Mayer employs the same mellow, experienced tone he successfully used recently on Empire of Blue Water and Mellon: An American Life. His familiar voice lends itself nicely to Ellis's sweeping tale of America's evolution from the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord in 1775 to the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. As the story takes us through the many battles, negotiations and personality conflicts of this tumultuous quarter century-some of which have been largely forgotten in the romanticized versions of our nation's early history-listeners can settle in to Mayer's easy, silken tenor as he describes how these formative events unfolded. Ellis spends considerable time critiquing the shortsightedness and racism that prevented the founders from resolving the slavery question or dealing equitably with Native Americans. Mayer's reading keeps pace with the shifting tones of Ellis's narrative, by turns admiring and critical. Mayer's memorable rendition of Ellis's story manages to be avuncular yet brisk. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, June 4).
Reviewed on: 10/29/2007 Release date: 10/01/2007 Genre: Nonfiction