• African Founders

  • How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals
  • By: David Hackett Fischer
  • Narrated by: Lamarr Gulley
  • Length: 35 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this sweeping, foundational work, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer draws on extensive research to show how enslaved Africans and their descendants enlarged American ideas of freedom in varying ways in different regions of the early United States.

African Founders explores the little-known history of how enslaved people from different regions of Africa interacted with colonists of European origins to create new regional cultures in the colonial United States. The Africans brought with them linguistic skills, novel techniques of animal husbandry and farming, and generations-old ethical principles, among other attributes. This startling history reveals how much our country was shaped by these African influences in its early years, producing a new distinctly American culture.

Drawing on decades of research, some of it in western Africa, Fischer recreates the diverse regional life that shaped the early American republic. He shows that there were varieties of slavery in America and varieties of new American culture, from Puritan New England to Dutch New York, Quaker Pennsylvania, cavalier Virginia, coastal Carolina, and Louisiana and Texas.

This landmark work of history will transform our understanding of America’s origins.

©2022 David Hackett Fischer. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about African Founders

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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faux vocalizations

This is one of those books that is good enough that I'm going to go out and pick up the printed book, but couldn't stand the narrator.

The narrator enunciated every syllable with perfect pronunciation obtained only through meticulous study and practice. It reminded me of when one speaks with a pretentious voice mocking the upper class---but I don't think that was the intent.

I listened to the first two chapters and found the story to be fascinating and well done. The book presents early black history in the colonies and Revolution in an informational manner.

It does not feel like a polemic about the evils of white America, but a very informative book about the forgotten role of black America.

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Wow!

This is an expansive scholarly work offering in depth, well researched insights and perspectives. An invaluable addition to Black history literature. Narrator is great, especially when rendering direct quotes.

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Eye-opening companion to Albion's Seed

It's not that you must have read Fischer's earlier book, Albion's Seed, on the several English migrations to enjoy and appreciate this book, but I think it helps. As Fischer moves through the distinctive forms that slavery (and resistance to it) took in the various colonies, the interplay of cultures is as important as the particular persons, providing possibilities for action in one place that simply aren't found in another. The earlier book's rich descriptions help us understand the English side of these encounters, and to expect a similar variety on the African side.

But even without them, this book is full of stories and characters, accompanied by careful accounting for developments in custom and law, emancipation and education. We learn from what parts of the continent, and which of its peoples, the American colonies tended to receive Africans, in what numbers and under what conditions. We get a taste, and want to learn more, of how particular peoples were perceived, how they shaped not only their own life in bondage and into freedom, but how they affected those with whose position and power they had to reckon. Fischer's dispassionate portrayal of the cruelties of slavery makes all the more remarkable the impact and influence of these Africans on their new home.

A book that features speakers (not just names) from language groups both European and African demands much of the audiobook narrator. I greatly appreciated Lamarr Gulley's effort to give expression to the cultural and linguistic diversity of that world by rendering quotations in distinctive voices and accents. That, together with a voice that is both rich and clear, more than made up for a delivery whose cadence took a little getting used to.

Grateful to both author and narrator for this piece of our history.

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African Founders - an outstanding narrative

A well researched and narrated book on the fundamental facts on the story of America. This needs to be a required reading in all primary schools in the US, and for that mater - the general public .

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Insightful history, long time coming

Such an insightful treatise on the origins, roles, and genuine influences of Africans on American culture. I was taken by how clearly their local African origins have uniquely affected each American region in special ways. I walked away with an important new appreciation for the vast influence of a culture that broke through enslavement while simultaneously affecting the entire world..
This is a good companion piece to Fischer’s equally thorough history of British influence in America, Albion’s Seed.
Sadly, this book deserved a much better audio experience. For my ears ears, the reader simply doesn’t have the right cadence and presentation for this material. I found myself actively listening beyond his presentation to enjoy the writing. Also, the audio engineering on this recording is puzzling. The quality sways over and over between a smooth, even sound, to sections of distracting, louder volume with distortion. In all a disappointing technical and talent audio effort.

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