Cycles of American Political Thought : The Great Courses: Intellectual History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Joseph F. Kobylka
  • Series: The Great Courses: Intellectual History
  • 18 hrs and 14 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

American history is often presented as a tale of dynamic movers and shakers who subdued an untamed wilderness on the way to forging a great nation - all the while leaving philosophy for their European counterparts.
But this history neglects the philosophical underpinnings of America. As these 36 lectures demonstrate, America has borne the imprint of influential thinkers from its earliest days, from the Reformation theology of John Calvin to the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke.
Throughout this epic historical journey, you'll explore the many ways this nation has answered the question: What is an American? Professor Kobylka traces the many answers that have been offered showing how the idea of "We the People" has changed and expanded far beyond the Founding Fathers' original conception.
You'll navigate America's ever-shifting political landscape and see how the great political trends in American history can be understood as variations on a single theme: the philosophy of liberalism, this conception that government is the source of some of our most deeply valued political notions. You'll also meet the great men and women who, over the course of American history, have molded political thought and policy.
This is your opportunity to gain a deep understanding both of the nation's past and how this rich political history continues to influence the current day. Even if you've studied American history before, you'll encounter something new: a unique synthesis of viewpoints, ideas, and events that's enlightening and compelling.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thorough Review and Summary

What made the experience of listening to Cycles of American Political Thought the most enjoyable?

Prof. Kobylka presents the information in these lectures clearly, and without any apparent editorial bias. On the few occasions he editorializes, he makes it quite clear that is what he is doing. On the whole, he presents a remarkably balanced view of political thought in the US.

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

No, but it's 18+ hours long and not designed to be listened to in such a manner.

Any additional comments?

The principal thread of American political thought is Liberalism. This doesn't mean that it adheres to the current, popular use of the word "liberal" - you have to be able to hear that word with choking on your own rage.

It can sometimes be difficult to discern when he is quoting, paraphrasing, or simply commenting. This is due to him not using the (annoying) convention of announcing "quote-unquote" when he transitions to and from quotations.

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- Chris

Waste of time

Has Cycles of American Political Thought turned you off from other books in this genre?

I usually like the Great Courses series, but this one is horrible. He is too biased a leftist to be taken seriously, other courses were far more objective and more informative. I expected the same, I can get partisan dribble for free.

What didn’t you like about Professor Joseph F. Kobylka’s performance?

Clearly biased, and biased political thought is cheap and usually delivered better.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cycles of American Political Thought?

It goes downhill fast.

Any additional comments?

There are many excellent books in the Great Courses series other than this one, check them out .

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- john maloney

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses