• The Great Upheaval

  • America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800
  • By: Jay Winik
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 31 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (124 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is an era that redefined history. As the 1790s began, a fragile America teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, and France plunged into revolution. But in contrast to the way conventional histories tell it, none of these remarkable events occurred in isolation.

Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization. A sweeping, magisterial drama featuring the richest cast of characters ever to walk upon the world stage, including Washington, Jefferson, Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Catherine the Great, The Great Upheaval is a gripping, epic portrait of this tumultuous decade that will forever transform the way we see America's beginnings and our world.

©2007 Jay Winik (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Great Upheaval

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I was crazy addicted to this book.

the French Revolution parts of this book were amazing. I listened to it almost everyday for 2 months. I got the unabridged version and still wanted more. I bought the Great Courses on the French Revolution afterwards. I never knew much about the French Revolution, other than what's world-famous and what everybody knows. This was a great introduction, for anyone wanting a deeper study than cursory knowledge

13 people found this helpful

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Exceptional Good!

This book, all 31 hours is spellbinding and most revealing on a critical time in the evolution of democracy in the west. It covers revolutions in the United States and France, and the era of Catherine the Great. I learned very much from this very good book. Jan Winik makes history very accessible and Jonathon Davis is an exceptionally good narrator.

6 people found this helpful

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Worth the time.

I must admit, though I enjoy learning about the founding of America, when I first looked at the length of this book, I was a little nervous.
Could I possibly spend that much time in a book without being bored by the subject? Winik did not disappoint. He weaves together a relatively short history of three countries (The US, France, & Russia) into a marvelous, fascinating tale.
The narration was excellent. Outstanding book!

4 people found this helpful

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Well worth the time.

I'm pretty well read on this time-period but this book was a great addition as it ties things together much better than say the history of Xyz country. None of the leaders lived in a vacuum. All of them were hyper-aware of what was happening with their enemies and friends, as well as those who were neutral or susceptible to outside forces. Everyone was looking for opportunities to influence one another and this book does a good job of telling that side of the story through the events as they unfolded.

It really helped that I already knew a lot of the players here, but I think you'll get a lot out of this even if you use it as a starting point for the period. Great book!

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastic juxtaposition of time and place!

I will say right off that it took a while for the book to get going. But once it did it hit its stride in a very eloquent fashion telling the story of the French Revolution and then framing it with events going on at the time in Russia and the fledgling United States. I have read a number of books about the French Revolution but never one that put it into so much contact in regards to American history. At times it was downright scary to see how close we were to possibly falling into the chaos everything from the storming of the Bastille to the actual Terror itself are scenes that could have been replayed here in this country at that time. For that alone I highly recommend this book.

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A history buff, but fortunately not a connoisseur

Reading some of the one star print reviews I find Winik's writing criticized for all manner of journalistic shortcomings. Fortunately, the audible experience did not communicate these flagrancies. I thoroughly enjoyed the interweaving of this critical period in world history. The history professor may be aghast at some of the "simplistic" conclusions the author presents, but I feel the non professional history buff will thoroughly enjoy Winik's passionate presentation. Expressing a little justifiable pride in the wisdom of this country’s founders is refreshing in this day of nationalistic cynicism.

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Best Revolutionary History book I’ve read. Truly unique.

Read the book twice. It has a special spot on my bookshelf.

I believe there was an earlier audiobook which was abridged (and terrible).

So glad this came out.

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Not Bad, Little Random

Not as good as his more recent books and somewhat random in how it is organized but it would have to be in order to tell whole story. In some ways I found the parts about Russia the most interesting but really not connected to the overall storyline of the book. Overall I believe the focus of the author should have been more on France and the US but that would have been a much shorter read. Seems like Russia was "thrown in" to make a more complete story. But overall very solid and enjoyable.

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A new view on history

I really liked the concept of how intertwined the people and events of this time period were. we teand to be taught it all happened more independent of each other than we learn in this book. I was never aware how so many of our American revolutionary heroes in turn played roles in France, Russia and even Poland after they leave the scene here.
My only complaint is that the author was a little too granular with th details all the way through. I would have been happier with a shorter book with more of a broader stroke to all of it.
The narrator was quite good.

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Incredible!

Extremely well written, perfectly narrated, amazing insight into the affect America has had on the world and a perfect read following the capital insurrection and the false claim of a stolen election. A must read / listen during these difficult political times (2022)