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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.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful
When I bought this course, I looked forward to rediscovering and enhancing any knowledge i already had of Western Civilization. From the excellent reviews, I was also aware that other listeners had really appreciated Professor Bucholz' series of lectures. So I dug in with gusto.
I expected to learn a lot, and I did. Prof. Bucholz is excellent - in knowledge, in organization, and in delivery. What seemed like a big commitment - 48 lectures! - turned out to be a real pleasure. I recommend this experience heartily!
What I did not so much expect was to spend sleepless nights with alarm bells going off in my head. Like most people, I often forget that the patterns of history aren't just about the past - they repeat themselves over and over again and say much about what is still deep in human nature. Historians and other wise people say something like: "Woe to those who forget their history - they are doomed to repeat it!"
We are stupid indeed to think that our own actions in the present can't abruptly alter and send the civilization we have achieved rocking on its heels. I wish that every person who feels that his/her vote doesn't matter, or who considers casting that precious vote in sheer anger - or, worse, as a joke - would listen to this course and appreciate just how delicate and vulnerable our "civilization" really is!
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Professor Bucholz does a masterful job covering such a vast epoch of Western Civilization brilliantly
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.