Turning Points in Modern History

Course No. 8032
Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
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54 Reviews
94% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 8032
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Course Overview

Get a unique and rewarding view of world history by immersing yourself in the fascinating story of the discoveries, inventions, upheavals, and ideas that shaped the modern world.

What do the fall of Constantinople, the French Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the invention of the Internet all have in common? If any one of these turning points had not occurred, or had occurred differently, the trajectory of modern history—and even your life—would have been dramatically altered.

Each event and innovation sparked a profound change in how entire societies viewed the world while signaling the dawn of a new political, economic, or cultural and social reality. Being aware of these turning points is critically important—but it's even more essential to comprehend the complexity of their causes and effects if you want to fully grasp how we arrived in the here and now. Only by understanding how these and other landmark moments and movements transformed our world and continue to impact it today, and by studying the creative ways humankind has found to adapt, can we get at the heart of what it truly means to be "modern."

Turning Points in Modern History takes you on a far-reaching journey around the globe—from China to the Americas to New Zealand—to shed light on how two dozen of the top discoveries, inventions, political upheavals, and ideas since 1400 have shaped the modern world. Taught by award-winning history professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 thought-provoking lectures tell the amazing story of how life as we know it developed—at times advancing in one brilliant instant and at other times, in painstaking degrees.

Starting in the early 15th century and culminating in the age of social media, you'll encounter astounding threads that weave through the centuries, joining these turning points in ways that may come as a revelation. You'll also witness turning points with repercussions we can only speculate about because they are still very much in the process of turning.

What It Means to Be Modern

So what is meant by "modern"? As opposed to ancient or premodern, modernity involves a mindset that stresses novelty, breaks with the past, and recognizes change.

In exploring these turning points, you'll see as the attributes of modernity and progress recur again and again, including

  • the growth of technology;
  • the autonomy of the individual;
  • reliance on experimentation and science over the dictates of tradition;
  • new concepts of popular sovereignty and equality; and
  • interconnectedness on an increasingly global scale.

Professor Liulevicius doesn't merely recount the greatest events of history, but rather has carefully selected true catalysts in provoking changes in worldview. Whether you're covering a turning point concerning

  • technological change, like the invention of the airplane, motion pictures, or the atomic bomb;
  • political history, such as the establishment of sovereign nation-states; or
  • social transformation, as in the abolitionist movement or the recognition of women's right to vote,

you'll focus on the impact the event had on its contemporaries and their hopes and fears regarding its effects. And you will see, in spite of the shock of the "new," society's remarkable ability to adapt.

A Unique Understanding of Our Shared Past

Some of the events presented in Turning Points in Modern History, including the discovery of the New World and the fall of the Berlin Wall, will immediately resonate as watershed moments. The global significance of other pivotal events may only become apparent through the professor's guidance, such as the publication of the Enlightenment-era Encyclopédie and the Russo-Japanese War—which has been historically overshadowed by the two world wars that followed.

Whether the events are familiar or surprising, you'll encounter a wealth of eye-opening insights throughout.

  • The voyages of Christopher Columbus: Despite what you may have learned in school, almost no educated European thought the world was flat in Columbus's day.
  • The printing press: Gutenberg's machine played a major role in launching the Protestant Reformation. For centuries, calls for reform within the church were slow to gain acceptance or were ignored. The printing press allowed Martin Luther's message to spread and take hold instead of quickly evaporating.
  • The American Revolution: Even by the time of the Boston Tea Party, few colonists were driving for independence. Most wanted the restoration of their rights as Englishmen.
  • The theory of evolution: Many people actually speculated on evolution before Charles Darwin. After he introduced his ideas, the Nazis and others took the concept in directions he would not have endorsed.

While any one of these or the other turning points featured are fascinating enough to warrant an entire course, this unique format allows parallels and links to be made across centuries and continents. You'll see how the building of the Berlin Wall intersects with the space race; trace how the Anglo-Dutch trade wars led to China's subjugation; and consider whether the Westphalian system of territorial sovereignty established in 1648 still applies in cyberspace as the Internet nullifies borders.

Learn What Might Have Been

As you discover how turning points such as the discovery of penicillin and the opening of East Berlin hinged on chance, accident, and, in some cases, sheer luck, you'll realize how easily history might have played out differently.

  • When Enrico Fermi and colleagues attempted to create a nuclear chain reaction in Chicago, no one knew with certainty it wouldn't run out of control. Had it gone awry, would their protection system—a technician with an axe and workers standing by with buckets of cadmium and salt—have been enough to prevent catastrophe?
  • If an "American missile launch" inadvertently detected by a Soviet satellite hadn't been declared a false alarm by a Russian official, how differently might the cold war have ended?
  • If the voyages of "the Chinese Columbus," Admiral Zheng He, had continued and reached the Americas, would we be speaking Mandarin today?

Having lived, studied, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Dr. Liulevicius is uniquely qualified to draw unexpected connections between events and figures. In Turning Points in Modern History, you'll experience humanity's last 600 years as a sweeping narrative. By the final lecture, you'll see the big picture come into crystal-clear focus and possess an understanding of where we are, where we've been, and where we're headed like never before.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    1433—The Great Voyages of Admiral Zheng He
    Explore the idea of modernity and define “turning point.” Then, consider why Chinese admiral Zheng He’s voyages promoting the power of China’s authority did not continue as part of a larger campaign of discovery—and what the consequences might have been had he reached the Americas. x
  • 2
    1453—The Fall of Constantinople
    Although many educated people think they know about the fall of the Roman Empire, Professor Liulevicius says the end actually happened 1,000 years later with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Delve deeper into this event and learn the trauma the loss created for Europeans. x
  • 3
    1455—Gutenberg’s Print Revolution
    Trace how Johannes Gutenberg’s introduction of a press with movable type sparked a print revolution, becoming a key factor in the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the standardization of vernacular languages. x
  • 4
    1492—The Columbian Exchange
    Without intending to, Christopher Columbus’s search for Asia initiated an event that has been called the most important historical turning point of modern times. Investigate how Columbus’s encounter with the Americas brought distant peoples together politically, culturally, and environmentally in ways that were simultaneously productive and deeply destructive. x
  • 5
    1600—The British East India Company
    The English and Dutch East India companies coexisted in the Spice Islands as they worked to outflank the Portuguese, but their rivalry soon escalated into war. Examine the founding and meteoric growth of the East India Company and the violence that ultimately led Britain to establish an empire on which the sun never set. x
  • 6
    1648—The Treaty of Westphalia
    The Thirty Years War involved some million soldiers and mass civilian casualties. Explore the significance of the Peace of Westphalia, the settlement that ended the war in 1648—a vital turning point that still shapes how international politics are handled. x
  • 7
    1676—Van Leeuwenhoek’s Microscope
    Trace how Anton van Leeuwenhoek’s striking discovery fit into the larger Scientific Revolution and shifted intellectual authority from classic texts to that which is observable and measurable. x
  • 8
    1751—Diderot’s Enlightenment Encyclopedia
    The Encyclopédie was the most ambitious reference work and publishing project of its time. Discover how the editors made knowledge accessible to a mass audience and championed the Enlightenment’s progressive, secular message, despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church. x
  • 9
    1787—The American Experiment
    Learn how America’s founders established a model of a republic through debate, compromise, separation of powers, and a flexible Constitution. x
  • 10
    1789—The French Revolution
    How did France’s fight for liberation from royal authority lead to Napoleon’s rise and even greater despotism? Contrast events in America with those in France to see how attempts at creating modern republics radically diverged. x
