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War: History, Causes & Solutions, by Michael Shermer

War: History, Causes & Solutions, by Michael Shermer

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War: History, Causes, Solutions
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The Skeptics Society is pleased to announce that Michael Shermer’s college course on War: History, Causes & Solutions is now available in audio, with 36 lectures on MP3 files totaling 27 hours (the equivalent of over 20 uncompressed CD disks).

In his war course Dr. Shermer mixes straight narrative history with science, philosophy, and theory as to the causes and solutions to war. The course begins with an overview of war and terms and definitions as they will be used throughout the course. The detailed history covers the rise of the nation-state, the ancien regime of France and the French Revolution, the American Civil War and its economic and political consequences, World War I and the Russian Revolution, Mussolini and the fascists and Hitler and the Nazis, the building and dropping of the atomic bomb, and the holocaust of the Jews and American Indians. Dr. Shermer then explores the proximate and ultimate causes of all wars, employing psychology, anthropology, and evolutionary theory to explore political and economic solutions to the prevention of war.

  1. Introduction to War
  2. A Theory of War
  3. The Rise of the Nation-State
  4. The Ancién Regime and the French Revolution
  5. The Reign of Terror and the New Regime
  6. A Brief History from Ancient Skirmishes to Modern Total War
  7. Slavery and the Background to the American Civil War
  8. Steps Leading to the Start of the American Civil War
  9. Northern versus Southern Causes, From Bull Run to Antietam/Sharpsburg
  10. Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, War Climax
  11. Cold Harbor, Sherman’s March, Appomattox, Lincoln Assassination
  12. The Political and Economic Consequences of the Civil War
  13. Marx, Marxism, and the Road to Communism
  14. The Tzars, Rasputin, and the Rise of Lenin
  15. The Russian Revolution
  16. The Spanish American War
  17. The Road to the Great War
  18. Weapons of War, Outbreak of World War I
  19. Verdun, Somme, Jutland, Naval Warfare, Submarines
  20. U.S. Enters the War, World War I Ends
  21. Versailles Treaty, League of Nations, Casualties and Consequences of the War
  22. The Political and Economic Consequences of the Great War
  23. The Rise of Mussolini and Fascism, Hitler’s Early Years
  24. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazis
  25. The Nazi State & Philosophy; Social Darwinism in Germany
  26. Background to World War II; Steps to WWII; Start of War
  27. Causes & Steps to Pearl Harbor; U.S. Enters WWII; Pacific Theater
  28. European Theater, Life in Nazi Germany, D-Day, July 20 Bomb Plot
  29. Why Hitler Lost the War, Pacific Theater, Kamakazis, Background to the Bomb
  30. The Building of the Atomic Bomb
  31. Hiroshima, War End, U.S. Internationalism and Cold War, Background of War Theory
  32. The Holocaust of the Jews and American Indians
  33. Genocide, War, and Human Nature
  34. Proximate Causes of War: Anthropology, Psychology
  35. Proximate Causes of War: Political, Economic
  36. Ultimate Causes of War; Morality of War; Solutions

War is one of four courses taught by Dr. Michael Shermer that the Skeptics Society has decided to bring out for public consumption (the other three are: History of Science, Psychology, and Evolution). Dr. Shermer started teaching at Glendale College, then moved to the California State University, Los Angeles, and finished at Occidental College in Los Angeles, spanning the years 1980 to 1998. Dr. Shermer left the academy to direct the Skeptics Society, publish Skeptic magazine, write his monthly column for Scientific American, host the Caltech Science Lecture Series, and write books full time. In his 18 years of teaching, however, he honed his lecture skills to become one of the most popular professors on campus. Note: Since these courses were taped in the classroom there is a certain amount of extemporaneous dialogue and student comments and questions that accompany the lecture material, adding color to the courses. Dr. Shermer is an animated lecturer who mixes wit and humor with serious scholarly and scientific material.

These lectures were originally delivered in the Spring of 1996 at Glendale College.

Produced by John Wagner of John Wagner Studios.
Copyright © 2009 Michael Shermer. All rights reserved.

NOTE: These disks are designed to play on MP3 players, computers, and newer automotive CD players. 27 hours of lectures are compressed into only 3 CDs.

Download a free audio sample

War is a serious subject and serious consequences, and Dr. Michael Shermer treats it as such, bringing to bear on the topic all the tools of science and history to understand war’s history, causes, and solutions. In this free audio download of Lecture 1, Dr. Shermer introduces the course, defines what he means by war, what sorts of causes will be sought (proximate causes and ultimate causes), human nature and human culture and how they interact to cause conflict, and the ultimate consequences of war.

DOWNLOAD the free sample MP3 (47MB)

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