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Download America, 1908: The Dawn of Flight, the Race to the Pole, the Invention of the Model T, and the Making of a Modern Nation Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample America, 1908: The Dawn of Flight, the Race to the Pole, the Invention of the Model T, and the Making of a Modern Nation Audiobook, by Jim Rasenberger Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (162 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jim Rasenberger Narrator: James Jenner Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2007 ISBN: 9781436134743
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A captivating look at a bygone era through the lens of a single, surprisingly momentous American year one century ago. 1908 was the year Henry Ford launched the Model T, the Wright Brothers proved to the world that they had mastered the art of flight, Teddy Roosevelt decided to send American naval warships around the globe, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series (a feat they have never yet repeated), and six automobiles set out on an incredible 20,000 mile race from New York City to Paris via the frozen Bering Strait.

A charming and knowledgeable guide, Rasenberger takes readers back to a time of almost limitless optimism, even in the face of enormous inequality, an era when the majority of Americans believed that the future was bound to be better than the past, that the world’s worst problems would eventually be solved, and that nothing at all was impossible. As Thomas Edison succinctly said that year, “Anything, everything is possible.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Jim Rasenberg has found the perfect aperture through which to view the explosion of modernity. 1908 was indeed a big bang of a year, a year full of hope and promise but also one which presented our world with a Pandora’s box of unforeseen perils. Reader will love—and historians will envy—the graceful simplicity of Rasenberger’s singular prism. America, 1908 effortlessly transports us back to the future, to a distant time and place that seems oddly familiar.” Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author
  • “What a difference a century makes, and how easy the confidence of 1908 looks by contrast with today…Rasenberger renders 1908 as a series of snapshots, and his camera never blinks.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator James Jenner transforms the odyssey of events from every aspect of American life into a coherent history that’s informative and diverting. His avuncular voice and restrained pace give his sandy delivery a nostalgic charm unusual for nonfiction.”

    AudioFile

  • “Through Rasenberger’s skill, the year 1908 seems…a cohesive body of events all linked to make something bigger, something grander. He portrays a year in the life of a changing America; whether it is American automobiles and ships prancing around the world or Americans adopting new technologies, it was certain that this country was changing.”

    Booklist

  • “Rasenberger’s talent lies in his ability to synchronously thread it all together, as the year unfolds, with random happenstances…An effective reach across time that is both poignant and entertaining.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This is a wonderful surprise of a book—a time machine back to the year when the American Century got going full tilt. Jim Rasenberger writes in a voice as winning as Theodore Roosevelt’s smile and pilots his machine with a sure-handedness that would have impressed the Wright brothers. When you finish America, 1908, you will swear you were there.”

    Patricia O’Toole, author of When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House

  • “An exhilarating panorama of the United States as it was a century ago. The cast of characters here, from Teddy Roosevelt to Fred Merkle (the luckless batter who mistake lost the New York Giants a still-legendary pennant race), is unforgettable. And the America that shows itself in this masterful narrative constantly reveals links to America today.”

    Mark Caldwell, author of New York Night: The Mystique and Its History

  • America, 1908 is an intricate time machine with moving parts that mesh like a fine old gold watch, transporting the reader to a time extraordinarily like and yet unlike our own. Rasenberger, a master of detail, gives us a superb rendition of an important and fascinating American moment.”

    James Tobin, author of To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina Dudley | 2/16/2014

    " A fascinating year's eye view, in which I was enthralled by certain parts (polar exploration, public scandals, cars) and bored by certain parts (mostly to do with the poor Wright brothers). Rasenberger ranges far and wide. Since I was reading Maud Hart Lovelace's BETSY-TACY series concurrently, this book shed light on the era, but I realized most momentous events glance off the everyday lives of those not involved, no matter which era you live in. Finally put it down because I hit yet another flying section, and just couldn't bring myself to do it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 2/11/2014

    " An entertaining and at times fascinating account of events in American history - political, cultural, scientific and more - during the year 1908. The book's only downfall is in the author's insistence at telling the stories in chronological order. The result is too jarring to make for captivating reading. For example, in one chapter the author relates the details of a baseball game. I was not very interested in this story at first, but soon found myself lost in the game, pulling the book closer to my face, as if that would help me get the words in faster. Then, at the story's climax the author switches gears and begins tellings us about the invention of the Model T Ford. Typically I would have been more interested in the Model T story, but found it an irritating inclusion that kept me from my baseball story. We return to the baseball story in the next chapter, at its chronologically correct position, but I have lost interest by then, and the baseball story is now an irritant keeping me from the story it has just interrupted. That said, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy non-fiction. Just be prepared to read it as a month-by-month narrative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexandrea | 2/1/2014

    " This book sticks mostly to the events listed in its title, sprinkled with some other interesting anecdotes in between. It was not entirely captivating to me, and seemed to drag towards the end. That said, I am not particularly taken with stories of historical baseball games or arguments over who reached the North Pole first. One fun part about the book is being able to compare America from approximately a hundred years ago to the America today: in some aspects, America has come a long way. In many others, it's uncanny how much the issues haven't changed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Humkeb | 1/29/2014

