bloody century in human history. This is provably wrong. Please see "The Better Angels of our Nature" by Steven Pinker. This is only one example. Avoid this lecturer. He is ignorant of history and makes stupid broad statements regularly. Also some of his statements about the usefulness of military hardware are suspect. He gives no sources, just dismisses them out of hand. Do not expect scholarship. This is opinion shrouded as fact.
Incorrect information and a poor intonation that is exceptionally annoying.
This is the first time I have noticed completely fallacious statements in a TTC series. I am very disappointed.
As a massive audible and great courses fan this is a clear loser.
Don't waste the time or money. If you enjoy useless drone sit in front of your clothes dryer for a few hours - probably more interesting.
"Intriguing research into military history"
Really enjoyed this, especially towards the 20th century era to modern times it really picks up.
All round great performance.
A chapter or two a day is the way!
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