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Extended Audio Sample The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600–1675, by Bernard Bailyn Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bernard Bailyn Narrator: Henry Strozier Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Bernard Bailyn gives us a compelling, fresh account of the first great transit of people from Britain, Europe, and Africa to British North America, their involvements with each other, and their struggles with the indigenous peoples of the eastern seaboard.

The immigrants were a mixed multitude. They came from England, the Netherlands, the German and Italian states, France, Africa, Sweden, and Finland, and they moved to the western hemisphere for different reasons, from different social backgrounds and cultures. They represented a spectrum of religious attachments. In the early years, their stories are not mainly of triumph but of confusion, failure, violence, and the loss of civility as they sought to normalize situations and recapture lost worlds. It was a thoroughly brutal encounter—not only between the Europeans and native peoples and between Europeans and Africans but among Europeans themselves, as they sought to control and prosper in the new configurations of life that were emerging around them.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Throughout the book, Mr. Bailyn patiently explains the origins of the people who migrated to America. Readers learn which regions of England, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia produced the most migrants, which social classes were best represented, and the extent to which young males predominated within various migrant flows.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Bailyn spares no gory detail, but he treats his subjects with sympathy.” 

    New Yorker

  • “What Bailyn does so well is to not only explain all the action but to pull it into a coherency, a great panoptical dazzle: what motivated people’s actions, how they conducted themselves and why.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Bailyn’s most ambitious book.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Bailyn has given readers a bracing, unvarnished account of a century that determined what would follow.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “A highly detailed and meticulously researched account of the first great stage of England’s dominion over North America…The Barbarous Years [is] a cornucopia of human folly, mischief, and intrigue.”

    Washington Independent Review of Books

  • “Bailyn’s colonists are no genteel aristocrats forging distinctive identities but a heterogeneous demographic mix, inhabiting a ‘barbarous’ world in flux and faced with a future filled with contingency. While some of Bailyn’s superbly told tales, such as the founding of Jamestown and the struggle for religious orthodoxy in Massachusetts, are fairly well known, a multitude of other parts of his narrative will come as a shock to many readers. Verdict: Drawing on decades of sound, dynamic research, the author has provided scholars and general readers alike with an insightful and engaging account of Colonial America that signals a reset on Colonial studies, the culmination of his work. An important book.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “This weighty book distills a lifetime of learning of one of our most authoritative historians of colonial America…A history of the colonies built up of brilliant portraits of the people who interacted in these strange and fearsome lands…This is not your school-book colonial history…Penetrating and stylish…An extraordinary work of profound seriousness, characteristic of its author.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “In Bailyn’s perceptive and erudite hands, the original British, Dutch, and Swedish ventures assume as wild and variegated guises as did the forceful individuals who embarked on them.”

    Booklist

  • “Magisterial…Popular histories often gentrify these early events, but Bailyn’s gripping, detailed, often squirm-inducing account makes it abundantly clear how ungenteel they actually were.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Usually the story of early American history is told in tidy vignettes of homogenous settlers, escaping the bonds of an old world’s stifling intolerance and blazing a linear course toward freedom. Here Bailyn rips away the façade and in the process reveals a world in which the fragility of life and financial devastation were an ever-present reality….Told with a flair that only a master storyteller such as Bailyn can accomplish. The book lends itself well to the audio format in spite of its more than tweny-six-hour span. Henry Strozier’s reading is solid and never gets in the way of Bailyn’s remarkable work of historical achievement. Verdict: Highly recommended to listeners of early American history.”

    Library Journal (starred audio review)

  • “Henry Strozier’s deep, authoritative voice fits the tone and the density of this serious, detailed history of the early settling of British North America. His reading is expressive and well modulated to fit the sense of the text, which is enlivened at times by a wry or sarcastic tone. He even emotes and acts when the material permits…A strong, able reading of a predominantly thoughtful and informative text.”

    AudioFile

  • A 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for History
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • One of the New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
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About the Author

Bernard Bailyn did his undergraduate work at Williams College and his graduate work at Harvard, where he is currently Adams University Professor and James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History Emeritus. He has received many honors for his published work, including Pulitzer Prize Awards, a Bancroft Prize, and a National Book Award. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal.