In a world growing increasingly smaller, China still seems a faraway and exotic land, with secrets and mysteries of ages past, its history and intentions veiled from most Westerners. Yet behind that veil lies one of the most amazing civilizations the world has ever known. For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. This course answers this need by delivering a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.
The early years of the Tour are full of heroics and all the protagonists are featured, from Lucien Petit Breton and Philippe Thijs, to Rene Vietto and Antonin Magne. After WW2 came the Italian revolution with the emergence of Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, one of the greatest of them all. However, the Golden Age of the 50's saw the return of the French champions in Bobet, Walkowiak and Gaul as well as the inaugural win of Jacques Anquetil in 1957 who went on to complete the first ever five-timer. His battles with Raymond Poulidor are still talked about to this day. Then came Eddy Merckx, who trounced the opposition in his five victories. Merckx was followed by Luis Ocana, Bernard Thevenet and Lucien Van Impe before the next five-time winner emerged in Bernard Hinault, followed by Spanish legend Miguel Indurain who dominated the early 1990's with his five consecutive victories from 1991.
Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man." In fact, civilization itself began in the quest for food. Humanity's transition to agriculture was not only the greatest social revolution in history, but it directly produced the structures and institutions we call "civilization."