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.
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©2009 Gordon S. Wood; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
One of the best historical audiobook I have heard
The author writes with a flair for using words not normally found in conversation, yet Mr. Fass was impeccable in his reading.
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.
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.
I love to learn and I love to listen to true stories, biographies, history and real life adventures.
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. ☺
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.
Addicted to audio-books.
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.
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.
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.
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
Histories can tend to be dry reading. This one kept my attention well. It is not as captivating as an historical fiction novel, but was undoubtedly more accurate. It was especially interesting to me as I was taking a college course in US History while I was listening. It gave me a much better appreciation for the revolution in thought and culture that precipitated the American Revolution and that grew out of it - two very different things. This American experiment in Republican liberty is truly an astonishing thing, and the founders of our country deserve our deepest respect and admiration.
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