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While I had already enjoyed one of Ben's shorter courses on American history, I signed up for this 8-parter with a slight concern that it may get too detailed or obscure for me, not living in America. I had no need to be concerned! Ben's relaxed presentation style and excellent illustrations helped the audience learn about the main themes and threads of this crucial 100 year period. The 8 talks were factual and detailed, with great narrative storytelling. Expert yet intelligible to the ordinary mortal. Ben was always receptive to every kind of question from his audience, ranging from the seriously specific and academic, to more mundane clarification of terminology, such as 'Manifest Destiny', 'Back Country' and the extent of the Louisiana Purchase.
I came away with a much better understanding of (among other things) the economics of labour and crop-growing, principles guiding the accession of new states, overarching party politics in the Senate and House of Reps., and the various issues driving or resisting abolition.
And I even came away knowing about the important connection between rice growing in West Africa and parts of the southern states!
Thank you, Ben!
I cannot say enough about how vital an understanding of the events and issues covered in this course has been to this American, so I feel that the same revelations of self and nation, with the unavoidable connections into our current time, has become essential.
How can a citizen enter an election booth without knowing our history, as presented, in this seminar series?
So, a wonderful experience, one that will inform all my work (I'm a poet and a writer) for a long, long time.
Thank you. With gratitude for your identifying the need and wonderful instructors, and making these courses available to the public.
Ben has put together a well-paced course, full of detail, about this important period in American history. His warm manner and ability to bring us into the lives of the people and workings of the society made us eager to sit down and learn each week! Great at giving such important context to our discussions.
Ben Rubin is really good at making sense of the material, which is both comprehensive and detailed, and has time to consider and answer a broad range of questions
Another skillful presentation by Mr. Rubin, this time setting the historic background of slavery in Americas, A masterful overview of the complex movements of people, goods, and money across an ocean and between three continents.
I am so looking forward to the rest of our seminars.