Churchill

Course No. 807
Professor J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma
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Course No. 807
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Course Overview

Winston Churchill is arguably the greatest leader of the 20th century, and one of the greatest democratic statesmen ever. His friend, colleague, and esteemed political foe Clement Attlee memorialized him as "the greatest Englishman of our time—I think the greatest citizen of the world of our time." Churchill is eminently worthy of study because he is proof that a single individual can change the course of history for the better and make of life a blessed and noble thing, despite public and private trials too numerous to name.

A Champion of Freedom

At an awful hour when freedom and right stood in mortal peril before tyranny and brutal terror, Churchill, with his great-souled courage, genius, and eloquence, rallied the British people: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ' This was their finest hour.' "

He stood alone against the Nazi onslaught. And from there he led his people to victory, which puts us all in his debt.

Who was this extraordinary man, and how did he accomplish this amazing feat? How was it that this achievement was just a single part of a long and fruitful life?

A Life of Stunning Accomplishment

These lectures will introduce you to:

  • A successful politician who won his seat in Parliament at age 26
  • A statesman of vision and principle
  • A brilliant orator who invoked timeless concepts of valor, honor, and freedom when the civilized world needed them most
  • A brave and resourceful soldier in battles large and small
  • A gifted public servant who helped his country in a variety of key cabinet posts, never shirking a tough assignment or dodging a tough issue
  • A military innovator and strategist who outpaced his contemporaries in his grasp of the impact of technology on warfare
  • An eminent bestselling author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, whose biography of Marlborough has been called the greatest historical work of the 20th century, and who had already become a millionaire through his writings when he took his seat in Parliament
  • A gifted painter of landscapes whose artwork, which hangs today in major museums, brought him a considerable income
  • A loving son, faithful husband, and doting father who won the devotion of his children.

Remarkable Literary Output

In his writings alone, Churchill completed five works that would, in Professor Fears's words, "each be a life work for most academic historians today":

  • Lord Randolph Churchill, 2 vols. (1906)
  • The World Crisis, 6 vols. (1923–31)
  • Marlborough, His Life and Times, 4 vols. (1933–38)
  • A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, 4 vols. (1956–58)
  • The Second World War, 6 vols. (1948–53).

And as we've already noted, those writings were far from "alone" in the accomplishments of his life.

Exceptional Subject, Exceptional Teacher

To condense the rich words and deeds, works and days of this multifaceted genius in a single lecture series is a daunting task. But we think you'll agree that Professor Fears is a man superbly suited to the job.

The winner of 15 awards for his outstanding teaching skills—including University of Oklahoma Professor of the Year three times—he frequently leads study trips to historical sites in the United States and Europe.

Of these tours, "Winston Churchill and World War II" is the most popular.

The lectures will clarify why this is so as you experience Professor Fears's learning, his deep understanding of Churchill, and his command of the lecturer's art as he brings his subject to life with dramatic flair.

Professor Fears begins at the supreme moment in Churchill's life, as he spoke to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, declaring to the world that Britain "shall never surrender."

As Churchill later wrote, his whole past "had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial."

And you will learn how Churchill, despite the grave ordeal he and his nation faced, met this trial with buoyancy and hope by drawing on his heritage of courage and his store of principle.

The Four Supreme Qualities of Statesmanship

Drawing on the most recent historical scholarship and richly documenting his lectures with material from Churchill's writings and speeches, Professor Fears argues that there are four qualities that merit for Churchill the title of statesman.

In fact, Professor Fears goes even further. He argues that Churchill belongs with Pericles of Athens and Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest statesmen in the history of democracy because of his:

  • Bedrock of principles
  • Moral compass
  • Vision
  • Ability to build consensus to achieve that vision.

These qualities, Professor Fears claims, are intimately related to Churchill's lifelong faith in the ideal of liberty under law and to his belief in absolute right and wrong. That belief enabled him to discern, name, and denounce the wickedness of Hitler at a time when such a stance was far from common.

Twin Ideals of Liberty and Justice

For Churchill, ideals of liberty and justice were best embodied in history by the twin bastions of Britain and the United States.

Those ideals guided him through all the issues and challenges over the decades, and led him to become a friend of social justice but a foe of socialism.

He remained a fearsome enemy to both Fascist and Communist tyranny, even though he was willing to bring his country into an alliance with the latter when the former presented the more immediate threat.

No Stranger to Controversy

Throughout his life, Churchill never shrank from controversy—and never lacked critics. Many of his personal qualities tended to provoke controversy, including his refusal to "stay in his box," compromise his vision, or avoid difficult decisions.

Professor Fears evaluates some of the most influential criticisms of Churchill, many of which were first heard during his lifetime.

He explains why historians representing a range of political opinions have assailed Churchill, and sketches briefly how these critics may be answered.

In the end, perhaps the spirit of this indomitable man is best captured by some advice he gave in the fall of 1941 to the boys of Harrow, his old school:

"Never give in," said the old lion, "Never, never, never, never!"

He never did.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Heritage and Destiny
    On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill spoke to Parliament, rallying a nation during the darkest days of history's most awful war. To see what brought him there, we must begin, as he would have, with the legacy of heroism and public service he received from his ancestors, above all the great First Duke of Marlborough. x
  • 2
    Young Churchill
    Despite his high birth, the "troublesome boy" Winston showed scant promise of greatness. His school career was uneven; his parents distant, even harsh. Yet as he later noted, "the solitary tree, if it grows at all, grows to be strong and sturdy." His own blossoming began at Sandhurst, Britain's Royal Military Academy. x
  • 3
    On the Empire’s Frontier
    Churchill began manhood as a soldier of the British Empire, which he would always see as a force for good. His service was noted for its "valour, courage, and resolute spirit," and he wrote successfully and well of his perilous experiences in Afghanistan and Africa. x
  • 4
    Political Beginnings
    Churchill burned with a strong sense of ambition and family honor. Already a war hero and author, he won a seat in Parliament at 26 (his second try) as a voice for "Tory democracy." He would be a top Cabinet minister by 34, and First Lord of the Admiralty by 37. x
  • 5
    Churchill and Controversy
    Mediocrity distrusts genius. Such distrust contributed to Churchill's fall from the Cabinet after the failure of the Dardanelles campaign. His own response to adversity revealed the nobility of spirit that enabled him not only to survive, but to triumph. x
  • 6
    Post-War Challenges
    Returning to the Cabinet as Minister of Munitions—a testament to his organizing skills and "can-do" spirit—Churchill pioneered a new weapon code-named the "tank," becoming a founding father of modern armored warfare and paving the way for victory on the Western Front. x
  • 7
    In the Wilderness
    Churchill returned to the Tory party and the Cabinet in the 1920s. By decade's end, he would resign over India. There followed years of political exile lightened by his warm family life and copious, brilliant literary output. x
  • 8
    The Nazi Menace
    For most of the 1930s, Churchill was widely considered washed-up and out of touch. Undaunted, he stood nearly alone as he persistently and eloquently made the case for British rearmament and resistance to Nazi aggrandizement. x
  • 9
    Rallying the Nation
    Why did Churchill, at last named Prime Minister during the stern days of May 1940, feel that all his life "had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial"? How did he resist pressures to negotiate for peace with Hitler, and instead rally his fellow Britons to meet "their finest hour"? x
  • 10
    The Tide of War Turns
    In a war of powerful leaders, Churchill proved to be the supreme strategist. What were the skills and experiences that made him so successful? How did he meet the numerous and awful challenges with which the burden of wartime leadership confronted him? x
  • 11
    Champion of Freedom
    In 1945, Churchill was determined that freedom's victory not be squandered as it had been in 1918. With the war barely won, voters gave him "the Order of the Boot." In his last years his health failed but his judgments remained astute (even prophetic) and his principles shone undimmed. x
  • 12
    The Legacy of Churchill
    In what does Churchill's greatness ultimately consist? What did he understand by liberty and democracy? What role did he see for government? Where did he learn his principles, and how did he uphold them so unswervingly over a political life of more than 50 tumultuous years? x

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Your professor

J. Rufus Fears

About Your Professor

J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma
J. Rufus Fears (1945–2012) was the David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. He also served as the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He earned his PhD from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Professor Fears was a Professor...
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Reviews

Churchill is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 217.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some very good, some not so much This is the second course I have taken by Professor Fears, the other being “Famous Romans”. As he states in the first lecture explicitly, he belongs to a school of historians that believe that history is primarily driven by great persons. In modern historical research, this approach is often frowned upon, and a soberer, statistical approach that investigates macro processes as driving forces in historical processes is prescribed instead. Obviously, both perspectives have their merit… The interesting point about Professor Fears, is that his unique presentation style matches his conviction of emphasis on single great persons: the style is hugely dynamic and dramatic, often appealing to emotions more than to analytical processes. The lectures are hugely entertaining and seasoned with thick doses of humor. The problem is that at the end of the lecture, you ask yourself what it is that you have actually learned? The answer is that you have learned what appears to be an extremely one sided and biased perspective held profoundly, and preached suggestively by Professor Fears. Yes, you were certainly entertained during the lectures, and they were enjoyable. I think that if one realizes that this is what the course has to offer, then one can get value from the lectures. With this substantial caveat, I recommend the course if only to enjoy Professor Fears hugely charismatic and entertaining lecturing style.
Date published: 2016-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Chuchill My husband and I found this presentation immensely enjoyable and educational Rufus Fears does a great job of his portrayal of Sir Winston and brings this time period to life for us. It's a wonderful example of "Never give up"!
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding course on Churchill I have long been fascinated by Winston Churchill and have read several books on him, a biography and a book detailing his role in WW2 come immediately to mind. This 24 lecture course did not disappoint and I so appreciated the vignettes as to his journalism career, painting, and contrast with Hitler. The professor did an outstanding job and at no time was I bored. I was sad when the DVD ended. I recommend the DVD and not just the audio since the footage of Churchill adds to the content. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It properly showcases a fascinating man and the references in the course book are copious...I want to read River War, now. :)
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An outstanding course with best possible presentation by Professor Fears. I have not only recommended the course to others but have given it as gifts to those who love history and appreciate an outstanding teacher
Date published: 2016-01-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I bet Winston would be appalled. My first disappointing course. Having listened to a half-dozen excellent courses I was very disappointed by Fears treatment of WSC. I believe WSC would be appalled by Fears amateurish, overly dramatic hero worship. As an admirer of WSC, I agree he was a "great man," but Fears seems to believe that WSC could have cured cancer and stopped world hunger if only he had the time. According to Fears breathless anecdotes, WSC could do no wrong, his errors were due to the jeolousies of his rivals (who were too stupid not to let WSC do what he wanted) and England's achievements from 1914-1945 were due to WSC's work alone. Perhaps some of the hagiography could be overlooked if not for Fears presentation which sounds like a 10-year making the case that Batman was the greatest super hero. One could imagine WSC telling the professor to stop talking because he has begun to dislike the person he's describing. I wish I could get my money back.
Date published: 2015-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not What I Hoped For When I saw that Dr Fears was the lecturer I almost passed the course by. I decided to get it because I thought that since Churchill was a well known modern figure that Fears would not be likely to present his opinions as facts, as he routinely does in his other courses. Fears does appear to be getting the facts right, but he routinely strays off the subject with garbage that has no place in the course. He talks about geniuses in history mentioning why Jesus and Socrates were the two greatest teaching geniuses in history. How anyone could rationally come to this opinion is beyond me, but where does it fit in a review of Churchill. Fears just likes to attract attention by controversy. He goes on to say that Churchill was a genius as a politician. This too seems idiotic as Churchill traded on his war record to get elected to Parliament, but each time he would be appointed to a position that might lead to Prime Minister he self-destructed with words and decisions. Fears says that Churchill was not good at this, that and the other but was still a genius. After being appointed to the position of Prime Minister at the start of WW II, and leading Britain through one of its most darkest hours, shortly after Hitler was defeated our genius politician was summarily voted out of office. Again his speeches contained too many inflammatory and ridiculous statements. I will not again watch another course with Fears as the lecturer.
