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John

Toronto, ON, Canada

ratings
5
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HELPFUL VOTES
7

  • The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (328)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (155)

    The fateful quarter-century leading up to World War I was a time when the world of privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.

    Doug says: "Fascinating history"
    "Tuchman sweep marred by narrator."
    Overall

    This book, like all of Tuchman's popular histories, is sweeping, interesting for general readers, and easy to understand without being pedantic or shallow. What I've always liked about Tuchman -- her knack for analyzing the root causes of events without losing the colour and passion of individual lives -- is evident here, though somewhat less technically-adept than her brillian medieval history 'A Distant Mirror'.

    However, this particular Audible.com edition is marred by the precious upper-class accent of the narrator. Listening to Tuchman's descriptions of English aristocratic privelege in the tones of a girl's private school matron is slightly annoying, but as this lengthy book progresses through chapters on American politics, popular culture and social mores, and the coming Great War, it becomes positively off-putting. I particularly dislike the narrator's tendency to put on goofy foreign accents when reading quotations by the characters Tuchman discusses (GB Shaw in drole Irish brogue, Petr Kropotkin in absurd Russian growl, and so on).

    This book is a great value at the price, but sample the reader's voice before you buy.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful

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