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khilsati

NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States
  • 17
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 40
  • ratings
  • La Carrière du mal

  • Cormoran Strike 3
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Lionel Bourguet
  • Length: 19 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

En arrivant au bureau un matin, Robin Ellacott trouve un colis, qu'elle ouvre sans se douter de la vision d'horreur qui l'attend : à l'intérieur, la jambe tranchée d'une femme. Qui est la victime ? Qui est l'expéditeur de ce courrier macabre ? Et pourquoi l'a-t-il adressé personnellement à Robin ? Bouleversée, la jeune femme s'en remet à son patron, le détective privé Cormoran Strike, lequel voit alors ressurgir des fantômes de son propre passé.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Très bonne continuation

  • By simon on 06-22-17

Bonne performance, histoire très moyenne.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-08-19

Performance: de qualité certaine, Lionel Bourguet fait un bon boulot et rend ce livre bien plus agréable à écouter que les deux premiers de Robert Galbraith - JK Rowling. Les parties en anglais sont ok, mais les différentes voix sont très bonnes.

Histoire: Très peu plausible, emplie de coïncidences “Deus Ex Machina” pour faire avancer les choses, des personnages certes plus développés et crédibles que dans les 2 premiers livres, mais régulièrement changeant de personalités pour que l’histoire continue son chemin improbable. Un tueur qui ne montre pas d’intelligence plus incroyable que ça, et donc qui doit être décrit par les autres personages comme “un génie”...

Un roman globalement très décevant.

  • The Peloponnesian War

  • By: Kenneth W. Harl, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Kenneth W. Harl
  • Length: 18 hrs and 2 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 505
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 459
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 455

The Peloponnesian War pitted Athens and its allies against a league of city-states headed by Sparta. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides captured this drama with matchless insight in his classic eyewitness account of what was arguably the greatest war in the history of the world up to that time. These 36 half-hour lectures draw on Thucydides' classic account as well as other ancient sources to give you a full picture of the Greek world in uneasy peace and then all-out war in the late 5th century B.C.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable, not for Greek newbies...

  • By The World's Greatest on 04-26-16

Unclear

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-28-18

Though the subject is fascinating, Professor Harl talks about it as he would be adressing colleagues. Explanations are unclear at best, confusing at worst. Most of the time, his sentences list numerous people, place and events, in a way that you need a deep background on the subject to follow him.
As a person who never majored in History and whose knowledge of the Era comes from Great Courses (this one was the 6th), the lesson became unpleasant rather quickly. Not for me for sure.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean

  • By: Kenneth R. Bartlett, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Kenneth R. Bartlett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 272

Take a riveting tour of the Italian peninsula, from the glittering canals of Venice to the lavish papal apartments and ancient ruins of Rome. In these 24 lectures, Professor Bartlett traces the development of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, showing how the modern nation of Italy was forged out of the rivalries, allegiances, and traditions of a vibrant and diverse people.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • European political history taken to the next level

  • By Quaker on 02-27-15

Disappointing take on an amazing subject

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-18

It is not easy to produce a neutral critic for a book/course that disappointed you, without sounding influence by your emotion, but I'll try to do my best. It was also not my point to hurt Professor Bartlett, though my review might be harsh on him.

PERFORMANCE:
Compared to other Great Courses on Historical topics, the performance of "The Italians before Italy" is average. Though Professor Bartlett can be understood without trouble, he has the habit of breathing heavily and often. This tends to make it sound like he is not pleased of talking, which is a bit weird. This is added to the very descriptive way the course is made, and results in classes that don't have any thrill.
On a subject as fascinating as this one, this is a huge drawback I think.

STORY:
Let me be clear: the topic is absolutely fascinating. Though complex, the Italian Cities History is incredible and thrilling, due to the multiple events that happen during the middle-age, and the diversity of each location.
The way the course is built however is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go at it. The Professor decided to follow each location separately. This means that the timeline starts again at each new city, and impairs on the connection between each others. The impact on crusades for example is shown as the utmost importance for Venice and Genoa, but it barely appears for Rome.
There is also a lack of information provided in the written notes provided with the audiobook. There is no map, even though it is precised multiple times by Professor Bartlett how geography impacted on each city's character. The timeline is a joke, to say the least, being crammed with bits of information.
A (way) better way to do this course would have required to do a general timeline class for the first classes, then describing the cities by region, and go back to the timeline at the end to add more details.

