How can we account for China's momentous - and almost wholly unanticipated - global rise? And what does it mean, for us in the West and for humanity's future?
Speaking to these vital and fascinating questions, these 48 penetrating lectures by Professor Baum bring to vivid life the human struggles, the titanic political upheavals, and the spectacular speed of China's modern rebirth. Offering multilevel insight into one of the most astounding real-life dramas of modern history, the lectures weave together the richly diverse developments and sociopolitical currents that created the China you now read about in the headlines.
You'll get a detailed understanding of all the core events in China's century of stunning change, including the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Republican era and civil wars, the "Great Leap Forward", the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao economic "miracle". Throughout, Professor Baum reveals highly unusual details that enrich the cinematic sweep of the story. For example, you'll learn about the Christian warlord who baptized his troops with a fire hose, the strange kidnapping of Chiang K'ai-shek, and Professor Baum's own smuggling of top-secret documents out of Taiwan.
A core strength of these lectures is that they make sense of the dramatic events of the story by getting deeply at what underlay them, culturally, socially, and historically - leaving you with a nuanced knowledge of the forces moving China's modern emergence. Bringing alive the passionate reinvention of China with deep discernment and humanity, they portray the confounding, majestic, heart-rending, and visionary story of a modern giant.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses
Starting in the middle of the 19th Century and finishing in about 2009, this course covers a great deal of history in a relatively short number of hours.
The first third or so of the course deals with the decline and collapse of imperial China, and the civil wars that followed - the founding of the People's Republic and the Republic and the battle for control of mainland China.
Then the story picks up Mao, his rise to power and his eventual domination of the Communist Party in China. The course goes into great detail about Mao's policies and the heartbreaking and horrific effects they sometimes had. The second third of the course centres on Mao and on important events like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which is absolutely fascinating.
The last piece of the course covers Deng Xiaoping reforms and how China has radically changed since Mao's death. This is the most relevant to understanding modern China and I learnt a great deal from it.
The lecturer is clearly one of the most knowledgable people on the subject in the world, and googling his name confirms this. His lecture style is rather more like telling a story than explaining history, and this does tend towards slight oversimplifications that are not necessarily obvious to a lay audience (like me). However, I believe this course examines the topics in an unbiased and informed way and deserves praise for it.
The one downside to this course is that the lecturer is clearly more interested in the communist history than the imperial history, and so the first third feels extremely rushed. I think the course would've worked better split into two, and giving the fall of imperial China the time it deserves.
Otherwise, this is a fantastic course, and well worth listening to for anyone who isn't already an expert on modern Chinese history.
Great listening, keeps you glued to your device untill you finish. Worth every minute. Now going to search for the authors updated lecture since his finishing of this work in 2008. Loved it.
I loved it. It's the first full historical account I've listened to on Audible.
The best part for me was the lecture based structure which works very well for this kind of factual account.
Another aspect that stands outl is the authors additional insights into certain historical accountsfor which he was a witness.
So dramatic and fascinating. It is difficult as the narrator admits himself to keep track of the names of all the actors especially earlier on. But I has absolutely made me want to read more especially about the earlier history of China.
Yes, there is so much information here it would be worth listening several times.
Brilliant professor who made this course accessible and interesting. It was a pleasure to listen and to learn.
This is an excellent story on China. Richard Baum is passionate and very knowledgeable about the subject. He adds tons of interesting anecdotes in his story which make very entertaining as well as informative.
The main focus is on the more contemporary events.
I learned a lot about China listening to this course.
The fascinating details that make you live with the people of China in each stage and with the main figures who suffered to raise China back after the initial fall.
It was excellent
Variety of emotions, such as frustration with the fall, pain with the defeat, sadness with the oppression, pride with the rise.
As a bonus there is a pdf printed summary of the book, to help when I got confused with names, places or events.
Fantastic lecturer; evenhanded treatment of a contentious period of history; consistently gripping and informative; perfect blend of historical narrative with occasional personal anecdotes. Loved it!
"Offers excellent objective perspective!"
Objective perspective of the events and captured the essense of leader's characteristics.
The tone used to describe the events and his personal encounters which would not be conveyed through text alone.
As a Taiwan-borne Chinese, it was interesting to contrast the objective narrative of the last 100 years or so history with what I had learnt in Taiwan during childhood. Great to learn aspect of China that was foreign to me before taking this course. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of understanding of not just the historical events, but the Chinese psyche during those times. Highly recommend it! (I've already recommended this to friends and family)
"Must listen to this!!!"