  • 11
    1838—The British Slavery Abolition Act
    Confront the harsh realities of the African slave trade and consider the role social mobilization played in eradicating the institution across the British Empire. x
  • 12
    1839—The Opium War in China
    Delve into the causes, conflicts, and consequences of the Opium Wars, in which China was psychologically devastated and subjugated by British imperialism. x
  • 13
    1859—Darwin and the Origin of Species
    Discover how a simple observation inspired Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection, and why his Origin of Species was eagerly accepted by much of Victorian society. Then, look at how the Nazis and others distorted Darwin’s ideas. x
  • 14
    1869—Binding Continents
    In 1869, two events connected the world through modern technology, giving science vast significance as a source of authority. Learn how the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States and the Suez Canal in Egypt revolutionized the way people perceived space and time. x
  • 15
    1893—First Women Voters in New Zealand
    Follow the fight for women’s suffrage in New Zealand and America, as two global trends—the demand for women’s political voice and the growth of settler societies—intersected. x
  • 16
    1896—The Invention of Motion Pictures
    Motion pictures revolutionized people’s view of the world. Survey early movie culture, along with the contributions of Thomas Edison, Georges Méliès, and others, then see how the medium became “weaponized” by Bolsheviks in Russia and Nazis in Germany. x
  • 17
    1903—Kitty Hawk and Powered Flight
    Witness the dawning of the air age and meet the Montgolfier brothers, the Wright brothers, and others who brought humanity’s dream of flying to fruition. Then, explore how aviation shaped the experience of modernity, from the relative ease of travel to the stark reality of “total warfare.” x
  • 18
    1904—The Russo-Japanese War
    To the world’s surprise, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Learn how this conflict fought with industrialized weapons reconfigured world politics by igniting the process of global decolonization, establishing Japan as a great power, and setting the stage for two world wars. x
  • 19
    1928—The Discovery of Penicillin
    The advance of antibiotics occurred amid the larger context of the development of germ theory. Trace how scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms of infection and disease evolved during the 19th century—and see how Alexander Fleming stumbled upon his life-saving discovery. x
  • 20
    1942—The Dawn of the Atom
    When German physicists split the atom, Albert Einstein warned President Roosevelt of the potential for “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.” Chart the course of the nuclear bomb from this letter through the first nuclear chain reaction led by physicist Enrico Fermi, the Manhattan Project, and devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. x
  • 21
    1969—Walking on the Moon
    The moon landing expanded humanity’s sense of the possible. Learn how the space program grew out of advances in rocketry during World War II and advanced rapidly due to cold war paranoia exacerbated by the launch of Sputnik. x
  • 22
    1972—China Enters the World Balance
    Nixon’s meeting with Mao shifted the cold war’s balance and returned China to the world stage. Learn the reasons for Nixon’s trip, the consequences of which still reverberate, and plot the rise of Mao and communism in China. Then, see how Deng Xiaoping’s promotion of private enterprise began a trajectory of growth that continues. x
  • 23
    1989—The Fall of the Berlin Wall
    How did a bureaucratic blunder by a Politburo member lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall? Find out as you examine the surprisingly peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union and Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. x
  • 24
    2004—The Rise of Social Media
    Are the Web and social media making us more globally connected or locking us into niche societies and creating an epidemic of loneliness? Probe both the power and the perils of the Internet—from aiding popular uprisings to rewiring our brains. x

