I loved this one, the story flows so well, ties together the different movements and events of the first half of the 19 th century into a great story. I am going to look into the other Oxford series. The best history audio I have yet listened to.
Great narrative of the early 19th century America. Enjoyed listening. If the narrator 'Patrick Cullen' would slow down a bit it would be even more enjoyable.
This is yet another excellent book from the Oxford U.S. History Series. I felt like David Walker Howe jumps around more than the authors of the other books within the series, neither using a thematic nor narrative approach to telling the story of the Jacksonian period. But all of the information is there, and the writing is good. Howe really demonstrates how much things change in U.S. society, politics and culture from 1815-1848. You'll have to stomach a substantial amount of religion in the book, but with the Second Great Awakening, religion is pivotal to the period, and it impacts other areas as well.
My biggest problem with the audiobook is narration/editing that borders on disastrous at times. Necessary pauses are removed; a different narrator will randomly appear in mid-paragraph, or even mid-sentence; and the main narrator isn't really that good to begin with. Most of the books in this series are narrated by Robert Fass, who's outstanding. The book on the Depression/WWII is narrated by Tom Weiner, who's peerless. Somehow the publishers swung and missed on this one, and unfortunately, the poor audio made following and enjoying the book more difficult.
I have listened to many history books from Audible, and have enjoyed the vast majority of them. This is the first one I couldn't complete. I almost gave up on it a couple of times but stuck with it, but just couldn't go on by the time I was about 3/4 of the way through. Though there was certainly a lot of interesting content, the book's and the audio's faults became too much to bear.
Though I expect some bias from virtually every historian, I do still expect them to provide a reasonably balanced perspective. Though I am not a fan of Andrew Jackson, the author's treatment of him is very one-sided. The author also obviously takes a great personal interest in American religious history and drones on for too long and in too much detail. Though it's an important topic, it could have been covered more successfully in much less time and detail. I appreciate that the author doesn't gloss over the suffering and injustice that minorities and Native Americans experienced, but again it's very one-sided.
Regarding the audio, the narration and editing of this audio book is the worst I have heard. The narrator speaks in a monotone and his acute enunciation is unnatural and becomes annoying. There were frequent short edits throughout the audio that were jarring because of the change in tone, timbre and volume. This was the worst audio editing of any audio book I've listened to, and I've listened to many.
I expect better of the Oxford series and have enjoyed other titles in the series. This volume was a disappointment and makes me hesitant to purchase any others.
Maybe it's the timeframe... Or maybe it's the writing. This book jumps all over the place, failing to keep any narative alive for very long. The author uses the barest of segues to move rapidly from topic to another. I feel like I never got any in-depth knowledge about anything.
The narator exacerbates this with badly pieced-together snippets of reading. The tone of voice changes radically as he picks the book back up and then switches a couple sentences later. At some points it feels like the audio editor was trying to remove "white space" like you hear in some radio ads, trying to get as much in as possible in 30 seconds.
When I first began listening to this book my knowledge of the period was limited and the amount of information overwhelmed me to the point of regretting having purchased this volume. The narrator did not help much as I found him to be too monotonic but I battled through it. After reading and listening to other works and familiarizing myself with the period I went back for a second listen and found the narrative much more enjoyable and the narrator did not bore me. It's a great book, almost encyclopedic in nature. If you are looking for a book that gives lot's of information but don't mind it given to you in a dry monotonic style then I highly recommend this book.
I listen to audio books that I want to read but won’t unless I have them on i-pod during my commute. This was a wonderful history very applicable to today’s political climate - well written and performed (though I could hear some editing jumps, but a very small critique). Definitely worth the time to fill in all the missing pieces from high school American History classes. Will now be able to bore my friends at parties about how the Marines got “the halls of Montezuma” in their song.
How well an audible book is read is an important factor in its success. The reader for this one reads too fast and the vocal punctuation makes it difficult to listen to. It's unfortunate because it's sister volume "Empire of Liberty" was superb. I may not even finish listening to "What Hath God Wrought (Unabridged)". It is that bad
The narrator even read out the sub-chapter section numbers. Basically it comes across as a professor simply reading a text book. Only saving grace is that it's historically accurate.