• Walt Whitman’s America

  • A Cultural Biography
  • By: David S. Reynolds
  • Narrated by: John Lescault
  • Length: 28 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Walt Whitman’s America  By  cover art

Walt Whitman’s America

By: David S. Reynolds
Narrated by: John Lescault
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Publisher's Summary

In his poetry, Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America, and in so doing, heal its deepening divisions. This magisterial biography demonstrates the epic scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age.

Combing through the full range of Whitman’s writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from every stratum of 19th-century American life: the convulsions of slavery and depression; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery “b’hoys”; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his own sexuality with contemporary social mores and how his energetic courtship of the public presaged the vogues of advertising and celebrity. Brilliantly researched, captivatingly told, Walt Whitman’s America is a triumphant work of scholarship that breathes new life into the biographical genre.

©2011 David S. Reynolds (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

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Finally understanding Whitman

I thought David Reynolds does an excellent job deeply exploring the influences and motivations of not only Walt Whitman but the people around him. By going thoroughly from the beginning to the end, a sense of how Whitman changed and evolved. Reynolds does an excellent job talking about the cultural influences on Whitman and how the culture also evolved during Whitman's life. Smooth narration I enjoyed it to the end.

2 people found this helpful

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Helps the listener to understand Leaves of Grass

This book is a thorough piece of scholarship and a fine telling of the story of Walt Whitman's life and the national context at the time he wrote each of the editions of "Leaves of Grass" (LOG). LOG is one of those books that having an overview of the author's project when writing it is helpful. This is that kind of book. It has helped me to understand the four editions of LOG that I've read over the years. It also helps to explain why Whitman created 6 editions that were so different from each other without giving the editions different titles.

I highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Simply Superb

Superb and engrossing, a full and culturally based depiction of the gray bearded artist of the word. Thorough, interesting and a most welcome read. Narration excellent and Whitman comes alive. Many thanks, and good reading be yours, my Audible friends. Ernie

1 person found this helpful

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A wonderful insightful biography well narrated

This biography gives the listener a deep sense of the contradictory elements in the larger than life figure of Walt Whitman. It interweaves his fascinating biography with the main events in American history from the 1830s to the 1890s. Having read Whitman's poetry for many years, I come away from this book with a much deeper insight into his work and an appreciation of it.