The Great Courses: Modern History

48 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 28,123 ratings

The American Civil War Publisher's Summary

Between 1861 and 1865, the clash of the greatest armies the Western hemisphere had ever seen turned small towns, little-known streams, and obscure meadows in the American countryside into names we will always remember. In those great battles, those streams ran red with blood - and the United States was truly born.

If you've ever wanted to understand the Civil War, this series of 48 startlingly evocative lectures by a leading Civil War historian can serve as both an ideal single course or a solid starting point for further exploration - a richly detailed examination of how this great conflict affected every person in America. For you'll gain not only a deep knowledge of what happened, but new insights into why.

You'll learn how both sides' armies were recruited, equipped, and trained, and about the hard lot of those they took prisoner. You'll hear how soldiers on each of those sides dealt with the rigors of camp life, campaigns, and the terror of combat. And you'll understand how slaves and their falling masters responded to the advancing war, as well as the desperate price paid by the families so many left behind.

Though this series of lectures goes far beyond a simple examination of battles and generals, it also offers detailed analyses of the strategic and tactical dimensions of the Civil War's most important campaigns. At the same time, it never forgets that the conflict involved far more than pins on a map - and indeed claimed a greater cost in human lives than all other American wars combined.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses
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    • The American Civil War

    • By: Gary W. Gallagher, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Gary W. Gallagher
    • Length: 24 hrs and 37 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,876
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,693
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1,683

    Between 1861 and 1865, the clash of the greatest armies the Western hemisphere had ever seen turned small towns, little-known streams, and obscure meadows in the American countryside into names we will always remember. In those great battles, those streams ran red with blood-and the United States was truly born.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent Series

    • By Rodney on 07-09-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Churchill

    • By: The Great Courses, J. Rufus Fears
    • Narrated by: J. Rufus Fears
    • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 703
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 638
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 634

    In these 12 inspiring lectures, Professor Fears presents a well-balanced portrait of Churchill that does not whitewash his flaws. Yet he also draws on the most recent historical scholarship and material from Churchill's writings and speeches to make the case that Churchill belongs with Pericles of Athens and Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of democracy.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Churchill

    • By Cliente de Amazon on 07-12-13

    Regular price: $14.95

    • The History of the United States, 2nd Edition

    • By: The Great Courses, Allen C. Guelzo, Gary W. Gallagher, and others
    • Narrated by: Allen C. Guelzo, Gary W. Gallagher, Patrick N. Allitt
    • Length: 43 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,978
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,782
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,762

    This comprehensive series of 84 lectures features three award-winning historians sharing their insights into this nation's past-from the European settlement and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, 19th-century industrialization, two world wars, and the present day. These lectures give you the opportunity to grasp the different aspects of our past that combine to make us distinctly American, and to gain the knowledge so essential to recognizing not only what makes this country such a noteworthy part of world history, but the varying degrees to which it has lived up to its ideals.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Wow!

    • By Christina on 09-09-14

    Regular price: $59.95

    • The Skeptic's Guide to American History

    • By: Mark A. Stoler, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark A. Stoler
    • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,951
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,651
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2,613

    To take a skeptical approach to American history is not to dabble in imaginative conspiracy theories; rather, it's to reframe your understanding of this great nation's past and actually strengthen your appreciation for what makes American history such a fascinating chapter in the larger story of Western civilization. And in this bold 24-lecture series, you can do just that.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Skeptical but Not Cynical

    • By Ark1836 on 11-20-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Turning Points in Modern History

    • By: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 659
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 592
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 582

    This lecture series takes you on a far-reaching journey around the globe - from China to the Americas to New Zealand - to shed light on how two dozen of the top discoveries, inventions, political upheavals, and ideas since 1400 have shaped the modern world. In just 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll get the amazing story of how life as we know it developed. Starting in the early 15th century and culminating in the age of social media, you'll encounter astounding threads that weave through the centuries, joining these turning points in ways that may come as a revelation.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • One of the best "Great Courses" I have listened to!

    • By Nicole on 12-15-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Turning Points in American History

    • By: Edward T. O'Donnell, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Edward T. O'Donnell
    • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 654
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 578
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 575

    These 48 lectures are your chance to relive the most groundbreaking moments in the fascinating story of the United States. They offer you a different perspective on the sweeping narrative of U.S. history. Spanning the arrival of the first English colonists to the chaos of the Civil War to the birth of the computer age and beyond, this lecture series is a captivating and comprehensive tour of those particular moments in the story of America, after which the nation would never be the same again.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Brilliant, Informative, Entertaining!

    • By Quaker on 04-01-15

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History

    • By: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,207
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,083
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,078

    Step into the real world of the spy with this detailed and unforgettable tour of the millennia-long history and enduring legacy of espionage and covert operations. While most of us associate this top-secret subject with popular fiction and film, its true story is more fascinating, surprising, and important than you could possibly imagine. These 24 thrilling lectures survey how world powers have attempted to work in the shadows to gain secret information or subvert enemies behind the scenes.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • depends what you're after

    • By Rachel on 08-20-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

    • By: Thomas Childers, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Thomas Childers
    • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 361
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 320
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 319

    Know thy enemy. That's what the wisdom of history teaches us. And Adolf Hitler was surely the greatest enemy ever faced by modern civilization. Over half a century later, the horror, fascination, and questions still linger: How could a man like Hitler and a movement like Nazism come to power in 20th-century Germany – an industrially developed country with a highly educated population? How were the Nazis able to establish the foundations of a totalitarian regime in such a short time and hurl all of Europe – and the world – into a devastating war that would consume so many millions of lives? Professor Childers has designed this gripping 12-lecture course to shed light on these and other questions that have plagued generations.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Forewarned is Forearmed

    • By Dana Keish on 07-01-14

    Regular price: $14.95

    • World War II: A Military and Social History

    • By: Thomas Childers, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Thomas Childers
    • Length: 15 hrs and 7 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,231
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,097
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1,089

    Between 1937 and 1945, approximately 55 million people perished in the series of interrelated conflicts known as the Second World War. No continent was left untouched, no ocean unaffected. The war led to the eclipse of Europe and the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as global superpowers; ushered in the atomic age; produced, in the Holocaust, the most horrific crime ever committed in the history of Western civilization, and led to the end of Europe's colonial empires around the world.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Misleading title, but a good course

    • By O. D. S on 07-15-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Europe and Western Civilization in the Modern Age

    • By: Thomas Childers, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Thomas Childers
    • Length: 23 hrs and 25 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 201
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 172
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 172

    Only three lifetimes ago, Europe was a farming society ruled by families of monarchs. But with two seismic tremors - capitalism and democracy - Europe's economic and royal foundations were shattered forever and modern European history began.In this series of 48 fascinating lectures, Professor Childers makes the history of Europe from the 1750s to the present - events both horrible and magnificent - as immediate as today's headlines, employing the historian's craft and a storyteller's skill to find the causes of what otherwise could seem to be the march of folly.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Oh my, where do I begin? A fantastic listen.

    • By Quaker on 05-01-14

    Regular price: $41.95

    • The Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism: A History of 20th-Century Russia

    • By: Gary Hamburg, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Gary Hamburg
    • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 295
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 259
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 255

    From the Oval Office to the streets of Moscow, world leaders and ordinary citizens alike share interest and concerns about Russia. Can democracy survive there? What does the future hold for the once expansive and still powerful Russian nation? Is Soviet Communism truly dead? These are the kinds of questions diplomats struggle with every day.

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Prof. Hamburg Randomly Picked Topics

    • By Bob Savage on 11-15-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Must History Repeat the Great Conflicts of This Century?

    • By: Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Joseph S. Nye Jr.
    • Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 78
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 67
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 67

    Twice in the first half of the last century, the great powers engaged in wars that killed nearly 70 million people, with the aftermath of each shaking the international political system, changing the maps of the world, and setting the scene for the next great conflict. And for most of the past 50 years, the Cold War dominated international politics. Is this the history we are condemned to repeat? This series of eight lectures about international politics will hone your ability to approach that question with knowledge and insight.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • “Beware of historians with bad analogies.”

