Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World : The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Bucholz
  • Series: The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture
  • 24 hrs and 38 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Beginning with the Renaissance, the culture of the West exploded. Over the next 600 years, rapid innovations in philosophy, technology, economics, military affairs, and politics allowed what had once been a cultural backwater left by the collapse of the Roman Empire to dominate the world.
This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and captivating lecturer will show you how - and why - this extraordinary transformation took place.
As you listen to the series, you'll begin to grasp not only the history of Western civilization, but the meaning of civilization itself, as this grand narrative of the past five centuries creates a coherent context for the period's events and trends, and offers an analysis of what these five centuries have bequeathed to us. Lecture by lecture, you'll explores the ideas, events, and characters that modeled Western political, social, religious, intellectual, cultural, scientific, technological, and economic history between the 16th and 20th centuries. You'll learn how Western civilization was shaped by the low as well as the mighty, the practical as well as the artistic. You'll gain a larger understanding of the political, social, and cultural events that shaped Europe. And you'll explore the ramifications of these epoch-making events on the rest of the world, including the United States.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good overview but far too short.

I enjoyed this course immensely. It is very difficult to summarise this work into a coherent fashion. The content was good and covered much ground. I felt his final lecture was incoherent and unsatisfying. I feel that his sweeping generalisations such as that art and culture not fading were posed as strong rehrotical devices less so about the truth of what brings all things together. The reading sources would be most interesting to follow up on. I think I now have a good grasp of the prevailing factors in the West. We are each products of a bygone age.
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- Mr. An Te

Near impossible task - decent try - bit personal

If you could sum up Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World in three words, what would they be?

Ambitious, intense, subjective.


What other book might you compare Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World to, and why?

The prequel. Much enjoyed - I recommended it. Foundations of Western Civilization I [Prof. Noble]. This covers the 4,500 years up to 1600. I found Prof Noble to be more objective and dispassionate than Prof Bucholz. It's also a period I knew less about. Prof Bucholz sometimes appeared to think that history should be a road of inevitable progress and ever more refined morality, and when there is a detour (or back step) it is a matter of personal regret and disappointment to him. I could hear the emotion in his voice. Clearly a decent bloke, but he enjoys amateur dramatics (in front of a "canned audience").


Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration is usually chronological (from c.1600 to about c.2005), with the pace changing according to whether the period has particular points of importance to discuss. Something is discussed in detail - and then we get something closer to a list [e.g. "I'm now going to be going all around Europe"]. We probably have to have the lists in an ambitious history of this kind, but at times it can be a little tedious (battles, personalities, inventions etc) - especially if you are familiar with the material.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At nearly 25 hours, probably not. It is broken up into convenient chunks.


Any additional comments?

There is a constant putting of personal views or contemporary morality on to history. When it isn't specific, it is in the voice, e.g. sadness, deep regret, cheering up. I often agree, but it is not necessary. A number of times I found myself muttering "Good grief". Here are some direct quotes:"there were no modern antibiotics in the time of the plague" and ".. at his time there was no internet, radio or television" (as they didn't have electricity, not that surprising)."By modern American standards ... " (judging the Spanish Armada)."If you don't believe this you are either wicked or an idiot" (Prof. - even if you feel the evidence is overwhelmingly one way, always allow the possibility for new information or scholarship, whether it be 10 or 100 years ahead).That said, Prof Bucholz is pleasant company, though a bit over-emotional. He had a very difficult (near impossible) job and gave it a go.

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- First Impressions

Book Details

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