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Publisher's Summary

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.
As you listen to the series, you'll begin to grasp not only the history of Western civilization, but the meaning of civilization itself, as this grand narrative of the past five centuries creates a coherent context for the period's events and trends, and offers an analysis of what these five centuries have bequeathed to us. Lecture by lecture, you'll explores the ideas, events, and characters that modeled Western political, social, religious, intellectual, cultural, scientific, technological, and economic history between the 16th and 20th centuries. You'll learn how Western civilization was shaped by the low as well as the mighty, the practical as well as the artistic. You'll gain a larger understanding of the political, social, and cultural events that shaped Europe. And you'll explore the ramifications of these epoch-making events on the rest of the world, including the United States.

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

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lee on 12-21-14

An Excellent Overview

Any additional comments?

I am a community college history professor. I normally teach US History survey courses but I recently found myself tapped to teach Western Civilization Since 1660. My specialty is military history, so I am good with European History from Napoleon to World War Two, but a little rusty on things that happened prior to that. I haven't had a Western Civ class since 1997, so I knew I needed to brush up. I started listening to this course with the intention of only listening to the first third of it, but I found that I liked the professor's style and the next thing I knew, I had listened to all of it! He gives you the big picture, but he also works in funny anecdotes and stories from everyday people. In other words, exactly what good professors do. His delivery style is good and I found it both entertaining and informative. He is funny too! He has some great one liners that you really have to pay attention to catch. Overall, I certainly recommend this. Yes, he may be a little biased towards England, but all historians have their biases. At least he admits his. I would definitely listen to another of his courses, even if it was a subject that did not really interest me that much, simply because I like his style.

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Tommy D'Angelo on 04-06-17

Great Course on the Progression of Western Europe

What made the experience of listening to Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World the most enjoyable?

Great overall course that provides an enthralling historical narrative covering European history from aprx. 1500-2000 focusing on how countries that have contributed the most to the political system and ideals of the U.S. (Great Britain, France, Germany, etc.) transformed themselves from feudal agrarian serfdom states to modern industrious societies with democracy, capitalism, free education, free press, and civil rights and liberties as their foundations.

Topics discussed included:
o Renaissance Humanism
o 16th century voyages and colonialism (Africa, Asia, the Americas)
o The Protestant Reformation
o Wars of Religion (including the Thirty Years War)
o Rational & Scientific Revolutions
o How France became an Absolute Monarchy and English became a Constitutional Monarchy and the wars between the two in the 17th and 18th century
o The Enlightenment
o The American Revolution
o The French Revolution
o The rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire
o The Industrial Revolution
o Nationalism leading to the unification of Italy and Germany
o European powers and United States seeking new empires overseas (Africa, Asia, Australia)
o World War I
o The Russian Revolution of 1917
o Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
o The holocaust
o World War II
o The Cold War
o The fall of Communism

Professor Bucholz is an excellent teacher. I fell in love with his teaching style when I took "A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts" and was so happy to see he would be teaching this course. I had a hard time getting into the "Foundations of Western Civilization" course but was ecstatic when I saw Professor Bucholz would be teaching this one. He is a very clear speaker and easy to understand. He does not rush his sentences nor dwells on his points. He explains the basics very well (does not assume prior knowledge) but provides profound insights as well. For example after multiple lectures on the Renaissance and Humanism in "Foundations of Western Civilization" I still was left without a general sense of what the Renaissance truly was or what it encapsulated. In just a few sentences from Professor Bucholz I was able to grasp what the Renaissance was all about in an instant "got it" moment. Would love more course offerings from him.

Another thing he does well is paint the picture of a specific scene (such as life in a factory at the onset of the industrial revolution or the trenches of World War I), really placing yourself there which only increases your understanding and perspective.

