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Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic | [Gordon S. Wood]

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic

In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812. As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture.
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Publisher's Summary

In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812.

As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture. The men who founded the new government had high hopes for the future, but few of their hopes and dreams worked out quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged. Some wanted the United States to become a great fiscal-military state, like those of Britain and France; others wanted the country to remain a rural agricultural state very different from the European states. Instead, by 1815 the United States became something neither group anticipated. Named a New York Times Notable Book, Empire of Liberty, part of The Oxford History of the United States series, offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.

The Oxford History of the United States is considered the gold standard for serious historians and general readers (and listeners) alike. Three of the titles have won the Pulitzer Prize for history; two have been Pulitzer Prize finalists, and all of them have enjoyed critical and commercial success.

Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Empire of Liberty is number IV in The Oxford History of the United States.

Listen to more of the definitive Oxford History of the United States.

©2009 Gordon S. Wood; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner - Best History Audiobook, 2011

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (436 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robert Rosedale, MD, USA 03-13-10
    Robert Rosedale, MD, USA 03-13-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Definately worth a "read""

    Superbly written and read. Excellent over all.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leaspiritlove BEAVER, PA, United States 05-12-12
    Leaspiritlove BEAVER, PA, United States 05-12-12

    I love to learn and I love to listen to true stories, biographies, history and real life adventures.

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    "Great piece of history."

    I purchased this book due to it's high ratings and to supplement my learning in an American National Government class I was taking at the time. It proved to be more than valuable as I was able to better understand and appreciate my class more. I would have listened to this book either way. ☺

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark United States 03-25-12
    Mark United States 03-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "spectacular history of the period"

    this is a great overview of the period it covers form an incredibly knowledgeable and detailed scholar. If you are interested in American history, you need to read this book. If you aren't, this is a great book to read a little beyond your usual comfort zone. I'd guess you will be pretty interested in American history by the time you finish.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachelle Bakersfield, CA, United States 02-23-10
    Rachelle Bakersfield, CA, United States 02-23-10 Member Since 2002

    Addicted to audio-books.

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    "Interesting perspective"

    I read "John Adams" by David McCullough before I listened to this book. Such a striking difference on the perspective of John Adams. Wood obviously does not think much of Adams, commenting that Adams was interested in his own importance, which is in stark contrast to other opinions. It was an interesting book, but colors the characters too much with his (Wood's) opinions.

    22 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Mayer Richardton, ND 05-27-12
    Joel Mayer Richardton, ND 05-27-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Dissappointment"

    I was truly disappointed in this book. The "early American Republic" is one of my favorite era's of history and I read lots of reviews of Gordon Wood and was excited to experience his book. It was a real let down. In my mind it was tedious and boring as he went into characters that had only a marginal impact on society while, seemingly intentionally, bypassing such figures as Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, etc. Again, this was likely intentional as there are LOTS of books that tell their stories, but to barely mention them was bordering on negligence. This was not nearly as good as books written by McCullough and others.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara A. Ward Island Lake, IL, United States 06-28-11
    Barbara A. Ward Island Lake, IL, United States 06-28-11

    Barb Ward

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    "Book might be OK, monotone delivery."

    The reader of this book talked so fast and in such a monotone that I found it extremely difficult to follow the text. One thing just sort of bled into another. I love early American history and was looking forward to a more detailed look at our earliest years as a new country. It's a shame, I really wanted to like this book. It was difficult for me to get anything much out of it.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashraf Langley, British Columbia, Canada 04-19-10
    Ashraf Langley, British Columbia, Canada 04-19-10
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    "In depth and enjoyable"

    This book deepened my owe and admiration of the American experiment in establishing a lasting great experiment in establishing and validating that a republic built on liberty for all is possible. Seldom in history that a nation is blessed with several outstanding almost super human quality, the founding fathers and first presidents and leaders enabling this experiments to be a reality. God bless America and save the west

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wandering Artist 06-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Informative, Fascinating, and Hard to Stick with"
    What made the experience of listening to Empire of Liberty the most enjoyable?

    The amount of information is amazing, and the multitude of revelations I had about current economics and politics that started from this time in American History was like wave after wave of intellectual bliss. I learned so much from.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The author was not able to relate facts in an easy to follow way/ He would often jump 10 years, forward and backward, for a sentence and then return to whatever time was being discussed; while I am all for this as a way to provide context, the author mishandles is by not being clear about which timeline is being discussed and also the number of times he skips timelines becomes occasionally confusing.


    Have you listened to any of Robert Fass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Sheer joy at learning so much.
    Growing boredom at ineffective storytelling


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-21-14
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-21-14 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "How our country evolved and survived."

    This is a wonderful book on the early years of our country. It begins just after the Revolution and ends right after the War of 1812. The Presidents covered are Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. I am surprised how we revere these men so highly because if they were elected today there Presidency would not get as high of marks, excepting Washington. He was exactly the right leader to have as our first President.

    This book gives a lot of time to the power of the Presidency which is engagingly told as it evolved into what we have today. It also talks about the Supreme Court and it's evolution.

    I enjoyed the chapters on the "Great Enlightenment" and other religious movements that went on during this period. The separation of Church and State gets some explanations too.

    The most surprising thing I learned was what a hypocrite Thomas Jefferson was and not only with his slaves but as President. He didn't think a United States Bank was a good thing until he became President. He was so pro France that he wanted us to get involved against Great Britain. He said he wanted freedom for all men, but he really meant only the elite. He felt the lower classes were too stupid to be trusted to vote. He was a very difficult man to really understand as he did much good for our country but a lot of what he said was hard to swallow.

    I liked the way the author described our national character evolving differently from other countries. Most farmers in America were also blacksmith, weavers, tanners or some other trade to supplement their farming.

    The War of 1812 was a war of contradictions. It was badly managed by the Madison administration and it's still a surprise to me on how we won the war! I think Great Britain was just tired of fighting.
    It also brought the country together as nothing had done before and we finally became a nation of states instead states united as a nation.

    The narrator was very good and this is a long book, 30 plus hours so he was a pleasure.

    This book is Book 2 in the Oxford History of the United States. I knew very little about this time in our country's history as we mostly learn anecdotes of the various statesmen and many of them aren't true. I also have the next volume and will read that soon. I can highly recommend this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 02-14-14
    Marcus Brasília, Brazil 02-14-14 Member Since 2010

    mvrb

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    "An Account of a Decisive Period of America History"

    The book refers to the firsts decades of America Republic. The story relates to the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison. The challenges and the struggles of the early Republic are exposed with clarity and enable the listeners to understand the development of America's political institutions. The performance is fair, providing a good listening experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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