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Foundations of Eastern Civilization

Narrateur(s): Craig G. Benjamin
Durée: 23 h et 22 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 évaluations)

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Description

China. Korea. Japan. Southeast Asia. How did Eastern civilization develop? What do we know about the history, politics, governments, art, science, and technology of these countries? And how does the story of Eastern civilization play out in today's world of business, politics, and international exchange?

Over the course of 48 ambitious lectures, take a grand journey through Eastern civilization to study everything from the material economy of day-to-day life to the political and religious philosophies that would bind these cultures together for thousands of years. While China is home to some of the great moments in world history and a major focal point for this course, you'll also take several extended forays into Central and Southeast Asia to build a comprehensive picture of Eastern civilization.

"To truly understand the modern world, it is essential to know something about the many extraordinary contributions Eastern civilization has made," Professor Benjamin says. "Simply put, it is not enough to know just the 'Western' half of the story any more-both Eastern and Western are critical to understanding our present and our future."

Now is your chance to fill in the other half of the story. You may be surprised to realize that all of us have been students of Eastern civilization, even if we have not been aware of it. Filled with captivating stories and surprising details, this course will open up an entirely new world for you as it unfolds the story of Eastern civilization.

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 (P)2013 The Teaching Company, LLC

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Au global

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire

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  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Acteon
  • 2013-11-22

A worthwhile "big-history" survey

Would you listen to Foundations of Eastern Civilization again? Why?

Perhaps...at least certain parts.

What other book might you compare Foundations of Eastern Civilization to and why?

From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History (The Great Courses, Narrated By Professor Kenneth J. Hammond); The Fall and Rise of China (The Great Courses, Narrated By Professor Richard Baum. The present book is the third lecture series from The Great Courses on China. Of the three, Baum's is much the best but covers mainly the last couple of centuries. Hammond's is a straightforward survey that is rather superficial; it provides the basic information but does not really convey the sense of how things were and why they happened (this is of course always a problem with broad surveys). Benjamin's survey suffers from this too, but he makes up for it by drawing upon archaeological evidence and by including Korea, Japan and southeast asia to put thing into a "big history" perspective.

What about Professor Craig G. Benjamin’s performance did you like?

He is energetic and evidently engaged. His Australian accent did not bother me too much, but his problem is his misunderstanding of the Chinese pinyin system of transliteration. He tell us that it is a more intuitive improvement on the older and more complicated Wade-Giles, when in reality pinyin's aim is an unambiguous coding of the sounds of Chinese through the Roman (NOT the English) alphabet. As a result, pinyin is far from intuitive for a speaker of English or any other Western language since it does not refer to any particular Western language; in fact, an English speaker would have a better chance of pronouncing something comprehensibly using Wade-Giles which was based on English. More specifically, the letters x,c,q are impossible to pronounce intuitively; unless their arbitrary phonetic values are learned precisely, the pronunciation will be incomprehensible, as often in this audiobook. E.g. the name Cao-cao is pronounced "Kao-kao" when it should be "tsao-tsao", 'Quan" becomes "Kuan" when it should sound more like "chuan". The distinction between words ending with '-an' and '-ang' is also essential, and here too mistakes render all but incomprehensible names that the reader does not already know. Pinyin is an excellent system, but it needs to be learned in a systematic way. I was dismayed that Prof.Benjamin had not done this.

Any additional comments?

There are some factual errors that I don't have time to point out, and in particular Benjamin's understanding of post World-war II China leaves much to be desired (in this area Richard Baum is far more competent). Despite its failings, however, I would still recommend this course for its "big-history" perspective.

57 personnes sur 58 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 2015-08-27

Good History but Lacking Depth on the Foundations

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Overall: a solid course full of great history from a professor with an engaging style but there were also a number of lectures I found myself disinterested and wondering when a deep discussion of the foundations of an Eastern civilization would occur.

