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批評家のレビュー

"This is one of those listens that makes you wonder how people like Jessie and John Frémont can have escaped history - and a Hollywood treatment. It also makes you wonder how authors and narrators like Inskeep find the time to do what they do - and do it so well.... Not surprisingly, [Inskeep is] an effective and engaging narrator. His enthusiasm for his main characters is apparent but never approaches hagiography. Since he's a professional broadcaster, you'd expect his reading to be crisp and his inflections just right. And they are. This is an engaging and rewarding listen." (AudioFile Magazine)

"An insightful and welcome biography of consequential Americans." (Booklist)

“Revelatory...a fresh look that brings 21st-century vision to bear on the 19th-century story. In writing about both Frémont and his wife, Jessie, the aggressive promoter of his career, Inskeep does two important things. He shines an unsparing light on his subjects, and he finds unnerving similarities between the Frémonts’ America and our own. Like Candice Millard’s Destiny of the Republic, an improbably thrilling book about the Garfield assassination, Imperfect Union finds a big, resonant, star-studded subject that has been hiding in plain sight.... If the book’s purpose is to illuminate and chill, mission accomplished.” (The New York Times)

"Imperfect Union is a fascinating, complex love story, a riveting adventure, and an important, carefully researched history, told with incredible power and skill by one of the country’s best nonfiction writers. What else could you want in a book?" (Candice Millard, author of Hero of the Empire

あらすじ・解説

Steve Inskeep tells the riveting story of John and Jessie Frémont, the husband and wife team who in the 1800s were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States, and thus became America's first great political couple.

John C. Frémont, one of the United States' leading explorers of the 19th century, was relatively unknown in 1842, when he commanded the first of his expeditions to the uncharted West. But in only a few years, he was one of the most acclaimed people of the age - known as a wilderness explorer, best-selling writer, gallant army officer, and latter-day conquistador, who in 1846 began the United States' takeover of California from Mexico. He was not even 40 years old when Americans began naming mountains and towns after him. He had perfect timing, exploring the West just as it captured the nation’s attention. But the most important factor in his fame may have been the person who made it all possible: his wife, Jessie Benton Frémont.

Jessie, the daughter of a United States senator who was deeply involved in the West, provided her husband with entrée to the highest levels of government and media, and his career reached new heights only a few months after their elopement. During a time when women were allowed to make few choices for themselves, Jessie - who herself aspired to roles in exploration and politics - threw her skill and passion into promoting her husband. She worked to carefully edit and publicize his accounts of his travels, attracted talented young men to his circle, and lashed out at his enemies. She became her husband’s political adviser, as well as a power player in her own right. In 1856, the famous couple strategized as John became the first-ever presidential nominee of the newly established Republican Party.

With rare detail and in consummate style, Steve Inskeep tells the story of a couple whose joint ambitions and talents intertwined with those of the nascent United States itself. Taking advantage of expanding news media, aided by an increasingly literate public, the two linked their names to the three great national movements of the time - westward settlement, women’s rights, and opposition to slavery. Together, John and Jessie Frémont took parts in events that defined the country and gave rise to a new, more global America. Theirs is a surprisingly modern tale of ambition and fame; they lived in a time of social and technological disruption and divisive politics that foreshadowed our own. In Imperfect Union, as Inskeep navigates these deeply transformative years through Jessie and John’s own union, he reveals how the Frémonts’ adventures amount to nothing less than a tour of the early American soul.

©2020 Steve Inskeep (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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絞り込み:
  • 総合評価
    3 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin E. Werner
  • 2020/12/26

The ending is odd.

If you like Inskeep's voice you should like this.

The book traces the John and Jesse Fremont separately and together throughout the book. I got a real feel that Inskeep was portraying Jesse as John's Hillary. Inskeep never says that, but he plays up her role in helping her husband's career along. Both behind the scenes and overtly. Jesse, the daughter, of a Senator seems to relished the role of promoting her husband's ambition.

I think Fremont's significance may be overdone though. He was court martialed, led one expedition into a wintery mess that he escaped, but in a completely un-shakleton like manner just kinda left the rescue of the survivors to subordinates. He opened Oregon and played a pivotal role in CA independence, which led to his court martial. That being a foreshadowing of his brief role in the Civil War. He got lucky on a gold strike, but never seems to have effectively exploited it. Anyway the story stops at his failed run for the presidency in 1856.

The epilogue briefly touches on him being tried in France, in absentia, for fraud associated with railroads. Skims his early actions in Missouri at the break out of the civil war, which were without authority and led to his eventual dismissal. As for the Fremonts they lose a lot of their money and end their lives rather apart emotionally as Inskeep puts it.

Then Inskeep runs through a number of the characters and how their lives turned out. He overplays Buchanan's role in the Dred Scott decision, which is a bit odd and he also makes a passing reference to the 21st century and how things then somewhat reflect things now. This is unfortunate b/c I suspect that may have been driving his book.

Anyway, it's a good book. Listening to Inskeep for a few hours is great. I caution drawing a lot of conclusions from it. I'm skeptical anyway.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Edward P. Cerne
  • 2020/06/25

The issues confronting Freemont presaged today's.

If you think the issues of racism and xenophobia America is confronting today, you are wrong. Read this riveting tale of issues confronting America as it was more than 150 years ago.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin Keller
  • 2020/02/08

A delightful yarn of a complicated story

This was fantastic. Steve Inskeep’s narration keeps the listener engaged through a story that develops slowly and ends with a clearer picture of whom the hero in the story is.

Thoroughly delightful in its entirety.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Hugh C.
  • 2020/01/18

I'm just here for the stuff on the Know Nothings

This book takes a great examination of the political forces which have long sought to deteriorate, disrupt and dissolve our United States of America. No sooner had the ink dried on the Constitution that certain Americans began having "Dis-union Dinners" to plot and support a path to ensuring slavery, xenophobia, and white Anglo political control for their states.

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andersons
  • 2021/04/09

Perfect Union of Story and Narrator

Long-time listeners of National Public Radio will feel right at home with veteran host Inskeep's tale of the partnership of adventurer, soldier and presidential candidate John C. Frémont and his modern politico wife Jesse and how they helped create the U.S.A.'s West Coast, blazing a trail where there literally was none. There are a few harrowing scenes in the wilderness which are juxtaposed with the no less harrowing ordeals of birthing a child alone, enduring months of not knowing the fate of your spouse and living with being left alone by choice. There are many familiar characters in this tale, but we see them from unfamiliar viewpoints. Thomas Hart Benton, Frederick Douglass and Samuel Morse are integral to the story. Horace Greeley and Henry Clay get honorable mention, but it is Jesse's private audience with Lincoln that provides the line many readers may remember most. If not for a few decisions we would all be familiar with this story.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • 2021/02/09

Unique story, told well.

An entire cast of compelling characters is revealed and the adventures they are involved with are truly epoch. Especially those of the both lead characters.
Steve does a masterful job of performing the very well written book!

  • 総合評価
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • timothy courtney
  • 2021/01/22

we all need to diligently study history

history repeats constantly and we continue to make the same mistakes. I believe that studying history may help us to avoid these mistakes. it's never too late to start educating ourselves.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • G. G. Davis
  • 2020/12/06

Amazing Cast of Characters

The lead characters were fascinating in their own rights in this detailed history of the 18th Century in the US. To also meet Collis Huntington, Tecumseh Sherman, Kit Carson, and the plethora of renowned politicians, made this a great read.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy Wood
  • 2020/11/06

History repeats it’s self

I listened to this book during the final days of the 2020 election. As I finished the country still does not know who is to be our next president. I am always struck by historical facts that so closely mirror our lives today. Very interesting. I enjoyed the compelling story of Fremont but must say that in my opinion he lacked many attributes that could have made him great. His father in law had good instincts I believe in not endorsing him for politics. My take away is that he was a weak person supported by a strong and loyal wife. Interesting that just like today a person can become famous without any substance to support the celebrity.

  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gary L. Baker
  • 2020/09/29

some things never change

informative and well presented. struck by the political similarities between that period and now. recommend

並べ替え:
絞り込み:
  • 総合評価
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ナレーション
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ストーリー
    5 out of 5 stars
  • milorad topic
  • 2021/03/24

Passion and Poison ☠️

I really love how passionate Steve Inskeep is so passionate about his work and story telling , honestly I can listen to him all day. This book is a ripping yarn but for me at the end of the day I felt sad that racism was so strong back in the old days and it stifled the growth of America as a sharing and equitable place for all people. Great job Steve it’s a solid book that captures the spirit of the time