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.
If you know history then you know what to expect from the text. It is incredibly comprehensive but loaded with all the trappings of the age the historian was experiencing when it was written. If you like that, huzzah. If not, you might want to download something a little lighter as a counterbalance. Shame about the quality of the recording...
When I finished this audiobook, I listened to it again. And again. It just keeps on giving. Gibbon's command of the language is breathtaking. His quiet, ironic sense humour bursts through the narrative from time-to-time, and is utterly delightful.
Passage after passage is worth quoting. For example: "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful."
It felt like Gibbon himself was reading the book.
I have no complaints about the book or recording. They are great.
The Decline and Fall can be very difficult to keep track of when/where you are at. I recommend listening through the first time, then listening again to gain more clarity of how everything occurred.
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.