This is a great treatise on exactly what it is titled -- the inventing of our nation, how the founders put together the democratic republic that exisits today, even if it isn't exactly what many of them intended. It's not really the author's fault that I am lukewarm. I probably should know more about American history than I do to enjoy this audiobook. He does jump around a lot... one minute he is talking about the Hamilton/Burr duel and the next telling us what Hamilton is doing. I'm like, wait I thought Hamilton was dead! In his defense, the whole "US invade Canada in response to 9/11" thing is really quoting some modern-day pundit and comparing that silly notion to an attack on Canada that took place in 1795. (Some people are so sensitive!) If you're really into history and can understand some of his more oblique references, I'm sure you will love this book. As for me, it is back to "U.S. History for Dummies!"
I really enjoyed this audio book but it took me a while to get used to the format. The chapters are headed with concepts like perseverance, courage and redemption and the authors use Phelps' various life-experiences and races to illustrate their points. Granted, a 23 year-old kid doesn't have the life experiences that a more mature athlete does, but Phelps has lived a very different life from the average 20-something. If you have set goals and then made sacrifices to meet them, you will enjoy this book. If you haven't, maybe you need to read it.
Be warned, it's not laid out in chronological order. The authors skip around a lot but this isn't Phelps' autobiography. It isn't "...then when I was 14, I tried out for the Sydney Olympics." There are a LOT of stats and figures and it is hard to keep them all straight, especially in an audio book. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the book, but I'm a swimmer and I'm used to numbers going round and round in my head. I plan to get the hardcover version so I can follow them more closely, particularly since this audible version is abridged. BTW, it's fun to find a particular race on YouTube and then watch it while listening to Michael (via Graham) narrate what is going on. (Oops, is that legal?)
Abrahamson did a good job of capturing the thoughts of the 23 year-old legend and Graham's voice work is excellent. Phelps himself narrates the introduction and the cadence and inflections are compatible with Graham's. It may be someone else's sentence structure and voice but you really hear Phelps shining through. I gave it four stars because really nothing besides "To Kill a Mockingbird" gets five from me. OK, maybe "Kite Runner."
First of all, I am a Christian -- the quintessential church lady. Second of all, I am a scientist -- I have a master's degree in molecular biology. I'll never forget the first time I precipitated DNA as a grad student. I had the overwhelming feeling that I was looking at the face of God in that little tube. Francis Collins has merged the two facets of scientist and believer in a way that I had no words for at the time. This is a must for the believer who has no qualms at witnessing to his or her faith when facing the scientific world.
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