Lecture Titles

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Video DVD
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  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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Instant Audio Includes:
  • Download 24 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 200-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 200-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

About Your Professor

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.
University of Tennessee
Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford...
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Reviews

Turning Points in Modern History is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 54.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course Even though I am a student of history, I learned a great deal from this course. Professer has a very good speaking style.
Date published: 2018-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating course. I've enjoyed all the Great Courses I've purchased, but I'd give this one an even higher boost. The material was fascinating, from the Chinese fleet that might have discovered America to the printing press to the internet (which even goes up to Russian hacking of some of its neighbor states, although not the U.S. election). I learned that motion pictures had their start with a bet about how a horse ran, and tons of other interesting tidbits. I'll be listening to this one again.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and Mind Awakening Lectures I really enjoyed each of these lectures looking at them from the Key Turning Points that they were gave a refreshing new meaning to them for reflection.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating! What a delightful course! The professor makes the information exciting and relevant in a conversational tone. He presents not just dates and events, but "whys" and "what ifs." He connects specific events to other events and ideas as well as to current times. We would highly recommend this course!
Date published: 2018-02-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but... There are several ways to evaluate this set of lectures. One way, is to ascribe them to a type of 'edutainment', best exemplified by a script from a history channel in which the 'professor's' opinions of historic turning points are summarized in a 24-part series...oh, wait...that's what it was! Another way to examine these lectures is to place the events described (i.e. turning points) into the real, and complex context of that particular historic event (e.g the Gutenberg bible, literacy, and the reformation; or the advent of global exploration and commerce, inciting the growth of technology; or, maybe, the advent of instruments of mass destruction and the revelation that it hasn't happened...yet) that just might be important to us now. Or, perhaps another way might be that the good professor just suggests that, in his opinion, (the)facebook (sic) simply is the voyage that Zheng He never took...or Paine’s 'Common Sense' was never translated into French; or, in John Lennon's phrase "...Imagine there's no countries..." are important to the face we look at in the mirror . Good course...not great. Worthwhile, since it makes you think (much like the companion course about medieval turning points by Dorsey Armstrong), and well-presented in a good, strong voice by Dr Liulevicius. I recommend this course as part of a well-rounded look, not only of history, but as a way of analyzing historic events. Coupon and sale only, if you please.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice History Yea, took History in College and love the lectures, along with book, Dvds, online viewing,
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title is true to the content. This is a well-developed course touching on the most important happenings in different eras of world history. It covers each "subject" with just enough information.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course on Turning Points & Impacts In this course, Professor Liulevicius does an excellent presentation of turning points in modern history. There may be other turning points in modern history that are not covered in this course. However, the one thing that all of the turning points selected by Professor Liulevicius have in common is that they still have impacts to today. Some of these turning points had immediate impacts to life when they occurred and others had gradual impacts that took years to develop. But all of these impacts have lasting impacts to our lives today. The turning points described in Lectures 21 through 24 have occurred in my lifetime and I have been able to observe them firsthand. These last four turning points are still impacting and changing our current lives and the long term full effects of these turning points will not be known for many years. For example, the advent of social media has definitely impacted personal interactions. People have one persona for face-to-face interactions and a completely different, sometimes hostile or hateful, persona for their anonymous social media interactions. It will be many years before society reconciles the differences in these personas. I highly recommend this course as an opportunity to understand what happened at these points, what might have happened if which had gone differently, and why they still have impacts to today.
Date published: 2016-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Course Dr. Vejas is one of the best professors of history I've ever had. He makes history come alive with his wonderful storytelling abilities. If people think history is dull, they should take a class from Dr. Vejas.
