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Extended Audio Sample The American Future Audiobook, by Simon Schama Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 5 3.76 (21 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Schama Narrator: Rupert Degas Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN: 9780061894275
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“With eloquence, wit, passion, and irony, The American Future traces the history of an idea: that of our national destiny….A book of beautiful writing, peppered with wisecracks, slashed with rapier thrusts.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

 

A De Tocqueville for the 21st century, Simon Schama, NBCC Award winning author of  Rough Crossings offers an essential, historical, long view analysis of the American character in The American Future. Shama examines four themes—war, race and faith, immigration, and custodianship of the land—through the prism of the historic 2008 presidential election in a magnificent work that the Wall Street Journal calls a “celebration of American resiliency.” Niall Ferguson says, “I hope Obama will have this book on his bedside table.” Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I hope Obama will have this book on his bedside table. A more inspiring evocation of the spirit of liberal America—past, present and future—does not exist.”

    Niall Ferguson New York Times bestselling author

  • “It is a tribute to Mr. Schama’s talent that he is able to make this work sound exciting, even inspiring…The American Future is a success because Mr. Schama knows how to entwine past and present into a meaningful, continuous whole.”

    New York Times

  • The American Future demonstrates once again that Schama is a quick study, a writer of gorgeous prose, and that he has a deep and clear-eyed love for his adopted land.”

    Washington Post

  • “Schama's wide-ranging narratives wander between contemporary reportage…and fluent, richly literate history. He's alive to irony and hypocrisy in the American story…but Schama is optimistic that the nation's perennial openness and complexity can see it through the storm clouds ahead.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Schama is a genius of storytelling…A historian who radiates such anticipated pleasure is a rare thing. We are lucky to have him.”

    Times (London)

  • “An optimistic work that asserts the inherent strengths of American optimism and commitment to democratic ideals.”

    Booklist

  • “Schama is a masterful stylist and storyteller.”

    Boston Globe

  • An AudioFile Earphones Award winner

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pat | 2/12/2014

    " Sorry, I got bored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline | 2/2/2014

    " This isn't so much of a history of America as it is a history of how Americans view the future. Perhaps of all countries America has always been the most progressive and forward-looking, not in the usual liberal sense of the words, but in the sense of moving forward, seeing what's next. The most obvious example of this is the exploring of the West and Manifest Destiny. Obviously this spirit of pushing forwards, pushing out has casualties, and this book explores that particularly well - the cataclysm of the Civil War, the nativist backlash to immigration, the betrayal of American principles with the Mexican war, the genocide of the Native Americans. Schama writes wonderfully well; he has a very witty, wry tone, and this is an excellent read, albeit a little fragmented. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miguel | 2/2/2014

    " Schama's prose becomes more self-indulgent with every book he writes, and this tome takes the tendency to a new extreme. I watched the BBC series beforehand and was dazzled by the episode on "American Plenty", learning for the first time about John Wesley Powell and finding out that Las Vegas is the most conservation-conscious city in the West. Sadly, that was not the chapter that stood out the most in the book (the narrative of the Trail of Tears seems misplaced). The most original thesis is in "American Fervor", where he posits that religious tolerance handed down from the founding fathers is he best way to engage religious fundamentalism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Cheshire | 1/29/2014

    " This is not a narrative history, more a history built of many narratives, from which themes emerge, such as "American fervour" (religion)and "American plenty" (economy). It's not a book you can skip or dip into; more an extended essay, it asks commitment from the reader. But it's worth it. Through the selection of less familiar figures whose stories are woven into the bigger picture and used as archetypes fresh insights emerge; like how for American soldiers the regiment or unit does not replace family as much as in Europe; and how double edged attitudes to immigrants have been, far from the unambiguous welcome of the Statue of Liberty (composed by a Jewish poet). The account of the mistreatment meted out to the Chinese labourers who built the railroads is shocking. There are some moving quotes; some well-known (Jefferson's "Whereas God hath made the mind free...") others not (a God-fearing civil rights warrior defied death-threats: "I was not saved to run..."). He is good on how British attempts to keep their colonies defensible by boxing-in territorial expansion made the revolution inevitable, and how noone ever won an Americal election "by lecturing Americans about limits." Freedom is the freedom "to move on" and Appollo is mischievously described as "the ultimate meaningless road trip". I warmed to this book as a quirky, often subjective account, history coupled to personal reflection, one of the legitimate uses of history, and one that Schama is rather good at. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 1/4/2014

