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The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  938 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Co-founder of The Carlyle Group and patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein takes readers on a sweeping journey across the grand arc of the American story through revealing conversations with our greatest historians.

In these lively dialogues, the biggest names in American history explore the subjects theyve come to so intimately know and understand.

David McCullough
...more
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Simon Schuster
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Jason Green Glad you are so woke, otherwise I would have no idea I needed to be outraged by this collection of 16 clearly qualified and expert historians…moreGlad you are so woke, otherwise I would have no idea I needed to be outraged by this collection of 16 clearly qualified and expert historians interviewed by a great historical and patriotic philanthopist for a charitable cause. Good on you for pointing out this travesty of social justice instead of recognizing the amazing quality and content.(less)

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John McManus
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Co-founder of The Carlyle Group and patriotic philanthropist David M. Rubenstein is the editor of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians. These conversations were originally discussions with members of Congress in the Congressional Dialogues series, sponsored by the Library of Congress. Throughout the book, Rubenstein demonstrates himself to be a skillful interviewer. Interviewees include David McCullough, Jon Meacham, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Walter Isaacson, Robert Caro, and ...more
Clay Davis
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
The interview with Chief Justice Roberts seems out of place, the book needs a more interesting cover.
Laurel
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This is a collection of interviews with various historians recorded in front of a live audience. It therefore made it a perfect choice to listen to in audio format. Historical figures discussed include John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, MLK, Charles Lindbergh and others. Recommended to anyone interested in American history.
LAPL Reads
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
These conversations with master historians were the result of a spur of the moment idea that came to philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who is a major supporter of The Library of Congress and The National Book Festival, as well as supporting other projects which preserve our national heritage. This would be, A series of interviews with accomplished American historians about their books, in front of an audience principally comprising members of Congress." The event became known as The ...more
Sara
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Captivating book that shows a glimpse into American experience through some of our best patriots and the historians who tell their stories. The book is written as a series of interviews conducted at the Library of Congress so its very quick to read with interesting insights on every page. Each chapter is a different person from Washington to MLK to Chief Justice Roberts.

I am proud to be an American and it is stories about these patriots from the past that give me hope for the future.

I hope
...more
Allison
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
In early 2013, I had a thought that it might be a worthwhile exercise to do a series of interviews with accomplished American historians about their books, in front of an audience principally comprising members of Congress . . . The idea was simply to provide the members with more information about the great leaders and events in our countrys past, with the hope that, in exercising their various responsibilities, our senators and representatives would be more knowledgeable about history and what ...more
William Bahr
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be a highly enjoyable, very informative book. I particularly liked the format of the author interviewing a number of highly renowned authors covering the American Story. In some cases, the interviews seem quite casual, with Rubenstein leading his interviewees with quite specific questions. In other cases, the questions are broad, with the authors waxing poetic with innumerable interesting commentaries about how the character of key people plays a leading role in shaping our ...more
Launette Shaw
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It is especially applicable now with Americans confused about the integrity of our founding fathers. The author interviews other famous authors that have written books about famous people in America, so you hear this inside story. I would listen to this book so you can hear the actually interview in front of an audience.
Travis Standley
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-reads
I found these interviews very engaging and informative. Im impressed with the thought that good historians like those interviewed are a national treasure to help us remember our story, to maintain hope, and to have more clear thought about the present heading into the future. Im not sure the final interview with a Supreme Court justice for the pattern for the rest of the book but it was interesting nonetheless. ...more
J.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an entertaining book - really a pleasure to read - filled with informative stories from leading chroniclers of prominent figures in America's past, with a nice interview of the Chief Justice at the end. Rubenstein obviously did his homework in preparing these interviews, and I think he facilitates the interviews very nicely.

A few things I kept in mind while reading, though:

There are some factual errors, so don't take everything at face value. (John Adams wasn't elected in 1800, being the
...more
Gwen
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
If you haven't read many biographies of our founding fathers and presidents, think of these interviews as appetizers for sampling bits of interesting historical facts combined with a sense of their personalities.

The interviews are accessible and interesting vignettes that may inspire you to dig into America's story as told through the hopes, dreams and flaws of our Chief Executives.