Date published: 2016-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Restored my faith in Great Courses! Very long-time customer here...Most of it very happy, but had a string of boring and incoherent professors in the last several courses. BUT, this one was very good the teacher gets 5 stars, but the course gets only 4. Why only 4? There is a fatal-flaw in the topic selection. It is beyond me how a course titled modern turning points and created in 2004 doesn't have a lecture on the Terrorist Attack on the Twin-Towers in NYC and the immense impact which terrorism is having on our society, in the USA and the entire world...Maybe they left it out because of some political correctness concern. Shame-shame!
Date published: 2016-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Overall VG, but needs some modification Lectures 1-13 and 18-24 are great. But 14 to 17 need some tweaking. The difference to the world from the participation of women is not so much their gaining the vote as it was their greater participation in the workforce, with effects on family size, family income, unemployment rates, all resulting from mass mobilization of populations in time of war. The lecture on the Wright Brothers should mention their invention of the aileron, the control surface that makes it possible to steer the airplane. Edison's invention that had the greatest effect was not the motion picture but the electric light and the distribution system for it. Binding Continents really was due to a change in energy supply, first steam and later gasoline. Cities are different today because of elevators and subways. But overall a most valuable and enjoyable course.
Date published: 2015-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yet Another Winner This is the second course I've listened to by this professor, and I was not disappointed: the quality was every bit as high as the first (Espionage And Covert Operations). Professor L. once again begins every lecture with an engaging story, and then uses the 30 minutes to discuss what led up to it, and what the consequences were in the context of each lecture's subject. Professor L. is a very engaging lecturer and storyteller, and quite enjoyable to listen to. His enthusiasm for his material naturally draws the listener in and puts them right in the middle of the events being discussed. I enjoyed learning about the events he'd chosen to cover in this course, and even though I thought I was already familiar with many of them, Professor L. always managed to make me see them in a new light and think about them from a new perspective. I feel that I have acquired new tools and new questions to ask as I think about what turning points I might find myself in now, and later on in the future.
Date published: 2015-08-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting versus Important What this courses does it does well, what it leaves out is many of the most important turning points in history. You might remember 1517 as an important year, this course doesn't have a single lecture in the 1500s. You might think that the English regicide and subsequent Glorious Revolution are important. This course barely mentions them. You might suspect the Industrial Revolution would merit a lecture. No. The might think the World Wars that defined the 1900s and turned America into a super power would garner significant attention. They are mentioned as they relate to other topics. If you are with intellectual honesty looking at the history of modernity, you study the rise of cities and the merchant classes, the decline of the authority of the Catholic Church and the power of Kings, the rise of Industry and its effects on society, the Scientific Revolution, the effects of Empire and the Americas, the philosophers and the growth of freedom in the Constitutional Monarchies and eventually Republics. Well you get the idea. This feels like the Great Courses took a viewer survey of the most interesting topics in recent history and then asked someone to work them all into a course. OK after all that griping, there are good things about the course. The teacher is very polished and good at story telling and connecting the fairly disparate topics. If you are already somewhat familiar with modern history (have taken Bucholz and Bartlett if your college is the GC), you will find information here that doesn't tend to be covered as heavily in more traditional courses. The lectures are light and make a nice break from weightier courses, but do contain enough information to make them worth viewing. I've quite enjoyed the Microscope, the East India company, the Movies and going to the Moon. This course is light enough that it would make a good addition for even somewhat younger home school folks. While it does miss important stuff, it gives years for each event so you could use the appropriate lecture as you move through history in chronological order. As a break from the occasional drudgery of learning dates and names that can drain the fun from history, it would be a welcome relief.
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites This is a great course. It explores the subject matter in a logical, cohesive and entertaining fashion. The topics flow well from one to another and he draws the themes effectively throughout. I used this as part of a homeschool history course and found it to be not only a useful insight into a global collection of events but also a very effective way to show the interconnectedness of history. I appreciated too that it was not entirely a eurocentric view of the world. I have purchased several of this lecturers courses and am consistently impressed.
Date published: 2015-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A contrarian view Let me offer a different opinion from all the rapturous reviews of this course. I was extremely disappointed, especially because I was so impressed by Prof. Liulevicius' course on World War I, which was excellent. I expected the same intellectual level in this course, and did not get it. As others have said, Prof. Liulevicius is a superb speaker and he makes the material entertaining. The problem here is the material. It is superficial. It is very heavy on entertaining factoids, such as where the term "seven seas" comes from, and very light on serious historical analysis. What analysis there is does not persuade. We know that the invention of the printing press was an obvious "turning point," but other events not so much. This course sounds less like a university-level history course and more like a presentation to a club of history buffs. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just depends on how you want to spend your money. I have bought many courses from this company, and this one was not worth my money or time.
