Schama is one of my favorite historians. Ordinarily I could not recommend anything abridged, but in his case, I think it works. He packs so much into his works ("Citizens" for instance) that you can easily get overwhelmed. By cutting this book down to size, it becomes easier to digest in an audio format, whereas listening to the thousand page original would be exhausting.
I tried to go the distance, but this defeated me. I remember reading The Reavers and The Unvanquished many years ago. Both were supremely great works of literature. But TSATF is impenetrable for me. I guess I'm not "advanced" enough to get it. If you're like me and you like a somewhat linear development, I would advise something else by this great author. It's a shame so many people are going to get a first impression of Faulkner by this work. There are some other pieces by Faulkner on Audible as I recall.
After listening to Mr. Griffin's inspired version of Virgil's Aeneid, there was simply no way I was going to pass up on this one. Beowulf plagued me in college. I struggled with it, basically just to get through it. If only this recording had been available to me back then. Although the poem itself is not as linear in development or as clear in its meaning as, say, The Iliad or The Aenead, it yet possesses a power which is very peculiar. I think much of this is a result of the rich alliteration and powerful symbolism that is spread throughout the work. And, as the publisher's summary says, there is definitely an echo of Virgil here. I was so captivated by the power of this epic poem that I went out and bought the Kennedy translation just to follow along. Even better! I cannot say enough in praise about Mr. Griffin's work here. His ability to instantly pull you into the story and keep you riveted to the words borders on the magical. Like everything he does, the production values are top notch. If you are even slightly curious about Beowulf, this is your golden opportunity.
The stories in this collection represent probably the best writing that has been accomplished in American literature. This is the good stuff, much of which you may have already come across in high school or college. In the hands of Charlton Griffin, these stories have been transformed into audible works of art. I didn't find these magnificent pieces depressing at all, and I must say that hearing them performed so well was a revelation. America has made a great contribution to world literature and hearing this collection will make you realize this. An educated person needs to hear this one.
Now I know why you are supposed to like this poem. It really does have a strong aura of spirituality about it. I thought the entire production was beautifully done. There is a nice introduction about Virgil and The Aeneid to get you oriented. Then, at the beginning of each section there is a short synopsis of the action to give you a heads up on what is coming. I never got lost or bewildered by the story. This is a breathtaking performance on the part of the reader, too. If you like The Iliad or The Odessey, you're going to love this one. I recommend it without hesitation.
I've never encountered a work of fiction that affected me the way this book did. The book is written in a very spare and direct manner, with little in the way of frilly language or anything difficult to grasp. And yet, as you get further into this novel, it weaves a complex spell. You begin to feel this weight of exotic melancholia. It is not an upleasant feeling, however. It's deja vu. It seems like you have somehow been there, that you already know this material deep down inside. It's difficult to put into words. I thought the story was one of the most meaningful I have ever encountered and if you like historical novels set in ancient times, you absolutely must experience this book. One of the reasons I tried this audiobook was the narrator, whose work I have heard previously. Just listen to the sample. He is beyond incredible, and maintains that same level of intense introspection throughout the 22 hours of the novel. An amazing talent.
This is a very richly informed work of fiction. The sheer scale and sweep of the story is sometimes overwhelming and you find yourself rewinding. This is like a piece of extraordinarily dense cheesecake with a very sweet topping. You take it in small bites, then ever larger ones once you have accustomed yourself to its richness. Having adjusted your palette, you wolf down the remaining portion and look round for more. Yes, it really is that kind of book. If you will listen to the sample here, you get an excellent feel for the language. If you can handle hour upon hour of this kind of richness, this is your audiobook. I found the narration a bit overly dramatic in places. Because of the baroque writing style, I think a more sedate tone should have been applied, more relaxed and intellectual. But the British accent is just what the book requires and the reader is quite good in spite of my nitpicking.
Clinton always seemed like a mixture of the worst traits of LBJ and JFK. But I have to say, he really is persuasive. You almost start to believe this stuff as you listen to his excellent narration. I give it one star on that account. But this is a celebrity expos?, not a real biography. Just as he fell short of the office he occupied, he falls short as an historian. There's no "there" there. The real Clinton will only emerge many decades from now when an absolutely fair minded historian digs up all the bones and puts them back together.
High school history text books walk a fine line, and they have to in order to be acceptable in such a diverse nation as ours. But if you were to put in everything Dr. Loewen wants, the book would be too heavy to carry. I agree that high school american history is boring. I certainly thought so at the time. Unfortunately, Loewen ends up often doing the exact same thing he accuses the textbooks of doing: inserting an agenda. And what is wrong with trying to make Americans feel good about their nation? As students mature, they will make up their own minds about a whole range of subjects, including history. By relying on dry facts, history books attempt to sidestep sensitive political issues.
Loewen seems to want history written as an editorial, and not let the reader decide for themselves. How many accept Loewen's multicultural thesis as fact? This wholesale acceptance of one point of view as fact is precisely the issue Mr. Loewen is trying to thwart. I hope this irony is not lost on Mr. Loewen.
Dr. Loewen is certainly entitled to his point of view, but I am concerned by the attempt to hide an agenda of political indoctrination under the cloak of "objective" scholarship. The book contains selective facts that support a political agenda. Is multiculturalism about minority viewpoints or political correctness? According to this book, liberal ideas such as multiculturalism are not to be questioned - they are to be taught to students as gospel. This is disturbing stuff. Where, then, is the questioning? Loewen is a sociologist, not a historian. History is history. You can't lie about it.
The narration is adequate, though a bit on the excitable side sometimes.
Wow! This one really pushes the gray matter! I had no idea of the complexity of the middle ages. This really shot my preconceptions right out of the water. It's a little scholarly in places, but for the most part, I thought it was incredibly interesting. I've already gone back to hear some of the more interesting parts again. The opening chapter about Christianity was very well done. Highly recommended! Nice narration, too.
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