This is an impressive work of scholarship, ranging across many different facets of the Depression and World War II and doing it so well that it is easy to see why it won the Pulitzer. I learned so much about the roots of our own time that I want to order the hard copy and reread substantial sections to reflect more on what Kennedy has to say. And Tom Weiner's reading is perfect.
The book is well researched and beautifully written. The author has a deep understanding and appreciation of Twain. The story arc is a sad but rich one--the older Twain facing the prospect of his own death and trying to live out his remaining days as fully as he can. Twain's exuberance and irrepressible wit crash continually against the realities of illness, betrayals of trust, the death of friends, and the struggles of children. There is a great sense of humanity in the book that I found interesting and enriching, in addition to the insight it offers into the life of one America's most interesting men. The narration was close to perfect.
If you want a book with the heroine continually describing how seductive she is and how much her man loves her, this may be a good candidate. For me, the heavy-handed and self absorbed first-person narrative was so cloying and constant that what might have been an interesting historical saga became a painful chore. I could not finish it.
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.
I am not a psychology professional, but I am interested in Jung and what I see as his rich and broad view of human life and how our minds work. This short book is an excellent overview of Jung's life, the essential ideas he espoused, and his comparative relationship to other psychological analysts of his time. It is well-written, easy to follow, and substantive. I plan to listen to it again after working through a few of Jung's own works.
Listening to Dickens with such wonderful narration by Martin Jarvis is a complete joy. I enjoyed it forty years ago and loved it again with this listening.
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