The Decisive Battles of World History : The Great Courses: Military

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
  • Series: The Great Courses: Military
  • 18 hrs and 29 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events, causing major changes both on a global scale (the battles of Yarmouk & al-Qadisiyyah in 636 determined the religious/linguistic orientation of the Middle East that persists today) as well as within individual cultures (the 1836 battle of San Jacinto gave the United States nearly one-third of its continental territory). For these reasons and more, the study of pivotal battles is a highly useful analytical tool and an important component for understanding world history.
In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.
Through his dramatic and evocative descriptions, using special maps and animations, Professor Aldrete brings the events vividly alive, taking you through the moment-by-moment unfolding of each battle. Throughout the lectures, he uncovers fascinating background material that highlights the drama, poignancy, and scope of the experience of war. This engrossing course provides unique insights into world civilizations by revealing the profound impact of military battles in human history.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent Course- Needs Battle Maps

I found this course to be well taught and fascinating. The Professor was excellent. Although I may not agree with all of the battles selected by the Professor as being the most important in world history (especially some of the ancient ones)- I did enjoy the manner in which he described his methodology for choosing the battles and I learned a great deal about some historical events that I really knew nothing about. The biggest complaint that I have with this course is the lack of maps for each battle. You really cannot understand strategy, movement and terrain withoug some form of visual display. I really think that Audible should contract with the Great Corses to add a pdf file of the maps for each battle. Otherwise I would recommend that one purchase this course directly from the Teaching Company
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- IRP

Very Interesting and Well Narrated

What did you love best about The Decisive Battles of World History?

The author, Prof. Aldrete, who is also the narrator, does a fantastic job of describing not only the occurrences on the battlefield, but also of the history behind and beside. This way, this course actually offers a bit of an overview of the last 3000 years of human history, in light of decisive battles. I really liked that Prof. Aldrete offers this list of battles as his own view, debatable and open for discussion. I have to admit - every time I thought to myself "why did he not include this", or "here his biases do come into view", I would always get my answer later in the lesson for why a battle was not included, or the battle I thought of was included in a later lesson. All in all, a truly interesting, engaging course. One caveat: for ancient times, Prof. Aldrete does not struggle with ancient names. He simply makes no effort to pronounce them in anything but a very American accent. As a narrator, he cautions in the beginning of the course that the course may reflect his own biases - well, this is the only bias I have found.
By the way - one of the reviewers said battle-maps were missing. In the one or two instances I really felt the need to see a map - I found it on Wikipedia. Hence, I don't find the lack of maps to be a real shortcoming. Their addition would of course have been welcome.


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- Iriskat

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2014
  • Publisher: The Great Courses