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Susanne

Fort Wayne, IN, United States | Member Since 2006

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  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Frederick Douglass
    • Narrated By Charles Turner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    Willie says: "Excellent Read...Highly Recommended!"
    "Perhaps it's better than nothing..."
    Overall

    Perhaps it's better than nothing...

    But it is a shame that, as important as The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas is to the American literary and historical traditions, both versions available to Audible listeners are woefully deficient.

    The narrators of either version--Charles Turner (this one) and Jonathan Reese (the other)--possess all of the timing skill of child actors performing a cold readings of Shakespeare and possess the vocal inflective talents expected of people who are nearly stone deaf. Considering that Douglas was one of the greatest oratory talents in the history of the United States, these grossly deficient narrators' inept representations of his great rhetorical work is an insult to his memory.

    In addition to the undeniable technical insufficiencies that render listening nearly unbearable, neither version includes the essential "qualifying" documents written by William Lloyd Garrison or Wendell Phillips that are representative of slave narratives and inseparable reminders of the disenfranchisement of black people even in the free North.

    If you still feel you must purchase one version or the other, that which is narrated by Turner has a more informative introduction at the cost of a laughably wretched narrator; and the version with Reese is slightly less talentless, with only a brief introduction, but even the highest quality (4) format has consistent low-bitrate digital distortion throughout. Since I find the introduction of either version to be sub-academic (and thus not worth the bother), my recommendation would be the Reese narration.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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