I read the book when it first came out, so to listen to it, with Liam Neeson narrating was the crowning touch to a masterpiece.
This is one of those books that needs to be assigned to every student in Western civilization to read. It also demonstrates how Christianity tamed the savage tribes that made up Europe at the time.
A very enjoyable narrative and completely brought to life by Liam Neeson's reading. Thank you! All's needed now is for Audible to offer higher quality sound files - it sounded a bit like you were listening through a long tin can. But I can say that to all the books I've listened to through Audible so far.
Everyone should be exposed to this time period of history through this work in seeing the transformation of people groups from savages to civilized, to organized states, of states that rise and fall, and the slow but steady growth of Europe under Christianity. The blossoming of Islam and the subsequent stumbling and fall of it's luminaries sweeps before you.
What I loved is Durant's weaving - he'll tell one epic, then another of the same time period and bring back the same characters so the reader can see how they fit in a different context.
Stefan Rudnicki's narration is awesome for this work, a steady, constant, almost invisible narration allowing the story to shine through.
Loved every part of it and I'm much richer for the listen, especially for the new understanding of our culture and how it developed, albeit slowly in fits and starts.
I've been listening to audiobooks for over 3 years now, over 35 books, 2 hours a day in my commute. Of all the books I've listened to, this is easily the best. It's the first that had me laughing so hard I was worried about the effect on my driving. George Guidall's unparalleled narration took me completely into the drama of the story, brought out the characters as if they were alive in another country - not some un-relatable figures from the 14th century.
I can't fully put in words how much I enjoyed this listen and I have to make this review short as I am at work.
I almost never write reviews but this work was so great I felt that I owed it to honor, post-mortem the author, the translator, and last but not least the narrator. Yet how do I write a review on a book that is a Literary Classic already and has been reviewed by countless individuals certainly more qualified than myself? How could I bring anything new to this work? I won't try to attempt this other than point out the excellence of the narrator and some other aspects.
In such an epic masterpiece you need a masterful narrator and I've found George Guidall to be top of his class, par none. Mr. Guidall drew out each character, adding subtle inflections, cadences that brought life to the story in what I imagined Victor Hugo intended when he wrote the book. I can't imagine narrating a book 50+ hours and being so consistent as Mr. Guidall. There was no evidence whatsoever of weariness, he was in a word, awesome.
We all are familiar with movies we've seen that are much longer than the traditional 80 minutes, that perhaps were 3 hours but the time just flew by. This is how I see this version. I have a long commute and with a companion like this audiobook I was taken away to a time long ago, to a character of the highest nobility with a heart as tender as they come - Jean Valjean, a nemesis representing the anthesis of grace - Javert, and redemption all played out on a scale as large as life itself. I was never anxious for it to end and was left feeling like I was leaving someone I got to know that I wouldn't see again. I didn't want to go, I didn't want it to end.
This is and will be I suspect, one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. I have listened to quite a few up to this point.
Thank you Mr. Hugo, Julie Rose, Mr. George Guidall and finally Audible.com.
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