Gibbon's monumental work traces the history of more than 13 centuries, covering the great events as well as the general historical progression. This first volume covers A.D. 180 to A.D. 395, which includes the establishment of Christianity and the Crusades.
(P)1992 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another." (Christopher Dawson)
I can't see how anyone can complain about having such a great work, in it's entirety, in audio format. Personally, I would never have the time or drive to tackle it in text, but now I can turn it on each evening as I lay in bed and rest my eyes while some of the greatest events of mankind are narrated to me. As for the narrator, I don't understand the complaints others have lodge about him (I fear they have been spoiled by the quality of newer books). No, it's not hi-def quality, but it is by no means unpleasant to listen to the narrator. He has a slight British accent, a proper grasp of the material and the pronunciations of the ancient words, and ads emphasis and inflections to the prose. The somewhat antiquated quality of the narration makes it feel as if Gibbon himself is reading tale. This book is nothing short of a gift.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Love Gibbon's sense of humor, his methodology, his hard bigotry towards the Huns, his soft bigotry towards the Christians, and his ability to find interesting nouns to link with rapine: "idleness, poverty, and rapine"; "rapine and oppression"; "violence and rapine"; "rapine and cruelty"; "rapine and torture"; "rapine and corruption"; "rapine and disregard"; "War, rapine, and freewill offerings" AND that is all just volume one. An important and interesting work, that moves with a quicker pace than its size or age would suggest. Bring on Volumes 2 and the decline of the HRE!
I came on here to check something else, and was shocked to see the negative reviews. I spent three credits on this series a few years ago and they were the best-spent money of the last few years. It would be heaven to know that all my Audible purchases would be so rewarding.
The book is so classic that my voice would be nearly meaningless, but I'm sad to see the narrator so maligned. His stodgy sounding voice made the text come alive for me because he sounds just so classically English. Just as another reviewer said, it sounded like Gibbon himself was reading his book to me, or reciting the history of the decline and fall of Rome.
I really can't imagine why he's getting bad reviews. I guess I'm just the type of person who will appreciate a book like this and a narrator like this. What type is that? A lover of history, a lover of old things, a lover of classical things, I suppose.
Gibbon's Decline and Fall unabridged! What more can anyone ask for? And with a great narrator to boot! Get this, quit your job and listen full time!
Now living in Estes Park, Colorado.
Bernard Mayes deserves the highest accolades for his narration of this masterpiece. His reading is itself a masterwork!
Very long and detailed, but well narrated. You do have to focus and pay attention, otherwise you'll lose track. Only issue is he tends to skip around a bit, so sometimes it's difficult to tell which emperor or time period he is talking about. Excellent thesis on early Christianity.
This exhaustive history is one of the best on the subject. Gibbon knew his material and gave us one of the greatest works about the long period that this history covers. Where this history might seem long and tedious in places, it is made up for by the numerous explanations of battles and descriptions of the cities and characters of the times. Where Gibbon sometimes seems to opinionated about the times and people, he gives reasons for this and helps the listener to understand the circumstances and ideas of the times. The narration is at times tedious as well. You get the idea that you are in a college lecture hall rather than listening to the reading of a book. Bernard Mayes does a good job with the material. Overall, I would recommend this set of volumes to anyone who is interested in the hisory of the world. Others will find this material tedious and boring at times. My advice? Give a listen and stick with this. You might find out some things that you didn't know and might find this history as extremely interesting as I have.
The decline and fall is generally seen as a forbidding Everest that the intellectually ambitious must surpass in order to qualify for cultured status (rather like the Divine Commedy, of the History of Herodotus or the 6 Jane Austen novels). But although formidable (and not just in extension, but also in breadth of learning), this first volume of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is also a great story. Not only does it prove that the hereditary principle doesn't work as a way to run governmental affairs (from Augustus to Constantine there isn't even one example where acted wisely by leaving the empire to his son), it also shows that great architecture and art doesn't necessarily mean civilization as we understand it. Volume I also has the deservedly infamous chapters about the origins and spread of the Christian religion. Although they retain a power to offend believers, they are also very funny. This narration by Bernard Mayes (who is a former anglican priest, teacher and scholar, and quite a character in his own right- look him up in Wikipedia) is perfect. His perfect ennunciation and languid delivery are perfect for this work. I am looking forward to hearing the other 5 volumes.
This is going to take some time. -- The recording is old-school, and the narrator is very British and I found his voice soothing and calming. This helped me relax, but I couldn't remember what I was learning. If you want an audio recording of this book, it isn't bad, but I couldn't use it to pass time while driving. It made me sleepy. I'll finish it, but slow and steady in bits and pieces. I wish I hadn't used my credits on this one, but I will finish it and be glad when I am done.
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.