Catton is a master story teller. This book is right up there with all of the Civil War books. The best is Stillness at Appomattox which I wish Audible would get. I think I heard it a number of years ago from Books on Tape. Of course, Shelby Foote is more thorough, but the military maneuvers in Foote's books are just too compliacated for me. Catton also loses me in some military strategy but he returns to the politial scene often enough. Catton writes extremely well, and if you want more of the same read the Army of the Potomac series, which as I mentioned in passing, Audible should get hold of if they are available. I''ll admit that I am a Civil War buff and have dragged my wife to several battlefields despite her protestations. On a recent car trip I tried to stop at Spottsyvania but was overruled. If you can't get to some of the battlefields listen to audible with these type of books.
Of course it is part of the series with The Coming Fury and Never Call Retreat, and if you liked one you will like the other, though The Coming Fury doesn't have the battle drama, because it is an introduction to the Civil War. Shelby Foote's trilogy is also outstanding and is available on audio, though more lengthy. I also bought Battle Cry of Freedom but didn't have a chance to listen to it yet. I am sure that I will enjoy it. In short, Bruce Catton is a master story teller of the Civil War, so get started and enjoy.
Nelson Runger and Kate Reading are the best narrators that I have ever heard. I love the way Nelson Runger intones his reading. I loved his First American (Franklin) reading and heard him on Books on Tape on Eisenhower and an abridged version of Adams. I wish Audible could get him on The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Every word of his is a delectable morsel. I hope to get his other books on American histroy and biography. Sometimes, I feel a little saturated with American history, but I just can't enough of Runger. I am even going to listen to another Benjamin Franklin biography. Some of you may think he is too slow, but I love his slow intonation which has a little surprise and sarcasm mixed in. Could anyone persuade him to read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? I could then turn into an ancient history scholar at the drop of a hat.
I am always chuckling at the machinations of the Civil War generals, though Shelby Foote is a downright humorist when it comes to this. Of course, I am glad to fight the Civil War in my armchair at the distance of 150 years. Looking back, it is easy to see the mistakes of Maclellan, Burnside and Hooker, but imagine the thousands of lives over which these men were responsible for. As of today I have fought the Civil War about 50 times and can never get tired of the drama, issues, and importance of that conflict. Catton manages to bring it alive for the 50th time for me. Deep down I have to cry for the 600,000 boys who lost their lives both North and South. I wish the slavery question could have been resolved in the times of Franklin and Washington. But alas!
As with the other Trollope novels, I liked the transformation of Silverbridge from the prospective suitor of Lady Mabel to the fiance of Miss Bon Kassen (I hope I spelled that right; This is audible you know). I almost forgot the gradual coming around of the Duke of Omnium to reconcile himself tothe chosen mates of his children. Then, of course there is the steadfastness of Mary to Silverbridge which matches the steadfastness and loyalty of Mary to Frank in Doctor Thorne. There is nothing really new in this novel, though I never get tired of Trollope and his keen insight of human character, male and female.
I liked Silverbridge the best. He is frank and direct which is a refreshing change from the convolutions of Lady Mabel and the other scheming members of the upper class, especially the females who must catch a titled and wealthy man. On the other hand, I guess Silverbridge is born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth which makes it easy for him to be so honest and forthcoming.
Timothy West goes with Anthony Trollope like cream cheese goes with jelly. By the way, he doesn't imitate female voices which seems to be very awkward for a male voice. Simon Vance is also excellent but I don't like his female voice imitations. West's narrative is smooth and his reading of Silverbridge and the Duke of Omnium would be non existent if I had just read the book. Timothy West is supeb in all his Trollope readings and this is no exception.
I can't say the book was a thriller of that sort. Rather, it was like good wine which I want to sip. I knew the plot from the Masterpiece Palliser series. Like all the Trollope books it stresses characterization and you feel like you are mixing with the cream of English society, though some of them can be scoundrels and liars like Lady Eustace in Lady Eustace's diamonds. For the lower classes you will have to go to Dickens though the heroes and heroines remain in both the upper and lower classes.
This book is very user friendly It tells us the early history of Britain and is very enjoyable to listen to. I am ranking it very highly among the audible history books.
I liked the fact that it stressed two unknown facts for me. One was that the Britons were fighting the Angles and Saxons which helped Norman the Conquerer in his invasion. The second eye opener was that Norman was really an offshoot of the Scandivanians, not the French. Also, the book was addressed to the reader in the 21st century.
Anna Massey is great. I listened to Rebecca and she is outstanding here as she was there. She is a born narrator as well as a great actress whom I have seen on the Masterpice Classic Palliser series.
I wouldn't say I laughed or cried, though some of the characters were amusing. I plan to listen to the other books in the series. I felt very informed about not only early English history, but also about what we call the early Middle Ages.
This book had me glued to my seat on the subway. I knew what was going to happen, but the transformation of the main character from an easygoing victim of circumstance to a reluctant murderer was fascinating.
My favorite character was Roberta Alden whom I felt sorry for and who epitomized for me the tragedy of this book. Clyde Griffiths was too flawed a character for me to consider tragic.
The narrator did a great job with Clyde and Roberta, but also was outstanding with the district attourney and Roberta's father. His voice is able to pinpoint the role of the character. I haven't even finished this book, but so far every character is portrayed with authenticity.
It is too big for one sitting, but whenever I had spare time, my mp3 player was on to this book.
By all means, buy the book from audible. Dreiser may have some shortcomings with his prose. He is not as elegant as Trollope, but the narrator brings it right to the emotions. My best books in audible are those that get me emotionally stirred whether joyfully or sadly. This is one of those books.
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