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What did you like best about The History of the United States, 2nd Edition? What did you like least?
It is hard to review this course in whole since the three professors’ styles are so different but while I was hoping for more (the treatment of some events felt lacking) the course certainly covers other areas very well.
Professor Guelzo (Lectures 1-36) - Colonization to mid 19th century
Professor Gallagher (Lectures 37-48) - American Civil War era
Professor Allitt (Lectures 49-84) - Late 19th century into the 21st century
- It felt like almost no detail of American history was left out in his comprehensive and expansive survey; Surprisingly it did not start with England’s colonial expeditions but the expeditions of Europe, in general, of North and South America
- The Professor was passionate about the content, had a fondness for the characters, and could tell a good story/successfully leave you at a dramatic cliffhanger
- Lecture 9 on the French and Indian War
- While Professor Guelzo is a great story-teller and cliff-hanger master, at times his penchant for dramatizing just about everything and using longer than usual sentences made it difficult at times to follow certain points without rewinding; There were times I’d rather the professor had stated straight facts about an event or results of an event vs overdramatizing since it seemed like certain facts were either missing or got lost in the “story”
- He is one of my favorite lecturers in the Great Courses stable (along with Professor Vandiver) and delivered an excellent detailed narrative of the origins of the Civil War, the military history of the war, and study into non-military events such as the emancipation, life on the home front, the diplomatic front, etc.
- Lecture 46 on Reconstruction after Civil War
- He provided a great detailed narrative that is pretty straight forward making it easy to understand
- The professor had a habit of modulating his voice between speaking really low to really loud; He’d start a sentence too loud and end it too low; This made it very difficult at times to select a volume that would prevent me from having difficulty hearing him without being annoyed by the loud bursts
- Professor Allitt did a good job of articulating the evolution and transformation of society from an isolationist, primarily agricultural country to the highly industrialized world power the US had become
- Lectures 62-63 on World War I
- Lecture 84 Reflections and main themes (this course had one of the best concluding lectures I've listened to)
- For the most part I couldn’t get into his lectures: I was hoping he’d provide more background or facts around certain historical events (vs. in some cases treating events in passing like the Spanish-American War)
- He concluded his lectures in a somewhat abrupt manner: there wasn’t much summation of the key points of the lecture or a preview of what the next lecture had in store so there were times when the professor would make a point and suddenly there’d be applause to mark the end of the lecture without any warning that it was winding down!
Overall: I found "Turning Points in American History" a much better course on U.S. history but I also can't say this was a bad course. Was it worth my time? I'm still sort of undecided. There certainly was good but when it is dispersed among 42 hours and there is also alot of other time when I felt myself zoning out, I'm not too sure of my final feelings on this course.
37 of 37 people found this review helpful
This is my third Great Courses lecture series, and it was as amazing as the other two. I especially enjoyed Professor Guelzo's enthusiasm, which was contagious, but I give high marks to all three. They did a great job of breaking the series at logical points, which makes it possible to break off listening for a bit while you go read or listen to something less weighty, then come back and pick it up, no problem. I really feel, after listening to this series, that I have a more well-rounded grasp on American history, more than just the cold dates and facts. The various eras and the individuals who left their marks really came alive for me. I'm so glad that Audible and The Great Courses have teamed up! And now off to find another new favorite.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The History of the United States, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?
It was a riveting overview of American History, with a good balance of political, social, and economic topics. It was so good that I've been listening to it at almost any spare moment when I've been walking, commuting, or cooking.
The lecturers were engaging teachers and the depth was just right for an introductory audio course - not too academic but also not dumbed down. I feel that I have a much better grasp of the broad sweep of American history and can now go on to learn in more depth about particular topics.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of the United States, 2nd Edition?
I particularly enjoyed the discussion of economic and social topics in the late 19th century as the US expanded westwards and became more industrialised. There were some wonderful lectures on the challenges of western expansion, the consequences of industrialisation, and the attitudes to gender of the time.
Any additional comments?
I wish the third lecturer had explained why the Democratic and Republican parties seem to have switched ideological places in the mid-twentieth century.
Also, audible should provide the option of buying the PDF guide that comes with Great Courses courses - it would be helpful for reviewing what I've learned.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is a very long lecture series as their subject matter requires. The speakers are good and the lecture series covers history pretty well.
The only issue that I had was that not all history was covered evenly. Especially the modern part was slightly rushed. Also, the side of natives could have been covered a bit more. But it is understandable why they didn't have time, series is already 43+ hours.
Overall, definitely recommend this to anyone interested in US history who wants to get started.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book is fantastic, incredibly interesting with the right amount of detail to be interesting but not overwhelming. The narration is great. Can't recommend this book highly enough!
This was my first intro to US history. The natural speaking and obvious experience of each professor made this extremely listenable and enjoyable. It's hard to imagine a time where I wasn't excited to learn about history when through this it was so immensely interesting.