It's a shame, because the narrator has just the right voice and accent to do Gibbons. But this sounds like it was recorded off a tape-to-tape transfer, with some parts too low to understand and others too loud.
Let me put it this way: Do you remember boring old history professor, reading the same old sheaf of papers he used to read year after the year, not once lifting his eyes from the text, not noticing every single student is asleep, or drawing something or talking. Well, it looks they sacked him, and now he’s recording books. Only difference is, that in classroom it was “live” performance, and this book sounds like it was recorded in early thirties. I’ve tried listening to this book couple of times, at home, in the car, hoping that horrible crackle would mix with engine and traffic noises, yet without success. So, my advice is: if you really want to read Gibbons “Decline ...”, you would have to READ it. This audio book just isn’t worth trying. Listen to the sample, you don’t have connection or speakers problems, whole book is like that.
I'm a history buff and REALLY wanted to enjoy this, but I'm afraid I just can't finish it. There's a lot of information and it's great facts, but it's also a VERY dry read - I just can't keep up with it.
The narration isn't bad, although I do think there are narrators that might do better with it. But I think the material is just very dry stuff and any narrator would have a hard time keeping your attention.
It might be better in small chunks.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
The narrator killed the experience for me. I really tried to go through the book, but the performance was excessively dry.
I really wanted to like this, but some books just don't translate well to audio. This is one of them.
The reader is monotoned and the text has many vague descriptions of culture and etiquette that lack of events and characters to anchor the descriptions against. Your sense of wonder turns into boredom, malaise and then confusion as you try and remember what it was that Gibbon was talking about.
I'm sure the book is very good as I like ancient history, but the audio quality is pathetic. I don't use this word lightly; I can and have gotten past alot and will do so again. I don't know if I can listen to it, much less burn it to disc. As for two stars I gave. The book is much better than that but the audio quality is just that bad.
The narrator is droning, but the text is still great. It took a long time to listen to this, because I continually lost track.
One caveat: part of the beauty of the written texts are Gibbon's colorful footnotes. You miss these colorful splashes when you listen to the narration.
When I realized Audible had Decline and Fall on file I was thrilled - I have always wanted to read it. However, either Edward Gibbon or the narrator makes this history so tedious to listen to that I simply quit after the first part.
Some books are more suitable for the medium of audiobooks than others, just as some books are meant to be read while others are meant to stand on the shelf testifying the learned sophistication of the owner. In printed form, Edward Gibbon's masterpiece makes fabulous sleeping aid, in audiobook form, it has lost even that, the recording sounds like it comes from outdated dictaphone, and the content, well, it's "decline and fall of the roman empire..."