Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $87.81

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

Publisher's Summary

This comprehensive series of 84 lectures features three award-winning historians sharing their insights into this nation's past - from the European settlement and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, 19th-century industrialization, two world wars, and the present day.

While American history spans not much more than two centuries, it is filled with a wealth of leaders, wars, movements, inventions, and ideas - each of which contributed in its own unique way to America's transformation from 13 disparate colonies on the east coast of North America into a global superpower.

These lectures give you the opportunity to grasp the different aspects of our past that combine to make us distinctly American, and to gain the knowledge so essential to recognizing not only what makes this country such a noteworthy part of world history, but the varying degrees to which it has lived up to its ideals.

The lectures chart the five predominant themes that run throughout the chronicle of U.S. history:

  • The American passion for freedom-including religious, political, and economic freedom.
  • The pursuit of education, which has been the quintessential way for Americans to invent (and reinvent) themselves.
  • The unquestioned faith in the value of popular government.
  • The willingness of Americans to experiment with and adapt to new environments and situations.
  • The belief that the United States is a "city on the hill," a country the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Placing familiar historical events in the context of these overarching themes will help you see American history less as a series of separate events and more as a mosaic in which everything is interconnected.

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

©2003 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2003 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The History of the United States, 2nd Edition

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 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

EXCELLENT!!!!!

Amazing lectures that will change your perception on many subjects regarding not only the US but the world too.

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

Fantastic!

This book is fantastic, incredibly interesting with the right amount of detail to be interesting but not overwhelming. The narration is great. Can't recommend this book highly enough!

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

Insightful, listenable and a marathon!

This was my first intro to US history. The natural speaking and obvious experience of each professor made this extremely listenable and enjoyable. It's hard to imagine a time where I wasn't excited to learn about history when through this it was so immensely interesting.

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

Brilliant!

This is a long course, nearly 44 hrs, but it was one of the best series of lectures I've had the privilege of enjoying. Each lecturer was fantastic and added their own unique skills in the presentation of their respective subject matter. These lectures weren't a dry retelling of historical events, they captured the feel of the time and what was going on behind the scenes. There was a lot of depth added as they looked at the cultural mindset of the various periods, as well by exploring technological advancement, economic change and much more that added that little bit extra in widening one's horizon! The course coverage was much wider than simply the history of the US, it drew connections between the development of humanity in the modern age, of which America was at the forefront. If you like history I could not recommend this series highly enough.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for RockyToTheMoon
  • RockyToTheMoon
  • 24-06-2019

Hard to be fair with three different providers.

My biggest (but most alarming) complaint about this presentation is the lack of hard data and history notes to back up why I felt boarded on personal option. While I understand history “changes”; there was no empirical evidence to support many claims. For example, I’ve long learned that The Puritans settled in America to escape religious persecution from back home. Here, the arguement Is presented that they had come to America for financial independence. Other claims that fly in the face of what I was taught (many years ago) could be correct, but without reference to cases, finds or diaries, it is simply the lecture’s belief. A few examples are; Slaves were more predominant in the South due to public views, not farming or cotton production. The push westward was due to strife and discord against he Native Americans, not just simple expansion. Our founding fathers were driven to act more out of fear than hope. - I’m not saying this is incorrect data, just without documents or references to back up it up, it’s hard to take in.

108 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 Tommy D'Angelo
  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 01-10-2016

Had its Ups and Downs

What did you like best about The History of the United States, 2nd Edition? What did you like least?

It is hard to review this course in whole since the three professors’ styles are so different but while I was hoping for more (the treatment of some events felt lacking) the course certainly covers other areas very well.

