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Extended Audio Sample Raintree County Audiobook, by Ross Lockridge Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (436 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ross Lockridge Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781455192106
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A number-one bestseller when it was first published in 1948, this powerful novel is a compelling vision of nineteenth-century America with timeless resonance.

Throughout a single day in 1892, John Shawnessy recalls the great moments of his life—from the battles of the Civil War to the politics of the Gilded Age, from the love affairs of his youth in Indiana to his homecoming as schoolteacher, husband, and father.  

Shawnessy is the epitome of the place and period in which he lives, a rural land of springlike women, shady gamblers, wandering vagabonds, and soapbox orators. Yet here on the banks of the Shawmucky River, which weaves its primitive course through Raintree County, Indiana, he also feels and obeys ancient rhythms.

This panoramic epic of the nineteenth century in Raintree County—particularly of the Civil War and its effects—was produced after six years of research, writing, and revision. It continues to command attention and respect as a stylistically unique work of considerable force.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An achievement of art and purpose, a cosmically brooding book full of significance and beauty.”

    New York Times

  • Raintree County is the middlebrow Ulysses, the Hoosier War and Peace, the Middle Western Remembrance of Things Past, the freshman’s Faust…There’s no shortage of love, sacred and profane, plenty of lusty talk, and a solid vein of humorThe book is definitely a tour de force.”

    Atlantic

  • “No myth is more imposing than the Great American Novel; but if it is truly unattainable, I believe that Ross Lockridge made closer approach than any other writer has, before or since.”

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram

  • “[A] candidate for that mythical honor, the Great American Novel, Raintree County displays unflagging industry [and] a…magnificent vitality.”

    Saturday Review

  • “Shawnessy relives the pivotal moments of his life, from his youth to the Civil War to his adult years. Lloyd James does a wonderful job reading this book, providing an excellent narrative and a wide range of voices for the various characters. This is an excellent match between a great novel and a narrator who seems to understand the book perfectly. While the book is long, it’s well worth listening to.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karl | 2/19/2014

    " This is a hard book to review: it will definitely not be everybody's cup of tea. I had started it once years before, then set it aside, and finally read it at a point in my life when I had the time and the patience. It is massive! But I've never read anything at all like it. It's about America and Americans, Time, Fantasy, the 19th Century, and lots more. Ultimately I found it to be a fascinating, provocative, and important work of American literature. At this point in time the 1957 MGM movie adaptation is more famous than the source novel. That's a pity. The movie is interesting in its own way, although its really not very good. And it barely begins to capture the scope of the novel; its plot follows the novel's outline in only the most cursory fashion. The novel RAINTREE COUNTY is a challenge, for its size if nothing else. But, for me, it remains one of those handful of books that crept into my psyche and changed what I thought a book should be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marts (Thinker) | 2/10/2014

    " The story of Johnny Shaughnessy, would admit I didn't really finish this I also didn't finish watching the movie. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 booklady | 2/1/2014

    " Read a long time ago. Can't remember the story, just that it was one of the most depressing sagas I had read to date. Set in Indiana. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 1/10/2014

    " Oh I remember reading this SO long ago and just lingering on each and every word. Its a wonderful book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith Wright | 1/10/2014

    " The saying that it is not the destination but the path comes to mind when I think of this book. Johnny's attempt to find the mythical raintree, from which flows endless prosperity is the destination; however, it is the path, strewn with prototypes from American history, that stand out most in my mind. The prose remember in this way; in addition to being lyrical, like a river, each chapter ends in an incomplete sentence that is finished by the subject of the first sentence in the next chapter. It is a good time to pause and contemplate the interconnectedness of all things, and sometimes to laugh at the incongruity of it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gezagaz | 12/23/2013

    " A big beautiful book, lost to us, but it shouldn't be. It is so American, so poetic, so magical. Come back, Mr. Lockridge. You shouldn't have killed yourself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Graceann | 12/12/2013

    " I understand that this is a "classic," but it simply wasn't my cup of tea. There were too many digressions and not enough actual story to hold it all together. I can see the bare bones of a great novel here, but it doesn't come together properly for me to appreciate it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 11/23/2013

    " Good story but it took quite a while to get there... lot of wordy conversations that got a little boring at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy Robbins | 6/30/2013

    " Might be a little too deep for some people but I found it to be a really good read. I would LOVE to go back through this book and count the number of times 'Raintree County' is mentioned in this book. Holy cow!! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie | 4/14/2012

    " The writing style was so florid that I just couldn't get past it to enjoy the storyline or characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Moore | 4/12/2012

    " I have a first edition of this. Great story! Love, loss, friendship, war; it has it all and is written perfectly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 9/20/2011

    " Excellent novel.....very hard to read, yet fascinating, provocative, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charr Skirvin | 7/16/2011

    " Having started this book several times in the past and having given up because it was sooooo long, I finally decided to give it the time it deserves. It's a wonderful book. I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/14/2011

    " 1st half great. couldn't finish "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda Petrucelli | 2/28/2010

    " This is billed as "Gone with the Wind for the north." But I just couldn't get into it. Lots of characters and it jumps around in time a lot. Maybe another time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 10/13/2009

    " I read it in highschool and loved it. Wonder if I would find it the same now! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miam | 3/21/2009

    " A total sleeper. Soaring. Could have used some editing; but brilliant and brilliantly written. "

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About the Author
Author Ross Lockridge

Ross Lockridge Jr. (1914–1948) was born and raised in Indiana, graduating from Indiana University. In 1937 he married his high school sweetheart and they had four children. He is most noted for Raintree County, often considered one of the great American novels. Suffering from profound, and largely unrecognized, depression, he committed suicide two months after the novel’s publication. His obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.