Littel has spun a tale so true-to-life that I found myself thinking it might be thinly veiled non-fiction. More than once I found myself sitting in my car, listening until the very last moment I could walk in to work. The characters are fully three dimensional, the plot develops naturally, and the history lessons contained within the story are so well woven I couldn't tell where the fiction ended and the history began.
Don't miss this revealing look at the rise and near-fall of one of this country's governmental institutions.
Lover of good ideas
This is one of the most complicated and deeply written plot, based on real people and historical events. While a novel, you soon forget that fact as the characters develop and the story unfolds. You have to pay attention, because the plot turns on itself, and you can loose the storyline. I don't know how many times I had to replay a section, because I missed a switch in the plot.
Character development is great and you soon know and care about the characters. It is sometimes hard to tell who the good guys are and who are the evil ones. No matter, you will find yourself engrossed by the story. If you lived through some of these actual events, the book makes you wonder if it has let you in on what really happened and why things happened the way they did.
I will definitely be reading more of Mr Litell's books.
I don't really like spy novels, but I love long books. So I read most of the reviews and decided to give the book a try. So here are my responses to the reviews:
1 Some said it had too much cursing. I don't get easily offended by too much cursing. I kept an ear out for it, but felt there was very little cursing. Unless you are overly sensitive to cursing, don't worry about this one. And now, I'm going to find another book by this author...
2 Some said too long. I do like long books and felt that every hour was great. There was 1 slight lull in the 80's after a major plot climax, but overall, it was captivating.
3 Some got mixed up with names because of it being a spy novel. This was my biggest concern. I have the same problem. But I was able to be reasonably sure of what was going on at all times.
4 ...It was a condemnation against democracy. This is the most ridiculous claim. I didn't see any "preaching" for or against. It is a spy novel. The author showed that the Russian actually believe in their cause. Characters on both sides of the "game" were well developed and real.
Spy novels aren't my genre, but I would recommend this book highly.
I've never written a book review before because I would hate someone to buy something on my account and then not enjoy it. However, I can confidently state that "The Company" is a top notch listen in every respect. History has never been so entertaining or personal. I hesitate to imagine the hours of research that went into its writing, for, although it is a work of fiction, the factual events are covered in amazing detail that shows uncanny clarity and insight on behalf of the author. It is easy to get lost in the names, places, titles and relationships, but it is worth the effort. The narrator was perfect. His readings were well prepared (it is probably difficult to switch from German to Russian accents back to English), and he put real emotion in the reading when required (without overdoing it). I can't really overstate how much I enjoyed this audiobook, and I am sure that you well also.
The Company will become a part of your life. Over the course of a month I came to know the men and women depicted in The Company, and to care about them. This book is about more than just the cold war, it is about the shaping of modern America and the people who (could have?) made it happen. I didn't want it to end.
This is the first review I have written and I just had to do it. I am about half way through the book and it's great! I really believe it is more true that fiction! I had reservations about downloading such a huge book, but I am enthralled. I was afraid that it would be too confusing listening to this type of book, due to both the subject and the length, but it is so interesting I can't wait to get time to listen to it. It is written in such a way that it is easy to follow and the narration is exceptional. What a great book!
At 40 hours, this juggernaut of an epic pulls you deep into the story of the second half of the twentieth century from the perspective of the true soldiers of the Cold War. At 23, even relatively recent events like the fall of the Berlin Wall are shadowy memories at best for me. Littel brought the meaning and feelings of over forty years of tension straight to the surface with action, secret agents, double agents, love affairs, suspense, history, spectacular characters, and humor to slide you through smoothly. This audio book is a rite of passage to being a true Audible listener.
Littell strikes a great balance between detail and drama. The story sweeps over decades and continents, but still keeps you connected to the three men whose lives are traced the most closely. When a major plot twist involved one of them, my heart actually started pounding and I became concerned for him.
I highly recommend this entertaining book, especially if you take advantage of a subscription to pick it up for a song!
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
Perhaps the chief attraction of this book is its decades-long narrative which touches every one of the U.S./Soviet flashpoints between the early fifties and the fall of the Kremlin old guard. We are given a nice view of the through line in this central confrontation of the second half of the 20th C.
Unfortunately this is also the story's chief weakness. We are asked to believe that this tiny handful of central characters was, Zelig-like, present and vital at every climactic moment over a thirty year span and then went on to run the CIA as, essentially, their own little shop. By the end there is something rather absurd about how thinly they have been spread.
Nonetheless, there are times when Littell spins a ripping good story, notably in the cases of the Hungarian uprising, the Bay of Pigs and the rise of Boris Yeltzin. He gives us gripping closeups of each, complete with some memorable minor characters and the requisite hairsbreadth escapes. The outcomes are uniformly predictable, but the we still enjoy the trip each time, and with so much compelling history to cover, the author is able to keep the story unwinding at a pace which seldom lags. If only the leading players came to life along with the episodes. Only one really does, and he labors throughout his entire life for the Communist cause.
When I bought this book, I shelved it for a while because I couldn't commit myself to the sheer length of it. Everyday I didn't start listening to <U>The Company</U>, I was robbing myself of one of the greatest audio book experiences I will probably ever have. The depth of character development and the complexity of the interweaveing stories is handled masterfully by Littell. Scott Brick's narration is fantastic.
Do not be intimidated by the length of this book! Once you get in, it will stay with you during your days and nights when not listening to it.