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Turning Points That Turned Us Into Us Dr. L thoroughly reviews and explains 24 Turning Points that turned our civilization into what it is today. If you are interested how we got from the Fall of Constantinople to the Fall of the Berlin Wall or how Gutenberg became Google, this is the course that will teach you. This is simply an excellent course that does what it claims - it explains the 571 year trajectory from Chinese explorers to computer programs. The professor is enthusiastic, his presentation is engaging, and his lectures enthralling. Although this course can be enjoyed without an prerequisites, it is a fine addition to The Great Courses lineup of Western Civilization courses by Drs. Bucholz, Bartlett, and Childers. These are 24 great stories and Professor L is not only a wonderful teacher but a wonderful story teller as well.
Date published: 2014-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Trip Through Time I enjoyed this course very much. The professor presents extremely well-researched and well-prepared lectures that were very informative and well worth the time spent listening to them. That said, judging by the other reviews, I am in the minority when I say that I found the professor's presentation style to be stiff and at times monotonous. It seemed to me he was reading the material and I really didn't get a sense for his personality. To put my comments into context, I listened to the audio version in my car, which is what I do with these courses. The takeaway here is that the lectures were terrific. You won't regret purchasing these at all.
Date published: 2014-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Premise Matches Teacher's Enthusiasm Turning Points in Modern History sounded like a promising as well as inviting idea for a history course. It turned out to be above and beyond expectations. Dr. Liulevicius easily tied these lecture ideas together which further emphasized their turning points nature. The adventure following his path led to a clearer understanding of important historical events. He managed this with humor and an excellent presentation manner.
Date published: 2014-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from
Date published: 2014-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rich Content, Great Presentation Professor Liulevicius is my new favorite Great Courses presenter. I bought the CD version. Even without visuals, the course kept me enthralled through all 24 lectures. He did a masterful job of choosing topics and crafting lectures in which every sentence added meaning and vividness. I'm now listening to his "Utopias and Terrorism," which is equally fascinating.
Date published: 2014-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Turing Points in Modern History The course is excellent, but, the presentation by Professor Liulevicius was the best of any of the 30 courses I've listened to. This guy keeps you interested from start to finish. I disagree with some of his content but overall was the best of any course I've bought.
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liulevicius Does it Again! Liulevicius is the best among the many fine Teaching Company history professors. In this course he surpasses even the fine work he has done on World War I and Espionage. What is particularly impressive about this course is that a number of his topics touch upon or focus on subjects of a more technical nature rather than strictly historical. He is as at ease discussing the technical information as he is the social and historical implications. I have watched a lot of the Teaching Company history courses, but never have I seen one the equal of this. By focusing on key events that changed history, he has brought focus to a number of events that are typically only mentioned in passing, if at all, in a more traditional course. I was truly sorry to see this course end.
Date published: 2014-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best History Course I've Ever Taken! This is the most interesting and fun history course I've ever taken either in college or from The Great Courses! Many of the turning points are topics that are glossed over in traditional history classes and books. Other topics are given a fresh outlook by Prof. Liulevicius. He asks thought-provoking questions about many of the turning points and the results. This is a course for the history lover and also those who think they don't like history--Prof. Liulevicius is a natural lecturer; very easy to listen to. I got so much more out of this course than I expected.
Date published: 2014-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great fun! This course was very entertaining and great fun. Prof. Liulevicius is a thoughtful, articulate lecturer, and he has done a terrific job in selecting, defending and connecting his "turning points." The course is filled with photographs, video, maps and illustrations, making the DVD worth the extra expense, although the audio option would certainly be acceptable. This course is fairly described as lighter than some other history options from the Great Courses, but the professor's storytelling skills and his interesting insights and fresh perspectives make it well worth the investment of time and money. I found myself wanting to start the next lecture as soon as I finished the preceding one. This one is fun, and I highly recommend it to the serious and casual history student alike.