COURSE QUALITY:
The main drawback I have though is the course quality. I have serious issues on how the Professor gives his personal opinion while talking about History, from using a very positive vision towards the papacy and avoiding the inner corruption in Rome during this time period (one of the main reason why the Reformation happened), to being in awe in front of totalitarian regime. Constant critics of republican system was also annoying, specifically the more the course advances.
I was also surprised how the Professor talked about people as if he knew them, even though we only know what has been written about them (and usually, following their orders). As an historian, it should be your duty to bring doubts on the information you get from the past. This is clearly not the case here.
Finally, the last two classes were the most annoying, in the fact that they were the Professor's personal geo-political analysis, which I found unprofessional in a History Class. Not to mention that he described and commented on today's politics based on middle-age ground, while barely mentioning the events of WWI and WWII, as if these didn't impact the country. I don't mind Professor's Bartlett having a different opinion than mind, but he should not be using his class to push his own political analysis, especially when it is clearly missing elements.
And I would also add that his description on Italian behavior, to be connected to the village of your birth, is something you find not only in Italy but in almost all countries of Europe. Either the professor has never traveled in other countries than Italy, or he on purposely wanted to give a specific Italian trait - in any case, the last class is a simple annoyance.

As a whole, I am upset that on a subject so interesting, the quality was not up to what the Great Courses can produce.

  • The Story of Human Language

  • By: John McWhorter, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: John McWhorter
  • Length: 18 hrs and 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,608
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,281
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,239

Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again

  • By SAMA on 03-11-14

Interesting but limited

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-20-18

I was thoroughly disappointed by this Great Course, for multiple reasons.

CONCERNING THE STORY:
PROS
- The class goes through different element so the listener can progress in the understanding of what makes a language, and break the possible preconceptions one might have.
- The diversity of languages exposed by Prof. McWhorther shows how this field of study is fascinating
CONS
- The organisation is a bit weak. There's a general pattern - going from what defines a language to the origin of languages - but the actual outline is provided in the last lesson, as a conclusion. As an audiobook, I think that exposing the outline often helps the student to follow the idea, the goal of the class. With such a large subject, it is difficult to understand what point the speaker wants to make.
- One part is completely lacking from the course, it is the different of perception one can have between speaking and writing. Professor McWhorter often indicates that what one calls "proper language" is linked to writing, and that it freezes the natural language evolution in the mind even though it is evolving outside of it. However, nothing is said about how writing helps organizing the mind or simply is necessary when working on complex subject, due to the limitation of human memory. This major element is not considered at once, which I found it to be a fault in the professor's class.

CONCERNING THE PERFORMANCE
PROS
- The professor's relative deep voice is perfect for an audiobook. There's no change in speech pattern too much, and the general lesson goes well.
- His general performance in speaking different language is very impressive. The number of sounds he's able to pronounce was quite the achievement.
- Professor McWorther often ends up telling stories or anecdotes during each course, sometimes based on his life, in an attempt to illustrate the point he's making at the moment. This is done to lighten or simplify some concepts that can be challenging to grab. Humor is sometimes used as the same mean.
CONS
- Following my last point, when the professor tries some jokes or funny voices, it comes out usually awkward. It is not a problem as such, however it becomes one when the jokes hide a general critique opinion one a subject. As an example, when talking about french preposition and the "nous" for "we", he uses a very strident voice to make the sound. This does not help in the understanding and ends up as a mockery more than a joke. The repetition of such moments made the lesson more annoying than entertaining, by far.
- Furthermore, most of the professor's comments sounded very arrogant, to say the least. Multiple times, he spent a couple minutes telling an anecdote of his life and uses this as a definitive confirmation of the point he's trying to make. This method of reasoning appears as unconvincing for anybody who might disagree with him initially, so the anecdotes have no purpose here. I understand that it is a way for him to make the lesson entertaining, however I don't think it works well.

To conclude, though this great course was not the worst great courses I had the chance in listening to, I was utterly disappointed by the end result. I learned some fascinating elements, but the professor made the lesson more annoying than entertaining most of the time. I often wanted to shout at him that he was not proving anything, and that the theories he was either supporting or criticizing were difficult to judge with the tools he brought.

The lesson is also a few years old. It would deserve to be updated with current information - the whole critique towards Celtic languages should be tempered by today's facts for example. I also think there a quarter of the lessons that were not necessary.
If this course were to be remade, I would suggest to outline the course better, to shorten some lessons, and to finish by 3 lessons on 3 different and rare typical languages - one indo-european, one sino-tibetan, one native american for example - and to keep the last course as a summary of the subject.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

  • By: Robert Garland, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Garland
  • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,940
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,403
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,368

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tantalizing time trip

  • By Mark on 08-21-13

More than an amazing book, an experience

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-18-18

What an amazing experience I just lived!

