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Download American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work Audiobook, by Susan Cheever Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (705 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Cheever Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781400173624
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A brilliant, controversial, and fascinating biography of those who were, in the mid-nineteenth century, the center of American thought and literature. Concord, Massachusetts, 1849. At various times, three houses on the same road were home to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry and John Thoreau, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa May, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller. Among their friends and neighbors: Henry James, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, and others. These men and women are at the heart of American idealism. We may think of them as static daguerreotypes, but in fact, these men and women fell desperately in and out of love with each other, edited each other's work, discussed and debated ideas and theories all night long, and walked arm in arm under Concord's great elms-all of which creates a thrilling story. American Bloomsbury explores how, exactly, Concord developed into the first American community devoted to literature and original ideas-ideas that, to this day, define our beliefs about environmentalism and conservation, and about the glorious importance of the individual self. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A lively and insightful introduction to the personalities and achievements of the men and women who were seminal figures in America's literary renaissance. Publishers Weekly
  • “Beguiling…lively and insightful introduction to the personalities and achievements of the men and women who were seminal figures in America’s literary renaissance…[Cheever] keenly analyzes the positive and negative ways they influenced one another’s ideas and beliefs and the literature that came out of “this sudden outbreak of genius.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Emotionally warm and critically engaged, Cheever’s history successfully evokes the incubation of Concord’s literary glory.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 2/18/2014

    " I learned about the synchronous details of life in this time, this genius cluster, and in literary thinking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sady | 2/11/2014

    " It's a love letter to the land where I grew up, which is a nice thing, and it's also all gossipy about the private lives of these people with really powerful principles who were trying to live well in the world; they called their endeavor "the newness". Margaret Fuller xoxo. Really bad depiction of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody - which is a shame, she was amazing and was the first to use the term "transcendentalist" to describe her spirituality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gigi | 2/4/2014

    " I enjoyed the information presented. It gave a lot of great insight into this group of amazing authors and how their lives were so interconnected. However, the format of the book did not appeal to me at all. It continually jumps around chronologically without smooth transitions and occassionally the author will interject her own personal history and it is very awkward. Though the topic was fascinating the actually writing often was not clearly presented. So the concept of the book is probably worth 4 or 5 stars but the writing style of the book would be about a two. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamilah | 1/23/2014

    " I'm really enjoying this book about a group of pre-Civil-War era writers living in the same neighborhood in Concord MA. Some reviews mention historical inaccuracies in Cheever's writing. She presents the material as non-fiction, with a bit of conjecture. I loved the books of Louisa May Alcott, so I'm especially enjoying reading about her family and the experiences of her childhood. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 1/20/2014

    " Susan Cheever's writing style is a little convoluted at times, but it's fascinating to read about these American writers and the way their interrelated lives lead to great literature. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jojo | 1/16/2014

    " A bit gossip-y. There are better sources on these writers. Concord Quartet was just as accessible but more interesting and serious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 sam | 1/11/2014

    " Those wacky Transendentalists! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 1/9/2014

    " I read this for two book groups and found it fascinating. I learned much about the interconnection of the writers living in and around Concord, Massachusetts in the 19th century. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 12/22/2013

    " Interesting dip into the inner lives of a very influential group. Might drive an actual historian crazy as the author favors a chatty tone and is prone to speculative tangents. However, as a casual reader, I found the book to be just the right mix of fact, theory, and gossip. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allison | 12/9/2013

    " Nonfiction account of the circle of writer-philosopher friends that formed around Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 1840s and '50s in Concord, Ma. Gossipy, fascinating look at the lives of Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Hawthorne,Thoreau,Emerson and others. A wonderful read. Literary candy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Gallant | 11/30/2013

    " I really enjoyed this fascinating book wanted to know more about Thoreau "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 eliza | 11/21/2013

    " this book can't really decide if it's historical fiction, memoir, non-fiction or what -- which makes it alternately charming and obnoxious. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mariah | 11/16/2013

    " The subject matter was interesting, though it is a short book and doesn't delve into any one character too deeply. A good introduction to these writers. I did not care for the writing style. I found it disorganized and distracting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 8/14/2013

    " So much of what we read about these authors, at least in a school setting, is surfacy at best. This book brought all of them to life and explained the rather intricate, and often strange, ways their lives were intertwined. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 8/5/2013

    " An interesting primer on the core authors of nineteenth century American literature as well as some of the main characters in the budding trancendental movement. Loved it "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 2/20/2013

    " Although the author is sometimes a bit too sentimental for my taste, I really enjoyed this popular history of the Concord Transcendentalists. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 10/28/2012

    " Really enjoye this book as well. Put it on the same shelf with American Veda, Emerson's Wife, and the writings of Thoreau, Emerson, Fuller, et al. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 10/22/2012

    " FASCINATING. I couldn't put it down and absolutely loved EVERYTHING! I want to go back to Concord now to visit all of the houses, see the places mentioned, etc. And the love triangles!! Who knew?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ricky Perkins | 7/15/2012

    " this book shows the reao relationships strengths and foibles of these amazing writers "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candice | 7/13/2012

    " This book was a great survey of the Transcendentalists in Concord in the mid-19th Century. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Findlay | 6/15/2012

    " LOVED this. It helped me realize I wanted to teach English, and made me question my major enough that I switched minors and career paths. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chi | 11/10/2011

    " It was interesting reading about the interacting lives of the great authors of pre-civil days...the original hippies. But I didn't like Cheever's presentation...confusing sometimes, and a bit hap-hazard it seemed to me. I kept reading though even though I didn't like her style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 9/24/2011

    " It was interesting to read about the lives of these famouse people and to realize they were contemporaries. However, much more could have been done with the material. The writing is just ok not great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 5/16/2011

    " I loved the information in it but thought it was poorly written. I'd recommend it for a good, big-picture view of the transcendentalists. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 5/4/2011

    " Alcott, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Melville, Poe, Longfellow, they all knew each other and all walk through this charming book about the real lives of some of Americas finest writers and thinkers. A+ work! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Autumn | 2/23/2011

    " Shallow read about a fantastically interesting group of people. Treats Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Alcott, and Hawthorne as a group of hormonal teenagers. No real insight on their relations, the times, or their work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurel | 11/14/2010

    " Individually these anecdotal stories are interesting and amusing, but when read together got very confusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 9/30/2010

    " I really enjoyed this fascinating book wanted to know more about Thoreau
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zaiga | 8/30/2010

    " Soap opera-y and hopped all over the place, with random personal reflections of the author injected here and there. Still, somewhat informative. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah | 7/27/2010

    " Great topic. Interesting book. But WAY too short. She barely skims the surface and leaves the reader jonesing for more! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cooper | 7/6/2010

    " Interesting insights into the lives of a group of writers I have mostly not read a great deal of. Cheever's format--following persons and themes--can make the chronology a bit difficult to follow, but she warns of that in the foreword. "

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About the Author
Author Susan Cheever

Susan Cheever was born in New York City and graduated from Brown University. A Guggenheim Fellow and a director of the board of the Yaddo Corporation, she currently teaches in the MFA programs at Bennington College and the New School. She lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received thirty Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.