    " I'm giving this one three stars, but I really feel it's pretty obtuse; I can get into some fairly dry non-fiction, but found myself skimming through sections of the book. The parts didn't make a whole for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Mcdougal | 5/26/2013

    " Great book. Don't agree with his politics (more liberal than I am) but he gives a great view of an American history not typically told and connects it, sometimes at a stretch, with current events. I have already recommended it to friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Wegner | 3/3/2013

    " Wow, I loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/20/2012

    " interesting stories, but I think it could be better organized "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sylvia | 11/25/2012

    " As always an enthralling and unusual take on his subject.Despite the title this is a history of some of the main themes in American history that puts into perspective the current Obama era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Su Xu | 11/14/2012

    " The beginning seems a bit strange as the way the author put is different from other historical reading. But later you will find it as amazing and fabulous as you go on. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C. Adam Volle | 8/13/2012

    " I don't know enough about the discipline of historical research to declare one man the best historian of our time, but I'll fearlessly call Simon Schama the best writer in English of history in our time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rock | 4/6/2012

    " Very differences of historical narrative showing the genesis of many political divides that exist in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 11/20/2011

    " This is an interesting book by a prolific author. A close look at a number of areas of American history--very eclectic. Would definitely recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 5/15/2011

    " I'm giving this one three stars, but I really feel it's pretty obtuse; I can get into some fairly dry non-fiction, but found myself skimming through sections of the book. The parts didn't make a whole for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rock | 5/3/2011

    " Very differences of historical narrative showing the genesis of many political divides that exist in America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 4/11/2011

    " I may upgrade this, because as the reading progresses it gets better. I found the language of the beginning -- a kind of 'historian as cool dude' language -- off-putting. So we'll have to suspend judgment and see how it goes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Xu | 2/16/2011

    " The beginning seems a bit strange as the way the author put is different from other historical reading. But later you will find it as amazing and fabulous as you go on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Justin | 6/30/2010

    " not bad, i have just read a bit too many american history books lately and i did find much new perspective here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 6/24/2010

    " Great book. Don't agree with his politics (more liberal than I am) but he gives a great view of an American history not typically told and connects it, sometimes at a stretch, with current events. I have already recommended it to friends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 12/19/2009

    " Narrated by Rupert Degas. I learned things I didn't know and re-learned things. It's always fun to hear a different perspective. This book makes me want to read more about American history.
    This is the 1st Simon Schama book I've read. Would like to read more. Have enjoyed his TV specials. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 11/1/2009

    " Good book; Schama (at least for me) isn't what you would call light reading; it requires some focus to enjoy. He takes a very unique viewpoint on the scope of american history through the eyes of some of the lesser known characters of the past. "

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About the Author
Author Simon Schama

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. His award-winning books include Scribble, Scribble, Scribble; The American Future: A History; National Book Critics Circle Award winner Rough Crossings; The Power of Art; The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations); Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt's Eyes; and the History of Britain trilogy. He has written and presented forty television documentary films for the BBC, PBS, and The History Channel, including the Emmy-winning Power of Art, on subjects that range from John Donne to Tolstoy.

About the Narrator

Rupert Degas can be heard reading numerous audiobooks, including the Saga of Darren Shan series by Darren Shan, and his narrations have won eight AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has also lent his voice to numerous cartoons, including Mr Bean, Robotboy, Bob the Builder and has performed in more than thirty radio productions, including The Gemini Apes, The Glittering Prizes, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.