Ethan Allen

His Life and Times
Narrated by: Mark Whitten
Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited biography of the frontier Founding Father whose heroic actions and neglected writings inspired an entire generation, from Paine to Madison.

On May 10, 1775, in the storm-tossed hours after midnight, Ethan Allen, the Revolutionary firebrand, was poised for attack. With only two boatloads of his scraggly band of Vermont volunteers having made it across the wind-whipped waters of Lake Champlain, he was waiting for the rest of his Green Mountain boys to arrive. But with the protective darkness quickly fading, Allen determined that he could hold off no longer. While Ethan Allen, a canonical hero of the American Revolution, has always been defined by his daring, predawn attack on the British-controlled Fort Ticonderoga, Willard Sterne Randall, the author of Benedict Arnold, now challenges our conventional understanding of this largely unexamined Founding Father.

Widening the scope of his inquiry beyond the Revolutionary War, Randall traces Allen’s beginning back to his modest origins in Connecticut, where he was born in 1738. Largely self-educated, emerging from a relatively impoverished background, Allen demonstrated his deeply rebellious nature early on through his attraction to Deism, his dramatic defense of smallpox vaccinations, and his early support of separation of church and state.

©2011 Willard Sterne Randall (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

There were parts that were really good.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book. I wanted to listen to it because I am interest in Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen played a big part in his story, but that's about all I knew about him. It turned out that he had a very interesting life and was a big part of the revolution.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found the section when Ethan Allen was taken prisoner by the British to be very hard to stop listening to. My wife even got caught up in it and she very rarely gets involved in my history reading. It was the best part of the book by far for me.

Any additional comments?

I had two problems with the book. (1) It could have just been my file, but I noticed that the booked skipped back a few seconds a lot so I had to hear the same sentence again and again until it fixed itself. (2) The story took a long time to get started for me. The author spent a lot of time going over the background of Vermont and his ancestors. It may be interesting to others, but it wasn't for me, but I am glad I stuck with the slow beginning.

2 people found this helpful

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

Good reading but needs dictionary and editor

Author weaves many threads from early American history, produces the rich detail often missing from textbook treatments. Reader used good intonation, voice variations, but mispronounced quite a few words and names. With a dictionary and an editor, good could have been great.

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

Great story, monotone reading

I very much enjoyed the story and the history presented in this book. The only drawback was the reading was mostly in a monotone voice which sometimes made it hard to follow.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Emperor of the Vermont Republic

Wonderfully written history of an important figure before during and after the Revolution. As well, important aspects of the Revolution not as well known as the East coast struggles. An important work for a total understanding of the times and what motivated the colonials.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative and Entertaining

The quality of narration was pretty good and didn't distract from the story. The structure of the book itself was somewhat meandering, jumping back and forth several years to describe certain political or historical events in a way that is perhaps more easily understood on paper. Also Allen's character and his motivations seemed in my opinion to be shown in a favorable light rather than an objective one.

All in all I leaned a lot about this man, the formation of the great state of Vermont, and the history of New England as a whole. Definitely recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A complicated Man

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, Always thought EA was just a backwoods fighter. He was much more

Who was your favorite character and why?

EA of course. He was a Deitist (SP) as was T Jefferson and I thought made him than a backwoods hick. He was mostly self educated.

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

he read a little fast for my southern ear.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

EA's time as a prisoner of war and his bad treatment at the hands of the Tories and the lobster backs.

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

Good book with some strange gaffes

Overall this is a very good book, and it certainly provided me with some new prospectives about VT, NY, and the Revolutionary War. It is very strong about the role of religion and religious tolerance ( or lack thereof) in colonial life and how it led to the Revolution.

It is written in a light style, full of humanizing phases such as “ Ethan’s heart broken as he gazed upon the sight of ...” that don’t mean much written down but bring the the narration to a halt.

The narrator did a good job but with some glaring mistakes. Normally I don’t critique these types of mistakes but pronouncing adroit as though it rhymed with “what” instead of Detroit makes the listener stop and ask “What did he say?” Then you heard more mistakes such as “sic” pronounced as “seek” instead of “sick” and hegemony being mangled. The list goes on, but you get my point.

Overall, it is a good book and I highly recommend it.