This audio version of The Fall and Rise of China is very interesting and Professor Baum is so excited about his subject matter, he makes it entertaining! His passion transfers to the listener! I will probably listen to it a second time!
I am around a lot of Chinese people so I wanted to learn about their country so I downloaded this course and I was so surprised at how interesting China's History is and the professor is fabulous! Highly recommended! It was so interesting how he got his material for his Ph.D. dissertation. Amazing story! Listen to find out!
Some of the situations that occurred while he was in China were my favorite. He was able to witness history in the making.
"Best of the Great Courses - Top 10 of all"
Professor Baum's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and his personal love for the culture and the people.
The embalmed remains of Chairman Mao looking green from too much formaldehyde. It was an insight 'behind the curtain,' so to speak, that one would never read in a serious work about China but that revealed the humor behind the god-man's image.
This is his only audiobook that I know of and he died in 2012 from cancer that he thought was gone when he recorded these lectures.
It is far too long and complicated to listen to it in one sitting, but I wanted to get back into the car where I keep my player and sometimes went on extended drives to avoid turning off a lecture in the middle.
The world has lost a great scholar and a generous human. I can only hope that his lectures in this Great Courses audiobook will inspire a new generation of people to learn more about China as the 'Sleeping Giant' takes a leading role on the world stage in this century.
an amazing gift! this series really opened my eyes to the culture and I couldn't have been more happy!
a text book, however, the narrator does a fantastic job and is very engaging
This was just great story telling by a true enthusiast and expert.
I was sad when it ended.
"Like everybody says. Excellent."
Very high. I am a scholar on the subject and even I find some of the minutia of Chinese Communist history tedious. Yet Richard Baum makes it so compelling that I think even the non-expert will find it enjoying-- all 16 hours of it.
His personal anecdote about his own role in discovering the split between Mao Zedong and his top lieutenants (Deng Xiaoping and Liu Xiaoqi) was excellent. Also, thank god you have someone who can pronounce Chinese!
"Excellent course on modern Chinese History"
This course offers a fairly in depth history lesson for the last century in China. It starts out with a summation of the previous events, ideas and principles that led up to the collapse of the dynastic system. The author provides analysis of the events by referring to other historical references. During the more modern era the author is able to add in his own experiences to give the listener a more personal look at the daily realities of the Chinese today. Though there was less of an analysis on the financial history then I would have hoped for, particularly the financial practices of several groups in modern day China. I will admit this is simply my own preference and likely not a notable deficit for most listeners.
"You dont need a tweed jacket to enjoy these books!"
I've always enjoyed history. This is my second book of "The Great Courses".
My first one was "The Other Side of History".
The Professor in both cases are contagiously passionate. They are authorities of thier respective fields yet demonstrate natural humility. World class speakers giving exciting lectures meant for anyone interested in history. Not just scholars.
Extremely refreshing audiobooks after listening to so many bestsellers.
I hope Audible continues to expand The Great Courses library.
"Masterpiece, just finished it, and starting it again"
Richard Baum is incredible. An engaging 40+ hr history audible book is no simple task. Couldn't stop listening. I just moved to China, running a consumer business. Anyone living or working in China should listen to this. Couldn't imagine not having this context. My Chinese customers appreciate my knowledge of Chinese history, and my interest in key historical players and events.
If I had six stars to give I would do it in a heartbeat.
"Held my attention for 22 hours!"
This audiobook lecture series is narrated by a an expert historian and an expert teacher. Baum's ability to make historical characters and events come alive is nothing short of impressive. He is able to present Chinese history from the 19th century through the present as an intriguing pageant of people and their motivations instead of just a progression of names and dates. Each lecture is about long enough to listen to in the car to and from work, and the overall story never gets lost in the details.
My only issue is that his speech patterns take on an all-too-familiar cadence that occasionally bugged me (his sentences always end on a low pitch), but that was only because it was impossible NOT to notice over the course of 20+ hours of listening. I have stopped listening to several history audiobooks due to bad narration, and this one kept my rapt attention throughout as much for his delivery as for the material. Outside of the most acclaimed professional narrators, you will find few better narrators of a history audiobook.
In sum, he is the type of history teacher you always wish you had: informed, experienced, engaging, and with an eye towards delivering his material instead of just reciting it.
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