To America

Personal Reflections of an Historian
Narrated by: Henry Strozier
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (247 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Reflecting on his career, Stephen E. Ambrose - one of the country's most influential historians - confronts America's failures and struggles as he explores both its moral and pragmatic triumphs. To America celebrates the men and women who invented the United States and made it exceptional.

Taking a few swings at today's political correctness, Ambrose grapples with the country's historic sins of racism, its neglect and ill treatment of Native Americans, and its tragic errors. He reflects on some of the early founders - great men such as Washington and Jefferson - who, while progressive thinkers, lived a contradiction as slaveholders. He contemplates the genius of Andrew Jackson's defeat of a vastly superior British force with a ragtag army in the War of 1812. He describes the grueling journey that Lewis and Clark made to open up the country, and the building of the railroad that produced great riches for a few barons.

Ambrose explains the misunderstood presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, records the country's assumption of world power under the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, and extols the heroic victory of World War II. He explores women's rights and civil rights, immigration, and museum and nation-building.

Most importantly, Ambrose tells us about writing history, and about what an historian's job is all about. As he says, "The last five letters of the word 'history' tell us that it is an account of the past that is about people and what they did, which is what makes it the most fascinating of subjects." As he reflects upon American history, Ambrose shares his own personal history. To America is an instant classic for those interested in history, patriotism, and the love of writing.

©2011 Stephen E. Ambrose (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Stephen Ambrose is that rare breed: an historian with true passion for his subjects." (Ken Burns)

What listeners say about To America

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Wow!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ambrose's personal reflections. It is great to learn history from such a passionate author. I recommend this to all who wish to gain additional historical insight, while learning a little bit about the author as well.

14 people found this helpful

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Wow!

Wow! was that a chalk full of information. He applies his life into his writing, demonstrating the effects that History has had on himself and his family is a skill which he masters. What a great book! Highly Recommend it if you love history. Brilliant man.

13 people found this helpful

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A book for opened eyes.

As I am a young adult in a collage class this book has opened my eyes greatly. As a part of the new generation coming forth this book has set my views wild. There has been nothing in this book I didn't find enjoyable. This book is about facts and the antidotes of a great historian not afraid of opening his eyes to new concepts. I recommend this to any young adult reader. A wonderful book to read.

9 people found this helpful

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Don’t let this one get past you!

Are you an Ambrose skeptic (life me)? This one is great. Are you an Ambrose fan? This one is great. Why?

This is a series of essays, starting with the clay feet of the founding founders, and proceeding chronologically through American history up to the turn of the century. Along the way, Ambrose throws in wonderful autobiographical anecdotes.

I am normally somewhat of an Ambrose skeptic. Why did we win World War II? Our boys were b enter, our country was better, etc. I love our country, but not to the point where historical writing hits you over the head with it. I’ve read many partisan histories of the Civil War — both North and South — and they are tiresome. I’m being pounded with an obvious point of view. Much with the same with some history written by Ambrose.

That said, this one is different. Do his views come out? Of course. But they are some very real gems in this collection, starting out with the first one, the essay on Grant and reconstruction, and his efforts to the D-day museum built.

Are you a history buff. If so, this one is for you. I finished this audio book in less than 24 hours. I could not stop listening. Enjoy.

1 person found this helpful

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Very interesting take on hot spots in our history

One reviewer did not like that Ambrose seemed to lack objectivity; too liberal. Since I'm a liberal, that didn't bother me as much as it might someone who leans to the right.

I really enjoyed the topics he picked and the narrative style (reminded me of Shelby Foote's 3-volume history of the Civil War). He clearly loved his work and reminded me why I've always been fascinated with American history. The narrator had a voice that reminded me of the newsmen I grew up listening to and watching on TV. Very authoritative with clear, accurate pronunciations.

I hesitate to mention this since I don't know how accurate these allegations are, but I've read that Mr. Ambrose has been accused of plagiarism and factual errors. I didn't hear anything that I know to fit either of those accusations, but deducted a star for story and overall just in case that's true. It certainly would make me hesitate in passing along information from this book without verifying it with other sources. (Can you tell that I work for a newspaper?)

Overall, I consider this to be a well-written and well-narrated book. I'm sure I'll be listening to it again.

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Like a casual conversation

Enjoyed the meandering musings of an extraordinary historian. Can see myself listening to this again.

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Engrossing, beautifully written and read

A combination memoir and American history lesson, touching on momentous events since the Revolution. Strozier perfectly captures Ambrose’s “voice”. Highly recommend.

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A True Gift of Patriotic Spirit!!

Dear Mr. Ambrose,
Thank you for your balanced, truthful, insightful, heart warming, witty, and fascinating gift of patriotism!
I know your mentor said not to use adjectives in your historical writing, but this is a review. I will have to listen again....and again. Would you consider being a political advisor to our three branches of government? I would vote for you for our President!
Your interviews and research are so enriching! I will have to get your book for my father, who I believe is only slightly older than you. Thank you for your energy and American spirit!
Sincerely,
Maria (your new fan!)
PS. Mr. Strozier is a superb narrator for your writing. He embodies your words with great warmth and understanding!

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Good, but jumpy.

Could've been more ordered. The narration was superb. I had no problem finishing this book.

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Like listening to a Grandfather reminisce

A solid insight into “us”.. the people of the storied events of America; the hypocrisies to, and the achievements of, the ideals that have been lauded as “American Ideals” from its founding documents; all of it as the evolution from what Americans aspired to be toward its closer to becoming those aspirations generation after generation to where we are as a people and culture today, still not entirely there, but a dam site closer to it than we were; certainly more to it all than any other nation or culture in the world.

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 07-15-16

Engaging & interesting

Ambrose's reputation as a patriotic American historian is well established. In this book he explains largely through reminiscences his philosophy and personal view of history especially that of US 20th century military engagements and the men who fought in them. He is a great story teller for sure. And his warm and wise personality shines through his writing. Its strange though that he makes no allusion to the corruption of America's democratic process nor to what people refer to as the US warfare state. And this book was written only a few years ago.