Thanks to professor Garland, listening to his course made you travel through time and see the past from a very different point of view, the everyday point of view, the one you personnally use to see the world today. This made this audiobook more than a course, but a time-traveling experience. By hearing about the uses and habits of casual citizens of the past, it makes you appreciate what you have in the present, while wondering what will be in the future.

I cannot express how great the course was. Professor Garland’s performance was great on every level: enjoyable, tragic at time, funny at others, but always with respect for the people studied in his course. I rarely listened to such high quality Great Courses, and he deserves huge praises for his work.

Among the many, many choices on Audible, this one should be at the top.

  • Great World Religions: Islam

  • By: John L. Esposito, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: John L. Esposito
  • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 449
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 395
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 388

How familiar are you with the world's second-largest and fastest-growing religion? In these 12 lectures, Professor Esposito guides you through the facts and myths surrounding Islam and its more than 1.2 billion adherents. Many in the West know little about the faith and are familiar only with the actions of a minority of radical extremists, but this lecture series will help you better understand Islam's role as both a religion and a way of life, and its deep impact on world affairs both historically and today.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Introduction with depth and without bias

  • By Richard C. on 06-18-15

First half good ; Second half messy

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-18

Dr Esposito had the difficult task to give an overview of Islam in only 12 lessons. Some part he succeeded, some he failed.

The first 6 lectures provided a good description of the most important elements of Islam, from the Pillars to some historical facts, authors and actors, texts and places. This was informative while staying not too detailed so it stayed an overview.
The Professor's speech was slow and measured, with little to no hesitation.

Starting at lecture 7, the class started to get messy and disorganized. Themes kept on jumping from one place to another, from one time to another, etc. Multiple authors already mentioned in previous lectures are referenced again, but are not introduced again, which made it difficult to follow. Most lectures actually keep on describing different elements with no organisation or goals, making it a mess to listen to.
The Professor's speech seemed to adapt to this mess, changing into a very difficult pattern to follow. Hesitation, interruption, change of speech speed...

It seems to me that while it was History or General Themes, the Professor knew how to deal with it, but when he started to treat issues of today - racism, terrorism, treatment of women, politics - the subject became so sensitive and so large that he couldn't summarize a thought or a point. The lessons turned into a mess of elements, barely linked to each others and over-simplified.
As an example, when speaking about the relation between France and Islam, the Professor didn't expand in colonialism, occupation, or other historical elements that were causes to the independence war (that he mistakenly called civil war). However, he linked this war with 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, which were years apart from each other.

To be honest, I don't think the Professor to be incompetent, but simply having a way too large subject to treat in such a small time. His main goal was to show the diversity of Islam, and its separation from the terrorist groups they are sometimes associated too. It was a noble cause, but I think it made the rest of the explanation poorly done.

  • War and World History

  • By: Jonathan P. Roth, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Jonathan P. Roth
  • Length: 25 hrs and 1 min
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 243
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 216

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • War & Its Interactions with History & Civilization

  • By Jamie Nettles on 12-06-15

Surprisingly uninteresting class with poor speaker

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-13-17

Disclaimer: at the time of this review, I still have 8h left on this audiobook ; I'm doing it now because of the Audible 20.

CONTENT
"War and World History" should have been fascinating, however it ends up being a list of some military discovery and a general and truncated version of world history. There are very interesting facts given by Professor Roth, true, but they are usually lost among very general facts, name dropping and other book references. The lack of cohesion between classes makes it difficult for your mind to stay focus on them.
Let's be clear, the general class is okay, it gives a certain number of informative elements that a focus student would be happy to get. Description of the chariots, the gunpowder revolution, empires confrontations - all of this is interesting.
However as a oral class, it fails to achieve the same level of quality we had in "Great Mythologies of the World" and "Foundations of Western Civilization (I and II)". The complex change of Empires and Power in Eastern Europe, Middle east and West Asia is usually fast paced and travels too quick from regions to others. Geography is rarely considered, even though it is said by the Professor to have a large impact on some key moments.

PERFORMANCE
Professor Roth is sadly a poor speaker, adding way too much hesitations, changes of speech pattern and high pitch peaks. It renders the full class difficult to follow or to capture the essence. The worst part is when after a very high pitch sentence at low speed, he suddenly continues with a fast and very low pitch ending that is difficult to perceive.

