We LOVE Heirloom Audio Productions and have been waiting ever so patiently for their newest audio theater masterpiece to arrive at our house. Okay, so we haven't been ever so patient. I must admit we've been anticipating the release of With Lee in Virginia since we finished our last Heirloom Audio review. We have fully enjoyed the first two audio dramas that we've been able to review (Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause) but just knew that this one was sure to be the best ever. Why? My Eagle Scout is a major history buff and the War Between the States just happens to be one of his favorite things to study. As a matter of fact, he's hiked quite a few of the major War battlefields and studied all of the Generals. He knows a LOT about the Civil War. Combine his interest in the War with the quality of Heirloom Audio Productions and you are sure to have a winner. In our opinion, With Lee in Virginia is indeed the best ever. It is available as a physical CD or a MP3 download. Either will bless your family.
Based on the G.A. Henty novel of the same name, With Lee in Virginia tells the story of a boy named Vincent, his family slave (and friend) Dan, and their foray into the battlefields of the Civil War beside the likes of General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Vincent is a boy of character who grows up to be a man of courage and honor as he attempts to stand for what is good and pure and right. CHRIST is glorified throughout the telling of this story and the faith of Lee and Jackson is forefront in all that they do. Full of excitement and adventure, With Lee in Virginia is intense (remember a good portion of the drama takes place on the battlefield of the bloodiest war of all time), yet is careful not to glamorize war. Special effort is made to explain that there were two sides to the War -- the issue of slavery and the issue of State's rights. I think this is important to note in the current political climate. Recommended for children ages 6 to adult, With Lee in Virginia makes perfect listening (and studying) for families, and I recommend it without reserve. Be advised that there will likely be serious questions asked by your younger children -- and that's a good thing. My 14- and 16-year-olds have enjoyed it almost as much as their momma and we have had some pretty interesting discussions after listening together. What an honor it is to be able to learn and process history together.
So here's the real deal: We are Mississippi born and bred. We eat grits, say y'all, and catch lightning bugs after dark. We know what 100% humidity really feels like and just how good "real" sweet tea is. When the heat index is 112, we enjoy our time under the air conditioner listening to great audio. And that makes us a little bit skeptical when it comes to how "all things Southern" are portrayed. We've read books and watched movies and laughed together when we see or hear people try to describe the weather or use a southern accent. We are happy to report that from the moment the 2 1/2 hour CD began, we were impressed. The audio holds true to life and the Southern accents are real. Of course, I would expect nothing less from the stellar cast that Heirloom Audio has pulled together to be the voice of With Lee in Virginia. Sean Astin, Kirk Cameron, Brian Blessed, Chris Anthony, Kelsey Lansdowne, and Jim Weiss truly make the South come to life -- and the musical score is phenomenal.
As with the two other audio dramas we've had the pleasure of reviewing, we chose to first listen to With Lee in Virginia from start to finish together before we began studying through the pages of the Study Guide and Discussion Starter (52-pages, PDF available as a digital download). Once we had completely enjoyed it simply as audio theater, we were ready to begin a more detailed study of the history surrounding the book. Divided into small portions, the Study Guide allows you to dig a bit deeper as you answer simple listening comprehension questions and guides you to more complex discussions through a series of "thinking further" questions. This is a superb resource that includes vocabulary words, map skills, recipes (my kids think Johnny cakes are delicious although a bit weird for breakfast), historical pictures and documents, as well as Bible study opportunities and lessons on Sectionalism and Slavery in the Bible.
For purposes of review, we were given access to the Live the Adventure e-Newsletter that encourages us to see the history of the world through the hand of GOD. It is well worth reviewing and reading. We have also enjoyed listening to the beautiful soundtrack by composer John Campbell and were thrilled to receive an eBook copy of With Lee in Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War by G.A. Henty. We plan to read it this school year and compare it to the audio drama version. These and other resources are available to you as well.
You can find out more about With Lee in Virginia and Heirloom Audio Productions by visiting the following Social Media Sites:
With Lee in Virginia Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions Facebook
What a great way to finish out your summer or begin your school year listening along for educational entertainment with the ability to really study history with a Christian approach. Your children will thank you for introducing them to Heirloom Audio Productions.