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Publisher's Summary

Set before and during the Great War, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. His life goes through a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives to the unprecedented experience of the war itself.
©1993 Sebastian Faulks (P)2005 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Birdsong

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 Stars
    44
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    8

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic narration of a modern classic

Samuel West's immaculate narration is the perfect gloss to one of the top books of the 90s and one of my personal favourites of all time. Obviously, if you have read the book before, then an abridged audio version is never going to be quite the same but, if you haven't, then you should find this presentation highly compelling and the abridgements are not apparant. It's a great story, impeccably researched and delivered with care. 4 stars is much as I can give an abridged book, and this earns each of them.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Moving

Birdsong depicts the close-up horrors of war better than any book I've ever read. The love story at the beginning was totally overshadowed by the scenes of battle (and in fact, it seemed rather unnecessary and digressive). A beautifully written novel, andt the narrator did it justice.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Magnificent Narration of a Great Book

I've listened to Peter Firth's wonderful narration of the Unabridged Version before and absolutely love this grand and passionate war story.

This version, however, delighted (or moved, to be exact) me even more. Samuel West's extraordinarily smoothing voice brought me into deep thought or let me burst into tears so spontaneously that I can't help feeling being part of the story.

Yet the loss of certain details in this abridged version is quite upsetting, especially the part where Stephen and Weir decided whether or not to kill a bird in the tunnel, or the soldiers singing the chessy ballad together to celebrate their being alive. After all, it's the details that impressed me the most when I first read it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

War book

The narrator did a fine job, and if you love Faulks you'll love this book - however I am not a huge fan of "war stories", so there were parts of this book that didn't work for me. However the narration style is calm, quiet, almost sad - which plays well with the tone of the story.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Disappointed that this was an abridged version

A Beautifully written, compelling work of literature. I had begun to read the written work and shifted to the audible for a long drive. I quickly realized that this was the abridged version -which I consider a shame given the beautiful prose -I would not want to miss a word. The narration enhanced the story. I finished the full written version, then went back and listened to the abridged audible. Beautiful , moving novel.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not a fan

You will love this book if you like historical novels.
You will love this book if you want to know what trench warfare was like.
The narrator was excellent.
I am not sure how I made it through the story, but in the end found no enjoyment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good read for Book Group

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

We read this for book group. I liked it more as the story went on, but found it less than plausible in the beginning. I thought the war scenes were much stronger than the love scenes!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Helps today’s pandemic sufferer get a grip

When so many people are writhing in angst from today’s pandemic, this tale of love (not mushy Harlequin romance type tale) in the midst of the death of bodies and souls of WWI (any war...) helps identify some of the meaning of life and sacrifice... and gives a reason for hope, meaning, and perhaps even thanksgiving.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unpredictable and full of passion

What starts out as a pre-WWI story of love and modernizing industry moves on suddenly to a full and extremely moving story of the main character and his struggles as a soldier in WWI. The complex connections between the characters are fully realized.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh.

I have read the book and the abridged audio version was a let down. Felt disjointed and it left out parts that stuck with me previously. If you have no idea of the story it could be fine for you but an unabridged version is what is really needed. Not this...

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William Smith
  • 11-02-17

Moving

Loved it...

Extremely powerful and, I daresay, important novel. Beautifully written and carefully performed. Excellent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Terry
  • 11-01-08

Birdsong

This is an excellent book very well written and narrated. Sebastian Faulks captures the atmosphere of the first world war trench warfare perfectly.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 10-06-08

Beautiful book

This is a beautiful book. The story is simple but haunting while the writers skill and devotion to his craft is evident in every sentence and phrase. I did not think this was 'my kind of book' - I was wrong.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-20

Great war descriptions

Preferred reading the sections about the war, the romance story is not for me. Liked the time span generational setting of the book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Bromide Badger
  • 12-20-15

A great book ruined..

This abridgement is awful. Despite Samuel West's excellent efforts, what is a very good book in print becomes a dull and uninspiring listen. Sam manages to bring something of the original to the last hour, but the previous 300 minutes are pretty tedious.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 10-20-14

If only it wasnt abridged

This is one of my favourite books of all time. A wonderful novel. After I finished this book for the first time, i ached for the characters i missed them so much. This would have been a five, but it is only an abridged version. Read the book and just get this to remind you how great this story is.................

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Apollon
  • 10-22-10

A moving and Passionate book

Very well narrated. You will feel tears of joy, sadness and horror through this very well written book. I really enjoyed the way the author described feelings. Very moving. Metaphorically speaking: It felt to me like the forbidden love was being punished by the war that followed. Or perhaps the separation of that Love caused the war.
My only regret is that I did not purchased the unabridged version elsewhere. Audibly only had the abridge version.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • love reading
  • 02-03-08

Quite dull

I'm aware of all the wonderful reviews this book has received but I found it quite dull at parts. It was touching but too depressing. The end was great though. This is the first audiobook I have listened to and I found it quite difficult.

2 people found this helpful