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Download The Education of Henry Adams Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,171 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry Adams Narrator: David Colacci Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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As a journalist, historian, and novelist born into a family that included two past presidents of the United States, Henry Adams was constantly focused on the American experiment. An immediate bestseller awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1919, The Education of Henry Adams recounts his own and the country’s education from 1838, the year of his birth, to 1905, incorporating the Civil War, capitalist expansion and the growth of the United States as a world power. Exploring America as both a success and a failure, contradiction was the very impetus that compelled Adams to write Education, in which he was also able to voice his deep skepticism about mankind’s power to control the direction of history. Written with immense wit and irony, reassembling the past while glimpsing the future, Adams’ vision expresses what Henry James declared the “complex fate” to be an American, and remains one of the most compelling works of American autobiography today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There are sentences, paragraphs, whole pages that the reviewer is deeply tempted to quote. Suffice it again to recommend the public to read the book as a whole.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “David Colacci gracefully takes listeners through the education… an over-the-top writing style, and thought-provoking tours through history—all well narrated.”


  • “Among the oddest and most enlightening books in American literature…Contains thousands of memorable one-liners about politics, morality, culture, and transatlantic relations…Most of all, Adams’ book is a brilliant account of how his own sensibility came to be.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Dennis | 2/20/2014

    " This started out fascinating -- son of a famous political family growing up in mid-19th Century New England. Henry Adams has the insider's view of the who's who of America at the time, and his family, social, educational, and professional life is a series of name dropping. Adams has a quirky sense of humor, but about a third of the way in the journal turned increasingly tedious and sometimes downright boring. It's never a good thing when the book seems it will never end. But end it did, and I do not look back. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Erin | 2/20/2014

    " I am having a lot of trouble plowing through this one. I've been reading it for almost nine weeks (I know because it's due back at the library after 2 renewals!) and though it is not wholly unenjoyable, it is slow going. The problem is that Adams simply did not write this book for future generations. He writes assuming you have every idea of what he is talking about. I have only a fair grasp of history and have very very very often had to look up people and events that he has mentioned. The name-dropping is incredible. He mentions so many people and places only in passing, almost as an inside joke, "wink wink" type of a thing, I get really frustrated and put the book down and walk away from it for a week at a time. I think the worst part is actually the thing the publishers have done to combat this effect. My edition (not the one pictured here) has a cast of characters, a list of important people mentioned in the book and why they were important. But the frustrating part is that probably only 1/16th of the people Adams casually drops into conversation are listed. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to WHO is listed. People who are written about for 20 pages are not annotated, while someone mentioned only briefly has a prominent entry. My research into the book itself has told me that Adams did not write this weighty tome for the public, but meant it only for family and friends after his death. So perhaps my beef is not actually with Adams at all, but with the publishers for not providing enough background information. All that said, there are some passages that are beautifully descriptive and wonderfully written, particularly about his childhood in Boston and Quincy and what life was like here in the mid-1800s. And I always think it's cool when I can get up from my chair, hop on the subway, and check out a particular building or street for myself. Another plus: It made me want to go back and listen to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill! In summary: Read if you're really interested, but bring a good encyclopedia along for the journey. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ellen | 2/19/2014

    " Adams' sense, in 1899, that we were moving from a universe to a multiverse was prophetic. A harsh self-critic, he ends each chapter with the denouement, as yet I was not educated. An excellent autobiography. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Nick | 2/18/2014

    " Still an important book in understanding the American mind. Mr. Adams' observations of various 19th century historical figures careens between insightful and amusingly ironic. This is an "education" because all historians are educated by life rather than being an agent in the creation of events. His narrative, both self-effacing and fatalistic, is most interesting in regard to his attendance at the Court of St. James during the Civil War as private secretary to his father, and during his travels and observations at the dawning of the 20th century. The book also provides an interesting perspective on the manner in which a learned individual is forced to view a changing world. Having been part of a great American and New England family, Mr. Adams was educated in the manner expected by both his legacy and his time. In retrospect he finds that the world changes at its own pace and that the individual is forced to embrace this acceleration of "progress" or be consumed by it--a message that is still as essential in our time as it was in his as his generation grappled with the challenges of civic corruption and the Robber Barons. In the end he found that his thinking, which was rooted in the 18th century poorly prepared him for the world of the late 19th and early 20th century. This observation is especially prescient and close to home for Adams, being a member of one of the first of the great American political families, which continued its slow decline into obscurity and irrelevancy. I first read this book as a young man in college and was largely mystified and bored by it. I have come back to it over time. Now, as an older man I can understand better the insights Mr. Adams was conveying. I am also impressed with his modernism, though speaking to us from almost a hundred years in the past. I guess the old boy has gotten wittier and smarter with time. "

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