Lecture Breakdown:
Professor Guelzo (Lectures 1-36) - Colonization to mid 19th century
Professor Gallagher (Lectures 37-48) - American Civil War era
Professor Allitt (Lectures 49-84) - Late 19th century into the 21st century

Professor Guelzo
Ups:
- It felt like almost no detail of American history was left out in his comprehensive and expansive survey; Surprisingly it did not start with England’s colonial expeditions but the expeditions of Europe, in general, of North and South America

- The Professor was passionate about the content, had a fondness for the characters, and could tell a good story/successfully leave you at a dramatic cliffhanger

- Lecture 9 on the French and Indian War

Downs:
- While Professor Guelzo is a great story-teller and cliff-hanger master, at times his penchant for dramatizing just about everything and using longer than usual sentences made it difficult at times to follow certain points without rewinding; There were times I’d rather the professor had stated straight facts about an event or results of an event vs overdramatizing since it seemed like certain facts were either missing or got lost in the “story”


Professor Gallagher
Ups:
- He is one of my favorite lecturers in the Great Courses stable (along with Professor Vandiver) and delivered an excellent detailed narrative of the origins of the Civil War, the military history of the war, and study into non-military events such as the emancipation, life on the home front, the diplomatic front, etc.

- Lecture 46 on Reconstruction after Civil War

- He provided a great detailed narrative that is pretty straight forward making it easy to understand

Downs:
- The professor had a habit of modulating his voice between speaking really low to really loud; He’d start a sentence too loud and end it too low; This made it very difficult at times to select a volume that would prevent me from having difficulty hearing him without being annoyed by the loud bursts


Professor Allitt
Ups:
- Professor Allitt did a good job of articulating the evolution and transformation of society from an isolationist, primarily agricultural country to the highly industrialized world power the US had become

- Lectures 62-63 on World War I

- Lecture 84 Reflections and main themes (this course had one of the best concluding lectures I've listened to)

Downs:
- For the most part I couldn’t get into his lectures: I was hoping he’d provide more background or facts around certain historical events (vs. in some cases treating events in passing like the Spanish-American War)

- He concluded his lectures in a somewhat abrupt manner: there wasn’t much summation of the key points of the lecture or a preview of what the next lecture had in store so there were times when the professor would make a point and suddenly there’d be applause to mark the end of the lecture without any warning that it was winding down!

Overall: I found "Turning Points in American History" a much better course on U.S. history but I also can't say this was a bad course. Was it worth my time? I'm still sort of undecided. There certainly was good but when it is dispersed among 42 hours and there is also alot of other time when I felt myself zoning out, I'm not too sure of my final feelings on this course.

296 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kelly
  • Kelly
  • 12-10-2019

Narrator of Part 3 Take with a Grain of Salt

Professors of parts 1 & 2 are amazing; professor 3 is a bit sexist and apologist for racism. For 2 examples, he tries to make it sound like segregation laws worked both ways, and he laughs that women in the 1960s were the only group that needed "consciousness ridings" to learn they were oppressed. No, they knew Prof. They just never had a place to talk about it.

22 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 Christina
  • Christina
  • 09-09-2014

Wow!

This is my third Great Courses lecture series, and it was as amazing as the other two. I especially enjoyed Professor Guelzo's enthusiasm, which was contagious, but I give high marks to all three. They did a great job of breaking the series at logical points, which makes it possible to break off listening for a bit while you go read or listen to something less weighty, then come back and pick it up, no problem. I really feel, after listening to this series, that I have a more well-rounded grasp on American history, more than just the cold dates and facts. The various eras and the individuals who left their marks really came alive for me. I'm so glad that Audible and The Great Courses have teamed up! And now off to find another new favorite.

60 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 SAMA
  • SAMA
  • 03-12-2013

Everything You Need to Know about US History

I have always heard of the formation of the United States, slavery, the Constitution, the Civil War, the reformation, the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars from the perspective of the United States. This book takes all of those, plus everything in between, and sets it up in an easy to understand framework. If you are a history buff, this is a piece of history you cannot afford to overlook, no matter how much you think you know (or care) about it.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A Texan 2
  • A Texan 2
  • 09-04-2015

A journey worth taking

Probably one of the best credits I've spent on Audible. 42 hours - 84 lectures covering a pretty thorough survey of the history of the U.S.

Much of it I remembered from school, much I had forgotten, and still more I had never heard before. It was particularly interesting towards the end, hearing historical lectures about the recent decades that I have lived through.

Overall, I found it to be a pretty even handed telling. This is our story - the good and the bad. Going through it all with a more sober and adult level of comprehension offered me some new insights into how our nation and society have come to be where they are now.

The one minor ding is that I believe this was recorded back in 2006, so the presenters do not have the benefit of being able to incorporate or compare with some of the most recent major events in our history. Still, the journey was well worth taking.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andy
  • Andy
  • 22-07-2015

Wonderful overview, provides many viewpoints

This is a great primer of US History-- as grotesque as that sounds, given the 43-hour running time.

But the lecturers do a very good job of explaining how complex certain episodes really are. While leaving you with a basic understanding of historical events, you also are fully aware of just how little you really know.

I was particularly impressed with how each lecturer addresses several historical viewpoints. This is no way felt like a textbook version of events. Rather, they explain dissenting and extreme viewpoints and don't give any particular weight to anything besides the indubitable facts.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bryan C.
  • Bryan C.
  • 07-03-2015

Tremendous course

This is an incredible course. I learned so much that I never knew or understood. I think every American should read or listen to a course like this.

I do wonder, though, how biased the course is toward our own country. For example, in the end, they seem to let the American pioneers off lightly by saying it was mainly disease that wiped out the Indians. I previously had the impression that maltreatment of the Indians held greater blame.

I guess I will have to research and find out.

15 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 Tim R. Prussic
  • Tim R. Prussic
  • 25-06-2015

A Wonderful Course on American History

Any additional comments?

Based on past experiences with the Teaching Company / Great Courses, I have come to expect quite a bit from their courses. With expectations high, I say this course through American history is a winner.

Let's face it: A course of 84 half-hour lectures is long and arduous. Even so, it is not much space and time in which to tell the wildly diverse story of the United States. This course, like most history courses of this scope, is an overview. Overviews, by nature, tend to be cursory and selective. Moreover, while I certainly would not call myself well-read in American history, I have read and taught through various courses/texts on United States history. Thus, even with the overview-type nature of the course and my familiarity with the material, there were *plenty* of insightful, detailed, and connective moments of teaching that were enlightening to me.

The lectures (both in content and selection of materials) betray a moralism that leans toward contemporary Western, liberal, enlightenment-rooted values. This is most evident in the selection and ordering of materials in the later lectures. As an example, here are some lecture titles: "76 - The Vietnam War; 77 - The Women's Movement; 78 - Nixon and Watergate; 79 - Environmentalism." Ordering American history in this way reflects the fragmentation of the history department into myopic partisan attempts at generating their own meta-narratives. This fragmentation seems quite prevalent in the institutions of higher education, certainly at my University. Even so, the professors (all of them) avoid being narrow and partisan (which is one of my expectations of Great Courses). The lectures specifically mentioned above were themselves quite helpful in developing my personal understanding of those particular issues not only by summarizing all the recent partisan historical scholarship (a very helpful thing of itself), but also by connecting the many particular groups and viewpoints with the broader American story. That is, these professors are gifted storytellers. They did a good job of telling all of these partisan stories within the bigger story of American history.

32 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 Sumner
  • Sumner
  • 24-01-2014

Great highlights to US History for beginners

What made the experience of listening to The History of the United States, 2nd Edition the most enjoyable?

You can tell that the narrators are knowledgeable about their topics and seem to be unscripted.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

you can tell when they were really digging into details of a particular event.

Any additional comments?

Definitely a great program to obtain if you are wanting a good intro into US History thats not boring or excessive. The 30 minute lectures are great for commuting to work.

18 people found this helpful

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.