Tuesday, July 28, 2015

{Review} With Lee in Virginia - an Audio Drama

Unexpected Homeschool: A review of With Lee in Virginia audio drama. An entertaining and educational adventure through the Civil War.

Heirloom Audio Productions has yet another great hit in their newest audio drama, With Lee in VirginiaAmber and I were excited to review this dramatized version of G.A. Henty's book by the same title. For the purpose of the review we received the physical two CD set of the audio drama recording, plus the all the features included in the Family Four-Pack:
  • Study Guide & Discussion Starter
  • MP3 download of With Lee in Virginia
  • eBook of With Lee in Virginia by G.A. Henty, including color graphics
  • Official soundtrack
  • Printable cast poster
  • Printable Robert. E. Lee quote
  • Access to the newsletter website.
For those unfamiliar with G.A. Henty, he wrote popular historical adventures in the late 19th century that are still relevant today. The details of the historical accounts are surprisingly accurate while providing a wealth of information about the events unfolding in the stories.

Unexpected Homeschool: A review of With Lee in Virginia audio drama. An entertaining and educational adventure through the Civil War.
Listening while following along in the study guide. She chose to use the CD instead of the MP3 version.
Audio drama or audio theater differs greatly from audio books in that the book is not simply read by a single person for the listener. Instead, this is akin to the radio dramas of the past where different actors voice each character and sound effects are used to enhance the experience. The audio drama format was not such a shock for Amber this time as when we reviewed In Freedom's Cause, and although she knew what to expect the sounds effects were still impressive.

With Lee in Virginia boasts an impressive cast including: Kirk Cameron as Stonewall Jackson, Brian Blessed as G.A. Henty, James Cameron as Will Upton, and Sean Astin as Gen. Jeb Stuart. Being a huge Lord of the Rings fan, Amber was most impressed with Sean Astin. She really didn't know most of the other voice actors, however that did not factor into her enjoyment of the story at all. All of the cast performed beautifully.

Since we are on summer break I allowed Amber to use the study guide as more of an outline to follow while listening, instead of going over it in detail after each section of the performance. The study guide comes in the easy to use PDF format and conveniently lists the disc and track number with which each section of the guide correlates. The study guide is divided by major events in the book, so a chapter of the actual book may have more than one study guide page. Each study guide page contains Listening Well and Thinking Further questions along with Defining Words sections if there are terms which may need explanation.

Unexpected Homeschool: A review of With Lee in Virginia audio drama. An entertaining and educational adventure through the Civil War.
Sample study guide page.
The Listening Well questions are basically to ensure the listening understood all the details of the events occurring in the drama. The Thinking Further questions ask the listener to apply the lessons of the story in various ways. In addition to the questions the study guide has a map of the major cities and battles in the story along with the route of the heroes.This is especially helpful for listeners who may not be geography buffs. The end of the guide includes a Bible study outline on Duty and Loving Your Enemy, which are two themes from the story.

Amber and I listened to the audio drama over four days, with Amber following along in the study guide on the iPad while she listened. Occasionally we paused the CD to talk about the events in the story. Amber has an affinity for the Civil War era, while I greatly dislike details of the prisons. She was enthralled with the story of Vincent and Dan who fight with the Confederate Army and show great courage and strength of character throughout. I did wander off a couple of times because the main character is imprisoned and it evoked too-real images in my mind.

Unexpected Homeschool: A review of With Lee in Virginia audio drama. An entertaining and educational adventure through the Civil War.
Relaxing times listening, but still following the study guide.
We definitely recommend With Lee in Virginia for anyone who enjoys a good adventure story, true or fiction. Although this is a fiction story, we found the accurate historical aspects intriguing and heightened by the way the details are woven into the story. This was both an entertaining as well as educational, high quality audio drama. We can't wait to see which G.A. Henty story is next!

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Visit other members of the Review Crew to see their experience with this fantastic audio drama.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review


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