    " I love to read anything about America! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 12/14/2013

    " While it contained interesting stories, this book seemed like it was less than the sum of its parts. It didn't feel like a coherent story. It was more of a collection of different events that took place in the same year. My favorite parts were about the Wright brothers and President T. Roosevelt. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 12/13/2013

    " America 1908 is a wonderful look at a year that shaped the course of the 20th century for America and defined a generation leapfrogging technology in a way that would not be seen until the Second World War. Unlike many history of technology books this is really a social look at some of the great achievement of the year and focuses on not only technology, but politics and baseball as a way to address the social medium and change of the time. From the onset of progressivism to the Model T and advent of the airplane the year 1908 was filled with milestones. Baseball is a prominent feature in the book and the famed penut race of 1908 is detailed perfectly in here focusing on what happened in baseball after the first ball dropped from Times Square kicking off this whimsical and climatic year. Although new to Rasenberger as a historian I was favorably impressed by his analysis and careful thought in what to include on a book spanning multiple topics over 1 year. While many times these books can appear random this author does an excellent job of sticking to salient information and presenting clear correlations between his topics. I will say that while some events are not as important or as earth shattering as others they still make for interesting reading. Overall it's a great addition to history of technology and American social history and well worth a read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy | 12/11/2013

    " Interesting but uneven. I liked the sections on the Wright Brothers the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol B. | 12/10/2013

    " This was a great book to listen to as we made a road trip. I was fascinated by how many important things happened during this year that have effected all of us, such as first flight. It is a great look at life at the turn of the century. Those who are history buffs will enjoy it as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Schmitt | 4/8/2013

    " A biography of a year... a very interesting year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Delong | 2/21/2013

    " Great insight was shown into all the main cultural and technological advances of the year. Great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 11/14/2012

    " Who knew the excitment (and racial horror) of living in the U.S. in 1908. I picked up this book on a whim and was fascinated. An easy and exciting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susanna | 9/6/2012

    " Rasenberger is a bit kind to Frederick Cook. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Blumer | 7/29/2012

    " Interesting look back at where the country was 100 years ago and how much has transpired since then that was novel in 1908. Book is written in more of a story genre than just historical facts. He has personalized the characters, which makes this book more interesting to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 4/16/2012

    " What an entertaining romp through a fabulous year in American history! Loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 1/20/2012

    " The problem is the book resembles someone going through the New York Times one day at a time a writing about that event with a little perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 12/3/2011

    " This was a fabulous book about the events of 1908. From the Model T to the Wright Brothers to Teddy Roosevelt, to baseball, this non-fiction read better than a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 11/9/2011

    " A really interesting narrative history overview - well written. Inspired me to look for some other books on the same time period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 10/3/2011

    " Extremely interesting! Good for research papers too :) haha "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine Hurst | 5/2/2011

    " A very readable history of the year. I read because I am writing a book about 1905 Boston and wanted to see how someone else had treated a similar theme. Lots of great stories about the Wright Brothers, Teddy Roosevelt, and other memorable characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susannah | 3/29/2011

    " Agree with Dad's review. Not coherent at all. And I give it 2 stars - I can judge by that fact that it took an ENTIRE MONTH to finish listening to it - that means it wasn't interesting enough to turn on my iPod to listen in all those small 10-minute snatches of time when I could have ... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susanna | 3/12/2011

    " Rasenberger is a bit kind to Frederick Cook. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 7/4/2010

    " Great insight was shown into all the main cultural and technological advances of the year. Great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine | 6/22/2010

    " A very readable history of the year. I read because I am writing a book about 1905 Boston and wanted to see how someone else had treated a similar theme. Lots of great stories about the Wright Brothers, Teddy Roosevelt, and other memorable characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rod | 11/11/2009

    " The problem is the book resembles someone going through the New York Times one day at a time a writing about that event with a little perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nick | 5/5/2009

    " While it contained interesting stories, this book seemed like it was less than the sum of its parts. It didn't feel like a coherent story. It was more of a collection of different events that took place in the same year. My favorite parts were about the Wright brothers and President T. Roosevelt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 2/7/2009

    " This was a fabulous book about the events of 1908. From the Model T to the Wright Brothers to Teddy Roosevelt, to baseball, this non-fiction read better than a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 8/7/2008

    " Who knew the excitment (and racial horror) of living in the U.S. in 1908. I picked up this book on a whim and was fascinated. An easy and exciting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/3/2008

    " A really interesting narrative history overview - well written. Inspired me to look for some other books on the same time period. "

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About the Author

Jim Rasenberger has written for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Smithsonian, and the Wilson Quarterly, among other publications. A native of Washington, DC, he lives in New York City with his wife and sons.

About the Narrator

James Jenner is an actor known for Very Good Girls, Enemy Territory, and Third Watch.