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Spivey

CRAWFORDVILLE, FL, United States | Member Since 2011

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 40 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Annette Gordon-Reed
    • Narrated By Karen White
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (129)

    This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha.

    Dianne says: "Fascinating"
    "not really good as an audiobook"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Perhaps an abridged version would be better, but this book is just too long with too much minutia for an unabridged audiobook. Gordon-Reed's research is amazingly detailed, but it makes for a tedious audiobook. Two hours in and I have yet to hear anything about Thomas Jefferson or Sally Hemmings. We're still on one of Hemmings' white grandfathers, having completed some introductory material about her black grandmother and a good bit of stage-setting about slavery in Virginia.

    I own the book itself and had purchased the audiobook because I never got around to reading the book. Now I think my best strategy is to go to the book to skim the early material and find where the real meat begins. Then I'll skip forward in the audio. Perhaps that will solve the tedium problem.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • American Bloomsbury

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Susan Cheever
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Here is a fascinating biography of those who were, in the mid-19th century, at the center of American thought and literature. It was an eclectic cast of characters. At various times in Concord, Massachusetts, three houses were home to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry and John Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathanial Hawthorne. Among their friends and neighbors were Henry James, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, and others - men and women are at the heart of American idealism.

    Paula says: "Decent intro to 1840's Concord"
    "could be better, but not wasted time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted more than just a soap opera about the Transcendentalists, and this was a bit more, but not a lot more. I enjoyed learning about these renowned figures as people, but would have liked to hear more about their philosophical and literary contributions as well. Still, it's the only book about the Transcendentalist community that is available on audiobook, so I suppose I should be grateful. And I'm not sorry I listened, I'm just left wanting more than I got.

    A couple specific comments:

    The portrayal of Louisa May Alcott is the most compelling part of the book. Cheever has written a biography of Alcott, and I suspect it is worth the read.

    The chronological oddnesses mentioned by other reviewers are real. I wish Cheever had found a better way to address the problems of the interconnecting and overlapping lives. It would probably be less of an issue in a paper book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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