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Publisher's Summary

In Empire of Liberty, one of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812.

As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life - in politics, society, economy, and culture. The men who founded the new government had high hopes for the future, but few of their hopes and dreams worked out quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged. Some wanted the United States to become a great fiscal-military state, like those of Britain and France; others wanted the country to remain a rural agricultural state very different from the European states. Instead, by 1815 the United States became something neither group anticipated. Named a New York Times Notable Book, Empire of Liberty, part of The Oxford History of the United States series, offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.

The Oxford History of the United States is considered the gold standard for serious historians and general readers (and listeners) alike. Three of the titles have won the Pulitzer Prize for history; two have been Pulitzer Prize finalists, and all of them have enjoyed critical and commercial success.

Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Empire of Liberty is number IV in The Oxford History of the United States.

Listen to more of the definitive Oxford History of the United States.
©2009 Gordon S. Wood; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner - Best History Audiobook, 2011

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    363
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    281
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    91
  • 2 Stars
    30
  • 1 Stars
    21

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    270
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    180
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    68
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    11
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    12

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    277
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    165
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    58
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    19
  • 1 Stars
    15
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Vera
  • Canada
  • 11-24-15

Full Meal Deal

Would you listen to Empire of Liberty again? Why?

Someday, there is so much information in this book. No idea what a struggle it was to pull together the identity of the US as known today. It could have gone in much different directions. Jefferson hated the idea of banking, big government and huge military power.

What other book might you compare Empire of Liberty to and why?

Books from The Great Courses.

Have you listened to any of Robert Fass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is not that kind of book. You tend to shake your head. There was every kind of evil imaginable and a powerful mission to create a country based on honour, dignity and civility.

Any additional comments?

It is important to recall how delicate our present civilization is. It balances on weak pedestals and could topple far easier then the average person can conceive.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Outstanding!

A expertly written history of an often overlooked period.

The is the story of how America came of age and learned to navigate the troubled waters of Republicanism.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • A
  • 09-20-14

I gave up too early

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

Yes but not as a fun read. I started it but put it down till I ran out of fun books to read. You might want to keep a thesaurus handy.

What could Gordon S. Wood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make it required reading for every college student, politician, and anyone with a care about the current horrors of our government.

Have you listened to any of Robert Fass’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me realize that not a whole lot has changed since the beginning of the nation. It really points out how we never learn.

Any additional comments?

If you care about politics at all read this!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

overall outstanding

What did you like best about this story?

fascinating for the most part

Any additional comments?

This was on my to read list for a long time given the excellent reviews but never thought i would be that interested in this period of history, but this is an outstanding (one of the best) additions to the Oxford History series. The author really brings this period in history to life and he filled in critical deficits in my understanding of american history. There were just a few sections, mostly to do with religious revivalism, that i thought were too long and rather boring, but for the most part really well written, interesting, and well performed.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The interaction of biographies

It seems that when a biography is written, it is biased for or against. In this time period you get to experience the founding fathers interacting with each other. Whatever your view of any of the founding fathers you might come away with a different perspective of them. Going in I was not a fan of Jefferson at all but after this book I think that the U. S. might not be the way that it is without him. Also some of the fights back then are still happening today.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Probably not for general interest

Is there anything you would change about this book?

No, but buyers must note that it deals with a very specialised field, namely a brief period in American history. American history buffs might enjoy it much more.

What was most disappointing about Gordon S. Wood’s story?

I thought that often there were too many examples of the point the author was trying to make, which resulted in a measure of tedium. One then struggled not to put the book down.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance is fine, but rather bland.

Did Empire of Liberty inspire you to do anything?

No

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kobi
  • Pittsburgh, PA USA
  • 12-24-11

Slow

Very dry. No narrative flow or character development. I gave up after 2 chapters. For an excellent book in this series, try Battle Cry of Freedom.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ok it is ok it was not the most interesting

Very interesting at times but sometimes dry. Still it is worth while to know this part of history in relation to where we are today.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful