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Although there are some good parts on this and is at times an interesting story to listen to, the author takes a "bold" pro-Ottoman side in crucial humanitarian issues like the Armenian and Greek genocide. As himself states early in the book, his wife is Turkish, I am afraid this has prevented him for keeping a more neutral stand in these depressing pages of human history. Overall, a disappointing purchase.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
I’d give it 7 of 5 stars if possible. It is superbly organized. It’s terrific to see history unfold from the Ottoman viewpoint. I think it corrects for conceptions of the modern Muslim-majority nation state that is too frequently projected into the past. The course is very helpful in thinking about the Balkans and the lead up to WW1.
I appreciate Prof. Harl most when he’s focused on Antiquity through the Middle Ages, where his style is to tell us what the literary sources say – what the archaeological record (so far) tells us – the relevant ancient anecdotes and excerpts (from Herodotus, Plutarch, Livy) that make history interesting – a few jokes of his own – and then maybe a few comments on the current “state of scholarly debate,” or where he has a bias with which other history profs may disagree.
To contrast, some very good lecturers get too bogged down in what various historical “schools of thought” say about a subject (Fagan, others). Others get too cute in trying to weave a continuous narrative and leave out too many details (Fears, Garland). A few bad apples start with a sociological point of view, and try to read that back into time by cherry picking incidents that support it (Dise).
Harl’s lectures are authentic and flow naturally, without any gimmicks. His mastery of the material is obvious. I have listened to all 11 of his courses, most more than once, and he’s simply the best. I would love to see him do a deep dive on the Iranian plateau – Persians though Seleucids, Parthians, Abbasids, etc. That has yet to be covered in detail by a lecturer of Prof. Harl’s caliber.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Without a doubt the most biased "historian" I've ever encountered. I understand that the people researching an empire, most likely have a stake in toning down the worst qualities of said empire. I do however expect, at least a resemblance of, objectivity from your Professors, wich most of them attain. Not so i this Course, unfortunately... "Through no fault of the Ottomans" is probably the most spoken or implied sentence in this travesty.
I was looking forward to learn more about this once great empire, as I've successfully done with so many others, but this simply became an example on how NOT to act... when the Professor at times refer to the Ottomans as "we", and also tries to blame the Armenian genocide ON THE Armenians... that was the last straw of an already empty experience.
Also, the entire lecture seems a bit unordered, and can be hard to follow, due to his over enthusiasm and badly structured planning.
Hope you will be more selective in the future, but all other courses I've listened to, has been an absolute pleasure :)
Instead of reading the narrator made as if he was teaching. So many pauses, hesitations and ahh's and eeh's... plus the pronunciations were mainly wrong at a level that even as a Turkish speaking person I found it hard to understand who, where and what he is talking about... other than that it was good.
well constructed and thought out lecture series. Highly recommended. only complaint is that the lecturer stumbled over names. A lot.
I'm going to listen to every audible by Professor Kenneth W. Harl. So respectful and passionate I could listen to this for hours and have.