Date published: 2015-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative, Balanced & Wonderfully Told Prof Fears, who looks a bit like Churchill himself, presents in a delightful, memorable manner the life and times of Winston Churchill. He presents the relevant information as well as his cogent insights into a stirring description of a man we desperately wish was a world leader today. This course is inspirational and gripping from beginning to end and a must for anyone who despairs of the leadership we find ourselves burdened with today. Churchill was a special one-of-a-kind giant with ironclad principles and the brains, spine and guts to face reality without flinching even while those in power hid behind massive denial. Dr. Fears clearly and steadily explains what made Churchill the visionary and charismatic leader who rallied a nation on the brink of annhilation and led his people to help defeat the monstrous evil trying to topple the civilized world. Dr. Fears, though, does not shrink from pointing out Churchill's flaws, mistakes and political missteps. After taking the course I keep wondering if Churchill were alive today what he would think about the pressing issues of the day, such as how our country grapples with threats from abroad. This terrific course, I submit, provides you with a 'Churchillian' framework for thinking about and understanding national and international crises, situations and dilemmas. If you value freedom of the individual and need an inspiration for standing tall against those who would stomp on such freedom, this course is for you.
Date published: 2015-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! AUDIO DOWNLOAD This is a wonderful, all too short, course on an individual who Professor Fears ranks as likely the “greatest Englishman of all time”, certainly the greatest statesman of the 20th century. The course is conducted in Professor Fears’ engaging, story-telling, style. At the very beginning, he alerts the listener to his perspective, that history is made “not by anonymous economic and social forces [but] by titanic individuals [like Churchill] who change the course of history…”(audio only, lecture 1). In this regard, Professor Fears says this course complements his others on famous Greeks and Romans and The History of Freedom. Having listened to those other courses, I can attest to that claim, and, I eagerly looked forward to each lecture on Churchill. I thought I knew a lot about Churchill, but this course widened and deepened that knowledge and considerably increased my estimation of him. In twelve thirty minute lectures Professor Fears covers so much so well: Churchill’s illustrious ancestors (most notably John, First Duke of Marlborough, 1650–1722), strained family relationships and miserable childhood of a “troublesome boy”; his early and distinguished military service and early and continued success as a writer; his rise as a politician and minister (not slighting his failure in the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign of 1915); and the more well-known period leading up to and including World War II and beyond, with a truly interesting treatment of Churchill’s great success as a painter. (His works still hang in major museums.) In all of this, Professor Fears reveals Churchill as a “multifaceted genius” (Course Guidebook, Page 1), often ahead of his time, one who “could not be fit in a box”, and who rather than testing the winds of opinion relied on his “moral compass… his conviction of absolute right and wrong” (Page 5) in all that he did. There’s even more. Professor Fears does not stint on Churchill’s family life, and spends considerable time on his personal habits, my favorite being the incredible nine scotches and nine cigars a day. As one would expect of an individual who operates on a “moral compass”, Churchill had a lot of detractors during his lifetime and even does today. Professor Fears deals with them head-on throughout the lectures, and in the final lecture addresses the academic assessments of prominent scholars. You may not agree with all Professor Fears has to say about Churchill, but I am sure his lecture content and style will keep your attention throughout. The eighty-two page course guidebook is great, not only having fine lecture notes, but also maps, a timeline, biographical notes on key individuals mentioned, excerpts from Churchill’s speeches, and an annotated bibliography. Very highly recommended!
Date published: 2015-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Correction of my prior review. An apology, my original review of this course was the fault of my own defective hearing. When I listened to the course again with a proper hearing device, I discovered the richness of the presentation by Professor Fears. I then listened to his course about Books that Made History. This man had a gift that he shared with us. He was a rare teacher of great depth and vivid presentation. May we all try to leave a legacy of the quality that he earned with his fine work.
Date published: 2015-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely Good! I listened to the audio version. It is very interesting and informative. I love the audio because I can work out or walk while I'm getting submerged in a great subject. The professor is an excellent storyteller and obviously is passionate about the subject Churchill. His enthusiasm is catching. I highly recommend this course!
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Amusing view of WSC At the end of WW II, Churchill said that history would treat him kindly, because he intended to write it. He did, it did, mostly. More objective and less flattering works have come in to being in the last decades, and he does not come off so well. None of this revisionism is in evidence in this course, and that is a problem. It is a problem because it needs to be considered. Did you know that his military chief, Alan Brooke, essentially banned him from war planning discussions? That the royal navy needed those lend-lease destroyers because WSC's refusal to embrace the convoy system while First Sea Lord decimated the British destroyer fleet? That far from being a critic of Chamberlain, he stated that given the circumstances, he had little choice at Munich? That's all out there, but you won't find it discussed in WSC's histories, nor in this course.
