War and World History : The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Jonathan P. Roth
  • Series: The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
  • 25 hrs and 1 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

This fresh and challenging inquiry into human societies takes a deep look at the effects and roles of war. As the most complex of all human endeavors, warfare - from ancient to modern - has spurred the growth of essential new technologies; demanded the adoption of complex economic systems; shaped the ideology and culture of nations; promoted developments in art and literature; and spread faith across the globe.
Over the course of 48 highly provocative lectures, Professor Roth explores armed conflict across five continents. Far from a traditional approach to military events, this panoramic series is not the history of battles or military campaigns, but the story of the intimate interconnections of war with human cultures and societies and how these connections have shaped history.
You'll study the complex effects of culture, economics, politics, and religion on war - and war's influences on them. In this context, you chart the colorful history of the practice and methodology of warfare. Among many other things, you'll learn about


the development and evolution of history-making military weapons such as bows, horses, swords, and gunpowder;
the interface of warfare with religion, which has bred some of the most unusual and poignant conflicts in history;
the 17th-century European nation-state, where militaries were "nationalized" into central governments and military service was imbued with ideology of citizenship and loyalty to state;
the crucial military underpinnings of nationalism, Communism, Fascism, and other political movements from the modern era.

Probe these pivotal and revealing features of history and deepen your understanding of our extraordinary, evolving world.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

War & Its Interactions with History & Civilization

If you could sum up War and World History in three words, what would they be?

War in Context


What did you like best about this story?

Not only does Professor Roth discuss all aspects of warfare from the stone age to the present, including technology, tactics, strategies, training, organization, major historical figures and major events and trends, he also illuminates how war has affected the rest of society and how the rest of society has affected war. Here are just a few examples:

He discusses the adoption of iron not just from a weapons effectiveness point of view, but also from an economic point of view, which was at least as important, if not more so.

He discusses how banking grew out, to a great degree, of the need of European monarchs to finance wars which had become far more expensive due to advances in technologies such as gunpowder.

He discusses how ideology influenced both the successes and failures of Nazi Germany.


Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The only real negative of the book was the strange emmmphaasisss that Professor Roth often employed, drawing out sooomme words and enunciating otheeerrsss LOUDLY.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Opened my eyes to the full range of factors involved in warfare through the ages. Of special note were the extremely long times it took certain technologies to be properly utilized. For example, when cannons were first placed on ships, they were positioned in the bow in place of a ram, instead of along the side where firepower could be concentrated in a broadside on the opposing ship.


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- Jamie Nettles

He should listen to some of the other courses.

First, terrible speaker. His voice ranges from very quiet to very loud. He says "uh" a lot, and seems to forget what he's talking about. Second, he drones on and on about irrelevant, trivial facts at the expense of the bigger picture. Third, he may be a university professor, but he doesn't know his facts. His account of early Islam is alarmingly inaccurate, and elementary. There's a Great Course about Islamic history that attempts to tell the story from a neutral view and does a fair job. This author, however, referenced an incident in early Islamic history of which the only source is laughable at best, having had been written several centuries after the event in question. I don't expect Western historians in the modern era to be entirely accurate or fair when telling Eastern history, especially Islamic history, but that wasn't worthy of a Great Course lecture.
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- Zacharia Gobah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses