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Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers (Unabr.) | [Michael Barone]

Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers (Unabr.)

The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history: the late-17th-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution.
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Publisher's Summary

The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history: the late-17th-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution.

In a work of popular history that stands with recent favorites such as David McCullough's 1776 and Joseph J. Ellis' Founding Brothers, Michael Barone brings the story of this unlikely and largely bloodless revolt to American readers and reveals that, without the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution may never have happened.

Unfolding in 1688-89, Britain's Glorious Revolution resulted in the hallmarks of representative government, guaranteed liberties, the foundations of global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing aggressive foreign powers. But as Barone shows, there was nothing inevitable about the Glorious Revolution. It sprang from the character of the English people and depended on the talents, audacity, and good luck of two men: William of Orange (later William III of England), who launched history's last successful cross-channel invasion, and John Churchill, an ancestor of Winston, who commanded the forces of the deposed James II but crossed over to support William one fateful November night.

The story of the Glorious Revolution is a rich and riveting saga of palace intrigue, loyalty, and shocking betrayal, and bold political and military strategizing. With narrative drive, a sure command of historical events, and unforgettable portraits of kings, queens, soldiers, parliamentarians, and a large cast of full-blooded characters, Barone takes an episode that has fallen into unjustified obscurity and restores it to the prominence it deserves.

©2007 Michael Barone; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Well-written history...lucid." (Publishers Weekly)
"Michael Barone...provides a splendid analysis of the intellectual pedigree of America's political order. He demonstrates the remarkable extent to which our revolution was a reverberation of another one." (George F. Will)

What Members Say

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  •  
    rollcall40 01-02-08
    rollcall40 01-02-08 Member Since 2003
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    "Excellent Recap of a Forgotten Event"

    This is submitted just as an observation from the previous review which gave this book a somewhat undeserved low rating. It is correct that the narrative covers a confusing and contradictory event in history, but I found its approach creating a straight forward,even balanced, and most importantly, an interesting account all the same.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Littman OH 11-15-07
    D. Littman OH 11-15-07 Member Since 2003

    history buff

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    "good, not great"

    This book comes in two parts, the first 40% of so is the necessary background information for understanding the "Glorious Revolution" & its immediate aftermath, the context. The remaining 60% is the story of the run-up to the revolution under James II, the conquest, and the aftermath. The work is well narrated. However, the first portion is a jumble, organizationally, and the previous Audible reviewer who noted that having a good understanding of the history from other sources is necessary to understand this part of the book, was right on target. I do have that background, and it helped immensely. I should say that the author does a good job on vignettes & small interpretative sections here, but jumps around a bit too much and needed an editor to insert thesis statements here & there.

    The 60% that is actually about the Glorious Revolution (which some pundit remarked was "neither glorious nor a revolution") is very well done. It is worth getting the book to listen to this portion. The author's history is good here, the narrative drive moves you along, and this part of the book has ample amounts of thesis statements & good organization. The author's interpretations of the events, events that were critical to the future evolution of the UK and North America, is good.

    I highly recommend the book for the last 60%.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Martin Rockville, MD USA 02-08-13
    D. Martin Rockville, MD USA 02-08-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Not a Real Historian"

    I don't have a lot to say because I didn't finish the book, and I'll be the first to admit that, because of that, you shouldn't go on my opinion alone on this one.

    But I did want to issue a buyer beware: Michael Barone is not a real historian but a Fox News hack--ok, he also wrote for US News). Does that mean he's not qualified to write a history book? Not necessarily. But in the short part of the book I listened to (enough to make me go "who is this author anyway" and then to wiki him), it was clear that this is a book looking to draw broad, simplistic, moralistic conclusions from history. It's intended to show us where our freedom comes from and why America is the greatest nation on Earth, etc.

    Again, that doesn't mean the book is worthless, but there are plenty of excellent books out there on 17th century English history. Unfortunately, none on audible at the moment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Denver, CO United States 08-15-08
    Brandon Denver, CO United States 08-15-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Way too much preamble and a misleading title"

    Very thorough and well written history of England from 1650 to 1700. However, the title topic - the Glorious Revolution - does not take place until at least 3/4 through the book.

    While some historic context would have been necessary and appreciated, a couple chapters could have set the stage. By the time the revolution happens, there is actually less detail about IT than is provided about many other much less significant events.

    I also had hoped for an analysis of how the American revolution or constitution might have been influenced by the preceding Glorious Revolution, but was disappointed to hear just 10 minutes or so crammed in at the end on this topic.

    If you want to know every detail of 1650s to 1690s british politics, this book will be a dream come true. If you are interested in what "Inspired America's Founding Fathers" as described in the subtitle, please save your money and look elsewhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 10-06-08
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 10-06-08 Member Since 2005

    Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.

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    "Important, yet not Widely Known"

    This revolution before the American Revolution seems to have been important in shaping the American identity and probably in shaping the American Revolution.

    I was previously unaware of the "The Glorious Revolution". Learning about it shed light on much of American politics, especially American religious politics. This book gave me a new appreciation of William of Orange. More importantly it gave me a new appreciation for the origins of anti-catholic sentiment, which always seemed a little, well un-American.

    Finally, this book reinforced the idea that a non-trivial part of what America great was the ability to forge more or less real religious tolerance. In the last 20 years it seems that there has been a noticeable erosion of religious tolerance. I hope this is a temporary fad and not a trend, and wish that I could persuade more of neighbors of the importance of this issue.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Smith Salt Lake City 01-31-14
    Ted Smith Salt Lake City 01-31-14 Member Since 2012

    Reviewer from Utah

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    "Superb Book"
    Would you listen to Our First Revolution again? Why?

    Yes. Barone relates a period of English history that profoundly influenced the American founders. I don't understand those who criticize either the book or the narrator. Yes, it's a complicated story. But the careful reader will be rewarded, and the American reader will understand our founding much better. Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas R. Pratt northern VA 08-27-10
    Douglas R. Pratt northern VA 08-27-10 Member Since 2007

    Douglas R. Pratt

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    "Truly brings history alive."

    Barone has a reputation as a numbers guy, and his earlier "Our Country" is pretty wonky (although still very good). This book has plenty of detail but it is full of life and soul. It truly brings to life the people in the age before America. So many wonderful details...the daring exploits of Churchill and his wife, the haplessness of the Stuart kings, the personalities who dominated Parliament. I have listened to this book four times and will do so again for the sheer pleasure of it. Yes, what John Churchill and William of Orange did is still enough to take your breath away.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 09-12-08
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 09-12-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Painful"

    Quickly and to the point, this was the absolute worst audiobook that I have ever listened to. It made the interesting topic and history very uninteresting and we tough to finish. I would not recommend it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Mohnton, PA, USA 09-05-08
    John Mohnton, PA, USA 09-05-08
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    "Sloppy History"

    This is a badly written and disorganized book which reads more like an essay on how much the author doesn't like Catholics with a bit of an attempt to link the events to the future revolution in the US tacked on as an afterthought.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 09-02-07
    Michael NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 09-02-07 Member Since 2005
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    "Revolution?"

    Ugh...what can I say? Maybe its because I have no frame of reference on European history but I could not get into this one. I never understood where the revolution was. It will be interesting to see reviews from others who know European history to see if it was just me.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
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