SUMMARY
I believe that the issue with this subject is the limitations due to its boundaries. Trying to limit the class on War and History only creates a set a pre-existing links that the Professor tries to go back too all the time. However, War appears (and I believe is) part of History the same way Economy, Religion, Science and other main themes were. As a result, the lesson is blocking itself to reach any kind of actual analysis.
A Great Course is supposed, in my opinion, to teach the listener something. This lesson just states facts, that's all.

Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry

  • Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon

  • By: Suzanne M. Desan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Suzanne M. Desan
  • Length: 24 hrs and 47 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,291
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,171
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,162

The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Such a great balance of the big picture and detail

  • By Monte Johnston on 09-17-13

Interesting book, but poor performance

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-17

"Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon" is, at its core, a great book. In this course, we learn in details about one of the most iconic time in French history, a time of changing governments, of Wars and Kings, of bloody revolutions and enlightened revolutionaries. It is by all means interesting and exciting, a subject worthy of anyone time.

However, and I really mean no disrespect, I was extremely frustrated and sometimes even annoyed by Professor Desan's performance. She is passionate about this subject, that is a fact. She loves it and wants to provide tons of details, information about little and big things. But she is not a good speaker, due to two main drawbacks.
Firstly, even though she tries to start each new lesson with a deep voice, her high pitch comes back after only a few minutes, and her voice ends up going into a monotonous-higher pitch ton, which isn't very entertaining.
But the main issue I had was the way she built her lessons and the actual course. She tends to go back and forth from details to main story, to small personal adventure to general political change, so much so that the listener can get a bit lost. The story-telling inelegance is very confusing on a lesson level, but this gets worse on the full course level. The general chronological order is often broken by a new idea - political ascension, societal impact, everyday life - that one can tell there is no general theme in this course. The whole is just pieces and bits added all together in order to draw a painting, an interesting one for sure, but way to disorganized to provide the sens of wonder the Professor tries to share.
This is actually saddening because one can tell how much she loves this subject and wants to share her passion, but it fails nevertheless..

I would not recommend this Course, instead listen to Foundations of Western Civilizations part II for a more general, but way better told, story of this time period.

  • Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World

  • By: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
  • Length: 24 hrs and 35 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 897
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 809
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 804

Beginning with the Renaissance, the culture of the West exploded. Over the next 600 years, rapid innovations in philosophy, technology, economics, military affairs, and politics allowed what had once been a cultural backwater left by the collapse of the Roman Empire to dominate the world. This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and captivating lecturer will show you how - and why - this extraordinary transformation took place.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Course on the Progression of Western Europe

  • By Tommy D'Angelo on 04-06-17

Simply put: One of the Best Audiobook. Ever.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-17

I'll be simple: this read was amazing. Professor Robert Bucholz is a talented, entertaining, amazingly speaking and incredibly knowledgeable Professor, who not only captivate his audience with a perfect speech pattern - well rounded sentences, alternate high/low pitch to avoid monotone narration, repetition at correct moment to avoid loosing the listener in the subject complexity - but also know the subject so well he built his class in a sensible manner so no boredom is reached.
I am still amazed by this class. I ended up being taken away by the Professor's voice, living the History as if I was in it, discovering way more than I was expecting. And contrary to many Audiobook, the general structure of this one is made to follow a specific rhythm that helps you comprehend the general description the Professor is giving.

It's a Jewel among Great Courses, a class that I will revisit for sure another time in the future.

  • Foundations of Eastern Civilization

  • By: Craig G. Benjamin, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Craig G. Benjamin
  • Length: 23 hrs and 22 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 607
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 528
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 525

China. Korea. Japan. Southeast Asia. How did Eastern civilization develop? What do we know about the history, politics, governments, art, science, and technology of these countries? And how does the story of Eastern civilization play out in today's world of business, politics, and international exchange?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A worthwhile "big-history" survey

  • By Acteon on 11-22-13

A misleading title for a biased telling

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-03-17

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

1/ This lecture is NOT about the Foundations of Eastern Civilization. It is only about China. Every lesson that concern another theme (Korea or Japan for example) was done in relation to China only. This would be okay if the title was Foundations of Chinese Culture, but it was not.

2/ Apart from Japan and Korea, other countries are barely glanced at. The lesson on Vietnam was so poor it brought almost no knowledge at all, and an incredible number of countries were only mentioned: Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Tibet, Nepal.

