Summary

During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called "the first modern society" and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.
Those years hold a huge and captivating story. The English survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on Earth, Louis XIV of France and Philip II of Spain. But they did much more than survive. They produced a great culture, giving the world the ideas of John Locke, the plays of Shakespeare, the wit of Swift, the poetry of Milton, the buildings of Christopher Wren, the science of Isaac Newton, and the King James Bible, to name a very few. And, despite the cruelty, bloodshed, and religious suppression they visited upon so many, they ultimately left behind something else: the political principles and ideals for which we-and so many of them – would work and die, and on which we would build our own nation.
Now you can watch this remarkable panorama of society, economics, religion, and politics unfold in a series of 48 transfixing lectures by a justifiably honored teacher who takes you into the lives of not only Britain's ruling royal houses, but the English people themselves, describing how they were born, worked, played, worshiped, fell in love, and died.
Cinematic in their presentation and detail – whether describing the likely thoughts of Charles I on the way to his execution or the overheard weeping of Queen Anne after she fired her Lord Treasurer – these lectures are as memorable as the history they describe.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Paul Robinson on 23-05-15

The seeds of our modern successes and failures

Prof Bucholz has provided a digestible yet encyclopaedic account of modern English history. With a relaxed and informal style he shows how the personalities of the Monarchs shape their response to the main problem areas of the day, religion, succession, finance and dealing with foreign threats or opportunities. Aimed at a U.S. audience I, as a Brit, always found the course relevant and interesting. The way the government moves from the King to Parliament over the centuries, and the way responses to religious dissent move from execution by burning to less violent punishment and finally to religious tolerance helps us understand our present day responses when tensions between Protestants and Catholics, Muslims and Jews underlie any global conflicts. Above all, to get to know the Monarchs and their entourages as people, Henry 8th whose narcissistic and sociopathic personality led to huge changes for the country and Queen Anne, denigrated for her obesity by some sexist historians, yet able to make peace after a terrible war.
A great voyage.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 28-07-14

Be ready to press pause ...

... not a luxury afforded in the lecture theatre - if you are English you will find much that is contentious - better to be ready to pause than have the argument in your head and miss some of this fascinating series of lectures.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By E. Stein on 26-02-14

Old-fashioned and inaccurate

Bucholz has written some respected texts, but in this series he has relied on outdated research. His lectures on Henry VII and Henry VIII are sound enough, but by the time he got to Edward VI it was clear he had read no recent historical writing; he repeated the myth that Edward was weakly from birth, that Northumberland had conspired to put his son and daughter in law on the throne, and a number of other inaccuracies. Finally I had to stop listening. There are better books out there: David Loades' books on each of the Tudor monarchs are excellent, readable, and well-researched, Diarmuid MacCulloch wrote a good one on Edward, Dale Hoak's Age of Henry VIII is both interesting and easy to listen to.

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35 of 41 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By JKR on 29-10-16

A fantastic storyteller of a fantastic story

A must listen for anyone that is interested in history. It is very well presented and has enough depth. I've learnt a huge amount from this series and now have a desire to learn a lot more about the period.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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