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A Soldier of the Great War Audiobook

A Soldier of the Great War

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Publisher's Summary

On his last long walk, septuagenarian war hero, deserter, and professor Alessandro Giuliani shares his past with an illiterate young factory worker, spinning a remarkable tale of heart-stopping escapes, of loves unrequited and won, of madmen, dwarfs, and mafiosi. But overshadowing all is his most miraculous and terrible adventure, the Great War: a surreal parade of horrors that devastated and defined Alessandro, yet enabled him to experience fully the magic and beauty of the absurd human comedy called life.

©1991 Mark Helprin; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Extraordinary....a vast, ambitious, spiritually lusty, all-guzzling, all-encompassing novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A rousing tale....riotous energy and sustained brilliance....Helprin lights his own way, in his ownsingular direction." (Time)
"A gripping, poignant and universally relevant moral fable." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (398 )
5 star
 (211)
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3 star
 (62)
2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.3 (246 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (246 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Majorie 05-11-16
    Majorie 05-11-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
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    Story
    "An epic story of war and salvation."

    It took me awhile to finish this book as the tragedy of Italy in the first World War portrayed in this book was not always easy to listen to. The adventures of the protagonist, his near executions and the depiction of the thousands upon thousands of lives lost in a senseless war were gut-wrenching. However this is a fascinating look at WW I from the Italian side as they fought against the Germans, Austrians and Hungarians. This is a book to be savored again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dominic 03-07-16
    Dominic 03-07-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    22
    5
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    Story
    "Listened to it three times now."

    I was captured right away by the story of Allesandro and the beautiful country that he lived and fought in. I feel drawn to go and visit the painting and the mountains. What a beautifully written story of a tragic yet full life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott ESCONDIDO, CA, United States 01-18-15
    Scott ESCONDIDO, CA, United States 01-18-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Beautiful in every way"

    One of the great reads of my lifetime. Story, characters, word choice, imagery, humor, thought provocation, action, inspiration, love... This book has it all!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 06-24-09
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 06-24-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    843
    17
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    8
    Overall
    "Wonderful listen."

    This is well worth your time. Well written and well read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Martinez 12-14-16

    Neil Martinez

    ratings
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    24
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Heroism, Honor, History, and Love"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book takes a bit of time to get into. (The narrator is not Patrick Tull..then again, no one is quite as good as Patrick Tull.) But Helprin's characters, their heartaches, their loves, their passions, and their high sense of fidelity to the ideals of beauty and truth and courage are shining in this one.

    The protagonist is an elderly man on the road to visit relatives, who has experienced a rare and fantastic life, centered in Rome, but primarily as a soldier in Italy during the years leading up to and into WWI. His companion is a young, uneducated worker, who becomes the vessel into which the protagonist pours his life story into.

    Helprin's typical blending of harsh reality, tragic beauty, mythical characters, and high idealism based on the morals and social codes of ages long past are shown in abundance. It is like some odd mixture of Alice in Wonderland and epic historical fiction.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by David Colacci?

    Only if I liked the author.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, Patrick O'Brien, and J.R.R. Tolkein buy this today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David J. Skulstad 12-10-16 Member Since 2016

    Navy vet

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    Story
    "Great story telling of a life
    "

    I have read it twice and now I have listened to it. Love it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. J. Shannon 10-28-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    74
    8
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    Story
    "magical realism in the time of war"

    good story told in a very unusual and suspenseful way. excellent imagery and charming observations of life, love, God and art

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam Dardanelle, AR, United States 10-25-16
    sam Dardanelle, AR, United States 10-25-16 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "PRETENTIOUS FAKERY"

    When I was first out of college, I remember reading Winter's Tale which was a new book at the time. Now, half a lifetime later, I tried to read this equally hefty novel and had a real flashback. I remembered clearly why I liked the earlier book: its extravagant language and fantastic imagery; I also remember what I didn't like: everything felt a bit shallow and false, everything from the literary and cultural allusions to the unsuccessful, overly ambitious plot that struggled to create a sort of nineteenth century grandness. It felt like an accomplished attempt to imitate great writing, but unlike such writing the novel ultimately rang hollow. There was no need for this book because there was not the slightest hint of a human being communicating much of anything or feeling much of anything. The book had no pulse, no heartbeat. And guess what? Around three decades later, A Soldier of the Great War left me with exactly the same feelings. as the earlier book. The difference now is that I am older and perfectly willing to put aside a book that has failed me. You can do even better and not even start this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny K 07-02-16
    Penny K 07-02-16 Member Since 2006

    psyki

    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
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    Story
    "A great yarn superbly performed"

    An intelligently written fictional account of one soldier of WW1 "the Great War" At times his exploits and narrow escapes make the book stagger dangerously near the sharp edge between fiction and fantasy writing. However the author is to be forgiven his desire to bring into focus the full range of war's folly and tragic consequences. Had the book's central character not been inclined to consider all the great and insoluble existential conundrums it would have failed to grip me through 28 long hours of listening. (Coincidentally I heard a live performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, #2, which amplified the novel's concluding lines. Transcendent!). Still it falls a hair short of being one of the worlds great works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Autodidact New York 06-29-16
    Autodidact New York 06-29-16 Member Since 2008

    Library wall

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    14
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    Story
    "Read and loved-Listened and couldn't continue"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I adored this book when I read it many years ago and was looking forward to happy hours hearing it. The narrator was, in my opinion, too young and too modern sounding for the story. His voice made it 'cute' This is not a cute book. Save that sort of narration for comedy or a modern tale. Not this. VERY disappointed


    How could the performance have been better?

    Another reader altogether as described in the first box


    Did A Soldier of the Great War inspire you to do anything?

    Turn it off


    Any additional comments?

    too bad I didn't return it in time. Total waste of a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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