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Short and hagiographic Professor Fears apparently was a classicist interested in the proposition that Churchill was a principled statesman rather than a politician. Professor clearly abhorred the latter class. The course was a brief and interesting overview unabashedly hagiographic toward Winston. The reader is left with little insight into Churchill's warts.
Date published: 2015-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Valuable Lesson in History Dr. Fears continues to present materials in the most comprehensive and interesting manner. This series gives great insight into Churchill's personality and most importantly, into what made him a great statesman, perhaps the greatest of the 20th century. Dr. Fears always presents history in a way that one can easily understand even complex events and motives. Also, at the same time one is truly entertained. The unique combination enables one to remember what was learned. Four members of my family have viewed this in my home, and all felt exactly the same way.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful offering Both the subject - Churchill and the prof, J. Rufus Fear were extraordinary. Exceeded all expectations. Now- if you only offered an Art Deco course......
Date published: 2015-03-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Pure Hagiography The late Rufus Fears clearly loved Churchill to the point of ignoring most, if not all, of his defects, to the point of praising him for his famous faults, which Fears inaccurately records. (E.g., Fears confidently assures us of the size and strength of Churchill's famous Scotches, while other biographers have pointed out that Churchill typically watered his Scotch to make it appear he was consuming more than he was.) More importantly, Fears glosses over Churchill's numerous failures of strategy and policy in leading the British through the most devastating time in their history. Pay more and read an actual biography of the man, not the myth.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Generally a good narration of Churchill's life J. Rufus Fears has a way of narrating a story. He's whimsical and boisterous and generally I enjoy his commentary. Like his other courses you can't escape from his perennial beliefs in the righteousness of western morals nor his black and white outlook on issues in the world. Still, his enthusiasm is compelling and makes for a good listen.
Date published: 2014-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Concise and Revealing Portrait This series of lectures offers a refreshing yet dynamic story, given the thick volumes available in book form on the subject of Winston Churchill. By his nature and stature the presenter's style projects the personality of Winston that captivates the audience, as if to behold some sort of reincarnation in real time. Rufus Fears is a powerful speaker that will wrap you in emotion as you learn about a a truly great leader of modern time in the context of a world spinning into and out of World Wars I and II.
Date published: 2014-12-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Don't talk ill of the dead This is a simple sketch of a complex man. Dr. Fears clearly admires Churchill. Churchill has many rough edges, which are not brought out in this course. He is not a superficial person, lacking depth. Dr. Fears' discussion of Churchill, the person, reminds me of the platitude my mother used to espouse, I.e., 'don't talk ill of the dead.'. I think, as mature listeners, we can sort the wheat from the chafe. This was a disappointing course.
Date published: 2014-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Historical review of 20th Century This lecture showed the value of a person of character being in office/ political power during a time of crisis: Demonstrating the essentials of character building--of perseverance and courage under fire (literally, within the military) while having a definite sense of what makes a "Christian nation" great (although such terminology is never utilized). This formed the basis, in his later years, for a proper evaluation of the dangers of Communism and his characterization of the "iron curtain" --even as the West was again trying to forget its responsibility regarding the necessity of maintaining a culture of moral integrity and justice, within a changing world.
Date published: 2014-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Churchill This course provided great insight in the background of Winston Churchill, his family, and his life. As an American, I didn't realize how Churchill was not appreciated for his world vision in Britain; and how petty politics effected his acceptance and his career. I was aware of several of his works on The History of the British People and on World War II. I learned through this lecture of how expansive he was as an author and a painter.
Date published: 2014-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Churchill by Professor Fears I was stunned when I saw this course at only 4 stars. Of the many courses I have bought and listened to, this, by far, was the best. The animation Prof. Fears brings into the lecture is so exceptional. I am so sorry he is not with us any more. I would buy any course, on any topic, in which he is the lecturer! RIP!
Date published: 2014-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable course Good, interesting course. I learned a lot from this course as I did not know much about Churchill previously. The lecturer's apparent deep admiration of Churchill I think added to the power of his presentation.
Date published: 2014-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Course! Professor Fears possesses a unique talent for placing the listener in the scene of his story. You find yourself alongside Churchill at critical times in history - speeches at Parliament, summits with Stalin and Roosevelt, dangerous battles of WWI. After listening to the first lecture, I could not stop! Your mind will transport you to the home of Churchill with descriptive decor of its historical rooms. You can smell the prime rib eaten by Churchill as a favorite dish and enjoy an enlightened moment when Churchill delivers speeches about history to U.S. universities after WWII. Overall, an outstanding set of lectures by a truly talented professor! Enjoy being a part of history.
Date published: 2014-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Churchill What an amazing life Churchill lived. Few have the opportunity (or ability) to impact so much of world history over such a long period of time. Fewer still can keep getting up after being knocked down so many times. The only other one who quickly comes to mind is Benjamin Franklin. That us great company to be in. Dr. Fears too brings the subject alive. His lectures are great times of story telling that captures your attention.
Date published: 2014-06-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Drama Over Education Winston Churchill and the era he lived through and in some ways exemplified is a subject worthy of a Great Course. I feel the course content was to that point but my investment of time was almost completely undercut by the incredible, breathy, dramaticism of Professor Fears' reading of his text.
Date published: 2014-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Send us a Churchill A Great Teacher (Prof. Fears) speaking about a Great Man. It just doesn’t get any better. After taking this course, I respect Churchill even more for what he did to restore freedom in his time and for generations to come. We need a Churchill today to lead this country and fight the inevitable wars against tyranny.
Date published: 2014-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Last Lion A remarkable man, a remarkable life. Churchill's life story would be an amazing fictional historic adventure novel. One man's life bridging the end of the 19th Century world of European Colonial Empires, the collapse of the old order into World War, the temporary uneasy peace prior to the resumption of World War and the destruction and aftermath attempts to rebuild. Churchill was at or near the center of the turbulent events of world history for some six decades. His remarkable life and career was one the forces that shaped the 20th Century. This short course gives an able introduction to Churchill, the man, and the force that was one of those who shaped the 20th Century. Churchill was a man, and had his flaws which are not overlooked. This is a historical look at a larger than life man, not a hagiography. Professor Fears is an engaging lecturer and I look forward to other courses with him
Date published: 2014-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More balance would help I found this course interesting, but too much of a hagiography for my taste. In the case of any controversy involving Churchill (the Dardenelles, for example), Prof. Fears takes Churchill's explanation at face value without seriously addressing any points in opposition to Churchill. (For example, was the whole objective of the Dardenelles campaign even remotely feasible? -- I mean, capturing the Dardenelles, capturing Constantinople, and moving up through the Balkans. Without addressing that, I can't see how you can conclude that the Dardenelles campaign was basically a good idea.) Or, for a second example, Prof. Fears praises Churchill's support for a state of Israel, without discussing what a disaster the map of the MIddle East the British produced was. Furthermore, Prof. Fears generally does not even admit the possibility that Churchill's opponents (Baldwin and Chamberlain, for example) were even honestly mistaken, as opposed to dishonest cowards. Now I'm not saying that because Churchill was a colonialist everything he did was bad, or anything like that, It does seem that he was the leader Britain needed in WW II. But the course would have been much better if it had dealt with at least some of Churchill's significant flaws rather than glossing over or ignoring them.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Content/Difficult Presentation I am fascinated by Churchill and the time period, and learned a great deal from this course. However, the professor's presentation was difficult to listen to, ranging from great long, high, strident blasts to literal whispers. I purchased audio CDs and listen to the lectures while commuting. Professor Fears' delivery, while clearly demonstrating his passion for the subject, is more worthy of Hamlet than historical commentary. Many times I had my radio's volume turned to the maximum, and could bearly hear a particular theatrical whispered word, or would have to back it up and listen repeatedly to catch a word or phrase. I did, however, gain a much better understanding of the issues swirling around Churchill and his times.
Date published: 2013-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional I just finished listing to this course for the 4th time in the last year. There may be two of Dr. Fears courses that I have not listened to multiple times. Dr Fears has the ability to present history in a manner that leaves you wanting more. History is a field that has left many people bored to tears from presentations from a multituude of "dry boned" (Dr. Fears words) professors. I think his over whelming point is to get people interested in history. By doing so he is trying to get people to think about their own lives such that they might develop a moral compass or a bed rock of principals. When I read between the lines of his courses I feel that he really cares about individuals and his purpose was to get people to thinking in an effort to make us all better equipped with an ounce of wisdom such that our lives might me more meaningful to ourselves, as well as to society in general.
Date published: 2013-12-06
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