First, the recording is fine. Yes, there are places where there has been a substitution of a cleaned up sentence during the editing process, but overall the quality of expression to convey meaning of very complex material is outstanding. Also, the pace is just right, moving briskly through a very long book but short of losing your ability to follow. An excellent narrator.
This is a truly outstanding book of history and is a perceptive analysis of the transformation of American politics, culture, technology, and social relations from 1812 to 1848. Howe covers every aspect of life in America, weaving the strands in and out of the changing fabric. He makes many complex political machinations at state and national levels comprehensible. Most valuable, Howe explains how so many of the substantive, regional, and interest group positions and blocs arose in early America and became embedded in the platforms of Democratica and Whig parties.
His deep analysis and no doubt his own background mean that Howe comes down clearly on the side of the Whigs, arguing that the Democrats commitment to defending slavery, via insistance on state's rights, as well as their opposition to federally coordinated internal improvements, a national bank, and similar programs aimed at strengthening the nation as a whole led to Civil War and caused much hardship. He makes strong cases for Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams as the true heroes of the age. But he does balance this with intermittant summings up of the narrowly-defined strengths of Democratic presidents and congressional leaders, as in Andrew Jackson's resistance to nullification.
The book does not just treat pure politics and traditional historical topics, but also gives thorough coverage to the rise of myriad religious groups, transcendentalism, abolitionist and early women's rights steps, the post office, telegraph and railroad, and other important topics. His treatment is nuanced, avoidng simplistic explanations of character, regions, or relationships.
The only shortcoming, in my opinion, is a historian's fall into exhaustive miliatary history in the chapters on the Mexican American War. There is no need for logistical and strategic detail at this level to move the overall narrative forward.
I wish many more Americans could read this book--more than a few would be surprised at events and opinions during that age
This is the fourth of the Oxford History of the United States books I've read or listened to. The content is very good history, but not quite as engaging or dramatic as "The Glorious Cause" or "Battle Cry of Freedom". While the Reader is passably good, what is very annoying is that, when the Reader had to go back and redo a sentence, I'm presuming at some other time, the audio recording quality or settings was not consistent with the original. Tone, balance and volume are all different, creating a patchwork quilt of sound settings in the final product. It takes significant effort to ignore the constantly changing audio and concentrate on the content.
Better audio engineering.
I'm listening to this during an election season and it's so very heartening to hear how outlandishly our country behaved in this era. A remarkable book in its scope and dimension of portrayal of every facet of American life. All the usual stuff: presidents, wars, scandals - they're all here in great depiction, but learn also about culture, entertainment, religion, sex, class structure, and the deepening throb of the national inflamation around slavery.
One caveat to listeners, and it didn't inhibit my enjoyment but it's VERY obvious where the book was mixed in post-edit where for brief sections it almost sounds like a different reader. You'll notice it, too, but if you enjoy U.S. history this is a wonderful experience.
This book is another outstanding contribution in the great Oxford series on American history. It takes a period that is normally treated only in passing and presents it with so much richness of story and insight that the narrative seems to overflow with life and meaning. From technological transformations, such as the telegraph, to a rich an compelling assessment of Andrew Jackson; from the fertile Second Great Awakening to war with Mexico; from Indian wars to early women's rights initiatives--this book is interesting in the stories it tells and impressive in its overall intellectual structure. One minor quibble is that the pace of narration seems sometimes to be too fast, not lingering quite long enough to let one point sink in before charging forward with the story. But the book provides a rich and rewarding insight into a formative era of American history, and I am about to listen to it again.
Terrible narration or terrible writing? I can't tell.
Fass who did the previous volume: Empire of Liberty.
Revealing the nature origin of the current political madness
No...reader needs time to absorb its meaning
Get enlightened...and heartbroken
I listen to books while I walk my dog, turning even the dreariest rain and cold into a wonderful escape.
If you don't know a lot about this period in American history and are looking for a book that covers the broad landscape and key characters, this book is a good choice. It's not riveting, but it's not boring either, and it gets the job done.
i have not
no - far too long for that!
its good to have quality history books like this for audinble
It was hard to put the ear budds down. A must for anyone wanting to explore the " how did we get here " angle of american history.
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.