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The Good Soldier | [Ford Madox Ford]

The Good Soldier

The Good Soldier is a story about the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples - one English, one American - and the growing awareness of American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian façade. It is Dowell’s attitude - his puzzlement, uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration - that makes the book so powerful and mysterious. In Ford’s brilliantly woven tale, nothing is quite what it seems.
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Publisher's Summary

The Good Soldier is a story about the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples - one English, one American - and the growing awareness of American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian façade. It is Dowell’s attitude - his puzzlement, uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration - that makes the book so powerful and mysterious. In Ford’s brilliantly woven tale, nothing is quite what it seems.

Despite its catalog of death, insanity, and despair, this novel has many comic moments and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene. Originally published in 1915, The Good Soldier is considered by many to be Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece.

Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) was a novelist, poet, literary critic, editor, and one of the founding fathers of English Modernism. He published over seventy books in his lifetime, perhaps most famously The Good Soldier. His books often centered on the conflict between traditional British values and those of the modern industrial society.

Public Domain (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“One of the finest novels of our century.” (Graham Greene)

The Good Soldier, often regarded as his best work, reflects Ford’s ambivalent fascination with the phenomenon of the English gentleman. The conclusion is anticipated in the well-known opening line: ‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard.’” (New York Times)

“This is the most intriguing, shocking, and original book I have ever read… The Good Soldier is the only book I have ever read and wanted to read again immediately.” (Times, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (110 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
3.5 (95 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (12)
Story
3.5 (98 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (22)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    David Trinity, AL, United States 03-14-13
    David Trinity, AL, United States 03-14-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I was glad to finally reach the end...."
    Would you try another book from Ford Madox Ford and/or Ralph Cosham?

    If this is the authors style of writing, I will not try to find another by him. Perhaps others like this dry "story by the fireside" type of novel, but I found it extremely boring, the characters very dry, and the action non-existent...much like an English play.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    My next listen will be something with action, drama, character. Maybe a war story!! Anything to revive my listening experience.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Ralph Cosham?

    I doubt I will listen to him again.


    Was The Good Soldier worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I read other reviews before I purchased this book. Many of them said this was a very good book. Perhaps we just have very different definitions of what is "very good".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 12-03-12
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 12-03-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "We don't know what goes on within a marriage"
    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is naive, taking us step by step as he learns the truth about his wife and friends. Along the way he presents a vivid picture of upper class life in Europe before WWI.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Canning Vale, Australia 07-31-12
    Donna Canning Vale, Australia 07-31-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Couldn't wait until it finished.None of the characters were likeable.


    What could Ford Madox Ford have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Like he said it was a very sad story. I think the subject was difficult and i didnt like the way the story was told- jumping all over the place.


    What didn’t you like about Ralph Cosham’s performance?

    I think its just that i prefer a female narrator and that the book was difficult for him to do much with.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ahsan 07-30-12
    Ahsan 07-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting novel, disliked narration"

    Disliked the narrator. Perhaps this book is better read in print, because the random jumps in time and circumstance were difficult to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Pasco, WA, United States 08-02-12
    Beth Pasco, WA, United States 08-02-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible"
    What made the experience of listening to The Good Soldier the most enjoyable?

    I did not enjoy this


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ford Madox Ford again?

    Narrator was so-so


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Not read this book!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I couldn't finish this book


    Any additional comments?

    Terribly depressing!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 08-13-12
    Catherine 08-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    145
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good narrator wasted on dull and dated story"

    The Good Soldier appears on some lists of the best 100 books of the 20th century. Maybe because it was groundbreaking in its day. Now the characters do seem very compelling or interesting and their stories are tedious. Ralph Cosham is a fine reader and does a good job with material that seems quited dated. I recommend Cosham's reading of the Dubliners by james Joyce if you want a match of good narrator and good story. Best thing about The Good Soldier is that it wasn't too long although I was ready for the story to end long before it actually did.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Wesport, CT, United States 08-10-12
    Andrew Wesport, CT, United States 08-10-12 Member Since 2010

    Westport, CT

    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    69
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"

    Not sure why such and old average book was made into an audio book, I guess for its time extramarital affairs were fairly exciting reading, of course there are no details in the book that would be too racy for 1915. The narrator was droning on and it was difficult to differentiate one character from the other, they were all lifeless and uninteresting anyway. The book went from past to present to future making it even harder to follow. Only paid $4.95 for the book but it was not worth the price, not sure how anyone could give this book raving reviews.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristine 07-29-12
    Kristine 07-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cheaters, liars, sneeks & the people who love them"
    Would you try another book from Ford Madox Ford and/or Ralph Cosham?

    I would listen to Ralph Cosham again.


    What was most disappointing about Ford Madox Ford’s story?

    The love story was disappointing, the outcome of everyones life. The only positive is the endurance and determination of immoral people.


    Have you listened to any of Ralph Cosham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    n/a


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Good Soldier?

    n/a


    Any additional comments?

    Not my kind of story.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Utah 07-25-12
    Margaret Utah 07-25-12

    maggimae

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not memorable"
    Would you try another book from Ford Madox Ford and/or Ralph Cosham?

    no


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    none


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performace was okay.


    Did The Good Soldier inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    It's been a while since I listened to this book and the fact that I don't remember too much about it pretty much indicates what the experience meant for me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Albert Bellingham, WA, United States 07-23-12
    Albert Bellingham, WA, United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Good Soldier"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Some of the detail in how the story resolves. I would have given the reader a little more.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Any complaint I had about his tone disappeared as I realized why. He had the right tone for the story.


    Did The Good Soldier inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book that was very well reviewed but not much is defined in the reviews. The form and structure of the writing create the charm and mystery. I considered giving up in the beginning and often throughout the book. Slightly tedious as it slowly unfolds there was always a hint of something that kept me listening.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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