I gave this entire series (The French Revolution: Bastille, Constitution and Guillotine) a rating of '1', only because I couldn't rate it any lower. Admittedly, I could only sit through the first two hours of the first volume. I honestly couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say.
The problem (for me) is that the entire book seems to be written in a style of stanzas (poetic), rather than a paragraph (narrative) form. Also the language style uses a psuedo-period (1770's) English, even a Shakespearian-like English, all put together in a rather poor attempt of something like Iambic Pentameter style. At least that's the impression I got while listening. Using every allagory, metaphore, simile, and every other literary trick in the book simply confused the verbage into such a tangle, that virtually nothing could be made out of any particular point. I assume a point was trying to be made.
Please don't take my word for all of this - I advise listening very closely to the sample that Audible provides before you buy. If you like this style, and can make out what's being said, by all means go ahead and buy it. If you have a problem, I can only assure you that it won't get any better.
I have been an Audible.com customer for many years, and have purchased many history genre books. Among my selections include such authors as Suetonius, Tacitus, and Horoditus, as well as Shelby Foote, Winston Churchill, Bruce Catton, David McCullough, and many other modern authors. 'The French Revolution' has to be my greatest disappointment in any historical genre book purchased from Audible, and has earned the only '1' rating in my entire collection.
A definite NOT recommended.
I enjoyed this book more than most, and am now 1/3 of the way through my second listining. I almost didn't start it the second time because of the narrator.
Most of his vocal charactarizations were at least OK, even his Arnold imitation of the Merrik character got the point across that he wasen't an American. To show that he was Dutch, and use Goldmember's accent (Bring out Austin Power's Faaasha!) would have been too much. I can live with this one.
The use of a whispering voice for the Gordon character, who was key for many important science-type explainations, was the most annoying. I listen to AudioBooks while driving, and had to back up and shove my ear plug right up against my eardrum to hear what the character was trying to say. Also, whenever two of the other characters were involved in an 'aside' between themselves (like saying something they didn't want the others to hear), the narrator would actually either whisper, or lower his voice so much that I couldn't hear what was going on.
I gave the book a '4' for content and general listenability. I had to average in the '1' I gave for narration. The narrator should be required to listen to his own performance before being allowed to release this edition to the public.
Otherwise, I found the Quantum theory explainations to be facinating. "If you can explain Quantum Physics, you don't understand it yourself." Its so counter-intuitive, and trashes most or all 'Natural Laws', that explaining it at all was quite a streach. Good job here.
This book is a Cliff-Hanger, Sci-Fi, psudo-historical genre. If you don't like this type of fiction, don't buy it. Of course its going to be somewhat predictable. Naturally its going to be a 'damsel in distress' old movie seriel type of book. Expect it!
I liked especially the descriptions of Medevil France. I've read alot of histories, but none brought across the absolute brutality of this world as well as this author. Life back then was Short & Violent.
The Alexander Kent series of Richard Bolitho sea-going adventures are the best I have ever read (and I have really read nearly every book published). When Kent describes a sea battle you can 'hear' the cannon roar. If you have ever read the 'Horatio Hornblower' series (CF Forrester), these are even better!
I certainly hope Audible.Com will present the other books in this fine series. 'Sloop of War' is the second book of the series and 'Cross of St. George' must be the last (Bolitho is KIA in 1815). 'With All Dispatch' occures somewhere in the middle of the series (1792).
I'm only half-way through this book, but I already wish I had to drive much more than I do. This book is a really engrossing study of the '20s, and Mr Lloyd is one of the best readers I have heard yet.
The author presents all the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the 1920s, and there was plenty of each. There is much more to the '20s than Prohibition and Flappers - there were the almost unknown (today)administrations of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Neither president was a 'great', but neither was as bad as usually presented in HS history classes either. There was Henery Ford's dream of an automobile that 'everyone' could afford, and the way his dream totally changed America.
Much more is in this book than I could list here. I gave this book a '5' rating because of the clarity of writing and the excellent reading talent. Highly recommended to any 'student' of American History.
Sam Watkins' (1st Tennessee, CSA) "Company Aytch" is one of the best accounts of the Civil War written by an eye witness. Having a Yankee reader for this Southerner's story, however, really detracted from the listening experience. The book earns a '5', but I only gave the reader '3' simply because of his obviously Yankee twang. A better 'accented' reader surley should have been found.
"Company Aytch" is considered a Classic in this genera, as well as it should be. I could not imagine a modern infantryman putting up with the privations, executions and real battle slaughter as happened during the Civil War.
The companion book to "Company Aytch" is "All For the Union", written by Elisha Hunt Rhodes (2nd Rhode Island, USA). Between the two of these men, they served through all four years of the Civil War from 1st Manassas to Appomattax, through every major engagement between North and South, and lived to tell the tale. Neither are 'Big Bugs', as Sam Watkins puts it, just a couple of plain private soldiers (although Rhodes advanced to Lt. by the war's end, while Watkins only made it to Corporal).
For a 'real' look at the Civil War, read BOTH of these books. Well Recommended!
If you are looking for the beautiful Homeric Iambic Pentameter poety of Ancient Greece, you are NOT going to find it in this recording. The entire epic has been re-done in a pseudo-Elizabethan English prose, and read by one of the worst readers it has ever been my DISpleasure to listen to. Nadia May's voice not only has an irritating tembre to it, her accent is almost unintelligable to an American ear. The whole tone of her voice reminds me of a disapproving English Auntie.
Please note that I have reviewed many of the books I have gotten from Audible, and this is the first one I have completly panned. The book certainly did not deserve the 'One Star' rating I gave it, but there is no 'Zero Star' rating.
I would still like to find 'The Illiad' in the original version.
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