- helpful votes
London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western World
- By: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
- Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
- Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
- Original Recording
No city has had as powerful and as enduring an impact on Western civilization as London. But what made the city the perfect environment for so many great developments? How did London endure the sweeping historical revolutions and disasters without crumbling? Find the answers to these questions and more in these 24 fascinating lectures.
- By Dusty Raven on 20-08-15
Professor Bucholz is a very skilled writer. His course on London manages to orchestrate many of the political, social and cultural narratives that have made the city what it is today. In doing so, he develops themes that run throughout the course. Particularly appreciated were his regular walking tours across the city at particular moments in time. His annunciation is excellent and deserves much credit, for it engages and charms the listener. His decision to conclude on personal experiences and interesting quotations worked very well. Bravo!
Despite all the much deserved praise, having tuned in to so many of The Great Courses, I refrained from awarding a 5* review. I would have appreciated a free speech. It is obvious that Prof. Bucholz read a script, which was fine, but learning more Text by heart would have enabled an even more didactic approach to conveying the complex history of London. I also would have appreciated more of the wider historical narratives, allowing Bucholz to contribute further of his scholarly perspectives, rather than merely retelling what Wikipedia could tell us as well. Finally, I would have welcomed more of the 'why does London look the way it does', i.e. urban development. Too much time went with a retelling of English history. While English history is not easily divorced from London history, I would have preferred a clearer division, especially seeing that Bucholz offers separate courses on English history. Whenever urban development was addressed, for example regarding the influence of the Russell family, one desired more of it. What about the Bedford dynasty and the Dukes of Westminster. More behind-the-scenes kind-of stories that help to understand the fabric of the city would have been wonderful.
These criticisms should not stop those interested in London to tune in. There's much on offer that justifies the purchase.