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I really enjoyed this book. Like the other reviewer, I was a bit surprised to hear a British accent from the narrator, but Simon Vance is one of the very best narrators. (He also uses the names Richard Matthews and Robert Whitfield, but they're all the same man).
This book provides rich historical detail about the very early days of the United States. The author does an excellent job providing background information. So the chapter on Herman Husband, who believed the (then) Western US (ie Western PA and VA) would be the New Jerusalem of Revelation, is really an excellent overview of all the religious currents running through American society at the time.
There's also great detail on the debate over federal taxation and Hamilton's agency in getting the whiskey excise tax implemented.
The reason for 4 stars and not 5 is that the author's explanation of the unfolding of the Rebellion is so compressed as to lack sense. This is surprising since his attention to detail everywhere else in the book is so thorough.
I would also recommend this book only to those who already have an interest in early American history. For the more general reader, I suggest 1776 and Washington's Crossing.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful
Having only heard vague references to the Whiskey Rebellion, and thinking it sounded rather interesting, I got this book. Wow! Hogeland can really tell a story! Not only does he turn names into characters with strengths and idiosyncrasies, but he translates the words and deeds of 18th century men into terms that can be understood today. This is one of the best histories on a discreet subject I have read/heard. Simon Vance’s narration is excellent, as usual. He is able to bring the characters to life. I admit that I was surprised to hear an English accent reading American history, but it worked. Between the author and the narrator, it seems as if you are watching the events unfold. There are interesting thumbnails of George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. There are intense descriptive passages – how whiskey was made – the horror of being tarred and feathered. But really, the best part was how human the people seemed to be. I very much enjoyed the book, and would recommend it for anyone who likes a good history story.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful