©1996 David Nevin; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Crammed with color and captivating characters." (Publishers Weekly)
If you're considering this book, I suggest listening to the sample first. I wanted to listen to this book, but dumped it because ...
The. Narrator. Is. So. Determined. To. Enunciate. That. He. Has. The. Pace. Of. A. Talking. Robot.
No way am I putting up with that choppy delivery for 19 hours. Fortunately, the nice folks at Audible gave me a credit for another book when I called and asked.
This book is certainly an easy and enjoyable listen. The reader is excellent. However, the book bares a striking resemblence to a historical romance novel - "heaving bosoms" and "swelled loins" while discussing Andrew Jackson & James Madison. Less romance and more historical content would have made this a more satisfying book. After 20 hours, I thought I would have learned more about the book's subject matter.
Nevin paints a enlightening picture of the politics and battles of the time that help me put events of today in better context--to think the U.S. was that close to dissolution! He takes great license in giving well-known historical characters distinctive personalities that entertain while at the same time providing a great history lesson. I finished this book feeling like I really knew 'Little Jimmy Madison', Ol' Hickory Andrew Jackson, and the ambitious soldier that was Winfield Scott.
This could have potentially been an interesting and informative book but instead it reads like a history book written by Danielle Steel. What little history you can get through the discussions of "bulging pants" and characters erections is fairly good and interesting. The War of 1812 is an interesting bit of history to read about - but choose something else besides this ridiculous book.
The author tries to combine history and fiction, without much success. Using drama to enhance history is acceptable, but using history to enhance drama is not--especially if the drama is second-rate and the history is distorted.
This is especially true in the love scenes, which are right out of a gothic romance. He uses the same melodramatic techniques on battle scenes. I was impressed by this at first; having never been in battle myself, but then it became too heroic, and even unbelievable. There was just too much drama, and I got tired of it.
He has chosen a great subject: the war of 1812. But he should fit it into a larger context: American history in general. What does 1812 tell us about America? According to this book, not much, and this is a pity, because I can see parallels between 1812 and Iraq. America still goes to war with great enthusiasm, but little intelligence.
This is a very good book. The details were informative and the story was captivating. I have just finished the biography of Andrew Jackson and found the details in this book on the war and the Burr incident more informative. The accounts from the battlefield gave a good visual of the stategic and carnage in the battles. If you want to know about the War of 1812, the leaders and the heroes, buy this book.
For a lover of historical fiction, I really looked forward to this novel. Overall it was good, but disappointing. The author was too fixated on the sex lives of the characters, all of whom had no depth in their relationships other than physical attraction. It is a worthwhile listen, but keep your expectations down.
In the tradition of Jeff Shara this narrative clutches on the key figures of the forgotten War of 1812 and presents the story in an entertaining manner. Through the figures of Winfield Scott, Andrew Jackson and James Madison help describe the events that occurred during this war. It is this conflict more than any other that made the United States a political power in world politics and through an entertaining narrative the story is told.
yes, because of the history, the drama, the love of characters
Jackson facing the solders who wanted to leave. Rachel talking to Jackson about controlling his anger.
They were all good. Andrew Jackson
I was sad when it ended. Wonderful combination of history, drama, suspense (even tho I knew the outcome) and the human spirit.
I agree with some previous reviewers that the book could do with less Danielle Steele-type scenes, but I found the battle scenes, and the tactics, riveting. There are a lot of leadership lessons in the actions of the generals and the politicians that open up a period in American history that had never really been taught in depth in any course I took. I do look forward to reading more books on the period, to better understand the underlying trade and political issues - this might not have been the best book to start a study of American history 1810-1820. But I am very glad to have read it.
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