Pluses:
• The following topics were engaging: the history of China, all of its major dynasties, oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang dynasty, the silk roads, samurai Japan, and the evolution of the countries from conquerors to the conquered at various times in their histories
• Eastern civilization was not just studied in isolation: interactions with the western world, comparisons to the western world at different points in time, and the examinations of which civilization was leading technological advances on the world scene at what times helped add perspective

Minuses:
• At times I wished the professor would’ve spelled the name of the dynasty or person he was discussing since he seemed to either mispronounce it or say it in a fast way that seemed rushed
• At times the recounting of the rise and fall of dynasty after dynasty (especially in Korea and Japan) without any historical context of the ultimate legacy of that dynasty or providing perspective at a bigger picture level was monotonous and un-intriguing
• Although the professor does a good job of continuously referencing the “foundations of Eastern civilization” in his lectures, the foundations themselves seemed light to me; Other than respect for elders, an emphasis on the collective vs. the individual, Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism (and even in these cases I found myself wishing the professor would’ve elaborated a little further on the key tenants or provided practical examples of their use in government, society, etc.) there seemed to be a lack of core foundations that would define an “Eastern civilization”
• Breaking up the course into four distinct regions (China, Korea, Japan, and southeast Asia such as Vietnam) and discussing one region at a time for a number of centuries before switching to another led to a sense of hopping backwards and forward in time just a little too much; A more effective approach could’ve been discussing all four regions at the same time in a strict chronological narrative

25 personnes sur 27 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Savage
  • 2016-07-20

Good, but biased

There's a lot of great history here, but the professor (from Australia) tows the communist party line. Some examples include referring to modern Taiwan as part of the PRC, defending the one child policy, referring to the 89 massacre as an "incident" where we really don't know that it's as bad as everyone says. He brushes over Mao's policies as being good natured but just not working out and doesn't mention that Mao is responsible for more deaths than Hitler or Stalin.

As frustrating as the bias is, the course was a good introduction to Asian history for me. I didn't know much about the subject going in and feel like I've learned a lot. I just didn't feel like I could trust the professor.

25 personnes sur 29 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • D. McIntyre
  • 2017-03-27

Good in Spots

While passionate some of the history was not detailed enough or actually misleading especially in the Medieval period and he made sweeping statements that were inaccurate. I have heard some of the other teachers of the Great Courses who did know this history and explained it better.

3 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 2014-09-02

great overview

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this lecture as an introduction to Chinese/Far Eastern history. I started out not knowing much at all about anything farther east than Persia, and now feel like I have a solid grasp on the general course of Chinese history, and would not like to learn more about a few specific periods and places that I had never heard of before (such as the Kushan empire).

One thing I did not like about this course was the inconsistent or inaccurate pronunciation of various place names and dynasties. Sometimes he pronounces a word correctly the first time, but then anglicizes it more later--and at times the pronunciation is not only incorrect, but leaves you with an entirely mistaken idea of how it might be spelled (which makes it harder to look further into an interesting topic).

Otherwise it was an informative and enjoyable listen.

6 personnes sur 7 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 2014-10-24

Great Chinese history overview, Japan part less so

If you could sum up Foundations of Eastern Civilization in three words, what would they be?

Very engaging speaker, weaves in interesting stories. Really seems to know Chinese history well. Gives a brief, but good overview of Korean history. Southeast Asia is barely covered, but he does what he can.

My only qualm was with the Japanese history lectures. Granted he has a lot to cover, but he seems to be a bit out of his depth here. He makes some assertions that a casual student of Japan will find incorrect. (For example, he seems to suggest that all of Heian read the Tale of Genji during Muraski Shikubu's lifetime, when in reality only a few of her close consorts would have heard it.)

Still, overall I got what I wanted out of this course. A good value for money if you stick with it until the end =)

7 personnes sur 9 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SAMA
  • 2014-02-26

The East Comes Alive

There are many resources that examine Chinese history and Chinese civilization, but this is one of the rare resources that cover China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the other nations and civilizations of Central Asia.

Everything from great leaders, philosophies, economics, religions and their influences from and to other parts of the world and among themselves. It is a deep, rich course leaving you wanting more.

7 personnes sur 9 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Walther
  • 2018-01-04

Annoying speech

He has too many language habits. Makes the listen annoying sometimes. For instance he keeps using "frankly" in places where the word doesnt seem to fit.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
  • B. Bailey
  • 2017-11-14

Ok if you never heard of China otherwise weak content.

Not a fan of the presenter or the content.

Presenter is not well spoken and the content is very weak compared with every “the great courses” I have listened too.
Speaker uses the same annoying phrases over and over. Sometimes out of context to the point he is trying to make.

I would recommend Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. It is shorter but contains more useful information. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a few addition books on the Far East.

Would recommend this lecture series to middle school children.

Best regards

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-04-28

Phenomenal Course

This is the best audio book/lecture I have listened to. The lecturer does a great job of tying together the many wide ranging topics to give a broad holistic overview of Eastern Civilisation. I would highly recommend.

1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente