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The Adventure of English Audiobook

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

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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

4.1 (2312 )
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4.3 (1070 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 03-19-13
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2331
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    Story
    "Not just for lovers of words"

    This book is not just for lovers of words (of which I am not), but it has a great history of the English speaking peoples interwoven with it, and that will be enough to keep non-word lovers like me completely interested.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Wells 07-03-10
    S. Wells 07-03-10 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Well worded"

    Yes, the reading does get off to a slow start, but don't stop there. The ponderous listing of words at the outset is well overbalanced by the gloriously entertaining volume of information about the evolution and spread and variation of the English language from early to present day, from England outward. If you have any curiosity about the language, you will certainly be spell-bound by the writing and--especially--the reading of this book. I think it will bear many hearings, my marque of a good book, particularly a good audio-book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel New York, NY, USA 09-11-09
    Daniel New York, NY, USA 09-11-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superlative"

    Wonderful, fascinating, enlightening. Brilliantly read. A few boring parts (to my mind) that required wading through, but this is in my personal audible download hall of fame.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 08-29-09
    Douglas 08-29-09 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Informative and entertaining"

    Goes far beyond the usual textbook renderings to bring the history of the language alive

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bald Brunswick, ME, United States 05-29-09
    Bald Brunswick, ME, United States 05-29-09 Member Since 2006
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    "A lot of fun"

    I loved it. The author moves the story along at a fairly quick pace, with lots of entertaining details along the way. Pretty fascinating, I thought. The narrator is A+

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wallen Danderyd, Sweden 09-02-08
    Wallen Danderyd, Sweden 09-02-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting read"

    I enjoyed this book. It is sometime quite complex with all examples and names, forcing you to rewind many times in order to be able to follow it and not lose track completely. It creates a good balance between the scholarly and the popular.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul La Grange, IL, USA 08-21-06
    Paul La Grange, IL, USA 08-21-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator keeps it going."

    Althought I still have an hour or two left,I am confident this book will continue to be great. I thought this would be a good book to fall asleep to but it acually holds my interest quite well. French ,Latin, Greek and other languages English has borrowed words from are all covered. The narrator as stated keeps the interest high with lively reading.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich in BCS College Station, TX 04-14-06
    Rich in BCS College Station, TX 04-14-06 Member Since 2010
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    "Not for those with a casual interest"

    I learned much from this book and, as other reviewers have pointed out, it is very well written and read. However, I must confess that it was a chore for me to get through. The lists of words often went on and on and would definitely work better in written form than in audio. While driving I often had to switch to the radio to keep from falling asleep.


    If you have a serious interest in language and etymology, this is a must read. For the rest of us, it's a bit like homework that you know you should do, but don't always look forward to with glee.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cate Rhodes, NSW, Australia 01-17-06
    Cate Rhodes, NSW, Australia 01-17-06
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    "Fascinating"

    I loved this book - not only as a history of the English language but of England and the British Empire. And it shows how closely tied we are to our past - even in our choice of words. The narrator did a great job - although there were some glaring mispronunciations of a few Australian words.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ToledoZapper 09-22-15
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    "Shout out, in English"

    The reader for this fascinating book, Robert Powell, is to be lauded, admired, and praised for his Herculean effort, and success with this challenging text. It cannot have been easy to read a book so heavily imbued with Old English, Norse, French, Latin, Middle English, smatterings of German, and, worst of all, lists. Tis a rare fellow who can make a list of 50 odd words go by so smoothly. (As you may be able to tell, my many hours of delightful listening to this work has elevated my lowly Midwestern American patois beyond its normal ken. Any mistakes are entirely the fault of the author.)

    Anyhow, this is a way fun book, and the narration is totally awesome. :)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Viv
    3/9/08
    Overall
    "Erudite - but long"

    Written to Melvyn Bragg's usual high standard and extreamly well read by Robert Powel. Unfortunately the long lists of examples became tedious and if it had been a book I would have skipped through many of them.

    Save this one for long days on the beach - not a commute.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Neil
    BROSELEY, SHROPSHIRE, United Kingdom
    3/24/10
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    If you are an english speaker you owe it to yourself to hear this gripping tale of a swashbuckling language and it's rise to dominance.
    Superb.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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