He did a good job of defining and bringing together the actual foundations of western civilization in the last lecture. Until then I was wondering why the course wasn't named "History of Western Europe 1500-2000"? i.e. where was the conversation on the "foundations" of western civilization? What were these "foundations"? But boy did it all come together in the last lecture. Democracy, civil rights, a free and open society, free press, liberalism, capitalism. All of these topics were discussed in previous lectures but it hadn't sunk in to me that collectively they represent the Foundations of Western Civilization. Sometimes you can live right in the middle of something and not be able to define it or see its distinguishing characteristics. Professor Bulcholz pulled it all together.

Very minor minuses to the course:
- Would’ve liked a little more time spent on both the battles and treaties of some of the wars such as the Thirty Year’s War, the Crimean War, the Russo-Turkish, and the various colonial wars in Africa (such as the Boer War) and Asia (such as the uprising in India in 1857): How were they won and what did they settle?

- While of course most of the course focused on Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia (and deservedly so) and the professor warned in lecture 2 the course would focus on these countries, it would’ve been nice to have some additional insight into the progression of some of the other countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, etc.

I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in history, western Europe, or the story of the progression and transformation of these countries into modern civilizations and the political and economic foundations that define "western civilization".

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Mr. An Te on 06-15-17

Good overview but far too short.

I enjoyed this course immensely. It is very difficult to summarise this work into a coherent fashion. The content was good and covered much ground. I felt his final lecture was incoherent and unsatisfying. I feel that his sweeping generalisations such as that art and culture not fading were posed as strong rehrotical devices less so about the truth of what brings all things together. The reading sources would be most interesting to follow up on. I think I now have a good grasp of the prevailing factors in the West. We are each products of a bygone age.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By First Impressions on 10-22-16

Near impossible task - decent try - bit personal

If you could sum up Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World in three words, what would they be?

Ambitious, intense, subjective.

What other book might you compare Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World to, and why?

The prequel. Much enjoyed - I recommended it. Foundations of Western Civilization I [Prof. Noble]. This covers the 4,500 years up to 1600. I found Prof Noble to be more objective and dispassionate than Prof Bucholz. It's also a period I knew less about. Prof Bucholz sometimes appeared to think that history should be a road of inevitable progress and ever more refined morality, and when there is a detour (or back step) it is a matter of personal regret and disappointment to him. I could hear the emotion in his voice. Clearly a decent bloke, but he enjoys amateur dramatics (in front of a "canned audience").

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration is usually chronological (from c.1600 to about c.2005), with the pace changing according to whether the period has particular points of importance to discuss. Something is discussed in detail - and then we get something closer to a list [e.g. "I'm now going to be going all around Europe"]. We probably have to have the lists in an ambitious history of this kind, but at times it can be a little tedious (battles, personalities, inventions etc) - especially if you are familiar with the material.

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

At nearly 25 hours, probably not. It is broken up into convenient chunks.

Any additional comments?

There is a constant putting of personal views or contemporary morality on to history. When it isn't specific, it is in the voice, e.g. sadness, deep regret, cheering up. I often agree, but it is not necessary. A number of times I found myself muttering "Good grief". Here are some direct quotes:"there were no modern antibiotics in the time of the plague" and ".. at his time there was no internet, radio or television" (as they didn't have electricity, not that surprising)."By modern American standards ... " (judging the Spanish Armada)."If you don't believe this you are either wicked or an idiot" (Prof. - even if you feel the evidence is overwhelmingly one way, always allow the possibility for new information or scholarship, whether it be 10 or 100 years ahead).That said, Prof Bucholz is pleasant company, though a bit over-emotional. He had a very difficult (near impossible) job and gave it a go.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By SYLVIANNE on 11-08-16

Insightful Grand Oration

Professor Bucholz does a masterful job covering such a vast epoch of Western Civilization brilliantly

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5 out of 5 stars
By Garyfmp on 12-13-15

Great job in joining the dots of European/Western history

Listened to the whole lecture, well presented and easy to follow. Even if one is only interested in one branch of western history eg. French History, I believe this is still time well spent.

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