Our First Revolution

  • by Michael Barone
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The ideals of freedom and individual rights that inspired America's Founding Fathers did not spring from a vacuum. Along with many other defining principles of our national character, they can be traced directly back to one of the most pivotal events in British history: the late-17th-century uprising known as the Glorious Revolution. In a work of popular history that stands with recent favorites such as David McCullough's 1776 and Joseph J. Ellis' Founding Brothers, Michael Barone brings the story of this unlikely and largely bloodless revolt to American readers and reveals that, without the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution may never have happened.
Unfolding in 1688-89, Britain's Glorious Revolution resulted in the hallmarks of representative government, guaranteed liberties, the foundations of global capitalism, and a foreign policy of opposing aggressive foreign powers. But as Barone shows, there was nothing inevitable about the Glorious Revolution. It sprang from the character of the English people and depended on the talents, audacity, and good luck of two men: William of Orange (later William III of England), who launched history's last successful cross-channel invasion, and John Churchill, an ancestor of Winston, who commanded the forces of the deposed James II but crossed over to support William one fateful November night.
The story of the Glorious Revolution is a rich and riveting saga of palace intrigue, loyalty, and shocking betrayal, and bold political and military strategizing. With narrative drive, a sure command of historical events, and unforgettable portraits of kings, queens, soldiers, parliamentarians, and a large cast of full-blooded characters, Barone takes an episode that has fallen into unjustified obscurity and restores it to the prominence it deserves.

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What the Critics Say

"Well-written history...lucid." (Publishers Weekly)
"Michael Barone...provides a splendid analysis of the intellectual pedigree of America's political order. He demonstrates the remarkable extent to which our revolution was a reverberation of another one." (George F. Will)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent Recap of a Forgotten Event

This is submitted just as an observation from the previous review which gave this book a somewhat undeserved low rating. It is correct that the narrative covers a confusing and contradictory event in history, but I found its approach creating a straight forward,even balanced, and most importantly, an interesting account all the same.
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- rollcall40

good, not great

This book comes in two parts, the first 40% of so is the necessary background information for understanding the "Glorious Revolution" & its immediate aftermath, the context. The remaining 60% is the story of the run-up to the revolution under James II, the conquest, and the aftermath. The work is well narrated. However, the first portion is a jumble, organizationally, and the previous Audible reviewer who noted that having a good understanding of the history from other sources is necessary to understand this part of the book, was right on target. I do have that background, and it helped immensely. I should say that the author does a good job on vignettes & small interpretative sections here, but jumps around a bit too much and needed an editor to insert thesis statements here & there.

The 60% that is actually about the Glorious Revolution (which some pundit remarked was "neither glorious nor a revolution") is very well done. It is worth getting the book to listen to this portion. The author's history is good here, the narrative drive moves you along, and this part of the book has ample amounts of thesis statements & good organization. The author's interpretations of the events, events that were critical to the future evolution of the UK and North America, is good.

I highly recommend the book for the last 60%.
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- D. Littman "history buff"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-19-2007
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio