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What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815 - 1848 | [Daniel Walker Howe]

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815 - 1848

In this addition to the esteemed Oxford History of the United States series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated America's expansion and prompted the rise of mass political parties.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, History, 2008

In this addition to the esteemed Oxford History of the United States series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated America's expansion and prompted the rise of mass political parties.

He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party but contends that John Quincy Adams and other advocates of public education, economic integration, and the rights of blacks, women, and Indians were the true prophets of America's future.

Howe's panoramic narrative - weaving together social, economic, and cultural history with political and military events - culminates in the controversial but brilliantly executed war against Mexico that gained California and Texas for America.

Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. What Hath God Wrought is number V in The Oxford History of the United States.

Listen to more of the definitive Oxford History of the United States.

©2007 Oxford University Press, Inc.; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"One of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade." (Publishers Weekly)
"He is a genuine rarity: an English intellectual who not merely writes about the United States but actually understands it." (Washington Post)
"A stunning synthesis....it is a rare thing to encounter a book so magisterial and judicious and also so compelling." (Chicago Tribune)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Mollynash Virginia Beach, VA USA 01-16-10
    Mollynash Virginia Beach, VA USA 01-16-10 Listener Since 2005

    Molly Nash Larson

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    "Stunning history book"

    From the opening dedication to the final word of the narration, I found this book to be without equal as a history of a time period. It covers all aspects of American life from the close of the War of 1812 to the end of the Mexican War. Because of the scope of coverage, one learns of the religious, political, economic, and technological advances and other changes shaping the era.
    Howe dedicates the book to John Quincy Adams and I have a new admiration for him. I found it difficult to hold Jackson in esteem; the development of the Democratic Party I found saddening but certainly inevitable.
    I have listened to this book three times now and expect I'll do it again as each listening gives me new insight and appreciation for just how much our forefathers accomplished.
    I bought the book for my son as a gift and I do look forward to being able to discuss it with him.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter USA 03-13-14
    Peter USA 03-13-14
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    "Great book, HORRID PRODUCTION"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The book's content is excellent, and it had to be to keep me interested, given the terrible production. Looking back, I wish I'd read it instead of listening to it since the production is so poor.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Often when we read about US history we jump from the Revolution to the Civil War, maybe with a nod to the War of 1812. But this book explains how understanding the period it covers is vital to understanding the maturation of the country and the events, particularly the Civil War, that followed.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Cullen’s performances?

    The reader's voice is excellent, and assuming the infuriating problems in the production aren't his fault, I'd listen to him again.


    Did What Hath God Wrought inspire you to do anything?

    Yes: to scream at my mp3 player and to curse Audible for the terrible production that ruined a great book. Does anyone at Audible read these reviews? Many others have commented on this problem, how do you dare to continue offering this? Obviously the original recording was corrupted somehow and then apparently patched together. Sometimes a different reader fills in for a sentence or two, or even for just a part of a sentence. Often the reader speeds up, sometimes his reading speed is fine (suggesting that it wasn't his fault, but the production's). Apart from speed, at times his cadence is all over the place so there's no pause between sentences, forcing the listener to divert attention from the book while reconstructing the sentences in one's head.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible, someone on your staff should listen to this production. Not just for a minute or two, but for hours, since some parts are fine, which makes the bad sections (which are most of the book) all the worse. Do you really want to put your name on this terrible production? I realize it would be expensive to produce a new reading, but if don't want to spring for that can't you at least re-mix this somehow? Perhaps slow the reader down in the passages where he sounds like he can't wait to finish? If you won't do that, at least give a warning up front that the production is bad. I wish I'd read more of the reviews that described this problem; that was my mistake, but you should warn your customers. I've listened to hundreds of audio books and this is by far the worst production I've ever heard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Fort Collins, CO, United States 12-03-13
    John Fort Collins, CO, United States 12-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Content, Great Voice, Terrible Editing"
    What made the experience of listening to What Hath God Wrought the most enjoyable?

    The content was great. This book covers a wider range of different areas of history (social, economic, government, religion, etc.) than any other history book I've listened to or read.


    What didn’t you like about Patrick Cullen’s performance?

    I think Patrick Cullen's voice is great. But the "performance" was terrible. I don't think Patrick was to blame here. This seems to be a purely technical issue in the post processing. I don't know if they did a lot of editing and overdubbing, or what. But it almost sounds like two different people were narrating and they were switching randomly between the two. It also seems hurried, but again, it doesn't sound like Patrick actually read it that way, i.e. perhaps some part of the processing was trying to reduce inter word gaps or something. This is by far the worst production I've come across in an audiobook. I was able to adapt to it mostly after a while, and I enjoyed the content enough to continue to endure through it to the end. But I wish they would go back to the original recordings and fix this.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    emily 09-22-14
    emily 09-22-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Bad narrator!"
    What would have made What Hath God Wrought better?

