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Publisher's Summary

Was Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492 the most important event in the history of the world?

Professor Eakin's provocative answer is a resounding "Yes" - as he presents his case in an intriguing series of 24 lectures. He argues that the voyage gave birth to the distinct identity of the Americas today by creating a collision between three distinct cultures - European, African, and Native American - that radically transformed the view of the world on both sides of the Atlantic. These thoughtful lectures will remind you that when Columbus completed his voyage, he found a people unlike any he had ever known, living in a land unmentioned in any of the great touchstones of Western knowledge. You'll learn how the European world, animated by the great dynamic forces of the day, Christianity and commercial capitalism, reacted to Columbus's discovery with voyages of conquest-territorial, cultural, and spiritual - throughout the New World. And you'll see the traumatic consequences - not only for the native peoples of the Americas, but for the people of Africa, as well, millions of whom had their lives altered by the transatlantic slave trade that resulted. Yet these lectures are far more than an account of heroes and villains, or victors and victims. They form a dramatic, sweeping tale of the complex blending of three peoples into one-forming new societies and culturesthat were neither European, African, nor Native American, but uniquely American. While Professor Eakin readily identifies his own interpretation of events, he generously showcases competing views, and you'll benefit enormously from the many works he cites for further study.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses

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  • j.torres
  • 25-05-2018

This is actually Owen Wilson lecturing (wedding crashers)

Good lectures and flow. The guy is a great story teller, which obviously helps. The only parts I took issue with were his own contradictory views of Christianity. First he states Christianity is, at its core, a militant conquering religion. Then he shows that all the great humanitarian efforts toward the Indians were driven by hardcore Christian monks and priest who hated Spanish treatment of the Indians. Was Also was pretty light on all the brutal treatment of Indians to there own. Slavery, human sacrifice and a rigid caste system we’re all in full force before European contact. Not to mention a virtual absence of material development for the common Indian, Which he does a good job showing. The tone is just very anti-European, which isn’t surprising. Just wish we could acknowledge the obvious benefits of western culture. The whole disease narrative is not the fault of the West anymore than the bubonic plague is the fault of trading with African and Arab merchants. But again, great series and worth listening too.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Cássio
  • 04-12-2014

Brilliant

Where does Conquest of the Americas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best.

What did you like best about this story?

The pace of the narrator's voice and the passion for the thoughts he delivers.

What does Professor Marshall C. Eakin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Passion for the discipline he teaches.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The title.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Meeks
  • 04-11-2019

Satisfactory

Pros: Overall very interesting especially regarding Portugal and Brazil. Cons: lecturer is not fair to the Spaniards, especially Cortes. He doesn’t explain that the reason the Spaniards attacked and killed the Aztec nobles after capturing Montezuma was because they uncovered a plot to kill all of the Spanish. Montezuma was in on the plot also. IMHO, ISIS/ISIL terrorists have nothing on the Aztecs. Actually, ISIS couldn’t compete with the slaughter that the Aztecs perpetrated on their enemies. Human child sacrifice, slavery, cannibalism, imperialism, etc. They weren’t nice and if they existed today we would send a multinational force to take them out. For all of their faults the Spanish actually grappled with how to do right by the natives. You might not like their approach but they ended the Aztec hegemony.

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  • Perry Hoffman
  • 23-10-2020

Karl Marx was quoted in the first five minutes!

I expected better. This is the same postmodern neo-marxist deconstructionist garbage which is being touted as higher learning in college courses. If socialist indoctrination is your goal, save the 100k in student loan debt and study these "Great Courses". If you want to learn factual history, move on.

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  • sarah
  • 13-04-2019

Great references to further reading.

A superb course with many pointers on the major scholars and frameworks that can be found within this historical field. I now have a huge reading list of titles he mentions throughout (including his own work on Brazil). The author has an excellent grasp of the peoples and experiences right across North, South and Central America. Really, really engaging and interesting.

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  • Rcalore
  • 17-10-2017

What an amazing lecture

The structure and depth of this lecture is hands down one of the best. If I had any criticism it would be I would have liked a little more attention paid to Ango and Franco America with respect to Latin America. The last three chapters leave something to be desired, but overall this is a masterpiece!

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  • Ellen W F
  • 07-12-2014

a new perspective for me

What made the experience of listening to Conquest of the Americas the most enjoyable?

Having realized that I knew a lot of European history, and that I knew next to nothing about Central and South America, I thought this course would be a good listen. And I was rewarded many times over. History I knew but only in a narrow context, people I'd heard of but not in any solid context, and events also, came together in a worldwide story. I kept thinking "of course!" as the course unfolded. Having now been to Central and South America quite a few times, this course has really added a great deal to my appreciation of all the Americas, North to South, and how, when and why we all got here, and more interestingly, how our history has been shaped.

What does Professor Marshall C. Eakin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His personal experience(s) in the area.

Any additional comments?

