Fall 2021 - Amazing class. Since Week 1 I went around recommending this course as a GE. I am a STEM major so it was really fun taking a course that explores other fields. Lectures are not recorded, but the midterms and the final are not based on actual lecture content which means you could do fine without attending. What really matters is attending section which gives you participation part of your final grade (20%). You have a list of primary sources to read each week which sometimes do get dense, but as long as you read 3-4 of them you should have enough content for section and for the midterms. The textbook is not really important if Im being honest. The professor will prompt you to purchase it, but I never used it and still got an A in the class. TA's were super easygoing and responsive to emails. The professor is usually hard to get in contact with, so he prompts you to speak to your TA before reaching out to him. Again 10/10 recommend
One of the toughest classes I've ever had, but it was worth it because it made me a better writer. It also made me better at analyzing primary sources. He pushes you to give him your very best, although if you're looking to help your GPA more than your writing skills take someone else.
I'm currently in my final year at UCLA (history major), and as I look back at all the history classes I've taken, I think I can confidently say Yirush was my least favorite teacher. As others have said here, he creates a hostile learning environment where learning history becomes second to what you're doing wrong. Whether it be missing reading assignments or ticky-tack writing errors (I know good writing is apart of history, but his emphasis on it in grading is ridiculous for undergrad courses). The best history teachers and courses I've taken made me excited and passionate about my major, Yirush just made me feel like History is a tedious & stressful chore.
Winter 2023 - These harsh reviews are definitely off the mark. I almost didn't take this class because of these reviews but I am glad I gave it a shot. Professor Yirush is a good lecturer and he is passionate about what he teaches. He's a tough grader in the sense that he will dock points for grammatical errors, but a quick visit to the writing center should be enough to prevent points from being docked. He is definitely not condescending. He is really easygoing and approachable. He is always reminding the class to drop-in to his office hours and he is open to scheduling office hour visits by appointment if you can't make it during his schedule office hours. Overall, a great professor. I only wish he used powerpoints since I am a visual-learner. But that aside, this is a great class. If you a Revolutionary War-nerd like me you will really like this class.
*Honors 173 Evaluation* I came into this class as a senior from south campus wanting to learn about American history. Unfortunately, this class disappointed me. This class is not south campus or ignorance friendly. As a south campus major, I had a weak grasp of American history and I was quickly put into my place and belittled for irrelevant comments. Most of the other students in the class were political science or history majors and Professor Yirush blatantly favored them. I went to office hours multiple times after I was informed that my writing sucked (comments on my paper saying "horrible writing"). I went with an open mind to learn and improve, but instead I was again belittled for my crude south campus writing. As a graduating senior, I worked my ass off in the class (while taking 5 classes that quarter). As a student of the honors program, my expectations were to learn and enrich my knowledge of other fields that are outside of the sciences. Instead of being taught, Professor Yirush only attempted to "fix" me. I ended up with a B- in the class (and a C in participation even though I spoke at least once every class trying my best to keep up with the others), which denied me 5 whole units of honors credit for the class and I had to take an extra class during spring quarter before graduating. In my opinion, education should focus on learning and students should be rewarded for the work they put in. To put in that much work and receive 0 units of credit was quite bewildering to me and I didn't realize the honors program would punish students like that for receiving lower than a B. I was truly disappointed by the whole process, having experienced other amazing learning environments and teachers from the honors program.