We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Sea of Glory Audiobook

Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition 1838-1842

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

In 1838, the U.S. government launched the largest discovery voyage the Western world had ever seen; six sailing vessels and 346 men bound for the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Four years later, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, or Ex. Ex. as it was known, returned with an astounding array of accomplishments and discoveries: 87,000 miles logged, 280 Pacific islands surveyed, 4,000 zoological specimens collected, including 2,000 new species, and the discovery of the continent of Antarctica. And yet at a human level, the project was a disaster. Not only had 28 men died and 2 ships been lost, but a series of sensational court-martials had also ensued that pitted the expedition's controversial leader, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, against almost every officer under his command.

Though comparable in importance and breadth of success to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Ex. Ex. has been largely forgotten. Now, the celebrated Nathaniel Philbrick recreates this chapter of American maritime history in all its triumph and scandal.

Like the award-winning In the Heart of the Sea, Sea of Glory combines meticulous history with spellbinding human drama as it circles the globe from the palm-fringed beaches of the South Pacific to the treacherous waters off Antarctica and to the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and, finally, to a court-martial aboard a ship anchored off New York City.

©2003 Nathaniel Philbrick; (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A breathtaking account of one of history's greatest adventures." (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (298 )
5 star
 (104)
4 star
 (140)
3 star
 (48)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (177 )
5 star
 (78)
4 star
 (66)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.4 (175 )
5 star
 (89)
4 star
 (61)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ken Sundermeyer Belmont, CA USA 06-18-05
    Ken Sundermeyer Belmont, CA USA 06-18-05 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A good solid voyage of discovery"

    If you like historical non-fiction about interesting expeditions, this should be a good listen (I read the paper version). Lt. Wilkes is a classic flawed leader, aloof, somewhat cruel, but his determination drove his crew on a great voyage though he struggled for notoriety. The amazing collection of artifacts that Wilkes brought home formed the foundation of the Smithsonian collection. I really like the detail of maritime life circa 1840, and Philbrick delivers. His writing makes even provisioning ships interesting. His previous book "Heart of the Sea" was a bit more gripping (albeit more harsh), but "Sea of Glory" is a very good book by a great historical writer.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 11-17-15
    Matthew 11-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    102
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Something’s Just not Speaking to me…"

    The Good – I am amazed that I never had heard of the ExEx before this book. Very disappointed in our public education system for that. From a purely historic point of view I liked the book. I liked learning about the expedition because I needed to learn about something so monumental. I made a few book marks for reference that I can return to later, but overall the book just didn’t give me what I had expected.

    The Not So Good – To be fair I’m going to have to give this book a second listen, but on first pass it just lacks something. The book told a lot of the human stories, but didn’t tell much of the science stories at least not in much detail. The author went through great pains to explain in telling detail why a certain officer did a certain thing, but he didn’t go into much story telling about the science discoveries. This really didn’t strike me until the end of the book where he listed the hundreds of samples the expedition brought back with them. It left me saying; “why didn’t you tell more about those samples and how and where they came from?" I'm not sure if I should follow that question with an "ugh!" or a "duh!"?

    The Narration - Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators, but for some reason I don’t think he was the right fit for this particular book’s writing style. Not that it was bad by any measure, but I think someone with a deeper voice and slower cadence could have made the book more interesting? Perhaps a Brit don't you know? Although I’m sure someone would take umbrage to that given the national pride of the subject matter.

    The Overall – Sea of Glory is okay and was fairly good overall. I definitely learned something, which I always appreciate. I will listen to it again to see if I missed something that would push my rating a bit higher, but I'm not sure that will happen. In closing, I’m not disappointed by the book, but I’m not overjoyed by it either.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gotta Tellya Knoxville, TN 07-17-16
    Gotta Tellya Knoxville, TN 07-17-16 Member Since 2013

    KEC

    HELPFUL VOTES
    138
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    122
    102
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it."
    What did you love best about Sea of Glory?

