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Extended Audio Sample Brothers: George Howe Colt on His Brothers and Brothers in History, by George Howe Colt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (49 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Howe Colt Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the bestselling National Book Award finalist comes a masterful blend of history and memoir featuring the author’s four brothers and iconic brothers in history—the Thoreaus, the Van Goghs, the Kelloggs, the Marx brothers, and the Booths.

George Howe Colt believes that he would be an entirely different man had he not grown up in a family of four brothers. In Brothers, he movingly recounts the adoration, envy, rivalry, affection, anger, and compassion in their shifting relationships from childhood through middle age.

In alternate chapters, Colt moves from a quest to understand how his own brothers shaped his life to an examination of the complex relationships between iconic brothers in history. Listeners will learn how Edwin Booth grew up to become the greatest actor on the nineteenth-century American stage while his younger brother John grew up to assassinate a president. They will discover how Will Kellogg worked for his older brother John Harvey as a subservient yes-man for two decades until he finally broke free and launched the cereal empire that outlasted all his brother’s enterprises. The author also relates how Vincent van Gogh would never have survived without the support of his younger brother Theo; how Henry David Thoreau’s life was shadowed by the early death of his older brother John; and how the Marx brothers collaborated on the screen but competed offstage for women, money, and fame.

Illuminating and affecting, this book will be revelatory for anyone curious about how thoroughly a man’s life can be molded by his brothers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Colt elegantly captures the complicated dynamics between brothers that both bind and define them, as well as the evolving relationships between his own brothers as they move into middle age.”

    Parade

  • ““Anyone who’s had the pleasure of reading Colt’s previous, National Book Award-nominated work, The Big House, will know his delicate, detailed, ironically self-mocking way with prose, and his lucid, affectionate fair-mindedness. . .Colt has done a prodigious job of research and synthesis, and his skill at storytelling is such that each of them is transformed into something fresh, dramatic, and emotionally piercing.””

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Part memoir, part exhaustively researched biography of famous brothers and how they drove each other, loved each other, fought, drove each other crazy, and supported each other through craziness…Insightful and harrowing and funny and stacked with stories.”

    New Yorker

  • “A great book—brilliantly conceived, daringly organized, endlessly fascinating.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “A masterful blend of history and memoir.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Detailed considerations…of well-known brothers and cameo references to many others, famous and not so, help Colt in his quest to explain the mystery of how siblings can be so different from one another.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Colt is an acute observer and sensitive chronicler of male emotion…Searingly poignant.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Colt’s fine writing, extensive research, and thoughtful analysis make Brothers a meaty, pleasurable read.”

    Concord Monitor

  • “Vivid and psychologically revealing.”

    Bookpage

  • “The brotherly counterpoint between fierce rivalry and stalwart affection is teased out in this absorbing meditation on family dynamics…No one writers better than Colt about families and the strange alchemy that binds them, and the way siblings make each other what they are even as they become distinct, even estranged, personalities.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An enjoyable read for members of small and large broods alike.”

    Booklist

  • “The second of four brothers, [Colt] perceptively explores his fraught relationship with them—the competitiveness and conflicts, the yearning for a closeness that would not come until several decades had passed—in the context of an often wistful memoir of an…American family in the 1950s and ‘60s.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “As soon as I started reading Brothers, I found myself talking about it to everyone I saw. You will want to give it to people in your life. George Howe Colt is a master at balancing the personal and the universal, and the book makes a powerful case for sibling rivalry—and love—as a driving force not just in individual lives but in the world.”

    Maile Meloy, author of Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It

  • “A master craftsman of literary nonfiction, George Howe Colt brilliantly conjoins history and memoir, insight and humor—not to mention Cain and Abel, Groucho and Harpo. Every page of this book is a pleasure.”

    Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening

  • “A captivating blend of historical anecdote, personal revelation, and psychological insight, this lively and imaginative book will serve up a great deal of wisdom (and just as much fun) to anyone who has ever been a brother or had a brother. In fact, maybe all you have to do to derive pleasure and nourishment from Colt's book is simply to have once met a brother—it’s that appealing.”

    Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibitio

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jill | 11/28/2013

    " Very well written. I really enjoyed the alternating chapters. Colt started off with his brothers , then chose famous brothers e.g. The Kellogg's, Booths, Van Goghs et al. to highlight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Erin | 8/16/2013

    " Interesting. He details the stories of the Booth, Kellogg, Marx brothers along with his own family relationships. Most interesting how he dropped in short passages about sibling research and scores of other famous brothers. Slow at times, best read episodically "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mindy | 5/27/2013

    " This was a slow starter though I warmed up to the stories and Colt's writing. It is worth a read for the final truths which are delivered about siblings. I enjoyed the recounting of the Kellogg's, the Marx Brothers, the Thoreaus in addition to the stories of the Colt Brothers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kimberly | 5/6/2013

    " I enjoyed the chapters on the Boothe and Marx Brothers the most. Good read. "

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About the Author

George Howe Colt is the bestselling author of November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide and The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, which was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times notable book. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.