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This panoramic view of the conflict between England and America combines the political and the personal, giving the listener a vivid sense of how the colonists perceived the events of their struggle for independence, from the French and Indian War to “the shot heard round the world”, and the importance the colonists assigned to them.
Praised as “state of the art” and “the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship”, the four new volumes of the Oxford History of the United States – including The Glorious Cause – are narrated with engagingly casual warmth by Robert Fass, who previously read an earlier volume in the series, Empire of Liberty, by Gordon S. Wood.
Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. The Glorious Cause is number III in The Oxford History of the United States.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By John on 10-06-11
Strong History Rich With Behind The Scenes Details
Another excellent entry in the Oxford History of the United States. I didn't personally find it quite as engrossing as "Empire of Liberty" or "What Hath God Wrought," but still extremely interesting and informative. This book goes to some lengths to explain and document just how radical much of America was before the revolution (which flies in the face of some of my collegiate history instructors, who pitched the revolution as more of a minority driven phenomenon). Likewise, it at times adopts almost a fait accompli tone to the revolution's eventual success - though it is quite careful to point out at numberous points where the British blew it politically and militarily in attempts to contain and/or end the conflict on their terms. Middlekauff seems to hint that Britain lacked the political will to deploy the tremendous resources necessary to subdue the continent. There seems to be great truth in the argument, if accepting the aformentioned largely radicalized American populace as mentioned above. Based on my own larger reading, I still can't help thinking what an EXCEEDINGLY precarious enterprise the American Revolution was, prone to being snuffed out for any number of reasons throughout the long struggle. The Americans (and Britons) who ensured that it didn't are well detailed in many sidebars throughout.
The other interesting thing I continue to see again and again as I read more of the history of the United States is to see how so many of our current dilemmas, arguments, problems, etc were baked right into the United States from its earliest days - indeed, some even before the very founding of the republic. Likewise, it is amusing (if disappointing) to see some of the titans in the American pantheon wrestling luridly in the political mud with their opponents - right up to and incuding vitriolic personal attacks, doctrinaire thinking, and hyperbolic rhetoric. Everything old is indeed new again.
Strongly recommended for those interested in U.S. history and politics.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
By History on 10-30-11
Authoritative, well written emphasis on battles
I have read a lot of histories of the Revolutionary War, events leading up to it as well as separate histories of the constitutional convention. This is an extremely thorough presentation with a lot of emphasis placed on detailed presentation of battles. If you are especially interested in the military aspects of the war, you will particularly enjoy this ... and if that is true, you also may want to read this in print because there are maps and other support material that will make this aspect of the war more comprehensible.
It is well written and much more neutral in tone than most history I've read. When the author does make his opinion known, it is striking because it is very restrained most of the time.
I did enjoy it. It's dry, but it's also well written and read at a brisk pace. I have to admit to not liking the narrator. He's good, he's professional ... it's his voice I don't like. It just grated on my ears after a while ... and this is a very long book, so a little annoyance lasts a long time.
If this is an area of history that is of particular interest to you, this is a good book to add to your reading list. However, it is a very focused book and if you aren't really serious about this era of history ... well ... it's 50-50 whether or not you'll have the patience to listen to such a very long and detailed history of this period. Yotu have to bring your own interest to the book or it is likely to be dull.
A fine audiobook for those with a serious interest in this part of history. Maybe not so interesting if your interest in the material is more tangential.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Alan Michael Forrester on 04-07-13
A very thorough book on the American Revolution
"The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution: 1763-1789" by Robert Middlekauff, read by Robert Fass is a very good audiobook. Fass narrates the book clearly.
The book covers the lead up the the revolution and why the Americans decided reluctantly to fight. It then covers the war itself and what the Americans did after the war to set up the federal government. This is all done competently and clearly.
The book doesn't cover the controversies in Britain over America in as much detail and in particular doesn't cover the important role played by Edmund Burke: see "The Great Melody" by Conor Cruise O'Brien, but that is to be expected in a book about America.
Very good. Well worth listening to.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Marcus on 03-20-11
I,m a big fan of history and I was looking forward to this book, as it has good reviews. I had studied this period when at school but I didn't know it in great detail. However I couldn't get into it particular the politic. Whole passages went by and I couldn't remember what had been said, and nore did I feel the urge to rewind. Not sure why I didn't like it. There was some good analysis, and the scholarship seemed up to date, but the writing and the narration made it feel old fashioned. There are other volumes in the same series that I am interested so I hope they are better.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful