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.
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.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Remarkable, really, how our Forefathers, having no template but knowing what they didn't like about how they were being governed, created the foundation of our United States.Their forethought was astonishing. They got just about everything right . . . except abolishing slavery, and of course that is a huge "except." I did not know, however, that the general belief was that slavery would soon come to a natural end because of the influx of so many workers from Europe. The invention of the cotton gin changed all that by making possible the quick processing of a type of cotton that had been unprofitable.
This fascinating book, though, is largely about the ripple effect liberty, democracy, and equality had on people's mindset--how they conceptualized themselves, sprang to newfound opportunities, worshiped, and interacted. It was in many ways with innocent, celebratory wonderment.
This book is part of the Oxford Series of American History, and I will listen to all the volumes, I am sure. I learned so much, and I felt awe and gratitude for what these brilliant minds created.
As for the narrator, Robert Fass did not miss a beat. He read at a good clip but with proper rhythm and inflection. He did a superb job.
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.
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.
Sheer joy at learning so much.
Growing boredom at ineffective storytelling
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.
Someday, there is so much information in this book. No idea what a struggle it was to pull together the identity of the US as known today. It could have gone in much different directions. Jefferson hated the idea of banking, big government and huge military power.
Books from The Great Courses.
It is not that kind of book. You tend to shake your head. There was every kind of evil imaginable and a powerful mission to create a country based on honour, dignity and civility.
It is important to recall how delicate our present civilization is. It balances on weak pedestals and could topple far easier then the average person can conceive.
Yes but not as a fun read. I started it but put it down till I ran out of fun books to read. You might want to keep a thesaurus handy.
Make it required reading for every college student, politician, and anyone with a care about the current horrors of our government.
Made me realize that not a whole lot has changed since the beginning of the nation. It really points out how we never learn.
If you care about politics at all read this!
fascinating for the most part
This was on my to read list for a long time given the excellent reviews but never thought i would be that interested in this period of history, but this is an outstanding (one of the best) additions to the Oxford History series. The author really brings this period in history to life and he filled in critical deficits in my understanding of american history. There were just a few sections, mostly to do with religious revivalism, that i thought were too long and rather boring, but for the most part really well written, interesting, and well performed.
A driver that likes to listen to books instead of the radio.
It seems that when a biography is written, it is biased for or against. In this time period you get to experience the founding fathers interacting with each other. Whatever your view of any of the founding fathers you might come away with a different perspective of them. Going in I was not a fan of Jefferson at all but after this book I think that the U. S. might not be the way that it is without him. Also some of the fights back then are still happening today.
"Good history well read"
"Empire of Liberty" by Godron Wood is a history of the US from the end of the war of independence until 1815.The author explains how the American Republic changed over that time and seems to make reasonably sound judgements. The narrator reads clearly. If you are interested in this period of American history you should listen to this book.
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