    Wow, this narrator is impossible to listen to. Very little enunciation or inflection. There are no changes in tone to guide you through the sentence, tell you what's a direct quote vs the author's words, or clue you in on who's talking. What's worse, the sound quality changes noticeably (in volume and background noise) where it seems like edits were placed in. In some places this happens every few sentences - very distracting.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Daniel Walker Howe? Why or why not?

    No. I'm not impressed with the quality of Mr. Howe's writing. He also doesn't impress me as being an impartial historian.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 08-12-14
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 08-12-14 Member Since 2006
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    "overall outstanding"
    Where does What Hath God Wrought rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    well up there.


    Any additional comments?

    This was on my list to read for a long time given the excellent review, but thought I was not that interested in this period, however, this was an outstanding read. There were just a few sections that were a little slow, mostly to do with religious revivalism, however, overall this filled in so many knowledge gaps in a very interesting way. We think our world is changing to quickly, it is interesting to think that other generations felt very similarly about their own times. In addition, this really sets the stage for an understanding of the Civil war period and American history in general. One of the stronger sections of the Oxford Hisotry series. Well worth the read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 08-09-14
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 08-09-14 Member Since 2011

    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.

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    "A great overview of this time period!"

    This is a long book at about 34 hours but worth the time it took to listen. I knew little about the time period of 1815-1848 in the history of our country which is a shame because lots of things happened in this timeframe. This won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and is one of the Oxford History of America series.

    I have seen people claim a liberal bias in this book. I can't say I saw that but it is harsh on conservative darling Andrew Jackson with good reason. He destroyed the banking system, disregarded the Supreme Court rulings, and shipped the Cherokee and other natives off to the reservations in the infamous Trail of Tears. Polk doesn't get much sympathy from him either. The Mexican War seems to have been a more unpopular war than even Viet Nam. We were the aggressor in that one.

    I think it is important to read many histories on the same topics and get a well rounded picture instead of only reading Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly's histories.

    John Quincy Adams is the hero of this book. He wasn't a very good President but he was a wonderful statesman who stood up for the underdog (Amistad) and never quit. In fact, he died giving a speech on the Mexican War in the House of Representatives.

    This book covers a lot of religious history. The Mormon's, the Great Enlightenment, the Second Great Enlightenment, the start of the Shakers, the Oneida Cult, the Transcendentalist movement, the Baptist, the Seventh Day Adventist all began in this period. It takes up many chapters in this book but is necessary to understand what was happening in the country.

    I also learned how European white male centered this country was and how this affected the way we treated Hispanics, Blacks (slave and free), Catholics, Jews and women. Thank goodness we have grown into our Constitution.

    Samuel Morse's first telegram to Congress was the quote "What hath God wrought" which the author made the title of his book. He emphasized the great transportation and communication changes that came about in these few years.

    The narrator was fine for the most part except for his few pronunciation errors in words like "Willamette" that could be jarring at times.

    A great overview of this time period and well worth the time.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 03-14-14
    W. Perry Hall Mobile, AL 03-14-14 Member Since 2012

    S. Quire

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    "Unsurpassed Historical Narrative read by Automaton"

    This is part of the definitive Oxford History of the United States. So, how in the world can the publisher decide to skimp on the narration of the audiobook version by hiring an AUTOMATON??? For what it sounds like, I could just as well be listening to a presentation of the United States Internal Revenue Code, Verbatim.

    I just don't get it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimra Tuscola, TX, United States 01-05-14
    Kimra Tuscola, TX, United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2010

    My husband & I share the account. Anything on history is his read. I'm more into fiction/zombie & apocalyptic reads.

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    "better editing would have improved this book"

    The story was good, well written book. The editing distracted you from the book. Parts were very choppy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa NEWTON, NJ, United States 11-30-13
    Teresa NEWTON, NJ, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Too Fast, Too Fast!"
    What disappointed you about What Hath God Wrought?

    It was read MUCH too quickly. I tried selecting "half speed". It resulted in a bizarre acoustic distortion. I gave it up for lost ......


    What was most disappointing about Daniel Walker Howe’s story?

    Mr. Howe referred to the " Book of Mormon" as one of the great work's of American literature. WOW!


    What didn’t you like about Patrick Cullen’s performance?

    It was too fast.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Could Not Complete!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Binyamin Washington, DC, United States 10-25-13
    Binyamin Washington, DC, United States 10-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Perfunctory book; disjointed narration"
    What did you like best about What Hath God Wrought? What did you like least?

    As many have noted, the narration is an obvious patchwork of multiple takes. It's like listening to a roomful of people by turns telling you the same story. The book itself is an authoritative treatment of the period, but it feels much more like a textbook than others in this brilliant series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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