    • By Kristi R. on 09-29-15

    Regular price: $9.95

    • Abraham Lincoln: In His Own Words

    • By: David Zarefsky, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: David Zarefsky
    • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 69
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 60
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 60

    Abraham Lincoln was one of America's greatest public orators. The cadence, argument and power he brought to his speeches, like those of the Gettysburg address almost every American learns in school, still stir the hearts of not only Americans, but countless millions around the world. This series of 24 lectures examines Lincoln's rhetoric - the public messages in which he evolved his views on slavery and the preservation of the Union and by which he sought to persuade others.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • A master class in rhetoric from the man himself

    • By Quaker on 12-07-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution

    • By: Thomas L. Pangle, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Thomas L. Pangle
    • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 140
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 128
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 126

    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Its authority and stature are routinely invoked by voices from every point on the political spectrum, with frequent references to the Founding Fathers and their true "intent." What really was their true intent? As these 12 surprising lectures show, many of those Founding Fathers-including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry-were highly critical of the new Constitution and staunchly opposed it when it was first put forth for ratification by the states as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • A thought provoking review

    • By Glenn M on 07-05-15

    Regular price: $14.95

    • A Brief History of the World

    • By: Peter N. Stearns, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Peter N. Stearns
    • Length: 19 hrs and 2 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 213
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 188
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 187

    The construction of the great pyramids of Egypt, the development of democracy in ancient Greece, the glories of ancient Rome-these stories are familiar to students of history. But what about the rest of the world? How do the histories of China and Japan, or Russia, India, and the remote territories of Sub-Saharan Africa and South America fit in with commonly known accounts of Western traditions?Learn the rest of the story with these 36 riveting lectures that survey the expanse of human development and civilization across the globe.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Global

    • By Tad Davis on 12-05-13

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Interpreting the 20th Century: The Struggle Over Democracy

    • By: Pamela Radcliff, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Pamela Radcliff
    • Length: 24 hrs and 22 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 80
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 74
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 73

    Consider the intense and rapid changes that transformed the political, social, and economic struggles of the world during the 20th century: the first flight and space flight, the Manhattan Project and the Welfare State, Nietzsche and Freud, the Great Depression and inflation, moving pictures and home computers, the Cold War and terrorism - and war and peace.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Philosophical differences aside, well worth it!

    • By Lance on 01-09-14

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Great Presidents

    • By: Allan J Lichtman, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Allan J. Lichtman
    • Length: 24 hrs and 42 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 202
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 183
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 183

    The creation of the executive branch of government was one of the most audacious decisions in American history. The story of our greatest presidents create a narrative as compelling as an historical novel, and these 48 compelling lectures look at the lives, the achievements, and the legacies of those generally considered our 12 greatest presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • I'm clearly in the minority here...

    • By J. Houghton on 06-11-16

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian

    • By: Don Howard, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Don Howard
    • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 63
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 59
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 58

    These 24 lectures present a wide-ranging intellectual exploration of this iconic scientist, genius, and champion of social justice. More than just a biography of Einstein's life, Albert Einstein provides you with an inside look at how this brilliant thinker arrived at his various revolutionary breakthroughs.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Albert Einstien-Moses of the Twentieth Century

    • By kevin spadafora on 02-24-16

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917

    • By: Robert I. Weiner, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert I. Weiner
    • Length: 18 hrs and 25 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 344
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 302
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 304

    Few periods of history offer such captivating complexity as Europe in the long 19th century between 1789 and 1914. From the idealism of the French Revolution to the power of the Industrial Revolution to the chaos of World War I, this fascinating whirl of events, personalities, and forces formed the foundation for the modern world.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • More of a Good Course than a Great Course

    • By Flavius Krakdaddius on 11-02-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • World War I: The Great War

    • By: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,380
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,246
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,241

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • EXCELLENT SURVEY COURSE THAT NEEDS MORE CHRONOLOGY

    • By Ark1836 on 06-08-15

    Regular price: $41.95

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