The Glory and the Dream chronicles the progress of life in the United States, from the time William Manchester and his generation reached the beginning of awareness in the desperate summer of '32 to President Nixon's Second Inaugural Address and the opening scenes of Watergate. Masterfully compressing four crowded decades of our history, Manchester relives the epic, significant, or just memorable events that befell the generation of Americans whose lives pivoted between the America before and the America after the Second World War.
©1974 William Manchester; (P)1994 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This is a huge, sprawling, masterpiece of a book which chronicles the history of the US from the depression era through the early 70's. The writing is tremendous, very human, finely detailed and yet broad in scope. Concentrates much on biographies, but also enables one to understand economics, politics, wartime strategies, and more, through explanations that are very accessible to "lay readers". Extremely engaging, even thrilling.
Frustratingly, the recording is of extremely bad quality, with many- and I mean MANY skips which I presume to be from the source discs. This makes several sections quite hard to understand.
I am trying my best to keep going despite the terribly distracting skips. I don't want to tell you unequivocally to stay away, because it's such a fine work, and the narration is quite good too. But beware of this issue.
One of the best history books covering any period ever written in my opinion. It offers the reader the unique experience of living through this period through the eyes of the forgotten men and women who lived these times. It is truly a unique work by a uniquely gifted writer. Instead of a top to bottom history, focusing on events, dates, battles, meetings and leaders of the time, this is a bottom-up version of history with attention focused on what ordinary men and women felt, did, suffered through, and ultimately triumphed in taking the US from a 2nd rate power to the predominant super power in the world. When you listen to Rock Bottom, you feel like you are living and suffering through the depression, listening to Roosevelt, or been just told that Kennedy was shot. By the end, you feel like you just lived through this entire period of history.
Downside: This is a terrible recording. The narration is way too fast. I had to listen on slower speed on my ipod, or the pace would just be too fast to listen to. Second, there is static which makes certain sections hard to listen to (see on line sample). Most maddening is the “skips” in which words or sentence fragments are skipped in the second section of the book. It sounds like an old LP record where the needle skipped. It is maddening and incredibly distracting.
I would offer future listeners encouragement that once you make it through the 2nd downloadable segments, the worst is over and the rest is from an audio standpoint considerably better. I wish Audible would offer a better version
After listening to the whole work, I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in this period of history, but after struggling through the 1st and 2nd segments, I almost gave up and was extremely upset that this product would even be sold. Overall, however, this is the as good a book I have read/listened to.
If it were possible I would have listened to the whole book NON-STOP. How the book was written it's self is excellent and then only made better by the way it was read. Actually a 5+ in my book. The occassional insertion of interesting asides really added to how it was read.
I had read other reviews about the fast pace, general dissatisfaction with the narrator and the choppiness of the way material was presented.
But none of this deterred from my enjoyment. The audio is a bit compressed occasionally but overall this was one of the best books on tapes I have received
Furst of all, this is an outstanding audiobook - outstanding text, outstanding narration. It was long, but very, very engaging. I loved it all the way through.
So why only 2 stars? Many, many technical glitches. Worst of all were the skips, especially in Parts 2 and 3. Although they did become less frequent in the latter half of the audiobook, they were still frustrating enough to spoil it for me.
I live and breathe audiobooks ... member of Audible for years and generally very appreciative of the service that's provided... This book could have been so great to listen to, a masterpiece of cultural history. The sub par production however, comes close to being as much a negative as the writing is a positive. The audio reminded me of a vinyl record where the needle advances and my imagination must fill in... such a shame to have a Great reader, Great writer, Great subject and such irresponsible production.
I VIRTUALLY CAN NOT READ A FEMALE AUTHOR
After reading this book I had to read everything else by Manchester. Sadly the other books did not live up to this one. A must read for anyone interested in this era. I actually have listened to it a couple of times.
This is a very good book. It isn't just extremely informative but is written with an elegant prose that makes it very enjoyable. I also liked the way it elaborated on details of daily life at certain points, giving you an idea of what it would have been like to be alive at that point.
Unbiased History Lesson! Stuff you've forgotten from those Jr. High & HS lesson, recapped here. Fabulous to look back at the lives and times of leaders in years gone by. Hours and hours of interesting stories. Makes you wish, you could've lived 100 years ago to see all the amazing things that have happened over time.
William Manchester has written a wonderful, 40-year epic history of the United States, very dense with details that you can easily visualize. The narrator of this audiobook speaks very fast, perhaps trying to fit all 1300 pages into a predetermined recording space. Because of the rapid-fire information that's coming at you, you have to pay attention to what's being said even more than usual; so when the numerous skips and other technical problems occur, the experience becomes incredibly frustrating. Especially since the skips obscure information that the listener needs in order to understand the context of what comes next. Personally, I wish I had never bought this recording.
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