I liked the format because I could preview biographies I haven't read yet for reading later.
Bill Gartner
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. David Rubenstein is a "patriotic philanthropist" who, in addition to being one of the original signers of the "Giving Pledge", has quietly made amazing personal contributions to the preservation of US history. Beneficiaries of his generosity include the National Archives (where the last privately owned copy of the Magna Carta is stored, thanks to his purchase), the National Zoo, the Washington Monument, just to name a few. He was a founder of the Carlyle Group, but always had ...more
Joseph Scaduto
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was a terrific book. I really enjoyed the interviews with famous historians and biographers, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, which was a nice bonus at the end. Hearing from the authors of many of the books I have read was refreshing and enlightening and entertaining. I highly recommend reading this after you've had the opportunity to read some of the original works, but even if that is not the case, it was great to get to know the authors and how they felt about the people they spent ...more
Robert Melnyk
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book in which David Rubenstein interviews authors about the book or books they have written about historical figures including Washington Adams, FDR, JFK, Nixon, and more. With each author you get insight into the content of the book itself, how the author came to writing about that particular person, and how they felt about the subject of the book both before and after doing the research and writing of the book. I have read a number of the book discussed, and after reading ...more
Brett
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable read about a number of Library of Congress interviews with famous historians. Each author revealed something likely to be of popular interest about their subjects. For example, speculation that the Grants' dislike of Mary Lincoln kept them from Ford Theater the night of Abraham's assassination, or Eisenhower's ignorance about his ability to pick a running mate (he never was particularly fond of Nixon). Similarly, Washington's disagreement with John Adams about the proper title ...more
Artie
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very accessible introduction to some of America's most important figures and the historians who chronicled their lives.
Bob Wilson
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read! This is really the transcripts of interviews the author did with 16 leading historians about their subjects, ranging from founding fathers (and mothers) to modern day heroes and leaders The interviews reveal insights into some of the most important characters in American history. Id love to see a volume 2 edition with some biographers of others whove influenced our history - and perhaps a greater diversity of characters- but those suggestions take nothing from this volume. A great ...more
Cozy Cat Reviews
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a 'Daughter Of The American Revolution" and coming from a long history of American patriots who served our great country I was honored to receive this for review. Thank you with gratitude to the publisher and to Net Galley My review opinions are my own.

I am so honored to receive this exceptional history of our great country.
This book is quite captivating as our most accomplished patriots are here through the historians that tell their stories vividly through a series of interviews. This
...more
Brett Hinton
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Steve Quasny
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Terrific read and what a great idea to transcribe interviews conducted at the Library of Congress. Guests were all authors of biographies of American political icons (Revolution to present). I highly recommend.
Eric
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
Rubenstein is easily the worst interviewer I have ever encountered outside of an elementary school. He constantly interrupts his subjects, usually right when they are wrapping up a complex or nuanced story. And not to ask a hard hitting question or push back on evasiveness. Nope. Rubenstein interrupts to advertise his knowledge of the most basic aspects of history, oftentimes not even bothering to phrase it as a question. He's like a belligerent version of the Chris Farley sketch. Some of the ...more
Wendell H Howell
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Until

I do not believe that Bob Woodword is an honest journalist. The effusive complements do not fit on the otherwise well written informative book.
Wbahrmail.Com
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be a highly enjoyable, very informative book. I particularly liked the format of the author interviewing a number of highly renowned authors covering the American Story. In some cases, the interviews seem quite casual, with Rubenstein leading his interviewees in quite specific questions. In other cases, the questions are broad, with the authors waxing poetic with innumerable interesting commentaries about how the character of key people plays a leading role in shaping our ...more
Roberto Charvel
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
In February 2020 I went to Mr Rubensteins family office for a business meeting. They had a signed copy of the book on a coffee table in the waiting room. I imagined they had it there for people to take it or ask for it. I surprised my colleagues when I asked the office manager if I could take it. She was delighted I was interested and that is how I got this book.

As a non American citizen I knew some details about the Founding Fathers or Lincolns life. Most people have some image of Kennedy,
...more
Lindsay
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And the rockets red glare, the bombs burst in the air.

How did the book make me feel/think?

HOPEFUL

Im Canadian. My understanding of the history of the USA is limited to what I learned in school (a million years ago), plus what I gleaned from American television and the American news. Based upon those, Im terrified.

Since we are a million years into my lifetime, and thanks, yes, thanks to Trump, my thirst for understanding has grown significantly. In the past few years, Ive read countless books on
...more
Joe
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Disappointing, on the whole. I suppose I expected more from a series of 15 hour-long interviews about America's great statesmen (from Washington to Reagan) with the nation's preeminent historians and biographers, many of whose books I admire greatly. There are a few startling nuggets, like Bob Woodward's (author of The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court, 1979) comment that Harry Blackmun's decision in Roe v. Wade was based mainly on Blackmun's close connection to doctors at the Mayo Clinic and ...more
X Li
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
What is The American Story? Or more precisely, how should we understand what America was and is today? Students of American history will know that America rests on the faith that the sum of many differences can equal great strength and resilience. That by applying themselves in good faith to the service of a whole, human beings, however imperfect, will have an opportunity to be defined by their contributions. And these contributions, having withstood the test of time, would be remembered and ...more
Barb Cherem
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a fun and easy read that also was edifying as it took great historical authors such as McCullough, Meacham and Chernow and selected one of their biographies on which to interview them.
I've loved Grant by Chernow but Rubenstein interviewed him on Alexander Hamilton. I'd read David McCullough's John Adams and yet that interview reminded me of some of the more poignant parts in Adams' biography. I'd read Team of Rivals by Kearns Goodwin, but the interview revealed different items
...more
Ann
Feb 22, 2020 added it
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I very much enjoyed The American Story! The book is a collection of edited transcripts from interviews done for a Congressional events series, each prefaced by a short introduction. Rubenstein hosts the interviews. The subjects of discussion are various famous American figures, mostly presidents, but also some non-presidential figures as well. The interviews are very readable,
...more
David
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tom gave me this book for my birthday, and it is fascinating! The editor interviewed historians at the Library of Congress before an audience of members of Congress, and then turned those interviews into this book. When i realized that, i was a bit worried that the book would be dull, but far from it. Maybe having that particular audience put everyone on their A-game?

One great thing about the book is that these are all interviews with authors, so if you find what they say interesting, you can
...more
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