• The Indispensables

  • The Diverse Soldier-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware
  • By: Patrick K. O'Donnell
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (242 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Washington’s Immortals and The Unknowns, an important new chronicle of the American Revolution heralding the heroism of the men from Marblehead, Massachusetts

On the stormy night of August 29, 1776, the Continental Army faced annihilation after losing the Battle of Brooklyn. The British had trapped George Washington’s army against the East River, and the fate of the Revolution rested upon the shoulders of the soldier-mariners from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Serving side-by-side in one of the country’s first diverse units, they pulled off an “American Dunkirk” and saved the army by navigating the treacherous waters of the river to Manhattan.

In the annals of the American Revolution, no group played a more consequential role than the Marbleheaders. At the right time in the right place, they repeatedly altered the course of events, and their story shines new light on our understanding of the Revolution. As acclaimed historian Patrick K. O’Donnell dramatically recounts, beginning nearly a decade before the war started, Marbleheaders such as Elbridge Gerry and Azor Orne spearheaded the break with Britain and helped shape the nascent United States by playing a crucial role governing, building alliances, seizing British ships, forging critical supply lines, and establishing the origins of the US Navy.

The Marblehead Regiment, led by John Glover, became truly indispensable. Marbleheaders battled at Lexington and on Bunker Hill and formed the elite Guard that protected George Washington, foreshadowing today’s Secret Service. Then, at the most crucial time in the war, the special operations-like regiment, against all odds, conveyed 2,400 of Washington’s men across the ice-filled Delaware River on Christmas night of 1776, delivering the momentum- shifting surprise attack on Trenton that changed the course of history.

White, Black, Hispanic, and Native American, this uniquely diverse group of soldiers set an inclusive standard the US Army would not reach again for more than 170 years. The Marbleheaders’ story, never fully told before now, makes The Indispensables a vital addition to the literature of the American Revolution.

As best-selling historian Patrick K. O’Donnell dramatically recounts, the Marblehead Regiment, led by John Glover, was truly indispensable. Beginning nearly a decade before the war started, The Indispensables also reveals how Marbleheaders such as Elbridge Gerry and Josiah Lee spearheaded the break with Britain and helped shape the nascent United States by playing a crucial role governing, building alliances, seizing British ships and forging critical supply lines that established the origins of the US Navy.

Marbleheaders battled at Lexington and on Bunker Hill and formed the elite Guard that protected George Washington, a precursor to today’s Secret Service. Then, at the most crucial time in the war, the regiment conveyed 2,400 of Washington’s men across the ice-filled Delaware River on Christmas night of 1776, delivering the momentum-shifting surprise attack on Trenton that changed the course of history.

This uniquely diverse unit set an inclusive standard the US Army would not reach for over 170 years. Compelling and original, The Indispensables is a vital addition to the literature of the American Revolution.

©2021 Patrick K. O'Donnell (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Indispensables

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Content

I have listened to several of Mr. O'Donnell's books and the stories have always been absolutely great. The readers have varied in quality but I have always enjoyed the experience. Until now! This reader is either intentionally sabotaging this experience or the director is. The sentences run one in to another with barely a pause or there are oddly placed pauses inn mid sentence. He is a bit monotone in the read and there are areas he rushed thru and other where he is absolutely ponderous to the point of boring and that is hard to accomplish when he has been given good material...and he has. I do not recall if I have ever listened to this reader before...but after this I will make sure I never do again Shame on Audible...re record this book with a good reader and director...the story deserved to be heard.

11 people found this helpful

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Great story demands a great publisher

This story is great. However the narrator does his best to sound like a typewriter. “Available only through Audible”. So, it seems Audible took a great author and book for the purpose of dulling it to death.
I’ve been with Audible 10 years. They seem not to value this story. No narrator wants to sound like a typewriter; so I will assume this is an Audible executive decision. They don’t value the author or his audience.

10 people found this helpful

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  • JJ
  • 05-31-21

Incredibly well done

An amazingly well told story that will leave you awed by the sacrifices the patriots made to secure our independence. Patrick K. O’Donnell is a national treasure! He obviously has put his heart and soul into completing this important work that should now become an important part of the body of work we reach for when studying the American Revolution.

6 people found this helpful

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Great Story but the Narrator...

The story so far is good but the narrator's performance kind of kills it. His cadence and pacing is a little off. The frequent mispronunciations hamper the story as well.

I hope I am able to finish but I am not confident I can.

4 people found this helpful

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Great story; poor audio editing

Audio editing frequently leaves no pause between sentences, making the whole thing sound choppy and robotic. The narrator may be good but it's hard to tell. The story is excellent but the audio does not do it justice.

3 people found this helpful

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Very poorly narrated.

The narration is just awful. 10 minutes in and I had to stop. Someone needs to re-narrate what I’m sure is a great audio book.
I’m sure the “story” is great.

3 people found this helpful

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A story of unparalleled and unequivocal patriotism!

Few stories inspire awe as this one has. When the Revolutionary Cause often teetered on the edge of despair and annihilation, it was the “Marbleheaders” who again and again rose to the call of their Commander in Chief, and proved worthy of our national attention, remembrance, and memorial.

Although the narration of the book was okay, it was often rushed and monotoned.

3 people found this helpful

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These Indespensable gave everything for Freedom

Hopefully those who hear the stories of sacrifice comtained in these historical words will also fight for our freedom once again

1 person found this helpful

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We speak of greatest generations

Never ceases to amaze me how individuals can give so much dreaming that they are paving the way for their children to be safe.
Tough times make great men…….

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Good topic bad narrator

The book is probably good, but it’s hard to get past the narrator. It sounds like a computer reading the book. Horrendous!