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European Civilization, 1648-1945 - Video

By John Merriman

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(HIST 202) This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years' War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations between demographic change, political revolution, and cultural development. Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the study of exemplary works of art, literature, and cinema. This course was recorded in Fall 2008.

Customer Reviews


Professor Merriman is a wonderfully engaging teacher. His enthusiasm for European history and his energy are infectious. His occasional anecdotes about his colorful youth are a bonus.

A frantic lecture on European history

If you like the topic, this is a worthy lecture series tracing the macro-level political, economic, and social themes running through European history in the centuries leading up to the modern era.

Personally, I found the lecturer’s style grating: he frantically chasing tangents of thought as he flutters between large concepts and small, overly-minute details. A typical five minute segment will include a brief, fluttering focus on half a dozen cities or countries intermixed with comments on some disconnected details or tangential comments.

It is as if the professor’s mind is racing three steps ahead of him, and he’s rushing to catch it.

On the one hand, I love the breath of knowledge. I the other, I would really appreciate a more settled, grounded delivery of the content. It’s not just a style preference — I do think the disarrayed delivery detracts from the e comprehensibility of the information.