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Download The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States Audiobook, by Gordon S. Wood Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (145 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gordon S. Wood Narrator: Robert Fass Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9781101526255
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The preeminent historian of the Founding Era reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the American Revolution remains so essential.

For Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Gordon S. Wood, the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid, we have had to continually return to our nation’s founding to understand who we are. In a series of illuminating essays, he explores the ideological origins of the Revolution—from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment—and the founders’ attempts to forge a democracy. He reflects on the origins of American exceptionalism, the radicalism and failed hopes of the founding generation, and the “terrifying gap” between us and the men who created the democratic state we take for granted.

This is a profoundly revealing look at the event that forged the United States and its enduring power to define us. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • Intellectually expansive and elegantly woven, Wood’s writings are the closest thing we have to an elegant mediation between today’s readers and the founding generation. Required reading for Revolutionary War enthusiasts on all levels. Library Journal
  • [A] collection of nuanced, elegant essays. It’s hard to imagine a historian better trained to write on this subject. American Heritage
  • Mr. Wood is the premier student of the Founding Era. Wall Street Journal
  • Gordon S. Wood is more than an American historian. He is almost an American institution. Wood has done more than anyone to make the era of the Revolution and early Republic into one of the liveliest periods in American history. The New York Times Book Review
  • When Gordon Wood says anything about America, people listen. Especially when he talks about the lessons of history, as he has for more than half a century now. Providence Journal
  • Exceptional... a remarkable study of the key chapter of American history and its ongoing influence on American character. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Cogent, beautifully written essays... A superb collection. Booklist (starred review)
  • It’s difficult to conjure another writer so at home in the period, so prepared to translate its brilliant strangeness for a modern audience. Sound, agenda-free analysis, gracefully presented. Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim Reid | 12/2/2013

    " My first real introduction into the mindset of America pre 1776. The book begs additional reading before you can set an opinion of the idea of America. ThIs book is not and end to concept or understanding, but a beginning. Be ready to add like books to your must read list. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine Woodman | 11/15/2013

    " I did not like this nearly as much as I have enjoyed other books by this author--his last book was quite good, and this was more erudite and academic than it was readable. Maybe essays on the revolution are not my cup of tea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 11/3/2013

    " good infromation for the American History classes I teach "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Melbie | 4/16/2013

    " This collection of older essays is a good read, nonetheless, but I did not enjoy it as much as I did some of his other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 1/13/2012

    " Interesting set of essays regarding American Political Thought in the early days of the Republic. "

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About the Author
Author Gordon S. Wood

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His 1969 book, The Creation of the American Republic 1776–1787, received the Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. His 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Emerson Prize. Wood contributes regularly to the New Republic and the New York Review of Books.

About the Narrator

Robert Fass is a veteran actor and seven-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, winning in 2011 and 2013. He is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects and has earned multiple Earphones Awards, including one for his narration of Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name, which was named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2011. He has given voice to modern and classic fiction writers alike, including Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Asimov, Jeffrey Deaver, and John Steinbeck, as well as to nonfiction works in history, memoir, health, journalism, and business.