My family had the privilege of listening to With Lee in Virginia from Heirloom Audio Productions for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.
My family and I love audio books! We love to listen to them while: I am multitasking, we have a long drive ahead of us, or there is cruddy weather and we are stuck inside. My family usually enjoys them better if they are fun and adventuresome. I believe they are better than movies because audio books require more imagination which is great for growing minds.
With Lee in Virginia is Heirloom Audio's 3rd dramatization which is adapted from a novel by George Alfred Henty. G.A. Henty authored many historical fiction novels in the late 1800's and early 1900's, including With Lee in Virginia in 1890. All three are from Heirloom Audio's series known as The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. This audio production and theatrical radio drama consists of 2 and a half hours of masterful storytelling on 2 CDs recommended for ages 6-adult. I cannot say enough good things about this. Really, the presentation is very extraordinary! It brings the history to life.
This historical audio theater takes a 15 year old fictional character by the name of Vincent Wingfield on an adventure he will never forget as he joins the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia to fight alongside many of the most famous Confederate generals, including Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War between the north and the south. The audio version is upbeat and engaging with themes of faith, courage, freedom, strength, devotion, duty, perseverance, virtue, valor, determination, adventure, loyalty, trials, adversity, and heroism. This story has both fictional and truth to it. We learn about true events that actually happened in the war and the disposition of the men that fought. I loved learning about how General Robert E. Lee was such a God-fearing man and how he was respected by General Ulysses S. Grant even though they were fighting on opposite sides. We are taken through different battles and events where there are feelings of joy, loss, sorrow, despair, hardship, victory, defeat, hope, discouragement, affliction, regret, and love. This is a wonderful Christian audio drama that shows how these men looked to God to help them take a stand for their country and their fellow man.
|inside the case to With Lee in Virginia audio theater|
I thought that the portrayal of slavery in this was very well done. There were people on both sides of the war that felt that having slaves wasn't right. Some slaves were treated worse than others as well. They quote the bible verse of Exodus 21:16, "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." many times throughout the program. I thought it was definitely interesting that there are verses in the Bible that condemn the act of slavery.
I had some definite favorite parts of the Christian radio theatre. I loved it when they prayed before battle and Robert E. Lee joined in their prayer. I also loved how Robert E. Lee sat down with the main character and told him his quote when Vincent was feeling discouraged. I thought it interesting that even when Robert E. Lee was defeated he was still respected by his enemies because of his faith and perseverance.
Along with the 2 CD audio theater set I also received many other awesome package bonus downloads. The 2 CD set also has a list of the cast on the back of the case, a pamphlet insert that has the link to the study guide and a bit about Heirloom Audio as well as some notes on the more famous of the cast, and in the center under where the pamphlet goes is the inspirational quote from Robert E. Lee that he actually wrote in a letter to his son. This quote also comes as a digital download so you can print it out as a poster to put on your wall. The images on the cover and inside the CD case are actual images from The Civil War, courtesy of The Library of Congress.
With Lee in Virginia Single Package (what I am mentioning in this review) includes:
- With Lee in Virginia (CD Set - Physical Copy + MP3 Download Version)
- With Lee in Virginia Study Guide (Digital Download)
- With Lee in Virginia Soundtrack (MP3 Download)
- Printable copy of The Quote Of Robert E. Lee (Digital Download)
The Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review received all of the above and these additional bonuses:
- With Lee in Virginia eBook (Digital Download)
- With Lee in Virginia Cast Poster (Digital Download)
- Newsletter Website (Link)
The all-star cast in this audio book is expansive and amazing. Some of the cast consists of Sean Astin as Gen. Jeb Stuart (Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Kirk Cameron as Gen. Stonewall Jackson (Fireproof, Left Behind), Chris Anthony as Mary Lee (Adventures in Odyssey produced by Focus on the Family), Kelsey Lansdowne as Lucy Kingston (Curious George, Adventures in Odyssey), Jim Weiss as Gen. Johnston (Greathall Productions). I also recognized the boisterous voice of Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear) as G.A. Henty in this production.
There is also a study guide that has discussion points and questions to ask your children as they listen to the program. This is wonderful to use as part of a history curriculum while homeschooling. It is really easier to listen to the whole program before you do the study guide and then listen again a second time to do the study guide, in my opinion. It feels awkward to stop and start the program so many times (every 4 to 10 minutes) during play. The study guide does have the places to stop at marked in the guide so you know where the narrative takes a new turn.
At the beginning of the study guide there are brief descriptions about G.A. Henty, General Robert E. Lee, and General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. It also has a quote from "Stonewall" Jackson and a map to help you navigate the areas that were referenced in the story. This helps those of us that don't know our geography perfectly.
Each set of questions in the study guide has three parts, Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. There are questions in the Listening Well section which are to see if you and your child are really paying attention. There are questions in the Thinking Further section that helps you understand deeper and get you and your child thinking more. The Defining Words section is a list of words that will enhance the vocabulary of your child and places more meaning for the story. Having a dictionary handy might be appropriate because the definitions are not already spelled out.
At the end of the study guide there are five main parts. The first gives us a recommended reading list for learning more on Lee and his faith. Then there are two Bible Studies: one on Duty and one on Love Your Enemy. Lastly there is a Note On Sectionalism and a bit about Slavery In The Bible.
My children learned and understood so much more with this study guide. We used the questions and Bible study section throughout it and it made for a very lengthy, but interesting discussion session with my older kids. I am very glad that it was included. I love the scriptures it had you look up and ponder too. I do wish, however, that there was an answer guide as well to the questions, because it would make the whole thing flow better in my opinion.
This was a very good production and my family enjoyed listening to it thoroughly. It is not very often that we get to hear about the men who were on the losing side of the story. It is humbling, really that sometimes what we want to have happen isn't always what God has in store for us and that we have to always keep our faith in Him no matter what.
Three options to choose from: Download version for $19.97, Single Version for $29.97, and the Family Four Pack for $99.97.
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