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Brave Companions

Portraits in History
Narrated by: David McCullough
Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (993 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

The best-selling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition.

Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, "the little woman who made the big war”; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh and their fellow long-distance pilots Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; and David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America.

Different as they are from each other, McCullough's subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew and their very uncommon lives.

©1992 David McCullough (P)2015 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

I USUALLY LOVE THIS GUY

Like I said, I usually love McCullough's work but... I have listened to almost
everything in the catalog and truly loved, John Adams, 1776,
The Path Between 2 Seas, (and several more). But wasn't real happy with
Mornings on Horseback and am very unhappy with this "Brave Companions".
The first few chapters were historically interesting , but then it started downhill.
Every chapter seem more boring than the last. It seemed like McCullough
started rambling aimlessly, and then got political. Going so far to say JFK was the
only president to study history (sorry I paraphrased that). I always grow tired
of the Kennedy worship.
I like hearing the authors own voice (in small amounts), but would much rather have heard
Edward Hermann again.

83 of 83 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disjointed

I have liked all the other McCullough books I have read but not this one. In fact, I skipped big portions of it. It is a disjointed collection of separate chapters with little connection. I ended up skipping many chapters if I did not find them interesting since they were not connected.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just could not get into it

I was excited to get yet another David McCullough book, especially one which he narrates himself. I tried on multiple sittings to listen to it, but it was nothing like his other books. I found it extremely boring. It's such a shame since I have found his other works to be fantastic.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rick
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 06-24-17

Blah! Blah! Blah!

I expected more from David McCullough as this is far from his finest work. He chose a bunch of nobodies, who didn't really do a whole lot. With the exception of Roosevelt, and Lindbergh his list of notables is pathetic at best, and darn near put me to sleep. I was bored to tears! And to make the story even harder to stomach, it sounded as though McCullough had marbles in his mouth while he read the book. I'm not sure how others were able to give this title such high marks. I found it nothing short of painful.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing and poorly read rehash

This a reading of some 15 articles by McCullough, many of them quite old and uninteresting today. Perhaps 5 are worth listening to, involving interesting forgotten figures. I found myself frequently hitting fast forward. To make matters worse, McCullough's once gray voice has faded to a mumble.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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So boring

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

people who like lists of people and subjects they will never hear about again!

What could David McCullough have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

put his pen down

What didn’t you like about David McCullough’s performance?

Just boring....

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Severe disappointment

32 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • J&ML
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • 09-10-16

There are better books to read by David McCullough

I have read many of David McCullough books and I love the way he writes but this is a relatively old book (1991) and many of the chapters are out of date. The reason is that most of the chapters are NOT stories of lesser known but interesting Americans as the description suggests. Instead the subjects are a collection of his thoughts on Congress, history, the 20th century and friends that he admires, etc. It sounds like a collection of pieces that he had written 30-50 years ago. Some of them were interesting but some were boring and of little interest. I suggest that you will be better served to read some of his other books.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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

Okay

Some interesting stories, but the liberal bent is hard to overlook. I feel there was too much of the authors opinion and not enough of individual's correspondence to shape the content.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hard to listen to this one, sorry to say

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I had high hopes, given other very good work by this author. Found it hard to listen to. Some very interesting characters, but really hard to focus, given the performance.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

There really wasn't one.

What didn’t you like about David McCullough’s performance?

His voice.

Could you see Brave Companions being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Absolute NOT!

35 of 43 people found this review helpful

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

Interesting idea, well done but not his best

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I found myself not always interested in each of the chapters. As always it was well done, well researched but McCullough's interests aren't necessarily congruent with the rest of us. Some it it held my attention but much didn't eg; the Kentucky strip mine chapter was too long and too depressing. He remains one of my favorite authors

9 of 11 people found this review helpful