Regular price: $48.97

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Johnson's monumental history of the United States, from the first settlers to the Clinton administration, covers every aspect of American culture: politics, business, art, literature, science, society and customs, complex traditions, and religious beliefs. The story is told in terms of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character.

Anne Hutchinson, Cotton Mather, Ben Franklin, Tom Paine, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, among others, are all presented in a fresh perspective. Wherever possible, letters, diaries, and recorded conversations are used to ensure a sense of actuality.

This is an in-depth portrait of a great people, from their fragile origins and struggles for independence, to their heroic efforts and sacrifices to deal with the "organic sin" of slavery and the preservation of the Union, to their explosive economic growth and emergence as the world's greatest superpower.

©1997 Paul Johnson; (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Johnson is a lively writer (more so than nearly all other historians), and May's reading is sensitive to Johnson's wit and sharp comments....Her reading is lively, crisp, and sharp throughout." (AudioFile)
"A magnificent achievement...brilliantly combines broad sweep with extraordinary detail." (Wall Street Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    224
  • 4 Stars
    101
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    143
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    152
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    9
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • NaNa
  • Bethesda, MD
  • 03-02-16

Polically conservative but well argued

Interesting to hear the conservative take on American history...didn't get obvious until the discussion of abortion, decline of mainstream churches and education. It helps to hear these views spoken by a British nanny - less infuriating.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A better understanding

There are so many times in history books or news articles where what happened was spun to serve someone purpose. This is the kind of book which will dig deeper and shed some light on these subjects and they suddenly seem less "black and white". Overall an amazing book with loads of information, although hard to stay focused on at times because of its thoroughness.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

47 hours felt too short!

A great comprehensive view of American history. With no pretensions or excuses Mr Johnson explains the complexity through the lives of great statesman.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Hyrum
  • TUCSON, AZ, United States
  • 07-16-15

The finest one volume history of America available

I have given copies to my children, my students, and my friends. His ability to use statistics in a way that is both interesting and illuminating is outstanding. He has strong opinions, but he substantiates them with facts. This book is ideal for sparking class discussion - and for being an example of scholarly debate should be conducted.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent History, Very Enlightening

Johnson brings a fresh perspective to American History that helps us realize the unsung heroes (like James K. Polk and Warren Harding) as well as the blatant farces (the 1960 election) of US History. His treatment is very satisfying to a student of western, modern, and American history.

  • Overall
  • Brad
  • Wilmington NC, United States
  • 02-12-15

Thorough and interesting

There were a couple if glitches in the audio, but overall clear. Also, at least one factual error. Ford was seriously challenged by Reagan in 1976.
Nonetheless, illuminating book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderfully informative

Written in sweeping, thoughtful prose. It's not just a history of America, but of the interaction between America and the world in which it developed in each generation. The reader is a bit boring. A less formal and more relaxed voice would read better, in my view.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If you want history, this is it

Would you consider the audio edition of A History of the American People to be better than the print version?

Obviously a commitment given its length but well worth it. So well written and read!<br/><br/>The comments about the author skewing towards a conservative bent were unfair. His views were not the story.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent Single Volume

I've read hundreds of history books, most having to do with America history and this is probably as good of a single volume as you'll come accross. There is almost no fluff and it moves along at a fairly good pace even if it is almost 50 hours long -- personally I would have loved a much longer book but then it wouldn't be a single volume any longer. Since I've read so much already on the subject there wasn't a ton of new information here for me, but for most people I highly doubt this would be an issue.

There is very little in the book I disagree with and the author, although a conservative, remains most balanced throughout. I felt he might have been a bit harsh on Andrew Jackson and JFK, but even then my disagreements where only in matters of degree, not in terms of the author being wrong. Also I feel he might have downplayed Reagan a bit - the author gives him credit but maybe not in the way I would. Regardless it's very interesting to hear a different take on something from someone that is more detached than myself.

Since the author is not an American he does seem to come of as detached on issues like slavery, north and south and Republican and Democrat. This is why the book is GREAT. He is a conseravtive but isn't pushing a political party - he's doing what writers of history should do and that is tell the story of what has happened from his point of view instead of pushing an agenda.

As for the reader she does a good job. To be honest I've heard her on various other books and at times I have a problem with the accent in that it just bothers me after hours of listening. I did warm up to it however and she really does do a good job - the issue with the accent is my own which is why I believe a 4-star rating is fair.

If you want to learn as much as possible about American history -- if you want to know what really happened and not the PC nonsense that is taught in school -- or if you just want a refresher on why America is good - this is an excellent book.

  • Overall

I am indebted to Paul Johnson

I cannot think of when I would ever say that I’m “indebted” to an author. Certainly I appreciate the many of the authors of books I’ve read and have been impressed by their talents and the works they have created. However, the emotional reaction that I have after reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People is one of gratitude and indebtedness. With the continued assault on our history with pop culture and political correctness it is refreshing to hear a well researched history that has not been tainted or biased as so much of what is promoted as history today. Johnson does not tell a one sided story, rather he tells a balanced version with a great deal of background perspective that both strengthens the credibility of the material as well as gives the reader a great deal of insight that most history books miss. I have already recommended this book to many of my friends and recommend it to anyone who wants to hear a fascinating story of the American people. I am indebted to Paul Johnson.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful