The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations : The Great Courses: Renaissance & Early Modern History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Andrew C. Fix Ph.D. Indiana University
  • Series: The Great Courses: Renaissance & Early Modern History
  • 24 hrs and 17 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals.
Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.
This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and scholar sheds new light on this critical period by exploring the political, social, cultural, and economic revolutions that transformed Europe between the arrival of the Black Death in the 14th century to the onset of the Enlightenment in the 18th century.
It explains

how these startling changes came about;
the social, economic, and political factors that helped steer Europe away from the Middle Ages and into the modern world;
the kinds of patterns we can see during this time; and
how these centuries were critical to the entire narrative of history and have contributed to the Western world we know today.
Professor Fix covers a remarkable breadth of subjects relating to European history from 1348 to 1715. While religion, politics, wars, and economics dominate this period, he also pays close attention to art, exploration, science, and technology.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Well, despite myself, I loved it

Where does The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

For history right at the top. Not because it was the best history, or even particularly good, insightful history; but just because it was a rattling good story. And it was far better than a history book to listen to; I love history, but cannot get on with history audiobooks. So this was a real find.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations?

Monking. I howled. Andrew Fisk was describing the relationship between Luther and his Dad, and Andrew had his father cry out in outrage 'there's no money in monking!'. A real treat.

Have you listened to any of Professor Andrew C. Fix’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I've not; this thing is I agree with another comment that there were hideous generalisations, inaccuracies, and a very traditional view - the view of the pre-reformation church, for example could have been written 30 years ago. And although Andrew Fisk rather stumbled and repeated himself - I really, really enjoyed his style in the end. I suspect repeating the same point is simply good teaching.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?


Any additional comments?

Heartily recommended. Not the best history, but a superb way to get into the subject.

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- David

Detailed and Fascinating

This course covers (loosely) Western European history from the 14th-16th century. The central theme of the course is the reformation and the birth of protestantism and the fallout from this.

The first section of the course deals with a brief overview of the medieval period and the state the continent was in at the start of the renaissance. The renaissance lectures were like a scaled down version of the Great Courses on the Italian renaissance so I would suggest following up with that if you find it interesting. These lectures deal with humanism and are important for understanding the context of the reformation.

The main bulk of the course is the reformation. This means that some time is spent on the history of the Catholic church and the papacy, before going on to the various protestant sects that emerge around the continent. This is amazing stuff, well written and detailed without ever being dull. The descriptions of both the theology and the religious wars that follow are interesting and equally well laid out. There was no dull theology at all, all of the theology was kept simple and relevant.

A couple of times the course spends a few lectures on each of the major protestant European powers and how the reformation affected them. This was good but did not really live up to the 'birth of nations' in the title. If you want an understanding of the development of the theory of the nation state this course will leave you wanting.

The final section deals with the scientific revolution. This was a real change of pace but still fascinating and well worth knowing. It feels like it should probably have been a separate course and made longer though.

The lecturer is great, the writing is great, the content is great. Wholeheartedly recommend.
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- Chris

Book Details

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