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Publisher's Summary

This New York Times best seller from noted historian and acclaimed author Jay Winik forever changes common perceptions of the final month of the American Civil War.

April 1865 could have destroyed the nation. Instead it saved it. As April begins, the battered Confederate capital of Richmond falls to the Union Army. Robert E. Lee surrenders his forces to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox one week later. In good spirits and sensing the war's end, President Abraham Lincoln attends a comedic play - and is assassinated. Simultaneously, Secretary of State William Seward is brutally attacked but survives. Along with fears that remaining Confederate soldiers will break into guerrilla bands, these events threaten to plunge America into turmoil. But it is not to be.

Winik's engrossing narrative sweeps listeners along from one incredible moment to the next until, remarkably, peace is reached. A provocative and deeply researched account, this modern classic is a major reassessment of the 30 most pivotal days in United States history.

©2001 Jay Winik (P)2001 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent re-interpretation of history, but...

What made the experience of listening to April 1865 the most enjoyable?

The interesting new perspective on the end of the Civil War and how decisions by a few individuals trapped in a tragic episode led to a better outcome long term.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Too many to name.

What does Jay Winik bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I know he's the author.

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

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Winik is brilliant, and this book very enriching to anyone interested in the Civil War. It was, however, startling to hear him mispronounce Chickamauga as Chickamagua and Rosecrans as Rosencrans. And his description of the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth appeared to misplace the Mason Dixon Line. But these are quibbles.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and well woven

Would you listen to April 1865 again? Why?

Would like to hear another narrator. Almost gave up too soon.

What was one of the most memorable moments of April 1865?

The several decisions made against defying the peace agreements by going rogue and keeping the country in turmoil. Agreement to honor the peace, especially by the Swamp Fox, helped stabilize the country at a critical time.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Unfortunately for me, the narrator seemed too inexpressive, too monotone, too professorial. I turned it off and moved to something else - several something elses - for quite a time. Once I committed to listening continually, I got so interested in the unfolding of events that I finished it, captivated by the amazing twists and turns of personalities and outcomes.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

You're not gonna believe this......

Any additional comments?

Too bad history is not taught like this in school. Maybe we'd learn something from it besides dates. This gives an appreciation for what it takes to overcome dissension and fix what's broken. If we survived this history, maybe we can survive the present day machinations if we can find enough people of good will in powerful places. I hope so.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The performance is unfortunately mind-numbing

I cannot finish listening to this book. It's generally interesting and I would have liked toughing it out to the end. But I cannot. The author should have hired a professional reader. Sadly, the performance is monotonous and grates on the nerves very quickly. I might try reading it eventually but for now, I have to walk away...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gray
  • Plano, TX, United States
  • 10-18-15

Probably the best nonfiction civil war book out there

I have read and listened to many. This book is just outstanding... Plain and simple. It is really about what you should take away and appreciate about the conflict.

The author is usually the best person to narrate these stories... Winik does an alright job... Taking away from his attempt is the quality of the recording. It seems that about half way through he is speaking into a soap can with a string. It still doesn't take away from the job he did writing it.

Can't recommend enough. Thank you Audible for finally carrying this title. Been waiting some time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellence undone

April 1865 is a distinguished, excellent, scholarly work, and I applaud the author's research and writing skills. I would recommend it to any friend and scholar. My understanding of the Civil War, the leaders of the union and the Confederacy, and the environment and circumstances of that time have increased considerably. I thank and applaud the author for his efforts in the creation of this excellent work.

That said, it must be noted that the author's decision to narrate his own book was a bad one. Unfortunately the author never learned how to pronounce the single syllable in definite article "a." In American English, the word rhymes with "huh,"not with "hey/hay," a rule of pronunciation most of us have learned by the time we enter the fifth grade. Hence, the brilliance of the scholarship was lost in the elementary narration. Having to listen to the incorrect pronunciation of such an elementary word 1000 or 2000 or 5000 times was a real challenge.

But I would like to reiterate that the book itself - the research that went into it and the level of writing - is superb. I thank the author for writing it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

REALLY!

Ok. I don't listen to (or read) books to get my own opinions confirm. An author with pro south leaning views is fine. Even a good thing if it helps me understand a point of view I don't share. But this is ridiculous! After 40 straight minutes of the author going on about what a great general confederate Gen. Lee was, I had to stop listening when the book said "general Lee had a beautiful mouth). LITERALLY!!! That was actually in the book! I'm not exaggerating. This is NOT a book about history. It's the ramblings a crazy person that has some kind of crush on Robert E. Lee.

Robert E. Lee was a GARBAGE general that didn't use the vast landscapes of the south to his advantage, never forced or even asked southern farmers to grow food for his army instead of cotton and lost a defensive war. Even though Lee was directly responsible for losing a very winnable war and starving his own army the author puts him in a category with Napoleon and Genghis Khan!

This book reads more like a 13 yr old girls love letter to Justin Timberlake than a piece of history.

As a black man and an American I'm am a little biased for the north in the civil war. I would love to understand the other side of the argument. It's a shame this book devolved so far. I just could not push past the B.S.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Read It, Don't Listen To It

Don't ruin this book for yourself by listening to the audio version. Read it for yourself. Mr. Winik might be a well-respected historian, but he's an awful reader. His cadence is clumsy and his emphases are oddly out of place, which is odd since he is reading his own material. Mr. Winik uses odd pronunciations of some words as if it's the first time he's ever seen them. And his enunciation is at time muddled.

The material is excellent especially the descriptions of Grant & Lee's meeting at Appomattox, the night of Lincoln's assassination, the transfer of power, and the negotiations between Sherman & Johnston.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great content, dull reading

I learned a great deal of history by listening to this book. I almost stopped listening after 20 mins as the narrator speaks in monotone for the entire book. Conflicted as to rating the book as there is great content, but delivered in a droning tone. Likely will not get another audio book by this author if he narrates.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great book

I love Civil War history in this was a really good book to give a lot of details that I hadn't known before

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good book, poor narration

I enjoyed the content and perspective that the author used. However, his his reading was difficult to enjoy. Too often it felt stiff and flat. It needed some emotion or emphasis, that never came. It may have been a better book to read.