Written some 40 years after Moby Dick, Melville's Billy Budd is a moving tale of good versus evil. Set aboard a British navy ship at the end of the eighteenth century, a young, innocent sailor's charm and good nature put the men around him at ease. Ship life agreed with Billy. He made friends quickly and was well liked, which infuriated John Claggart, the ship's cold-blooded superior officer.
Mutiny was a continual threat greatly feared by naval officers. Even minor offences were dealt with harshly to keep crews in their place, regardless of whether the accused was guilty or innocent.
The envious Master-at-Arms becomes obsessed with the destruction of the 'Handsome Sailor' and torments the young man until his false accusations lead to an eventual charge of treason against Billy.
Public Domain (P)2000 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©2000 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
I had to read "Billy Budd" for a senior seminar class in college, and this audiobook version worked great for me. The narration of this version is a little dry, but then there are other versions where the quality is simply dreadful to say the least.
As many may already know, there are various copies of Billy Budd (BB: Foretopman, BB: Sailor, etc.) because Melville never published the novella in his lifetime. However, I listened to this audiobook while reading along with the Norton Critical Edition of Billy Budd, and the changes were hardly distinct (except for the name of the ship Indomitable vs. Belipotent and an added paragraph towards the end of the novella).
Anyway, I've listened to this audiobook 4 times since I bought it, and it's a great version in my opinion.
Some passages required me to refer back to the written version. This audiobook is presented with only three chapters, not the chapter markers that the author intended. Instead of chapter markers there was nice string music interspersed in odd spots.
I had to read the book for school and using the audiobook was indefinitely helpful. Though at times it was hard to get though because of the nature of the writing, I enjoyed the book.
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