    Where to start? This is a detailed story of an American exploratory expedition, begun in 1838, that few people seem to know of or care about. I found it fascinating. Personalities, politics, and the course of history have managed to obscure the story of Wilkes, leader of the expedition, and the accomplishments of his lengthy voyage and explorations. This story is also a historical soap opera that will enthrall anyone who loves tales of explorers, the risks they took, the discoveries they made, and the interpersonal clashes and comradeship formed along the way.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Certainly not Wilkes himself. He is the epitome of the type of person whom I detest: an obsessive, insecure, self-serving bully who abused his crews and who took credit for their discoveries. He makes the British Captain Bligh appear warm and cuddly by comparison. My favorite character was a junior officer, William Reynolds, who was everything admirable that Wilkes was not, and who subsequently bore the brunt of Wilkes's jealousy and abusive treatment.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are far too many memorable scenes in this book to allow me to choose just one. I suspect Sea of Glory will be an earlier than usual re-listen for me.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Same as above--too many for me to choose one. Perhaps my favorite moments were any in which Reynolds received promotion, recognition or approval. Conversely, I was thrilled at any reference to Wilkes being discomfited by censure or inadequate recognition.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book. Perfect narration by Scott Brick.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel PEORIA, AZ, United States 09-13-12
    Samuel PEORIA, AZ, United States 09-13-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    78
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "almost as good the second time"
    What made the experience of listening to Sea of Glory the most enjoyable?

    very good narration gave meaning to the words


    Would you recommend Sea of Glory to your friends? Why or why not?

    yes as Nathaniel Philbrick is one of my favorite history authors writing style is superb. This topic is probably his least known and that simply shouldn't be given the enormous contributions of the US Ex Ex.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Exploration of Antarctica


    Any additional comments?

    I had read the printed version of the book when it was new so this was a really good comparison for me. the audiobook was tougher to follow but that's usually true as compared to having the pages in your hand.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Steyer Orchard Park, NY 06-10-16
    D Steyer Orchard Park, NY 06-10-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Politics, tyranny, science and leadership at best!"
    What did you love best about Sea of Glory?

    The reading (or listening) of historic events always amazes me, and Nathaniel Philbrick was again superb in his research (also seen on his "In the Heart of the Sea") and the story of almost 4 years of a little known fantastic expedition. On top of that, Scott Brick is able to put you on the scene. One said that when you come to hate (or admire) a character so much, the author has done a great job. That is the case with Charles Wilkes and why not to say, politicians of that area, who would undermine specialists and facts on behalf of their own interest (much like today...). The findings, maps and drawings produced by the Ex Ex must be amazing so I will stop by at the Smithsonian this Summer to see as much as it is available, in person.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably William Reynolds, for his well kept, unknown journal that has documented much of what really happened in that voyage, contrary to what was documented in the "well controlled by Wilkes" journals of other officers. A short note for Sydney...... a cool dog!!!!


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    No one specifically but I have to say that you don't get tired of listening Scott Brick. He is VERY good for such adventures.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, if I could. It is truly a captivating true story that raises the bar as far as what to read next....


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting to know the story of how the Poinsettia flower ended up in the United States and it got its name (don't Google, read the book...).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob 06-04-08
    Rob 06-04-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    90
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Very interesting book!"

    I really enjoyed this title. Some may find the level of detail of the voyage and what occurred daunting, but to me it was just right.

    It's hard to say just how the author does it (good writing perhaps..), but somehow you feel swept away as if you were part of the expedition. Some of the passages were so captivating that I feel like I have actual memories of the events as if I were there at the time.

    If you want to know about this fascinating chapter of history that remains surprisingly obscure, you will enjoy this audio book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kent armeson 09-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good History"

    This is a good account of a very obscure bit of American history. Well read and interesting.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joey 09-03-16
    joey 09-03-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Joey Brown"

    Very good listen
    I enjoyed the narration tremendously would highly recommend it to anyone who loves history

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane daniels manning 08-09-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No good deed"

    No good deed will go unpunished is a sad assessment that fits the life and exploration of Wilk's expedition, where he was as guilty as his detractors. A story worth knowing, and the incomparable PHILBRICK brings it to life as no other could.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Fairfax, VA, United States 07-29-16
    John Fairfax, VA, United States 07-29-16 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "When Leaders Fail"

    A gripping story of exploration, conflict and a flawed leader. Anyone interested in history, science and exploration would enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.