Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $61.45

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events, causing major changes both on a global scale (the battles of Yarmouk & al-Qadisiyyah in 636 determined the religious/linguistic orientation of the Middle East that persists today) as well as within individual cultures (the 1836 battle of San Jacinto gave the United States nearly one-third of its continental territory). For these reasons and more, the study of pivotal battles is a highly useful analytical tool and an important component for understanding world history.

In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.

Through his dramatic and evocative descriptions, using special maps and animations, Professor Aldrete brings the events vividly alive, taking you through the moment-by-moment unfolding of each battle. Throughout the lectures, he uncovers fascinating background material that highlights the drama, poignancy, and scope of the experience of war. This engrossing course provides unique insights into world civilizations by revealing the profound impact of military battles in human history.

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

©2013 The Great Courses; 2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about The Decisive Battles of World History

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    37
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really Enjoyable

Covers plenty of battles that are well known to most fans of history bit Aldo goes into good detail on battles that you may not know much about. The battles themselves and the pivotal figures in those battles are covered in a narrative like fashion making the content far from dry. Interesting and enjoyable, I highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb narration and content

I strongly suggest pairing this book with the Brief History of the World, another Great Courses audiobook. Most societies have engaged in warfare, thus world history is very much the history of warfare. I find that the Brief History of the World gives you the overall context needed, while this book covers more of the granular aspects and sheds light on the lesser-known battles of history.

The narration is also superb. You will be hard-pressed to find any hesitation or mistakes despite the narration sounding very natural.

It will take a considerable amount of time to simultaneously complete both books, though I highly recommend it if your grasp of broader world history is weak.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The audio equivalent of "a real page-turner"

A very enjoyable listen for a lay historian. Covering some 35 topics, it changed often enough to not get boring. However, I still found that the narrator did justice to each topic and I received a good feel for what was happening.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for IRP
  • IRP
  • 23-05-2014

Excellent Course- Needs Battle Maps

I found this course to be well taught and fascinating. The Professor was excellent. Although I may not agree with all of the battles selected by the Professor as being the most important in world history (especially some of the ancient ones)- I did enjoy the manner in which he described his methodology for choosing the battles and I learned a great deal about some historical events that I really knew nothing about. The biggest complaint that I have with this course is the lack of maps for each battle. You really cannot understand strategy, movement and terrain withoug some form of visual display. I really think that Audible should contract with the Great Corses to add a pdf file of the maps for each battle. Otherwise I would recommend that one purchase this course directly from the Teaching Company

62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Iriskat
  • Iriskat
  • 23-07-2014

Very Interesting and Well Narrated

What did you love best about The Decisive Battles of World History?

The author, Prof. Aldrete, who is also the narrator, does a fantastic job of describing not only the occurrences on the battlefield, but also of the history behind and beside. This way, this course actually offers a bit of an overview of the last 3000 years of human history, in light of decisive battles. I really liked that Prof. Aldrete offers this list of battles as his own view, debatable and open for discussion. I have to admit - every time I thought to myself "why did he not include this", or "here his biases do come into view", I would always get my answer later in the lesson for why a battle was not included, or the battle I thought of was included in a later lesson. All in all, a truly interesting, engaging course. One caveat: for ancient times, Prof. Aldrete does not struggle with ancient names. He simply makes no effort to pronounce them in anything but a very American accent. As a narrator, he cautions in the beginning of the course that the course may reflect his own biases - well, this is the only bias I have found.
By the way - one of the reviewers said battle-maps were missing. In the one or two instances I really felt the need to see a map - I found it on Wikipedia. Hence, I don't find the lack of maps to be a real shortcoming. Their addition would of course have been welcome.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mike
  • Mike
  • 26-09-2015

Like Reading a Movie

I originally gave this book 4 stars, but every book I've read after this seems so boring in comparison I had to reevaluate the rating: 5 stars. A really fun read, almost like reading an action movie.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Judd Bagley
  • Judd Bagley
  • 05-05-2014

Outstanding content. Grating delivery.

This is a compelling lecture series. The instructor is very knowledgeable in the subject and manages to bring these battles to life in the relatively short time dedicated to each. Highly recommended to any student of military history.
My only complaint deals with the delivery. Prof. Aldrete pronounces every third word as though it comes as a complete surprise to him. It's exhausting to listen to. That said, the information is well worth the effort to consume it.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lee
  • Lee
  • 17-05-2014

Excellent!

Any additional comments?

This is a very good overview of major battles in world history. The professor's delivery is excellent. He does a good job in the first lecture at explaining his rationale for choosing the battles that he did. The lectures on the battles themselves are a perfect blend of background information, the battle, and the aftermath. I am a military history buff, so this course is right up my alley! That said, I think that anyone interested in world history would benefit from listening to it. Do it today. You won't be sorry.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark
  • Mark
  • 14-03-2015

Enjoyable and interesting, but not great.

While I enjoyed this book, I found it to be my least favorite of the Great Courses books that I have listened to. This one covers a lot of ground but the content tended to be less like a history book and more like one of those “strange facts” books. A large portion of the book is essentially conjecture that comes across as fact. It also seemed like there was an effort on the part of the Author to be politically correct in his selection of the battles he determined were decisive. The battles covered, while numerous, are described at the highest of levels – the content is broad just not very deep. Professor Aldrete seemed a little uncomfortable narrating the book which made some parts difficult to listen to. In the end the Professor says his goal in writing the book was to stimulate thought on behalf of the listeners and in that sense he accomplished his goal. It’s a good book, but not Great.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joey G.
  • Joey G.
  • 07-10-2016

Pleasant surprise

I thought it would only be about battle and tactics, but it was a pleasant combination of those and historical background and influences of the different battles.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ken Mitchell
  • Ken Mitchell
  • 13-05-2014

Excellent survey of decisive battles in history

This is an excellent survey of some of the most important/decisive battles in world history.

This is an overview of battles that made a difference, whether that means they were a turning point in the history of empires, or the introduction of a game-changing technology, or whether they were the most important/indicative of a series of battles that changed the fate of the world.

You could argue that some battles not included might have been more important, but this is a survey, not a compete history of all important battles.

Professor Aldrete does a good job of explaining both the battles, and why they were on his list as key decisive battles in history.

Folks, let me be concise in this review. Spend a credit on this if the topic interests you. It's worth your credit.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Harvey
  • Harvey
  • 29-10-2015

Good first step, easy to understand

The lecturer clearly enjoys and is passionate about his subject. He makes it simple enough that there is no need to go into this series with a doctorate is history. He is honest about his shortcomings and personal preferences and he invites readers (listeners) to disagree with him. This is a great way to pick up some military history as each lecture is self contained and allows you to listen for 30 minutes at a pop and return without having to back up to figure out where you are in history.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jee
  • Jee
  • 31-08-2015

Well worth it

This is an engaging and well-performed overview of the decisive battles in world history, informative yet colorful and packed with fun tidbits. Highly recommended for casual readers of military history like me.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for gordon
  • gordon
  • 04-01-2015

Good insight into great battles

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

didn't finish this one as it got a bit much towards the end. A big problem with audible in general is that the chapter numbers give no indication as to what they contain. For a book like this, chapter titles are important as there is no index one can consult to establish where particular information is. This is a problem with all non-fiction on Audible

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 16-02-2020

Entertaining and enlightening

I was particularly interested in this as I’m very well aware that I have a very limited European view and knowledge of military history and this did not disappoint covering the globe in its review and mindset. I also found it an enticing question to consider how we are to decide what makes a battle deserve a place on the list.

Entertaining and enlightening combined and highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Turquelblue
  • Turquelblue
  • 15-08-2019

Spoiler alert. Aljubarrota is not included.

Well, any one who has an interest in history likes to play this game. Prof Aldrete plays it well. Erudite and convincing , he presents arguments why his choice differs from that of the reader. I learnt about some battles unknown to me.Equally I admired his ability to focus, in 30 minutes, on the key elements of battles which I understand very well, such as Vienna 1683 and Midway 1942.
As Aljubarrota is not included just check it out. It explains why Brazil speaks Portuguese and not Spanish

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-2018

Simply Brilliant! 10 Stars...

What a brilliant and a fabulous piece of work by Prof Gregory! It amazing how he gives apt details of all the described wars. Apt because it is neither superficial nor too elaborated to get boring.
Prof Gregory has not only exhibited his deep and genuine excellence as a great historian but also demonstrated what a fantastic story teller he is. For me, listening to this book was a fabulous journey, both educational and intriguing. My next step is going to check out his other books and get on to another journey of great experience. Loved it! Just go for it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-06-2017

One of my favourite new books

As someone interested in military history, this book is exactly what I always wanted to read. It's very well written with historical background, solid research and interesting anecdotes. It is also very well balanced and not prejudiced in one direction or the other.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joseph
  • Joseph
  • 15-04-2021

Loved it, so interesting

It was fascinating to learn from history in this way and I loved being able to see what made good and bad strategies and how history could’ve been different at every turn. I found it hard to listen to his presentation style but he definitely makes the content interesting.


  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gemma
  • Gemma
  • 06-04-2021

extremely interesting audio book

strong narrative of each battle combined with picking apart the factors that caused the result of said decisive battle followed by what this meant/means for world history. excellent concisely presented lectures a thoroughly enjoyable listen

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alan Lewis
  • Alan Lewis
  • 07-02-2021

Superb

Amazing performance of battles spanning history. Some battles may initially seem esoteric, but Professor Aldrete manages to weave them together into an endless compelling narrative.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Timbo slice
  • Timbo slice
  • 22-09-2020

Brilliant, loved it.

Would highly recommend. I am a landscaper and gardener and have this and others going everyday, i have a keen interest in history and the detail, anecdotes but also conciseness of each lecture is perfect. Greg Aldrete is also a fabulous storyteller

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Charles King-Tenison
  • Charles King-Tenison
  • 02-12-2019

Fantastic journey through history of warfare

Generally just an amazing journey through the history of warfare and wider world history. A must read.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.