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World War I: The Great War | [The Great Courses]

World War I: The Great War

Touched off by a terrorist act in Bosnia and spreading all too quickly beyond the expectations of those who were involved, World War I was an unprecedented catastrophe with a ghastly cost. After this first "total war"-the first conflict involving entire societies mobilized to wage unrestrained war, devoting all their wealth, industries, institutions, and the lives of their citizens to win victory at any price - the world itself would never be the same.
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Publisher's Summary

Touched off by a terrorist act in Bosnia and spreading all too quickly beyond the expectations of those who were involved, World War I was an unprecedented catastrophe with a ghastly cost. After this first "total war" - the first conflict involving entire societies mobilized to wage unrestrained war, devoting all their wealth, industries, institutions, and the lives of their citizens to win victory at any price - the world itself would never be the same.

These 36 riveting half-hour lectures cut through the tangle of historical data to uncover the patterns that make sense of complex events. Whereas most World War I narratives focus on the Western Front in France and Flanders, with its mazelike trenches, gas attacks, constant shelling, assaults "over the top" into withering machine gun fire, and duels of dog-fighting aviators in the sky, Professor Liulevicius also devotes great attention to other important arenas, including the Eastern Front, the Southern Fronts, the War at Sea, the Arab Revolt, the Communist Revolution, the Armenian Massacre, the Spanish Influenza, and more.

Professor Liulevicius combines chronological and thematic approaches for a sweeping survey of World War I's many dimensions. He explores themes such as the surprising eagerness of all parties to plunge into mutual slaughter, the unexpected endurance of societies undergoing total war, the radically different hopes and hatreds that the war evoked, with remarkable contrasts between western and eastern Europe, the meanings that the different sides ascribed to the war, and the role of various ideologies in the war's course and conduct.

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.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Amazon Customer Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA 11-14-14
    Amazon Customer Upper Montclair, New Jersey, USA 11-14-14 Member Since 2013
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    "a case for WWI as watershed"
    What made the experience of listening to World War I: The Great War the most enjoyable?

    The exploration of sociopolitical ramifications was particularly rewarding, a theme I would not have appreciated in my youthful fascination with battle. Professor Liulevicius has a strong delivery, and the intensity of his interest in WWI's aftermath as well as its progression shows.


    What other book might you compare World War I: The Great War to and why?

    Listeners who liked this should definitely try Liulevicius's lectures on Terror and Utopia in the 20th century, also excellent. His lectures on European diplomacy 1500-present are decent but less engaging.


    Any additional comments?

    Among the generally excellent Great Lectures, I found this one outstanding. I respectfully disagree with Saud and Bobbie, feeling there was a strong arc, hammering hard on the theme of ever-greater desperation in a race against internal collapse as much as defeat by the enemy.

    A mere chronology of interconnected battles would have been relatively unenlightening and uninteresting, especially in light of trench stalemate. The real significance of WWI lies in its mutual exhaustion, social reaction to that, and the surviving institutions originally designed to combat it. The "theater" approach here, explaining how each theater fed into total war, contributing to stalemate, exhaustion, and collapse, serves the subject well.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 12-03-13
    Saud 12-03-13

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lack of Chronology"

    This course seems to focus more on different topics (naval battles in one lecture, air combat in another lecture, the German economy in a third lecture...) than get into the chronological details of the war from beginning to end.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Ben-David Israel 01-14-15
    Sharon Ben-David Israel 01-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Superb!"
    If you could sum up World War I: The Great War in three words, what would they be?

    Clear, insightful, fascinating


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Just made me to avoid phone calls on my way to/from work for 2 weeks


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bobbie 09-08-14
    Bobbie 09-08-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Lacks linkage"

    I agree that with the other criticism that it is superficial and has no chronology. I could live with that if the course had linkages between the individual lectures. I could not identify the organizing principal behind the course. It was a disappointment since the other course by this presenter was quite good.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    theodore 06-19-14
    theodore 06-19-14 Member Since 2014
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    "New ways to think about WW 20th century"

    Enjoyable, entertaining, educational. The lectures are clever, well structured, well paced and well delivered. I learned much, changed my thinking on WWI in many ways.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 04-12-15
    Ben 04-12-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Comprehensively discussed"

    An utterly thorough overview with some detailed analysis. Seemingly well balanced views amd presentation of recorded history. Very enjoyable and informative.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tim abel 05-12-15
    tim abel 05-12-15 Member Since 2012
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    "very practical and entertaining"

    I enjoyed the factual and matter of fact approach. while there is some repetitive information I'm sure the author was simply trying to tie it all together by using the same information but in ever changing circumstances to show how the issues of the war were integrated. over all...great summerization of the times for both governments/militaries and the citizens of the era

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Greenwich, CT USA 05-07-15
    Amazon Customer Greenwich, CT USA 05-07-15 Member Since 2009

    traveling guy

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    "Fine Assessment of the War"

    Incisive thinking about the "War to End All Wars" that didn't. Great insight and great teaching.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PASCAL-OLIVIER 02-16-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great comprehension gained"

    I knew next to nothing that coupd be qualifies as precise about WWI, gatering information only through pop culture.

    In this context, this course was immensely interesting and informative about this century-transforming struggle.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruben Fønsbo 04-29-14 Member Since 2015

    rubenfonsbo

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    "Far too superficial"
    What would have made World War I: The Great War better?

    This book badly needs more in-depth information. I have read a number of books about WWI, e.g. 'The Pity of War' by N. Ferguson,and the brilliant 'A World Undone' by G.J. Meyer, and this series of lectures merely browses the surface of events, rather than drawing clear lines, digging deep, or presenting new interpretations of existing knowledge.


    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
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