Molly Nash Larson
From the opening dedication to the final word of the narration, I found this book to be without equal as a history of a time period. It covers all aspects of American life from the close of the War of 1812 to the end of the Mexican War. Because of the scope of coverage, one learns of the religious, political, economic, and technological advances and other changes shaping the era.
Howe dedicates the book to John Quincy Adams and I have a new admiration for him. I found it difficult to hold Jackson in esteem; the development of the Democratic Party I found saddening but certainly inevitable.
I have listened to this book three times now and expect I'll do it again as each listening gives me new insight and appreciation for just how much our forefathers accomplished.
I bought the book for my son as a gift and I do look forward to being able to discuss it with him.
The content was great. This book covers a wider range of different areas of history (social, economic, government, religion, etc.) than any other history book I've listened to or read.
I think Patrick Cullen's voice is great. But the "performance" was terrible. I don't think Patrick was to blame here. This seems to be a purely technical issue in the post processing. I don't know if they did a lot of editing and overdubbing, or what. But it almost sounds like two different people were narrating and they were switching randomly between the two. It also seems hurried, but again, it doesn't sound like Patrick actually read it that way, i.e. perhaps some part of the processing was trying to reduce inter word gaps or something. This is by far the worst production I've come across in an audiobook. I was able to adapt to it mostly after a while, and I enjoyed the content enough to continue to endure through it to the end. But I wish they would go back to the original recordings and fix this.
This is part of the definitive Oxford History of the United States. So, how in the world can the publisher decide to skimp on the narration of the audiobook version by hiring an AUTOMATON??? For what it sounds like, I could just as well be listening to a presentation of the United States Internal Revenue Code, Verbatim.
I just don't get it.
The book's content is excellent, and it had to be to keep me interested, given the terrible production. Looking back, I wish I'd read it instead of listening to it since the production is so poor.
Often when we read about US history we jump from the Revolution to the Civil War, maybe with a nod to the War of 1812. But this book explains how understanding the period it covers is vital to understanding the maturation of the country and the events, particularly the Civil War, that followed.
The reader's voice is excellent, and assuming the infuriating problems in the production aren't his fault, I'd listen to him again.
Yes: to scream at my mp3 player and to curse Audible for the terrible production that ruined a great book. Does anyone at Audible read these reviews? Many others have commented on this problem, how do you dare to continue offering this? Obviously the original recording was corrupted somehow and then apparently patched together. Sometimes a different reader fills in for a sentence or two, or even for just a part of a sentence. Often the reader speeds up, sometimes his reading speed is fine (suggesting that it wasn't his fault, but the production's). Apart from speed, at times his cadence is all over the place so there's no pause between sentences, forcing the listener to divert attention from the book while reconstructing the sentences in one's head.
Audible, someone on your staff should listen to this production. Not just for a minute or two, but for hours, since some parts are fine, which makes the bad sections (which are most of the book) all the worse. Do you really want to put your name on this terrible production? I realize it would be expensive to produce a new reading, but if don't want to spring for that can't you at least re-mix this somehow? Perhaps slow the reader down in the passages where he sounds like he can't wait to finish? If you won't do that, at least give a warning up front that the production is bad. I wish I'd read more of the reviews that described this problem; that was my mistake, but you should warn your customers. I've listened to hundreds of audio books and this is by far the worst production I've ever heard.
The story was good, well written book. The editing distracted you from the book. Parts were very choppy.
It was read MUCH too quickly. I tried selecting "half speed". It resulted in a bizarre acoustic distortion. I gave it up for lost ......
Mr. Howe referred to the " Book of Mormon" as one of the great work's of American literature. WOW!
It was too fast.
Could Not Complete!!
As many have noted, the narration is an obvious patchwork of multiple takes. It's like listening to a roomful of people by turns telling you the same story. The book itself is an authoritative treatment of the period, but it feels much more like a textbook than others in this brilliant series.
This book is really long, and when my mood was wrong, I found myself tuning it out. It's a lot of facts, and no storyline to speak of, so the mood has to be right. But man, what great stuff. Amazingly well researched and shining with professionalism, this book can take you right back to antebellum America and almost make you feel like you lived through it. Because I wasn't always focused enough to listen for long stretches, it took me about 6 months to finally reach the finish line. I'd switch to something else for a while, but kept coming back to this one. It ended up being one of my favorite audiobooks. Worth buying for sure.
I have now read the first three volumes of the Oxford Series on U.S. History and this is the best of the three. Howe does an excellent job of explaining all of the drastic political changes that occurred during this period, particularly after 1828. This work may change your thinking about Presidents Jackson, Van Buren, Tyler and Polk. Most revealing is how Polk lied the nation into the Mexican War and how he deliberately hampered generals Taylor and Scott (both Whigs) because he saw them as potential presidential candidates in 1848. Even though, Polk had pledged to serve only one term, he wanted to keep the presidency for the Democrats. He even sabotaged his own treaty representative, Nicholas Trist.
He tends to go over the same topic too many times. It's fine to learn about utopian communities but I didn't need to hear about 10 of them with only minor differences
No too tedious
Good analysys but often difficult to follow