This is a well-thought-out, well-written book. After listening to it, I bought the print version.
The examples and analogies are well-chosen and not overwrought. Before reading the book, I'd often had discussions where I'd tried to make similar arguments. The problem is that most people seem to automatically cringe at any attempt to draw comparisons between prior fascistic governments and what's currently happening in the United States.
The reductio ad Hitlerum argument (term coined by Leo Strauss in 1950) is a "tactic...often used to derail arguments, [and] as such a comparison tends to distract and to result in angry and less reasoned responses." But, as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies (or Godwin's Law), which is sometimes confused with reductio ad Hitlerum, suggests, sometimes such comparisons are appropriate. Or, as George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
REMEMBERING, though, is not enough. There must be a RECOGNITION that what one remembers has application to the present. Otherwise, you won't know when the mistakes are being, or are about to be, repeated.
This book walks through the 10 steps -- and proposes that the model is predictive -- that democracies take on the path to becoming fascist states. This provides the tools for recognition. The arguments are both thought-provoking and compelling.
The narrator's voice is nice; almost TOO nice. She sounds almost seductive. Although I enjoyed listening to her, there were a couple of times I found her approach too relaxing: not conducive to attentive driving.
I wish I could afford to buy copies of this book to send to every United States Congressperson -- for STARTERS. I seriously considered purchasing a large number of copies to give away to some of my friends who take a laissez-faire approach the current U.S. government.
Maybe this book will help revive America before it's truly too late.
I'd never read this book and always thought that I should. After joining Audible, I figured, "now's my chance."
Perhaps I'm a bit jaded. When this story first came out, it may have been more interesting. Today, it's a little "run of the mill." Parts of it appeared to have been written as an exercise in stream of consciousness writing.
The biggest problem, by far, however, is the narration.
On the one hand, having the author read the work himself probably means that you get a better understanding of the story as he intended it. Who better to make the correct inflections, add excitement in the proper spots and create suspense by pausing just where he intended pauses?
However, Mr. Bradbury apparently had a stroke in 1999. My guess is that the audiobook was recorded after that. I intend no slight towards Mr. Bradbury, but he probably should have had someone else read the book for him. At times, I couldn't understand what he was saying.
Overall, though, I stuck with it. (It gets easier to understand him as you're exposed to his voice more.) I'm glad I did because, although at times the story seemed a bit tedious, by and large I did enjoy it. The rewriting of the history of firemen, in particular, was an interesting idea.
As has been said in other reviews I've read: Listen to the sample and decide for yourself if you think you can handle Mr. Bradbury's voice for the length of the book. Initially, I almost gave the book only 2 stars because of the narration.
I've downloaded numerous books since joining audible.com, but I don't think I've enjoyed another book as well as I've enjoyed this one. I almost exclusively listen to audiobooks in my car (as a criminal defense attorney practicing in multiple counties, I spend a lot of time on the road). I was repeatedly tempted to take this one into the house or office with me. I found myself looking for ways to get stuck in traffic; if a traffic signal looked like it MIGHT turn yellow, I slowed down.
On rare occasions, I did find myself thinking, "Okay...on with it, already" where I felt the story occasionally bogged down. This was rare.
One disappointment is that I really wanted to have more of my "why" and "how" questions answered.
For those who have seen the movie, it is my understanding that the movie and book are different. I haven't seen the movie, but asked someone how it handled his childhood (because it was my understanding the movie has him as an adult). I was told the movie dispensed with his youth in the first 15 minutes or so. The book, on the other hand, ends when he's around 16 years old, as I recall.
And I will say the ending left me somewhat dissatisfied, but I won't say why, so as not to spoil the story for anyone. I still give the book 5 stars and probably will listen to it again sometime soon.
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