3/ The book cover is the picture of THE MOST FAMOUS BHUTANESE SITE, even though Bhutan is one of these countries that were NEVER discussed about !!! The only mentioned of Bhutan was in the recitation of China's neighbors. I found this choice of picture both insulting and infuriating, especially considering the multiple territorial conflicts that exist between China and Bhutan.

4/ Add to the poor quality of this lecture, I didn't like Professor Benjamin's organisation. His accent wasn't a problem, but the way he cut the lessons was confusing in multiple moments. Timeline is respected for a while, that goes back and forth in time and make it difficult to follow. Also, his explanation of Confucianism and Taoism was very abstract, the translation to the political world was not done properly. It was even worst for Buddhism.

5/ After listening to these 48 lectures, it became clear that the Professor has a fascination for China, and on purposely focused on the great aspect of this country's history. The terrible historical events were treated in a fast manner, unless they were provoked from an outside power towards China. It reached a point - specifically towards the end and the extremely under-developed lesson on Cold War - that I believe the Professor was paid by Chinese Government to bend the course in this direction.

6/ To go with my previous point, I found it very hard to accept the fact the Professor never mentioned Tibetan rich history, apart from a brief line during the Mongol lesson. The recent events, from the the reunification to the local unrest, the political conflict between Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, the destruction of so many

What do you think your next listen will be?

I already purchased the second volume of Foundation of Western Civilization. The first volume was amazing, the complete opposite of this book, and I'd recommend that anybody interested in History to listen to it. I hope the second volume will be as the first one, and not like Professor Benjamin's terrible

What didn’t you like about Professor Craig G. Benjamin’s performance?

Reference to all points above, i.e. the selection of historical facts, the constant reference to China, the lack of other countries' history, the use of an insulting book cover, the terrible organisation and the general representation of China that was bent.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

"Anger" towards the cover used, as I mentioned above.
"Frustration" towards the Chinese-orientated general course.
"Disappointment" towards the Great Courses program, which in my opinion dropped the ball completely and should not have accepted this lesson in their program.

Any additional comments?

1/ If we consider that this course relates only on China - which it does - then I think a very important aspect is missing, i.e. the language part. Professor Benjamin talks often how Chinese Language and Writing were used in other country, such as Korean and Japan at certain time of history. However, not only there are dozens (if not hundreds) of languages or dialects talked in China, but Mandarin and Cantonese can be considered as main languages in today's China. I am suspecting that there has been a huge language evolution in Chinese history, which result in some profound Societal changes.
As a result, saying that multiple culture used Chinese Writing as a reference is misleading when considering the language evolution, or simply the natural Chinese language diversity.
Origins of Vietnamese, Thai and other languages have also been skipped out.

2/ Lesson on Vietnam was short and poorly developed. I don't see the point of talking about Vietnam if it is to say so less, and it is insulting for this amazing and unique country's Culture and History.

3/ The Cold War, Korean War and Vietnamese War was all piled inside one unique lesson. Considering the many events, the complexity of the subject and the politics concerned, I found this simplification to be amateurish. This theme should have either take 4 or 5 lessons, or be kept out of the course entirely.

4/ From the description to the many Chinese Dynasty to the twisted way of talking about Chinese expansion, the speaker shows a certain reverence (either personal or paid) towards the Chinese Government or Ideology. It can even sometimes be summarized as a anti-imperialism opinion.
This I believe creates a problem in all lessons, as Professor Benjamin often tells the best side of China's history for dozens of minutes, but summarize in one sentence the terrible moments.
One example: Zheng He and his fleet during the Ming Dynasty. The Professor talked multiple times of the fact that some scholars think the Admiral discovered America in 1421 (basically referencing Gavin Menzies' book), even though it is something an extreme minority of scholars believe. And yes, the Professor mentioned that there is no proof of it, but it didn't stop him to reference this story multiple times towards the course. It should be expected from a Historian to tell a neutral and global story when doing a course like this.

5/ CHANGE THE PICTURE!!! Considering the fact Bhutan basically got territories taken from it by China, and is still in conflict for some border dispute ; considering also the ties between the Bhutanese and Tibetan communities, and the fact Tibetan traditions are believed by many to be destroyed with violence by the Chinese Government ; and considering the general behavior of the Chinese Government towards Buddhism and one of its more revered leader, the Dalai Lama - it is extremely OFFENSIVE to write a book on China while pretending it talks about all Eastern Cultures, and use the picture of the most famous BHUTANESE BUDDHIST SITE as a cover!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful