I have several Great Courses in my library, and I have enjoyed this one the most. Of course, I knew of all of the people in the 35 biographies, but t..Show More »here were several that I knew relatively little about. I learned a lot and will listen again.
The thread that haunted my understanding of modern history is why so many utopian dreams degenerate into mass murder, aggressive suppression of human..Show More » 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.
The full consequences of the rise and (perhaps especially) the fall of the British Empire are still very much unfolding in our world. In Africa and t..Show More »he Middle East especially, the transformation to independence has been so recent that no historian can give true perspective to the influences, rights, and wrongs of the Age of Empire.
That said, it seems to me that Professor Allitt's course is very comprehensive and as balanced as any modern European historian's can be at this point. I learned a tremendous amount and am so glad for the recent inclusion of "The Great Courses" series into the Audible library.
There are 400 years of stories in this (some familiar, some not), well organized and very entertainingly presented. My husband has been abruptly disturbed many times by my exclamations of "did you know?" and "can you believe?" and "wow, I didn't know that!"- always a sign that I'm deeply involved in an absorbing and valuable listening experience!
This is certainly a wonderful overview of a long arc of history which has so influenced the development of today's political map. The evolving and widely differing motives and opinions about empire are presented with modern sensibilities (of course), but also with an attempt to recapture the mindset of the times, both in Britain and in the countries of the Empire. Non-Western historians no doubt have differing points of view, ones of equal value, but this is a great introduction to the complexities that have defined the age of imperialism.
Whether inclined or not to agree with his perspective and his conclusions, I believe anyone will benefit from listening to Professor Allitt!
I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants a broad overview of Victorian England. Prof. Allitt covers a LOT of topics, but none in very much depth..Show More ». It's a great jumping off point to do further reading (listening). It's particularly useful that he quotes liberally from contemporary writers to give a sense of the culture. I wish a bibliography were included, though.
I am researching the family tree in America from 1625 in Virginia and 1640 in New Hampshire. This series does a great job of describing each colony's ..Show More »progression and has explained migration issues and how native American blood lines entered the tree
The lecture is successful in completely covering the motivations behind the American War of Independence but Prof. Mancall is a horrible speaker. He'..Show More »s constantly tongue-tied and he sounds like he's reading aloud.
I'm only writing this review because I saw where another review stated how terrible the narration is. While it's true, the professor does correct hims..Show More »elf here and there, I found it no more irritating than any other college lecture course I've taken over the years. He's human. He makes mistakes. He corrects himself. Get over it.
The substance of the course is EXCELLENT. If you're interested in the cases that have shaped our Bill Of Rights, this is the course for you. Prof. Finn knows this subject like the back of his hand, and educates you in a clear, entertaining manner that I found to be very enjoyable.
I have watched or listened to many of The Great Courses series, and Professor Patrick Allitt ranks among my very favorite professors. I had previously..Show More » listened to his course called American Religious History, and loved it. He is both a scholar and a natural storyteller. His lectures are filled with fascinating portraits of historical figures that rival any audio book in terms of drama and intrigue.The moment The American Identity started playing through my car speakers, I heard Professor Allitt's voice and a broad smile of recognition came across my face because I knew I was in for an entertaining treat. 36 half-hour lectures flew by like the wind, and I found myself looking for excuses to spend more time listening.
Professor Gary Gallagher (a very highly decorated, nationally renown history professor at the University of Virginia) delivers a fast-paced review of ..Show More »Robert E Lee, Confederate principal generals, fast rising young generals and context miliary leadership in the Confederacy. Each bio is carefully presented with both strengths, flaws and outstanding performances coupled with failures. Dr. Gallagher turns these historical figures into real people. His perspective is particularly insightful in that he points out that virtually all Civil War Generals were essentially untrained and unready for their responsibilities. Many succeeded at a lower level and then failed with promotion to wider commands. Few truly met the measure of what was needed. The overwhelming number of deaths and wounding of Southern key generals made rapid replacement with overwhelmed promoted subordinates a recurring issue.
This lecture series gives you context on the literature of the Civil War, wonderful biographies and a blazing pathway through the campaigns. Professor Gallagher has a pleasant, interesting and engaging voice. He delivers his lectures with a fast pace, understandable and with interesting vocal emphasis. He does not get lost in jargon. I found this series of lectures immensely entertaining as well as informative. Each general is either a lecture or two or three (Lee). Some generals were so interesting I found myself listening to their lecture over and over. I highly recommend this lecture series for someone interested in the Civil War, regardless of prior background and study. This series brings these Confederate generals to life.
