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Publisher's Summary

James Conaway's remarkable bestseller delves into the heart of California's lush and verdant Napa Valley, also known as America's Eden. Long the source of succulent grapes and singular wines, this region is also the setting for the remarkable true saga of the personalities behind the winemaking empires. This is the story of Gallos and Mondavis, of fortunes made and lost, of dynasties and destinies.

In this delightful, full-bodied social history, James Conaway charts the rise of a new aristocracy and, in so doing, chronicles the collective ripening of the American dream. More than a wine audiobook, Napa is a must-listen for anyone interested in our country's obsession with money, land, power, and prestige.

©2002 James Conaway (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator John Morgan remains animated and engaged. He doesn't create character voices, but listeners will find scant need for them to identify the sources of quotes. His pace suits the enjoyable stories of locals struggling to survive and migrant laborers seeking a better life. The Spanish, French, and Italian vocabulary of enology taxes him a little but doesn’t spoil his excellent performance." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Excellent But Marred by Non-Stop Mispronunciations

If you could sum up Napa in three words, what would they be?

Reader Needs Help

What did you like best about this story?

The general overview of the changes in the Napa Valley into the Napa Valley we know today.

Did John Morgan do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

It wasn't really necessary in this book since he's narrating, not acting the parts.

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

No, it was just good backstory and overview to the Napa Valley from sleepy little farming valley to internationally acclaimed wine-producing region, including the players who helped to make it that way.

Any additional comments?

I've been visiting the Napa Valley regularly since 1983 and am familiar with many of the players in this book and the events being shared here. Unfortunately, the narrator doesn't seem to be from the area, nor familiar with wine, and he constantly mangles the pronunciation of literally almost everything, even nearby towns like Vacaville, famous wines like Petrus, the mansion at Spring Mountain Vineyards (Miravalle, which is pronounced Mihir-uh-vye-ay but that he mangles as Mihr-uh-valle), and so on, even among the famous names that most anyone knows. It's both funny and distracting, but overall the story makes up for it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Incredible story and good performance

As a newcomer to Napa Valley, for me this book has placed so much of the rich history in context. It has sent me looking on side roads for old wineries, satellite maps to find "Rutherford International Airport" and to the St Helena Public Cemetery to see the graves of John Daniel, Robert and Margrit Mondavi, and Andre Tchelistcheff. My only quibble with the book reading is that many of the names and locations are pronounced differently by the locals than reflected in the recording, leading to some confusion as I went asking after some things I heard (e.g., Chiles is pronounced like "miles" not like the peppers). But otherwise a very good performance and a gripping story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great book/Appalling narration.

After listening to about 60 books in seven months I've noticed something of a pattern. Quite frequently there is a wonderful dramatic narration with pronunciation of words that any educated person would find appalling. On a major level I'm shocked. Where are the producers? Are they unaware of the correct pronunciation of many words or are they too lazy to start the tape over. On a lesser level I understand the source of the errors-while actors sound marvelous, as a whole they are not educated people. What a shame !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

History of the people and issues that built Napa

Would you consider the audio edition of Napa to be better than the print version?

If audio works for your commute or your walk, this one is very well done.
James Conaway tells the story of the people and issues that built Napa.
John Morgan delivers the story with perfection!

Which scene was your favorite?

Tensions between growers and developers, owners and politicians, and locals are all told in vivid detail. Consider the debate about how many grapes are needed to name a wine from Napa ... 75%. Interested tensions in development and preservation of vinyards.
Brings the issues and successes of the area to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting story of the progress of Napa

I am getting ready to visit Napa again and wanted to become more familiar with the history of Napa, including the cast of characters. I wasn't disappointed. By the way, I think John Morgan is probably the best narrator I have listened to, after listening to numerous books. Sorry Mr. Brick, I have a new favorite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Starts off strong then fizzles

Would you try another book from James Conaway and/or John Morgan?

John Morgan needs to do better with pronunciation

Would you recommend Napa to your friends? Why or why not?

No. It's a long dull look into the nuances of county zoning, local politics, and policy; I had been hoping for more discussion of the wines, winemakers, and wineries.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Morgan’s performances?

Maybe for a simpler topic.

Did Napa inspire you to do anything?

No

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

Ask if you don't know how to pronounce something.

If you know wine the mispronunciations will drive you nuts. As for content, The first half was terrific. History of Napa and it's pioneers. Second-half went on forever about politics in minute detail.