European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914

Narrated by: Jonathan Steinberg
Length: 18 hrs and 18 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (247 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Meet 35 of the most influential people who lived during the 200 most difficult years in the history of the West. Between the years 1715 and 1914, the lives of these artists, writers, scientists, and leaders shaped our times and reflected their own.

You'll meet such figures as Charles Darwin, Sir Robert Walpole, David Lloyd George, Mary Wollstonecraft, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, Napoleon Bonaparte, and others whose lives represent the crucial forces that shaped European history during two decisive centuries. You'll also examine the transformation of Europe from a world of lord and serf, horse and carriage, superstition and disease into today's modern state of boss and worker, steam and steel, science and medicine.

As you grow to understand the living context of European history, you appreciate the great transforming themes embodied by the people who populate this fascinating march. The two most important themes are the movement toward democracy-culminating in the French Revolution-that dominated the first of the two centuries covered, and the Industrial Revolution with the explosion of science and technology that dominated the second.

In choosing the characters whose lives most reflect these themes, Professor Steinberg has not confined himself to those who are most often studied-monarchs, politicians, military leaders-but has included scientists, artists, philosophers, and industrialists, and even an entire population threatened with starvation-the Irish.With a fascinating approach to European history, the biographical approach of these 36 lectures provides a fun way to look at the great changes of the period and to educate ourselves about the world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses

What listeners say about European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914

Average Customer Ratings
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Loved this!! Compelling, Intellectual and Fun

I have listened to several great courses on history and have enjoyed them all, but this one really stands out. Professor Steinberg is a gifted intellectual and story teller. I would take any course he offered - no matter the topic. THis series offers a big picture view and challenges you to consider the information within historical constructs. At the same time, it feels like you're listening to someone who personally lived during the time of each of the individuals he discusses. I am grateful to Professor Steinberg and Great courses for preparing the material in this way and sharing it. I will listen to the whole series at least one more time.

I especially liked the lectures on Frederick the Great, the potato famine and Wagner but they are all fantastic. I cannot recommend this highly enough. What a treat.

12 people found this helpful

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Excellent, fast paced course

Would you listen to European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914 again? Why?

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 there were several that I knew relatively little about. I learned a lot and will listen again.

8 people found this helpful

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A great place to start

This is an older Great Course but it is also one that best that I have listened to. Professor Steinberg does a fantastic job using biography as an entry point into the larger history of Europe, Then time and again he uses that larger history to show the unique character of the person he is talking about. His style is engaging and understanding all throughout.

A great entry point into modern European History, heck into history and its importance and power in general: this is one that should not be missed.

5 people found this helpful

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Great teacher; GREAT content.

Starting the 2nd time through today. He contextualizes so well providing a superb overview of a complex issue. Professor Steinberg is a history buff's super star.

4 people found this helpful

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Biography and History - my favorites together!

I really enjoyed all of these biographies. I would not give this lecture series the full five stars, though; more like 4.6, simply because these lectures would have been better with another 10 or 15 mins. I could feel the Professor cramming information into the short 30min lectures. Some of them are shorted on biographical info that could give one a better feel for the individual. Nevertheless, I enjoyed these every minute and the Professor was excellent. You don't need to know everything about this period, but the Great Courses Long 19th Century would nevertheless be a good primer. (That one is also excellent)

4 people found this helpful

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skip this one

* Fell well short on the biographical side - read much more like a list of history events with birthdates thrown in. Could have asked Alexa to read me the wiki pages and it would have been more entertaining and informing. * Shortshrift on the impact of women - chapter on Victoria focused more on her husband than her. Did not even mention how the placement of her children helped to shape the next century of royalty across Europe. * Lots and lots of dates and numbers listed out, which is not helpful when listening - author even refers to chapter numbers often towards the end. * This is an old lecture - recorded in 2003. If it was more modern, lessons learned in the past 20 years may have made this better in structure and content.

2 people found this helpful

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Illuminating and elevating

This is a great approach to a traditionally difficult subject; my only suggestion would be that, when the lectures are presented outside the context of a curriculum, they would be benefit from a bit more scene-setting in the first minute or two: What dates are we talking about again? Where is the action geographically speaking? What else is going on in Europe at the same time? Otherwise, uniformly excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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Compelling and Rich

This course provided a unique approach to studying the 19th century, its key themes, and the origins of the horrors of the 20th century's two world wars.
I really enjoyed Professor Steinberg's flow, tone, and occasional humor; much more personality than other lecturers.
I definitely recommend this course.

2 people found this helpful

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in depth understanding

felt very accomplished to complete. learned a whole lot! the professor goes beyond the person to give context,

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Nice Variety!

I really enjoyed the history and biography lesson. This lecture series gave me a mini background on each person and some interesting facts on history. I will dig deeper on a few of the people featured here. I enjoyed the narration and his personal views. I have listened to many lectures in the great courses series. This one was, by design,meant to be a more generalization of the topics. Highly recommend!

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  • cathy westmacott
  • 04-10-15

richly rewarding

Would you consider the audio edition of European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914 to be better than the print version?

I think they are two different things and trying to decide which is better is like trying to compare coffee and tea when you like both. Coffee is best in the morning, tea at five o'clock. The audio version makes driving to work somrthing to look forward to and Reading is better in bed.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is a book about the fascinating lives of fascinating people. Which is the best is impossible to answer. Would you ask someone to choose the best pearl from a string of finely matched top quality gems?

Which scene did you most enjoy?

There were so many scenes, so much detail and all so finely dovetailed to create an absorbing canvas of the history of the period. It was like going up close to a Breugel with a magnifying glass. Whatever was in focus at any one time was immediately gripping.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is a book that needs to be taken a chapter at a time so that one can assimilate the information and let it settle into place before adding, as it were, the next piece of the jigsaw.

Any additional comments?

I would like to congratulate Professor Steinberg on this very successful experiment and thank him for providing such a rich learning experience. I have recommended it to all my friends.

7 people found this helpful

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  • P
  • 06-07-19

Delightful and insightful

Through this chronology of biographies spread across two centuries, Prof Steinberg charts a course through modern European history which combines human interest with the great themes of politics, culture and social emancipation during the period of the Enlightenment. A humane and engrossing speaker, this series of talks stands as a testament to the depth of his understanding, as well as his affinity with the personalities who shaped modern liberal Western society.

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  • Jack
  • 06-15-17

very interesting

intriguing perspectives into some of the less commonly address but vitally important historical events that led to the formation of the modern world.

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  • anonymous aussie
  • 12-14-16

Excellent Course

Brilliantly crafted and delivered. Prof. Steinberg is fantastic. This vourse assisted me greatly with my Degree by giving me interesting and informative detail on many key players involved in European history.