Oxford History of the United States13 titles in series
If you’re looking for the best audiobooks about American history, or great narrative history on audio, or even the best nonfiction narrators, the Oxford History of the Unites States is the place to start (and maybe finish, too!) In the 1950s, scholars C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter – imagine a time when historians were household names! – conceived a 12 volume history of America that would unify political, social, and cultural history…and they hoped to publish them all in 1976! (Spoiler alert: the first title, The Glorious Cause by Thomas Middlekauff, appeared in 1982, and the epic cycle of history audios is still in progress!)
All titles in the Oxford History of the U.S. are credit-worthy gems: written by Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Parkman prize-winning historians and performed by prize-winning narrators. Together, they convey to listeners the sweep of American history with brilliant analysis and novelistic detail; they make patriotic nonfiction feel like novels that appeal to every American. Though there are still placeholders in the series of titles, every Oxford History of the U.S. title that has been published is available unabridged at Audible.
Listeners can begin the series chronologically, or they can dive into a favorite historical period: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Great Depression, World War II, Watergate, and even an audio that summarizes U.S. International Relations from 1776 till the modern era. Personally, I follow narrators, and two of my favorites are major contributors to this series: Robert Fass, who won the Audie Award in 2012 for Empire of Liberty, brings precision and energy to four of the titles in the Oxford History of the U.S. series; Jonathan Davis, an Audible Hall of Fame narrator, highlights the narrative arc of the Civil War in two volumes of Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson, which also won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for History. Armchair historians, I promise you can’t go wrong with any audio in this series – enjoy! - editor Christina