Grand Expectations

  • by James T. Patterson
  • Narrated by Robert Fass
  • 31 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Grand Expectations weaves the major political, cultural, and economic events of the period into a superb portrait of America from 1945 through Watergate.
Read with warmth by Robert Fass, who previously narrated Oxford’s Empire of Liberty by Gordon S. Wood, this history portrays the amazing growth after World War II rallied an upbeat mood and grander and grander expectations as the era progressed.
As one of four new volumes offered by Audible, Grand Expectations brings to audio one part of an elegant American history that was conceived of and originally edited by C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter more than 50 years ago.
Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Grand Expectations is number X in The Oxford History of the United States.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I have listened to most of the books in the Oxford US History series and found this one to be the weakest. One problem is the difficulty in writing about recent history (this was written 20 years after the end of the period covered). It generally takes many decades for history to be discussed objectively and with the benefit of hindsight. Recent revelations conflict with the author’s conclusions in some instances. (The identity of Deep Throat, guilt of the Rosenberg’s and Alger Hiss).

Several chapters are devoted to rambling, simplistic discussions of topics such as suburbs and women’s liberation that caused my attention to drift. How long can you listen to someone lament the loss of intimacy of the city as people migrated to the sterile suburbs. This is simply someone’s idealistic viewpoint, not history.

I found it refreshing that he portrayed JFK’s presidency objectively, not as Camelot. Surprisingly, Stalin was OK; if only we had treated him better at the end of World War II we may have avoided the Cold War. He seems a bit harsh on Nixon. The man had many faults, but the author states that everything he did, from establishing relations with China to winding down the war in Vietnam was done solely for the purpose of getting re-elected. This simplistic conclusion avoids the more complex geopolitical analysis this topic deserves.
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- Ray "Say something about yourself!"

fast moving history

I really enjoyed this book. The first few hours sort of drag, but maybe this is becuase i had just finished the previous book in the series, Freedom from Fear, and this was somewhat repetitive. But after that, I thought this book was really enjoyable.
First, the narration is outstanding, well paced, and well read.
There are sections that are truly outstanding. Rather then delve into tons of details and give day by day, or week by week accounts of certain time periods in history, the authors given an overview. For instance, he lays out the 4 key components to johnson's liberal agenda early in his second term, and then goes on to analyze this from a longer term perspective. Now one could argue that he does a fair bit of "interpretation", and there is a fair bit of opinion in some of these sections, but i found them pretty balanced, and he offers both positives and negatives to most historical questions, including whose fault was the cold war, the effectiveness of eisenhower, and johnson's role in both domestic and civil rights issues, as well as the war.
There are a few sections which are a little weak, where the authors gives rather dull lists of statistics to support his point, and there are a few topics which seem alittle bit over stressed where i had a little trouble paying attention, but overall a very very good read and rapid moving assessment of the period and definitely worth it. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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- Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-03-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios