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Publisher's Summary

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

  • the development and evolution of history-making military weapons such as bows, horses, swords, and gunpowder;
  • the interface of warfare with religion, which has bred some of the most unusual and poignant conflicts in history;
  • the 17th-century European nation-state, where militaries were "nationalized" into central governments and military service was imbued with ideology of citizenship and loyalty to state;
  • the crucial military underpinnings of nationalism, Communism, Fascism, and other political movements from the modern era.

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

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War & Its Interactions with History & Civilization

If you could sum up War and World History in three words, what would they be?

War in Context

What did you like best about this story?

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:<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>He discusses how ideology influenced both the successes and failures of Nazi Germany.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The only real negative of the book was the strange emmmphaasisss that Professor Roth often employed, drawing out sooomme words and enunciating otheeerrsss LOUDLY.

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

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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He should listen to some of the other courses.

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • Urbana, IL, United States
  • 11-26-14

World History > War

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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An essential history of war as a human condition

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Samara
  • United States
  • 12-09-13

Confusing layout

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Only if they are very interested in war and history

What did you like best about this story?

This book had great information, I felt that I learned a lot.

Any additional comments?

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States
  • 01-10-14

The best Teaching Company lecture!

What about Professor Jonathan P. Roth’s performance did you like?

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. <br/><br/>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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly uninteresting class with poor speaker

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
&quot;War and World History&quot; 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 &quot;Great Mythologies of the World&quot; and &quot;Foundations of Western Civilization (I and II)&quot;. 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

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  • Fuzzface
  • Mankato, MN United States
  • 08-27-15

A lot of new information.

Despite an extensive background in military matters and history. I still learned a lot from this course.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Provably wrong statements throughout

What would have made War and World History better?

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.

What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

Incorrect information and a poor intonation that is exceptionally annoying.

Any additional comments?

This is the first time I have noticed completely fallacious statements in a TTC series. I am very disappointed.

5 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • Lilyfield, Australia
  • 02-16-15

Terrible

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.

1 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Kazi
  • 12-17-14

Intriguing research into military history

Where does War and World History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Really enjoyed this, especially towards the 20th century era to modern times it really picks up.

What about Professor Jonathan P. Roth’s performance did you like?

All round great performance.

Any additional comments?

A chapter or two a day is the way!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 01-11-17

epic

This is gonna be one of my favourite reference books,so much info,I enjoyed every minute.

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  • Niko H.
  • 05-17-15

Great, nay, epic lecture!

This is one of the most interesting and engaging lectures I've listened to from this series. Such a passionate lecturer, articulate, knowledgeable and engaging. Very well thought out and presented perfectly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • 07-28-16

Unexciting

Would you try another book written by The Great Courses or narrated by Professor Jonathan P. Roth?

Not a good performance, the narrator seemed lethargic, his accents troubled me at times. He seemed to be disinterested in the subject matter. The coverage was great, but the presentation could have been made more interesting.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from War and World History?

I would shorten the part on early history, most of which was mere speculation.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful