The American Future: A History Audiobook | Simon Schama | Audible.com
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.
 >   > 
The American Future: A History | [Simon Schama]

The American Future: A History

In The American Future, historian Simon Schama takes a long look at the multiple crises besetting the United States and asks how these problems look in the mirror of time. In four crucial debates - on wars, religion, race and immigration, and the relationship between natural resources and prosperity - Schama looks back to see more clearly into the future. Full of lost insights, The American Future showcases Schama's acclaimed gift for storytelling, ensuring these voices will be heard again.
Regular Price:$33.59
  • 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 -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

Renowned historian Simon Schama uses the election of 2008 as a springboard to discuss America's future as shaped by stories of its past. He examines the ideals and the problems of the country's formative years up through 2008 and how the nation became ideologically divided to the point where that year represented a dramatic crossroads and history was made. Accomplished British voice actor Rupert Degas brings the history to life, his clear diction and powerful voice invoking the magnitude of the election of Barack Obama. For an interesting perspective that puts some of the elements of the American story into a narrative that includes the good and the bad but looks forward with hope toward the future.

Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed historian and award-winning author Simon Schama offers an essential historical perspective on the crucial 2008 presidential election and its importance for reclaiming America's original ideal.

It's not business as usual. Cultural hostilities more irreconcilable than any since the Civil War have divided America in two. In November 2008, the American people elected a new president, feeling more anxious about the future of the nation than at any time since Watergate. Our omnipotent military, the cornucopia of material comforts available, the security of our borders, and the global economy can no longer be taken for granted.

In The American Future, historian Simon Schama takes a long look at the multiple crises besetting the United States and asks how these problems look in the mirror of time. In four crucial debates - on wars, religion, race and immigration, and the relationship between natural resources and prosperity - Schama looks back to see more clearly into the future.

Full of lost insights, The American Future showcases Schama's acclaimed gift for storytelling, ensuring these voices will be heard again.

©2009 Simon Schama; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"A lively meditation on American history... Schama's wide-ranging narratives wander between contemporary reportage...and fluent, richly literate history." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (42 )
5 star
 (15)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.6 (8 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.2 (9 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    D. Littman OH 05-30-09
    D. Littman OH 05-30-09 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1258
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    582
    145
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    156
    3
    Overall
    "Simon Schama is always entertaining"

    Simon Schama has a knack for writing beautifully and finding interesting and often obscure stories to highlight his historical theses. The fact that some of his books, including this one, are companions to BBC or PBS shows, helps his texts move along at a fast clip (a good feature for an audiobook), makes sure that the material contains good word-pictures to light up your mind, and makes sure the words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters are well edited. The downside of all this is that sometimes the topics are left somewhat under-developed, somewhat superficial. But as long as you know that is the style, going in, you can suspend your critical eye and just go along for a very entertaining ride. I highly recommend the book. I have only dinged it one star for occasionally irritating superficiality, and for the narrator's occasional lapses into fake accents to speak out quotes from the characters. Minor blemishes in a good audiobook.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
    525
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    296
    154
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    289
    49
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling"

    You know those questions that go "if you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?". Well...I think I'd choose Simon Schama. Or maybe a roadtrip. Schama is one of those historians who both have something to say about how we live now and the depth of knowledge to ground his thinking by weaving stories from our past. One part sociology, one part history, all very smart and engaging. The American Future should be read in conjunction with watching the BBC documentary of the same title, narrated by Schama.

    Reading the book while watching the documentary does wonderful things for the brain in terms of reinforcing the concepts and stories with images. It helps the stories stick.
    Schama's basic premise is that the election of Obama represents the culmination of an American journey towards our nation struggling to live up to our founding myths. Only American could produce the horror of the civil war, segregation and institutional racism while holding the promise of electing an African American to the highest office. This American Future beautifully chronicles our redemption, placing the biggest story of our times firmly within our American narrative.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allan Webber Houston, TEXAS United States 09-27-09
    Allan Webber Houston, TEXAS United States 09-27-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Loved it and listened to it non-stop."

    As someone who has lived here for 11 years, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like Schama, I am a foreigner reflecting upon why things are what they are and how did we get here.

    The breadth of history covered (often out of sync) gave me some insight into why there is no such as a typical American. The book is a great primer into non-conventional US history what you don't see on history channel. For example, I'd not heard of Meigs and the contribution he made to the Civil war nor did I know about other members of his family line before and after.

    The stories on TDR, Westpoint, why Texas joined the Union, the uprooting of Cheroke by President Jackson, the German immigrants / Chinese immigrants and their corresponding race riots were particularly entertaining though not always is a happy way.

    As for reviewers who dismissed this book with one star. I don't agree with them one bit. I can appreciate History is written by the victor and one man's freedom fighter is another one's terrorist but but I didn't hear Schama writings as being particularly biased.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Roeland Park, KS, USA 07-06-09
    Chris Roeland Park, KS, USA 07-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Unabashedly liberal attempt at objectivity"

    The author revels in the current popularity of liberal ideas as if it is some rebirth of America. While trying to craft a foreigner's critique of American Democracy (the author is British) like some second rate Alexis de Tocqueville, Schama can't help but let escape his glee on each and every page at the prospect of a final victory of liberal ideals. This book hardly ranks as a history and should instead be shelved in the politics section along with the James Carville and Ann Coulter titles. This way fans of history won't waste their money after reading a misleading description of this book.

    9 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-03-09
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-03-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    432
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    418
    314
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    243
    0
    Overall
    "Unsuccessful attempt at breaking ground"

    Schama appears to attempt a sort of modern "de Tocqueville" account of America, and falls short by providing inconclusive, bug-on-the-wall anecdotes of the country's current condition. This may very well be interesting for a foreigner who is interested in learning about the minutaie of ever-elusive American culture, but otherwise it leaves the reader with little but Schama's futile attempt at turning over a new leaf.

    3 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Finholm lenexa, ks United States 12-07-12
    Matt Finholm lenexa, ks United States 12-07-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Blatant Disgusting Political Bias"

    I endured it for an hour hoping it would move on to something useful. This book isn't just biased, is openly hostile and condescending of conservatives and worshipful of politicians on the left. If Rush Limbaugh were a liberal, this is the book he would write.
    You won't gain anything from reading this at all.
    Most Democratic politicians would work hard to distance themselves from this nut. Paul Krugman however would probably love the book.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gustavSpeed Des Moines, IAUSA 08-02-09
    gustavSpeed Des Moines, IAUSA 08-02-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Opinion masquerading as opinion"

    I tried to listen to this but after the first two chapters contained so many opinions masquerading as fact - unsubstantiated fact - I almost gave up and boy I wish I had. It got no better. I think this was written by Obama's campaign or PR department - or else David Axelrod (nickname "Karl Rove"). Look elsewhere unless you drank the kool-aid.

    4 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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.