(P)2005 Tantor Media Inc.
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--Jonathan Reese (this one) and Charles Turner (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.
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I read this well over a year ago, before I read Uncle Tom's Cabin and a few other well known books on the subject, and I have to say this is the best of the log by far. Douglass can really write, and can really show the evils of slavery, he makes the rest seem like cheap imitations.
No; I could never denigrate Douglass's original writing, although the audio is great.
Douglass writes persuasively of the horrors of slavery; one of the memorable examples is the beating of Frederick's Aunt Hester.
Douglass, as expressed in first person
Douglass' book is analagous to Martin Luther King's speeches in influencing American equality of races.
The narration was so effective that as I was using the audible.com version to help my Engish III students, someone in the hallway thought that I was simply showing movies to my students on those days, and I had to explain to my supervisor that we were using audible.com to help my students understand Douglass's writing. Thanks for a great job!
I was very moved by this autobiography of an American Hero. This book is not a novel not a piece of clever or cruel fiction but a real life account of a time in American history that marks just how far we have come today. I have talked about this book and recommended it to everyone I know.
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