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Publisher's Summary

To take a skeptical approach to American history is not to dabble in imaginative conspiracy theories; rather, it's to reframe your understanding of this great nation's past and actually strengthen your appreciation for what makes American history such a fascinating chapter in the larger story of Western civilization. And in this bold 24-lecture series, you can do just that.
Travel back in time and examine many commonly held myths and half-truths about American history and prompt yourself to think about what really happened in the nation's past - as opposed to what many believe happened. These lectures demonstrate how reconsidering some of the most popular notions of U.S. history can yield new (and sometimes startlingly different) interpretations of political, social, economic, and military events. But more than just debunking commonly accepted accounts, you'll be able to replace these misconceptions with insightful truths. Exploring both America's history and the verdicts that have been rendered about some of its most enduring figures - including George Washington, John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and many others - these lectures investigate a wide-ranging list of questions. What impact did other nations have on the American Revolution? Has George Washington always been revered as president? Do we now understand the true blunders in America's Vietnam policies and tactics?
In exploring these and other questions, these lectures prove themselves to be a delightful intellectual experience that will allow you to rethink not just the facts of U.S. history, but also their meaning.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ark1836 on 11-20-15

Skeptical but Not Cynical

I was a little apprehensive about taking this course because of the title. I read many history books, and I get really tired of revisionist history and cynical professors with an axe to grind against America. Given the title, I feared running into exactly this scenario. I was happily relieved to find that not to be the case with this course. The professor's goal is to shed light on American history myths and misunderstandings, but he does so in a respectful way that does not belittle America or ignore the nation's accomplishments. For example, he points out that George Washington lost nearly every battle he fought in the American Revolution, and, thus, Washington was not an unmatched tactical general. The professor points out, though, that Washington was a strategic master who won the war without winning all of the battles by making the British situation in America unsustainable and winning enough key battles to be successful. As another example, he discusses the myth that President Franklin Roosevelt "gave away" Eastern Europe to the Soviets at the end of World War II. The professor explains that the Soviets had already conquered Eastern Europe, and, instead of surrendering territory, Roosevelt negotiated territorial concessions from the Soviets, not vice-versa. The class was fascinating and thought provoking and, thankfully, not cynical or demeaning to America.

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57 of 60 people found this review helpful


By Kristi Richardson on 04-30-14

24 Lectures The American History not taught.

This Great Course was very easy to follow and understand. It begins with the causes of the Revolutionary War and goes out to the Vietnam War. I especially enjoyed the parts about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation and the ratings of various Presidents.

There was also a lecture on Hoover and whether or not he was helping to get the economy going and what Roosevelt did or didn't do to get us out of the Depression.

Lots of things I forgot or never knew, so this was a great learning experience.

Professor Mark Stoler is a wonderful teacher and lecturer. I am going to continue to look at some more of these courses as no matter what your age, you should keep on learning.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Seth on 04-30-17

Mind blowing!

This is so mind opening that it should be required EARLIER in education. If I was a high school history teacher I would teach history based on these lectures.
American history is so unclear compared to what out politicians claim and even our early education books teach us.
If you think you know the founding fathers, you better listen to these lectures and get educated.

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By Jan on 08-05-15

I expected more

This is not overly critical of the U.S. And it's only a very light intro into the topic.

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