Being a semi-regular listener of the Dennis Prager show, I expected this to be a good read/listen. I was not disappointed by the content, but I felt the reader lacked some of the insights that the book was displaying. Having a good handle on Prager's thought/speech patterns, I second guessed the reader numerous times as I felt he had missed the point of what he was reading. This is a minor issue, but it was honestly the only drawback for me.
The book was still very rewarding, and I would highly recommend it as a gift for a pre-college student, or anyone who is truly seeking cause & effect relationships for the greatness of America.
This was my second listen to a Chernow book, with Brick doing the reading (first was Alexander Hamilton biography). Having also listened to a dozen other books since then, I now realize how much Brick adds to the experience- his enunciation, tone, and perfect pace are just the best I've ever experienced.
As for the book itself, Chernow does an excellent job of presenting Washington in an honest, un-doctored way. As with many of the founding fathers, Washington was a Godsend to this country- reminiscent of George C Scott as Patton, when he points out that he is basically in the right place at the right time in history to fulfill a destiny that most likely, could not have been achieved without him. The evidence shows that this country might never have come into existence without the Washington-shaped piece of the puzzle being present.
In addition to presenting Washington's full life, there are many references to letters, relationships, and wartime experiences across the board. You truly get the sense that Washington tried to be the best he could be throughout his life, according to the code of ethics he had been raised to respect.
The book also breaches the subject of slavery, and how Washington perceived the idea. Although he tried to be a very humane slave owner, he was still an owner of slaves. While this is hypocritical to the cause he was engaged in, and an obviously flawed position (even for his time), it was one of very few 'bad positions' he was guilty of.
Overall, the book goes a long way to show how much more he did for the country than most of us realize. Instead of a man of average means for the last half of his life, he could have been very wealthy if he would have stayed out of the initial issues with England, and just selfishly gone about his business.
The book does an excellent job of presenting little known facts about who the original settlers were, how many different groups (and types) attempted to make a life in N America, and the timeline of events that links their successes & failures here. Some of them were treasure-hunters, some were looking for an easy way to make a new start (lazy and condescending), and some (the Pilgrims) were just interested in a new life without religious persecution. Not every group who came here was interested in cohabitation with the Indians, but some were. The book also details many differences between the tribes in America- some were obviously friendly, and there were quite a few who were predatory to everybody (including other Indians).
The book goes into some great detail about the miraculous events that resulted in the United States becoming a country.
Great read that connects the very real religious affiliations of the country into being. If you're either truly neutral, or of a Judeo-Christian background, this is very worthwhile.
Something I'd like to mention unrelated to the book, is the American Indian issue of displacement- there were more tribes and languages (over 1000) here than different peoples in Europe, and yet we think of all of them as "The Indians". We also think of CA, as former Mexican territory, stolen by the US. But the 'real Mexicans' were Aztecs who did not speak Spanish, and were wiped out by the Spaniards, so the whole issue of who was wronged is heavily dependent on who & when are we talking about? It doesn't excuse the 'sins' of those involved, but everybody's guilty if you go back far enough.
First off, I'm a sucker for a good story with a dog involved, and I have a background in professional motorsports, so this looked like a natural to me.The racing topics have a small amount of insight, but I think a number of sports could have served as the vehicle in this story (no pun intended, really). My real objections were in regards to the way the author tries to win us over, or side with characters while an injustice is taking place. There were no surprises in the book, so it was too predictable, in my opinion. The other major objection I had, was the language used occasionally throughout the book- it wasn't excessive, but unnecessary in many cases, and not something I'd let my kids listen to (especially describing sex between dog owner & his wife- it just did not enhance the story).
I fully admit that the last 1/2 hour did get me emotionally involved again, but my overall opinion is that I was manipulated through most of the book to get that result. I'm mildly glad I bought it, but I'd recommend a lot of other books before this one.
As for the reader, Welch does a good enough job, so it's not his fault, and I'd probably give him another chance.
I'm partial to audiobooks, so I have to say yes, with bias.
Way too many to pick from- so much of the content has depth, which makes it unfair to pick a moment.
I have not, and this being a documentary style book, is hard to imagine as an excellent performance. But in all fairness, it would be tough to do a better job than he did. I have experienced some narrators who made material like this feel like a punishment. I would rate this as good to very good, at least.
It gave me a solemn respect for Hamilton and a number of other founding fathers. The capabilities and depth of character in these guys was amazing.
I am so glad to have chosen the unabridged version. After 38 hours, I wanted more. The amount of dedicated selflessness these men showed was unheard of throughout history. Even their biases were tempered by what would be best for furthering this nation.
Report Inappropriate Content