This work, purportedly about the election of 1800, actually spends less than 1/4 of its length on the election & the various machinations associated with same. That is a good thing. Rather, it reviews, superficially yet very powerfully, the forces that in the years after 1776 brought forth the Federalists, anti-Federalists & Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the sideward glance at the first glimmerings of a "political machine" in the hands of Aaron Burr. It is this interpretation of the 2 decades running up to the election that makes the election crystal-clear. This book also has outstanding narration. Someone who speaks with emphasis & doesn't have to be suffered through. The only weakness of the book, frankly, is the short section that follows the events of the elections, which treads on very well worn ground (Burr's post 1800 shenanigans, Hamilton, Jefferson/Adams correspondence) & does not add anything substantial to the record here. A very small complaint. It still deserves 5 stars in by book.
Very entertaining audio book for Princess Bride aficionados. People who haven't seen the movie wouldn't get it. It is largely from Cary Elwes point of view, but others -- the director, producer, screenwriter, & most of the players have greater & smaller roles (& have speaking parts. The book is a little uneven, with sections that are fall down funny, just interesting & a few portions that seem like filler. But altogether it is an enjoyable listen.
This book is a new interpretation of the U.S. antebellum period that powerfully combines the reality of slavery, the economics of the internal slave trade, international trade & the industrial revolution (first in the UK and later in New England), financial innovation & speculation, and banking. Baptist is able show how absolutely central slavery was to the American economy in the 19th century, north and south.
The sections that described how southern cotton planters & their overseers actually industrialized manual cotton cultivation to achieve a tripling and quadupling productivity in the field.
The narrator is outstanding, he does well with great written material.
The author successfully combines "modern" detective stories from the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries, archeological, linguistic & literary; with an approachable guide to the history of written language (focusing on cunieform); and the evolution of biblical literature (focusing on the Noah story, but not only that). The writing & the narration, excellent. I was so sorry when the book was over, I wanted to hear more.
Yes eventually. Very moving history book.
In the latter portion of the book, when Pasternak, his family & his mistress family were being unjustly persecuted by the Soviet state & it's corrupt literary hierarchy I got very mad.
Just a terrific book of political & literary history. Very moving & impossible to put down.
endlessly stimulating & entertaining
While I have not read the hard-cover, it seemed like just the kind of lighthearted book I would like read to me, rather than having to read it.
Very enjoyable book of humor spiced with brushes by the protagonist with real events & famous leaders of the 20th century.
Yes, I would listen to it again or, better yet, read the book on my Kindle.
Excellent, multi-faceted, multi-character set of stories, all linked together from the Iraq war. Very well written & well narrated.
Terrific book, a micro-history of the Virginia Chesapeake region, slavery, and the War of 1812. The author does a very skillful job providing the context from the American points-of-view, the historical background for both the slavery elements and the War. Taylor then provides a fascinating, blow-by-blow narrative of the War of 1812 in the region, one you can understand very well because of the context he has already served up. I thought the book was going to be mostly about slave escapes, and it is, but without the background that portion would be adrift.
I thought Bronson Pinchot's narrative approach was perfect for a history book. No need for a narrator or narration with different voices or with lots of up & down emphasis. This is a history, not a drama. I am going to seek out more of the books he's narrated for Audible.
This was a very promising book. I am very interested in Moynihan, the time period (through which I lived), US-Israel relations, the United Nations. Perfect ingredients for an entertaining & intellectually-satisfying book. The book is well-written in the sense that the vignettes and anecdotes it contains are generally well-written (if a bit biased at times, or at least lacking the analytical breadth to understand the position of the "other side"). But the book seems disorganized, perhaps more so because it is an audiobook and not a hard-bound one. But I suspect both suffer from a weak outline and from the absence of a strong editorial hand. I enjoyed parts of the book as I went along, and I suppose it could be satisfying on those grounds alone. But I am sure there are better treatments of Moynihan (e.g., biographies) and I know there are better ones on US-Israel relations, the UN in the 1970s & 1980, dealing with the egomaniacal Kissinger and so forth. There are a couple of highly-rated Moynihan books on Amazon (Audible's parent), although not in audio form. I am going to try one of those next.I am sorry I could not give this book a stronger review.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a terrific narrator, and does a good job relating the sweep of history and how her various characters fit into the sweep (and influence the sweep as well). With respect to Taft & Roosevelt, and especially the latter, there is not a lot of new information here, but it is the "how" of the narration that is new, the connecting of the dots between the two of them, and between them & the history of the US that is novel here.
It would be impossible and indeed undesirable to read this in just one sitting, it is a sprawling story, in the way Kearns Goodwin tells it. And it is better to take smaller bites over a longer period, to appreciate the story.
A strength of this book and indeed of all of this author's books, is her strength as a narrator. A weakness is the absence of analysis. And, often, along with that lack, the portrayal of the protagonists with a substantial deemphasis of their flaws. Not so much their flaws as people but the flaws of their policies.
The narrative is a personal one. Goodale essentially testifies to his own role, very personally (lots of "I's", which took a bit of getting used to), which is what drives the story and makes it exciting. Due to the approach, the reader gets a mixture of personal, political, and legal history, along with a grounding in real drama (not TV drama) that can take place in legal cases. Readers will come away with a good understanding of the importance of the Pentagon Papers, the Pentagon Paper case, and the first amendment to the US constitution. And can go elsewhere if a deeper understanding is desired on any of these aspects of the case.
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