We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Adventure of English Audiobook
The Adventure of English
Written by: 
Melvyn Bragg
Narrated by: 
Robert Powell
 >   > 
The Adventure of English Audiobook

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

Regular Price:$26.30
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Both entertaining and informative." (Booklist)
"This 'biography' succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2126 )
5 star
 (895)
4 star
 (695)
3 star
 (337)
2 star
 (119)
1 star
 (80)
Overall
4.1 (915 )
5 star
 (417)
4 star
 (293)
3 star
 (133)
2 star
 (45)
1 star
 (27)
Story
4.2 (897 )
5 star
 (475)
4 star
 (249)
3 star
 (113)
2 star
 (42)
1 star
 (18)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 10-15-10
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 10-15-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Great book; wonderful narration"

    Filled with great history of the English language with etymology that is fun, educational and inspired. The voice of Robert Powell brings the words to life and makes the audio version of this book phenomenal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 10-12-10
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 10-12-10 Member Since 2008

    pony rider

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "fun and informative"

    I found this book very interesting. I appreciate the narrator being able to pronounce the Olde English and other foreign words. Interesting stories explaining or illustrating concepts. I recommend this book much more as an audio read than a visual one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred greensboro nc 09-23-10
    fred greensboro nc 09-23-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    133
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    140
    90
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "I have a high tolerance but this one beat me"

    I have a high tolerance for dry subjects but this one was a little too dry for me. Might be the wrong format. Might be the wrong subject. Just a little too serious for me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 09-12-10
    David Halifax, NS, Canada 09-12-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    441
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    68
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    "Unoriginal but well read"

    In some ways I found this an unnecessary book - it doesn't do anything that wasn't already done in Robert McCrum's "The Story of English" or Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue". Having read those books, I didn't feel that I learned anything new. However, it was a pleasure to experience a book on this subject in audio format - Robert Powell is a brilliant narrator and does a superb job of reading Old English and the numerous accents required of him (only Uncle Remus seems to defeat him - the result is very awkward). If you've never read a book on this subject, this will be a fascinating experience. Even if you have, it might be worthwhile for Powell's narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-19-10
    06-19-10 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Very compelling"

    This is not your "dry" history book. The writer make the subject come alive. Additionally, I gained a better appreciation of the English language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Waraksa 01-16-09 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Sheds little light"

    Having listened to half of this title, I consider this a great disappointment. I was looking for some insight into how English developed and how language develops in general, but there was little insightful about that here. Just as an example, the great vowel shift, a great mystery in the history of English, is barely mentioned. I guess it would be interesting if you aren't interested in linguistics but only in a sketch of English history, but I had hoped for much more than that, given the title and reviews on this website.

    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kevin kohut 08-22-08
    kevin kohut 08-22-08 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "facinating - if you love words and their origens"

    Some of the word lists can be a bit tedious, but it's a small price to pay for the insight provided in this book. A couple of friends have gone through this at the same time and we both believe we are the richer fo having gone on this journey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Wardell Williamsburg, VA 12-15-14
    David Wardell Williamsburg, VA 12-15-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Revisionist - Disappointing"
    Any additional comments?

    Not the "Biography of English" that I expected. Bragg spends time discussing the influence of things he clearly knows nothing about, such as medieval religion and renaissance literature; the erroneous conclusions are manifold.

    The last third of the book focuses on why various regional and national English dialects are so wonderful because they add to the "richness" of the language. Evidently no one ever explained to him the difference between richness, slang, and sloppiness.

    There are excellent reasons for striving to retain purity and precision in spoken and written language. All of them are ignored.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JKH Boston, MA, United States 09-24-11
    JKH Boston, MA, United States 09-24-11

    JoshBoston

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little silly"

    This book has some interesting information, but it is buried deep inside flights of fancy and purple prose. Bragg is very serious in calling this a "biography": English is treated as a living, breathing thing with wills and desires. The bulk of the book is taken up with speculations about how English might have felt about this, or what she might have been thinking when deciding to do that. I don't mind a little flowery prose now and then, but it got pretty tiresome. Chop that out, and the book would have only been an hour or so long.

    The reader was entertaining, though. I have no idea how good his pronunciation of Old English or Church Latin actually is, but is certainly sounded credible.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Bristol, CT, United States 07-29-11
    Carol Bristol, CT, United States 07-29-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Major snooze-fest!"

    I lasted about six minutes: halfway through a numbered list of the top 100 English words rooted in Friesen. Truely awful.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.