I stumbled upon this collection of lectures while reading a book about Roosevelt's court packing plan. In my opinion this is a very good series of lec..Show More »tures for use by a layman that is looking to increase his/her knowledge of Supreme Court History. While watching confirmation hearings for Court Justices in the past, I found my lack of knowledge pertaining to major decisions rendered by the Court in the last 100 years bothersome. These lectures helped me address that weakness. The material is presented in a manner that allows an individual a laymen to gain a general understanding of the workings of the Court, and the basis for many of the major decisions in recent history.
This course is a great introduction to anyone interested in the history of US-Middle East relations which has so shaped the world we live in today. F..Show More »rom WWI, the resulting fall of the Ottoman empire, to the Iranian revolution, the Oslo peace failures and 9/11, Professor Salim Yaqub gives us a balanced and insightful narration of events.
What really caught my interest in this presentation was Professor Yaqub's recounting of the reasons that lead to the Iranian revolution and the extreme feelings against Americans in the region. I was already aware that our strong support for the rather unsavory Shah was a main factor, but some of the finer details suprised me: for example, I had no idea that bad driving by our GIs resulting in ridiculous levels of death by vehicular manslaughter was one of the sparks that set off the proverbial powder keg.
Really the one qualm that I had with this presentation was the Professor's extremely slow reading speed. Even at 1.5X speed the recording still seems to run at a pace slower than normal conversational speed. He could have gotten so much more information in 12 hours.
The under-written about history. In my US History 1776-1860 class, we did not cover much at all of the history that this book delved so deeply into. ..Show More » This book was thoroughly enlightening.
No, I wouldn't recommend this book to a friend. Well, it's not really the "audio quality" as much as the production value. To explain, after each ..Show More »sentence there is a 1-3 sec pause, all background noises and static cease and the "dead air" interrupts adding a level discontinuity to lecture. My assumption is that a noise gate was used on the mic or the production engineer used an automated noise reduction that doesn't work well with spoken word. That said, this is more of an issue with headphones - you might not notice if listening on a poor quality player.
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..Show More » 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.
I have a new Audible routine: every weekday morning before I leave the house, I download the New York Times. If traffic is good, I get there right as ..Show More »the narrators finishing the last section, Opinions. At the end of the day, and now that Great Courses are available, I listen to a 20 to 30 minute lecture; and then I return to whatever book I'm listening to. Well, unless I'm really engaged in the book - I'll put the Great Course lecture aside until I'm done.
I chose Robert Bucholz' "London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the World" (2009) for my first Great Course. I haven't been to London, but I plan to go soon - and I'd like to know what I will see. I feel like I will.
If this were a regular college class, it would be Level 100 - Freshman. Each lecture covers at least 30 years, so it's hard for Bucholz to go into any great detail. The Audible version doesn't come with course materials, which was fine with me - I sure wasn't going to look at them while I was driving. I do wish it had two items, though: maps of London during the eras Bucholz discussed, and a timeline.
I enjoyed learning about London, especially from someone who loves it so dearly. Bucholz describes London as though you are there, which was fun to imagine - well, not that The Great Fire and The Blitz were a good time.
I liked the way the course was parsed into very manageable segments - I never had to stop listening mid-lecture.
Worth the credit, and I hope I get as much out of other Great Courses.
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This course might be OK as a primer, but if you already know anything about Medieval history, don't bother with this one. I was hoping for some new an..Show More »gle on things but there's nothing new here.Professor Armstrong spends a great deal of time talking about what she's going to say and what she has already said, yet speaks very little about the main point. Her speech pattern is maddeningly slow and pedantic, as if she is speaking to very young children.
I could put up with the slow pace if there was any substance. The chapter on Peter Abelard was particularly annoying. She spoke at great length about his love affair with Heloise and how her uncle had him castrated for getting her pregnant. Juicy stuff, but she claims his forced castration caused him to turn inward and write great works of Medieval intellectualism, without ever telling us anything about those great works or the ideas they contained! It was like someone telling you all about Socrates' death without ever telling you anything Socrates said or did.
I'm about halfway through the series and will probably bail.