I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
While I was listening to this book, John Adams and his family came to live with me. I was so absorbed in the history, I thought about it even when I wasn't listening. I am impressed with McCullough's skill at bringing history to life. It's a fascinating time with relevance to today. The time and thought put into the Constitution should never be taken for granted. Also, the knowledge of these people and their efforts to continually educate themselves and engage their intellectual lives is beyond anything we see today. While this will appeal to history buffs, I highly recommend it for anyone interested in people's lives and an in depth view of the minds of brilliant people.
I need to say two quick things about this book before I comment on content. #1: Ray Porter is amazing as a narrator. #2: The author does a great job with "just the facts, ma'am" even though his opinions are clear. Look up any number of the things he talks about and you will find supporting facts. I value that with non-fiction.
This is NOT a feel-good book about America's export of democracy or freeing the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. It is a harsh look at the mechanical parts of occupation and the responsibility you assume when you decide to take over another country. It's too bad the word "hubris" has already been used by another book. This could have been titled the same way.
There are many things I do not understand and this book didn't help. How could we as a country allow bridges to fall into rivers due to infrastructure neglect yet support the billions of dollars it took when we decided to rebuild Iraq? How do lawmakers justify their support of the billions of dollars for this and not for education and health care in our own country? When you look for skills during a crisis, why would political party even matter? And what does it take to put down your political party affiliation and just do the right thing?
There are two particular people in the book who are incredibly effective at carrying out their tasks. Their effectiveness has nothing to do with politics and all to do with pure competence. Reading about them and their M.O. is a great lesson in how to get things done. I was impressed at the odds against them and what they achieved.
Here's a president people generally don't know much about and his assassin, who most people know nothing about. I really feel like I learned so much about James Garfield, Charles J. Guiteau, and Alexander Graham Bell. Not only do you hear about the details of the events leading up to Guiteau shooting Garfield, but you get a clear vision of the motivations of Guiteau, Bell and Garfield. The descent of Garfield's health after the shooting, due to gross mistakes by Garfield's doctors, continues to amplify sympathy for Garfield.
If you find a book well narrarated so much more enjoyable, this is a huge plus for this audio book. Paul Michael can consistently narrate the characters, with accents, different pitches and even women's dialogues.
If you love history, especially presidential history, I highly recommend this book.