April 1865

The Month That Saved America
Narrated by: Professor Jay Winik
Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)

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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 listeners say about April 1865

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    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 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 person found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful storytelling, interesting thesis

Have wanted to listen to this since 2001, the divided state of our current nation (summer 2020) had me finally do it. Great book. Fascinating thesis. Intricate and engaging storytelling with background on characters.

My only issue is that a couple of times in the book the sound went muffled. You could still hear and understand, it just detracted from the presentation.

And I wish the keypoints were outlined in the prologue rather than the epilogue so I knew what to listen for and not be in danger of thinking, "What is the point of this part?" when that part got a little long.

Also, Mr. Winik, the Mormons did not want independence. They loved America. They celebrated when they became a State, emblazoning the U.S. flag on their sacred temple in 1896 as they achieved statehood. They wanted to worship in peace, elect their own leaders as a State (not a territory) and not be overseen by corrupt territorial governors and justices who sent lies to Johnson as revenge.

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The Savagery of a Civil War

The American Civil War was fought to a very bitter end. The South was fighting for a stalemate by inflicting as many causalties even in defeat. Grant assault on Lee was massive and nonstop even at the risk of losing political support. This was America's most devastating war along with many long term consequences. Sherman march through Georgia was brutal and broke the back of the South. April was the month that the North won the war but it was a very costly victory with sense of loss. Lincoln was assassinated at a time when leadership was greatly needed. American Civil War was the second revolution by ending slavery and adding the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th amendments to Constitution. This could have only happen with the South out of the Union. Ultimately, the Republican Party abandon African Americans in their pursuit of power. This would a temporary set to be addressed by another American generation.

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Spectacular Book

Winik writes beautifully. He often ends a paragraph with a little known fact that lands like a sledgehammer. At these times, I gasped or shook my head in amazement and appreciation.
Given the divisiveness in the country at this time, the book feels urgent, foreboding, and cautionary.
The only criticism is that Winik narrated the book. He isn’t a vocal talent, which this materials deserves.
I am recommending this book to many people.

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Excellent book/ terrible narrator

The author's narration of his own book is so annoying that I almost gave up on listening. The book itself is well written and very interesting if you can bear with Jay WInik's reading.