First, I would say the author clearly has some incredible writing skills. The way he draws the readers in in the first few chapters is masterful. I thought that was some of the most gripping writing I have read in a long while. Likewise the end of the moving is incredibly moving given the foreboading and irony that permeates what you know will happen. There are sections in the middle that are likewise masterfully written.
I have listened to several audiobooks that were much longer than this one, but there are sections in the middle where you can find yourself zoning out for 10 min and feeling like you did not miss very much. The book is a day by day, week by week, sometimes feels like minute by minute account of MLK's life from 1955 to 1968, and it is completely linear, chronologic review of his life. Sometimes it just feels like it is one talk, one march, one act of civil disobedience after anohter. Again most of it is great, but maybe there were times when your attention is not rivetted, and the author clearly has the capability to draw you in tightly in other parts.
The narration was very good except the reader takes pauses, sometimes in mid sentence, and a few times i kept thinking my ipod broke, but then he just starts right back up again. pretty weird.
Overall very very good, definitley worth reading, but a little dry at times in the middle.
great, book, and I loved the narration. Only qualm is I ended up buying full version, as there are huge gaps, which I you really want to understand the Adams-jefferson relationship, full length version is much better.
One of the best history books covering any period ever written in my opinion. It offers the reader the unique experience of living through this period through the eyes of the forgotten men and women who lived these times. It is truly a unique work by a uniquely gifted writer. Instead of a top to bottom history, focusing on events, dates, battles, meetings and leaders of the time, this is a bottom-up version of history with attention focused on what ordinary men and women felt, did, suffered through, and ultimately triumphed in taking the US from a 2nd rate power to the predominant super power in the world. When you listen to Rock Bottom, you feel like you are living and suffering through the depression, listening to Roosevelt, or been just told that Kennedy was shot. By the end, you feel like you just lived through this entire period of history.
Downside: This is a terrible recording. The narration is way too fast. I had to listen on slower speed on my ipod, or the pace would just be too fast to listen to. Second, there is static which makes certain sections hard to listen to (see on line sample). Most maddening is the “skips” in which words or sentence fragments are skipped in the second section of the book. It sounds like an old LP record where the needle skipped. It is maddening and incredibly distracting.
I would offer future listeners encouragement that once you make it through the 2nd downloadable segments, the worst is over and the rest is from an audio standpoint considerably better. I wish Audible would offer a better version
After listening to the whole work, I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in this period of history, but after struggling through the 1st and 2nd segments, I almost gave up and was extremely upset that this product would even be sold. Overall, however, this is the as good a book I have read/listened to.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Other reviewers have said most of what needs to be said about this often fascinating book. The era of the plains Indian and the American incursion which brought it to an end is incredibly rich material, and Gwynne has brought it to life with a wealth of telling detail.
I would like to add that one of the great strengths of the book is that it brings the landscape itself to life as a character in the narrative. This sense of place as a central character adds tremendously to our understanding of both the extraordinary prowess and resilience of the Comanche and the daunting obstacles which faced settlers during their gradual but inexorable occupation of the mid-section of the country. Having spent a year in Amarillo and traveled on horseback in Palo Duro Canyon, I was deeply impressed by how well the author captured the almost malevolent expanse and elemental grandeur of the plains. Beautifully done.
I assume that the print version of the book includes maps, and I strongly suggest that listeners would best enjoy the listen if they find some on the internet keep them close at hand.