Date published: 2014-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OUTSTANDING COURSE. I enjoyed this course from start to finish. The course content was interesting because of the variety of historical events covered. The presentation by this professor is outstanding. I have viewed one other course by Prfessor Liulevicius and it is obvious that he has excellent presentation skills as well as good knowledge. I strongly recommend this course.
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Very Enjoyable Survey Course This course is 24 lectures that covers material from a long period of time. It will not go into exhaustive detail by necessity. It is a good course however, well worth your time if history is a hobby for you. What I appreciate most is the way the professor ties the events together. It sort of tells a long story the way history should. It's not just 24 stand alone lectures. He ties the events together with relative ease. Most of the concepts presented in this course I had a least a little knowledge of, but this professor was good at emphasizing the importance of these events, and tying them all together. I thought he made a good selection of the events he choose to cover.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging and Multi Discipline I have watched or listened to over 20 Teaching Company courses over the past 15 years. This is the best course. I am interested in history, invention, science and innovation. This course combines all my interests. The presentation is outstanding on video. I especially enjoyed the professor referring back to earlier lectures as he moved forward in time.
Date published: 2014-01-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Filling the gaps... If you are a history enthusiast this course is very entertaining and informative. It rapidly covers those events that in one way or another have influenced the path of humanity, beginning at the fall of Constantinople. However, its intention is to give you key information, not details. I really learned lots of new facts not available on other, more lengthy courses. It definitely will give you material to impress a few at an office gathering or a family reunion.
Date published: 2013-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining The "turning point" theme that runs through this course is almost artificial. I thought of it as 24 independent historic snippets. Twenty-four very interesting snippets. If you are historically challenged like me this is the ideal course to have as an "extra" on your iPod to listen to here and there when you have a few extra minutes. Perhaps not as in-depth as some might want, this course was very satisfying.
Date published: 2013-11-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very, very Light! In this series of lectures, Professor Vejas Liulevicius endeavours to discuss what he describes as ‘turning points’ in modern history. Actually, a turning point implies both movement and a change of direction. The topics selected by Professor Liulevicius certainly do not all match this definition. Though, say, the American and the French revolutions may rightly be considered so, how does the invention of motion pictures qualify (and not radio or television broadcasting)? It would be best to speak of ‘milestones’ or perhaps even of vignettes. Professor Liulevicius reads his text out loud, what does not prevent him from making multiple repetitions and leads him to awkwardly emphasize certain words. His speech is marred with countless mistakes that would be unworthy of a high school graduate. For instance: • he locates Istanbul between two 'oceans'; • he mentions the 'Victorian' sensibilities of Queen Victoria; • he speaks of the 'discovery' of the Theory of Evolution; • he refers to a scientist named 'Father Gregor Mendel'; • he states that ‘Darwin’s father was a scientist and, however, his mother was also from a family of scientists’; • he speaks of ‘dormitories for sleeping’; • he mentions an airplane flew 'through' the Golden Gate Bridge; • he underscores that ‘Lilienthal ended up "being" a fatality’; • he says ‘total war became absolute’; • he talks of ‘a turning point that was not permanent’, of ‘a turning point within a turning point’ and of the ‘turning point of turning points’, what is enough to make anyone dizzy! Sadly, the reasoning behind the lectures often appears to be as muddled as the English: • Professor Liulevicius announces that the first turning point that he addresses actually did not produce any long term effects ... and thus was not a turning point; • he conjectures that if the Chinese had landed on the Pacific coast, Mandarin would be the common language in the United States; following that logic, why then is not Norwegian commonplace since the Vikings landed in North America long before the British? • Professor Liulevicius claims that before the transcontinental railway, the only way from the East Coast to California was by boat around South America; has he never heard of settlers’ wagon trains ... or seen them in movies ? • Professor Liulevicius appears fascinated by both H. G. Wells and Jules Verne whom he quotes again and again without apparently realising that fiction writers are not historical sources; • in lecture 16, Georges Méliès is introduced twice_ almost with the same words : once at the beginning and again past the mid-point; • the anecdote regarding Zhou Enlai’s opinion of the French Revolution is debunked in lecture 12 and quoted as valid in lecture 22! • when discussing the fall of communism in 1989, no mention is made of Solidarnosc, John Paul II or Poland altogether; • odd links are evoked at the end of each lecture as a teaser for the following; for instance : cinema makes you dream, flying is an age-old dream, we'll speak of flying in the next lecture. If a regular Teach12 course can be compared to a textbook, this rendition is analogous to a popular magazine, and a light one at that.
Date published: 2013-10-27
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