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Publisher's Summary

Grand Expectations weaves the major political, cultural, and economic events of the period into a superb portrait of America from 1945 through Watergate.

Read with warmth by Robert Fass, who previously narrated Oxford’s Empire of Liberty by Gordon S. Wood, this history portrays the amazing growth after World War II rallied an upbeat mood and grander and grander expectations as the era progressed.

As one of four new volumes offered by Audible, Grand Expectations brings to audio one part of an elegant American history that was conceived of and originally edited by C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter more than 50 years ago.

Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Grand Expectations is number X in The Oxford History of the United States.

Listen to more of the definitive Oxford History of the United States.
©1996 James T. Patterson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Grand Expectations

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

A Fairly Unbiased Look at US Political History

Where does Grand Expectations rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

As far as books on American history go, this is fairly unbiased and is very thorough. The author did a very good job of putting a lot of complicated history into a very easy to follow chain of events.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Grand Expectations?

Throughout the text the author presented the topics covered in a very unbiased fashion. I could not detect any spin or revisionism with the topics presented. That stands out throughout the book. I can't say anything was earth shattering because it has been covered i one way shape or form.

Which character – as performed by Robert Fass – was your favorite?

He did a good job with LBJ.

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

Not really. However the way this aspect of 20th history was presented I can say that I have a greater understanding of what was going on. The author did a much better job than most of my history professors at explaining the facts and making them clear and understandable.

Any additional comments?

It does start out slow in the first few chapters. It is a lot of fairly deep stuff. Trust me this book is worth your time.

8 people found this helpful

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The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same. Mr. Patterson did a great job of showing me a wide variety of people and events and perspectives of both to know more about history. I'm a history teacher and I love when I can find a history book to expand my knowledge and give me a new view of the story. Mr. Patterson did both. This isn't the first Oxford history book that I've read (or had read to me thanks to Audible). I can now say that I'm quite addicted. I've now purchased every eBook and audio book in the series!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

fast moving history

I really enjoyed this book. The first few hours sort of drag, but maybe this is becuase i had just finished the previous book in the series, Freedom from Fear, and this was somewhat repetitive. But after that, I thought this book was really enjoyable.
First, the narration is outstanding, well paced, and well read.
There are sections that are truly outstanding. Rather then delve into tons of details and give day by day, or week by week accounts of certain time periods in history, the authors given an overview. For instance, he lays out the 4 key components to johnson's liberal agenda early in his second term, and then goes on to analyze this from a longer term perspective. Now one could argue that he does a fair bit of "interpretation", and there is a fair bit of opinion in some of these sections, but i found them pretty balanced, and he offers both positives and negatives to most historical questions, including whose fault was the cold war, the effectiveness of eisenhower, and johnson's role in both domestic and civil rights issues, as well as the war.
There are a few sections which are a little weak, where the authors gives rather dull lists of statistics to support his point, and there are a few topics which seem alittle bit over stressed where i had a little trouble paying attention, but overall a very very good read and rapid moving assessment of the period and definitely worth it. I look forward to the next book in the series.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I have listened to most of the books in the Oxford US History series and found this one to be the weakest. One problem is the difficulty in writing about recent history (this was written 20 years after the end of the period covered). It generally takes many decades for history to be discussed objectively and with the benefit of hindsight. Recent revelations conflict with the author’s conclusions in some instances. (The identity of Deep Throat, guilt of the Rosenberg’s and Alger Hiss).

Several chapters are devoted to rambling, simplistic discussions of topics such as suburbs and women’s liberation that caused my attention to drift. How long can you listen to someone lament the loss of intimacy of the city as people migrated to the sterile suburbs. This is simply someone’s idealistic viewpoint, not history.

I found it refreshing that he portrayed JFK’s presidency objectively, not as Camelot. Surprisingly, Stalin was OK; if only we had treated him better at the end of World War II we may have avoided the Cold War. He seems a bit harsh on Nixon. The man had many faults, but the author states that everything he did, from establishing relations with China to winding down the war in Vietnam was done solely for the purpose of getting re-elected. This simplistic conclusion avoids the more complex geopolitical analysis this topic deserves.

16 people found this helpful

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  • 02-12-14

Very Well Worth the Time

The story was very interesting, the narration was great. Very much enjoyed this book plus learned a wealth of information about the 50's and 60's.

1 person found this helpful

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Exactly What I wanted

This book, as with the others in the Oxford History of the United States, is a well written and very thorough account of the time period identified. I enjoyed it very much.

1 person found this helpful

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Great read, on a little explored time in US Histor

Would you listen to Grand Expectations again? Why?

There's so much in this book that helps understand the arc of US history! I was quite impressed with the excellent writing and solid performance of this book. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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A Tour de Force

This was quite an extraordinary history book. It has been a few weeks now since I've listened to it, but it left a good impression. I remember thinking that the United States has an impressive pantheon of historians. Scholars who not only write disciplined prose, but present judicious, comprehensive and thoughtful accounts of the American past. Though I did not approach this book with grand expectations, at its conclusion I looked back at it as a grand listening experience.

The reader's authoritative voice moved the narrative along at a good pace

Generally, the available variety of good books to listen to is stunning and overwhelming.

Though one cannot expect an answer, the question suggests itself, because the contrast between the scholarly realm and the realm of politics on television is so vast. Given the existence of such a vast quantity of quality writing in so many humanistic fields, why is it that in the American political arena the variety of voices are so meager, and the discourse so base, and so awful?

3 people found this helpful

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Oxford is Great

Every book in this Oxford series is gold! They are long but worth the audio version to make the read more manageable.

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The most biased and shallow book in this series

A book for the moment. And the moment has passed. The danger in drawing excessively from economic research is that, like all empirical research, the findings are always open to elaboration, reinterpretation, ond falsification. Future historians may be interested in what historians of the 1990s gleaned from economic research of the 1980s (evaluating policies of the 1950s and 1960s with dubious data). General readers of the 2020s and beyond would do better to look at current economic research.

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  • Dazler
  • 07-11-15

OK

Any additional comments?

This audio book was interesting - if a little dull at times - but lacking real insight.

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 02-24-14

Excellent history

This is excellent, serious history and superbly well read. There is lots to take in here so its hard to always maintain complete concentration. Highly recommended.