I don't think the author had much of a plan when he wrote this book. The time sequence jumps forward and backward as if he thought of something new to add but didn't want to rewrite. Some of his information is incorrect, as pointed out in other reviews. Other information is identified as speculation at first but then fact later. He spends much time on opinionated historical review outside of his subject. Much material is repeated several times. In short it is neither a worthwhile guide to the plague itself nor an accurate description of the times after. I suggest "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman and "Journal of the Plague Year" by Daniel Defoe as being much more worth your time.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.
One Hundred Years of Solitude. Actual literature, not like this.
All of it.
This book is a cheesy patchwork of cheap rhetorical tricks, self-contradictions, ad hominem attacks on historians, Anglo-Saxon boosterism, religious bigotry, and conspiracy theories.
This book is thorough and carefully researched.
The narrative is carried forward in a straightforward and lucid manner.
I am puzzled by some of the other listeners' comments. To begin with you can't expect to listen to a book of history without providing yourself with some maps and doing some basic research on the topic. If that's too hard you should be reading Bernard Cornwell. As for the reader, yes, he has an accent, one that I have heard before, but not in a narrator. It's not BBC standard. However I understood all the words and his voice is pleasant to listen to. I found the pronunciation more amusing than annoying.
Listeners should be aware the book was written a hundred years ago and many of the place names are not on current maps, or are differently spelled and sometimes differently pronounced. Also, the author was British and has a British point of view, although I would say he is fair and honest. There is much detailed description of military unit names and numbers present at certain times. It could all have been left out. Curiously, it has the effect of reinforcing the author's credibility. He did his homework.
This book is a treat for the ears. It's like fine wine or anything else that needs intelligence, experience, and taste to be appreciated. I had to buy the hardbound copy so I would be able to read it over and over at leisure. The book is worth listening to for its rich range of expression and subtle humor even if you don't want to learn about the revolution, but having said that it is a first class description of those momentous events and renders them in a way that your dry dates-and-events histories could never rise to. A must for any student of history with a literary bent.
It's a pity people who are just trolling for a page turner sometimes rent books they can't handle. Perhaps the bad reviewers of this book should stick to bestsellers. This is a magnificent book and extremely well read. It may not be to everyone's taste but it is fascinating and intricate. Besides giving you a slice of Second Empire Paris and its night life, it has characters you care about, and makes you want to know what happens next, which are my two measures of a good story.
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