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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ray
  • Long Valley, NJ, United States
  • 02-12-11

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.

10 of 13 people found this review 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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KTP
  • Buffalo Gap, TX United States
  • 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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review 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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • R.S.
  • Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  • 12-08-11

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?

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Eugene
  • Bonney Lake, WA, United States
  • 07-30-17

Another Progressive interpretation of history.

[{"type":"Overall","question":"Is there anything you would change about this book?","id":54,"answer":"The book lacks a balanced perspective. Told from a Progressive/Liberal viewpoint, it has all of the most salient features of a New York Times editorial.A "},{"type":"Story","question":"How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?","id":15,"answer":"I was born in 1945. The period covered in this book is very familiar to me, as is the interpretation presented by the author. In recent years I have read books with a more balanced view on the history of the period, ones that treat Kennedy and Johnson with less esteem and more objectivity. Others like Whitaker Chambers whose autobiography I have also read were given short shrift. Chambers exposed Alger Hiss. Hiss according to this author, very unhistorically, seems an innocent victim, a blatant lie since Hiss did ultimately confess. The Rosenbergs are also presented as victims of the Red Scare. \u003cbr/\u003eHaving read all of the preceding volumes of the Oxford History, I was expected a book with a more historically balanced view. This was an attempt to set on stone the leftist interpretation of this period and is unworthy of being part of a much better historical set."},{"type":"Performance","question":"Which scene was your favorite?","id":24,"answer":""},{"type":"Genre","question":"Was Grand Expectations worth the listening time?","id":86,"answer":"Despite the obvious failings, I did enjoy listening. As I stated, I lived through this entire period and have read many biographies of the outstanding figures of the period, as well as the historic events. It would have been a much better book if the author had stuck to simply telling the truth rather than shading it to meet his political objective."},{"type":"Misc","question":"Any additional comments?","id":-1,"answer":"I don\u0027t recommend this to anyone who is going to rely on it as the final history of the period. It has the same flavor of truthfulness one finds in Howard Zinn\u0027s history text. This is a brief overview with too much of a political agenda. Where details are left out, they are the ones that gainsay the viewpoint of the author. That isn\u0027t good history."}]

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great overview of the period

great overview of the period, balanced but engaging, and the story like format makes it compatible with doing other tasks.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • darren
  • 07-11-15

OK

Any additional comments?

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

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Acapella
  • 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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful