Ark of the Liberties

  • Author Ted Widmer
  • Narrator William Hughes
  • Publisher Blackstone Publishing
  • Run Time 13 hours and 36 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre History of the Americas.

Listen to a sample

What to expect

From its earliest beginnings, America has been seen as an icon of liberty with a mission to redeem the world. Often, the ideal fits. But sometimes even our most noble aspirations can be as damaging as they are uplifting. With wit, brilliance, and deep affection, the inimitable Ted Widmer traces America’s wondrous history, from the Declaration of Independence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He also looks unblinkingly at our less glorious history, from slavery to the occupation of Iraq. This thoughtful, celebratory critique is written in the conviction that if Americans want the world to respect us more, then it will certainly help to know ourselves a little better.

Critics Review

  • “Ted Widmer offers an examination of our history that should influence the way we think about our place in the twenty-first century world. At a time when we need to restore America’s standing in so many places, Ark of the Liberties shows us how we can do it if we remain true to our historic ideals.”

    Bill Clinton
  • “With great skill, eloquence, and frequent humor, Ted Widmer tells the inspiring and fascinating story of America’s extraordinary rise to world pre-eminence from the days of the earliest settlers to the invasion of Iraq. This timely, eminently readable, and highly informative history of the idea of America will be of interest to all who care about our country and the direction we must take in the years ahead to be true to our ideals and regain the respect we have lost in today’s world.”

    Ted Kennedy
  • “In this new, invigorating look at the history of American foreign policy, Ted Widmer…uses his formidable historical skills to explore the area where politics, ideology and religion intersected to produce an understanding of America’s place in the world.”

    Providence Journal-Bulletin
  • “[An] elegant history of the ideas that shape American foreign policy…Widmer meticulously traces the contradictions, triumphs, and betrayals of liberty that have unfolded across the centuries of the American experience.”

    Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “Widmer offers a critical, informative and ambitious study that honors the best American impulses without ignoring the times the country has fallen from grace.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “As Widner reminds us, the United States stands alone among the world’s nations because its principles still ring true, even if our government sometimes fails to live up to them. As our role in the world rapidly changes, America’s tradition of liberty deserves a second look—especially the times when the concept seemed to conveniently suit the nation’s political needs. William Hughes reads the text with straightforward clarity, as flat and clear as a cornfield, bringing to life Widmer’s hypotheses about the various times the US has overstepped its bounds. More than mere semantics, Ark is a reminder of how words have real meaning beneath the constant barrage of chatter we are all subjected to.”


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