I can't give the book 5 stars because of the annoying canned applause at the end and beginning of each chapter.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 15-07-2020

Great History but Should've Been Longer

Professor Eakin's strong suit is the clear, straight forward, to the point, and easy to understand/follow presentation of historical narrative. He provides a great review of the history of the Americas from Aprx. 1500-1700 focusing on how Europeans (Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and Dutch), Native Americans, and Africans collided to form an American people. He was also great with providing background information (for example he didn’t just start the story right at 1500 but instead started with a history of the origins of the major players such as how Portugal and Spain became nation-states, how Native Americans migrated to the Americas 40,000 years ago, and African kingdoms before 1500). Professor Harl is also good at this. This critical component is missing from other courses. Top lectures for me include 5 (origins of European journeys into the Atlantic), 11 (Spanish ventures beyond their core American lands in the 1500s), and 21 (Dutch entry into the Americas and the resulting battles between European powers for the Caribbean). There are two areas where I think this course struggles. One: the lectures on life in the Americas during this time period (and the ones discussing sociology) fall short. They didn't seem to provide a lot of new information or didn't fully paint a more detailed, deeper dive into everyday life than what the average listener would already know. I can't say I stepped away with a better understanding of what it was like to be a Native American during this time (or a Spanish Conquistador for that matter) than I did going in. Due to this and to the professor's strength in providing historical narrative it felt like these lectures could have been re-purposed to focus on more details of the historical events. Hand in hand with this criticism is my second area of shortcoming: this course felt too short. While the professor hit on all of the main points (an accomplishment he should be commended on considering a lot of other professors don't), the course would’ve been much richer if it had more time to get into greater detail on historical events. It didn't help that in a course of precious little time, the first lecture was just an overview on how the course would be organized. An example of this is Lecture 21 which touched on the interesting topic of all of the European powers (Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and English) warring over possessions in the Caribbean and main land in the 1600's. However, the details of these wars were sparse (the Dutch losing New Amsterdam to the English was barely mentioned). This course seemed to beg for more lectures. It is a shame it doesn't have them since I would've liked to listen to the professor on a deeper take on the history. All in all this is a course I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone interested in the region, time period, or history in general. It does tell the story (even if some of us are left starving for more detail or focus). It is time and money well spent.

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  • Alessandro Pagliai
  • 14-07-2020

Good account, with problems 4.5

good account, although there are some problems from someone who loves and studies a lot of history. The geopolitical world of europe and its contributions to interactions in the americas is not a forte of the author, its not necessarily the focus of this text, i was fortunate of having listened to another great courses text on the renaissance, reformation, and rise of nations that went into extreme detail on the subject, i would recommend that course be supplemented with this book for optimal experience, the book is pretty much word for word as typed. Additionally, although the author does highlight specific and important differences between latin america and english america, towards the end of the book, perhaps becomes a little sloppy keeping those differences clear. I also distinctly wish there was more differentiation between different regions of latin america in the authors sweeping generalizations around degree of spanish vs spanish indian black cultural genetic mixing, which differ greatly upon the region. although the author does indeed clarify this in one single sentence. The author clearly presents his favorite or closest to his heart region being brazil, however, many times when he speaks generally, it sounds like he is referring specifically to brazil. The problem with this is of course, brazil is more heavily mixed generally than other major places of latin america. i also take issue to the author speaking of latin america as superficially European, although there are places/regions that are mildly european, latin america is extremely European, especially in all of its major hubs, its not superficially anything, its squarely european, AND its also has other influences, and populations that are mixed with other influences. I felt the end of the book tried glossing over/buttering up the European impact to fit the moralistic questions that are more bold in current times, that ironically grew out of this time period by the people engaging in the actives/subject of this time period, culminating in the enlightenment. thats like trying to burn the books of a great author because such author wrote about problems in those very same books! xD. All in all a good book, 4.5, only slight issues,

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-05-2020

Missing info, outdated misconceptions

I thought this was a college level type of course? I gained nothing but the old outdated information that falls short to the real information I learned outside of this. Take for example. Columbus arriving in the Indies. Am I to believe that those indigenous peoples automatically spoke Spanish? No. Or that they learned Spanish in a few days? No This falls short to the actual history of Columbus bringing interpreters to the Indies that spoke Hebrew. And the fact that the cover up of the empires to hide the information by saying that the information is all of a sudden not available? No. Not to mention, this guy LOOOOVES the Spanish during the brutal destruction of the South American continent but falsely grieves the African slaves? No. A bias view is Not academic, it's a way to wash the brains of those he's lecturing to. His practical admiration of Cortez is really what disgusted me. He speaks about the Spanish conquest so lovingly, and merely glances over the destruction of the Indigenous with nothing more than a bland tone. Yet he snickers at the antics of the Spanish? Disgusting. Great Courses really ran dry with this low quality product.

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  • Manish
  • 18-09-2018

Colonial Americas

I thought this would be purely about the conquistadors. However the remit was much larger. I really enjoyed the beginning part but as this progressed to North America it was scanty on details. The last few lectures on race and ethnicity should be in another social set of lectures or condensed. I would have preferred more details on the Caribbean and colonial wars in the context of world and European history and if North America is to be covered more on the expansion West and it's reasons and outcomes as well as wars versus Mexico.

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  • mr
  • 14-02-2015

Good

Very good, peaks early on. And I have fifteen words to use in order to press the submit button, cheers

3 people found this helpful

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