What Hath God Wrought

  • by Daniel Walker Howe
  • Narrated by Patrick Cullen
  • 32 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, History, 2008
In this addition to the esteemed Oxford History of the United States series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era of revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated America's expansion and prompted the rise of mass political parties.
He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party but contends that John Quincy Adams and other advocates of public education, economic integration, and the rights of blacks, women, and Indians were the true prophets of America's future.
Howe's panoramic narrative - weaving together social, economic, and cultural history with political and military events - culminates in the controversial but brilliantly executed war against Mexico that gained California and Texas for America.
Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. What Hath God Wrought is number V in The Oxford History of the United States.

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What the Critics Say

"One of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade." (Publishers Weekly)
"He is a genuine rarity: an English intellectual who not merely writes about the United States but actually understands it." (Washington Post)
"A stunning synthesis....it is a rare thing to encounter a book so magisterial and judicious and also so compelling." (Chicago Tribune)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fantastic content, faulty narration

This book provides a comprehensive overview of US history from the end of the War of 1812 to just after the admission of California to the Union. The ebb and flow of politics provides the main narrative framework for the book, into which Howe weaves detailed discussions of the competing social, economic, religious and technological forces that slowly transformed the coastal states of the founders into a continent-spanning empire riven by internal disputes that would erupt in the Civil War and reverberate for more than a century after. Howe makes the entire era come alive by drawing on a wide variety of primary sources, from census data to the writings contemporary diarists and newspaper accounts, and incorporating many engaging quotes.

This would be a perfect listen for an avid student of American history, since it covers a frequently overlooked period (overlooked, I would add, for reasons which Howe discusses at length towards the end of the book) were it not for the truly horrible quality of the recording. The narrator is overall quite good, but the editing is probably among the worst I have ever encountered. There are noticeable jumps in audio quality and speed throughout, sometimes even within the same sentence. These imperfections are substantial enough that at times I found myself listening more to the atrocious mixing than the actual content, which was a shame.
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- Aryaman Shalizi

comprehensive history

I am a casual history fan and I've always had trouble keeping track of the Taylor's and the Tyler's in the first half of the 19th century. This book is comprehensive, well-read and detailed, sometimes to the point where it can be hard to follow, especially if you listen while commuting. There are many themes, and he jumps back and forth between them. I found myself backing up several times to make sense of things, but it was not too much of a chore. As the author says in the conclusion, he is telling a story, not asserting a thesis--this type of history I think is the most fun to listen to. I never found it tiresome, and that is a lot to say about a book this long. The other reviewer is correct, there were a lot of changes in the recording, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. While this is unusual in audiobooks, I did not find it very distracting.
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- Chris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-09-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.