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Publisher's Summary

Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing, but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges, who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and usurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians, Herodotus laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events.

In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful. For more than a hundred generations, his supple, lucid prose has drawn readers into his panoramic vision of the war between the Greek city-states and the great empire to the east. And in the generosity of his spirit, in the instinctive empiricism that took him searching over much of the known world for information, in the care he took with sources and historical evidence, in his freedom from intolerance and prejudice, he virtually defined the rational, humane spirit that is the enduring legacy of Greek civilization.

(P) Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    74
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

"Listen and Learn"

I have learned more about ancient Greece than if I had taken a course at Oxford. The narrator is the best I have ever heard.

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  • Performance
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Really cool

To be honest I used this book to go to sleep to each night. But, wow, there is some really interesting stuff that happened way back in the day. Who knew? And who knew that Herodotus did the legwork to compile such an intriguing bunch of stories.
Did you know an Egyptian sailed around Africa way back then?
How about 2.7 million people in Xerxes army when he invaded Greece?
What was potentially embarrassing truth behind why Troy was sacked?
He paints a colorful picture of an era that was remarkable. I wish we had books of histories written like this for all of the world.
Really cool. Really.

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  • Performance
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3 chapters of distorted audio in the middle....I yam sad

For the most part this is a decent recording; it sounds older, maybe transferred from a cassette. However, there is a whole hour in which the recording is distorted pretty badly and warbles like a cassette that got stuck during a transfer. It is loud and harsh and pretty glaring. I wonder if anyone listened to it all the way through before putting it on sale. I read the chapters myself and restarted at Ch.50 after which it was fine. First title out of 20 with a recording issue, not bad overall. Audible, you have spoiled me. Makes me want to re-record it myself because the book is awesome.

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Great classic

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this version of The Histories. Took a little time to get used to cadence of narrator but after that it was all good.

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I could only have done the audiobook

This is a great book. And one of the most important ever written. But it's so LONG! I only made it all the way through because it is an audiobook - I needed the narrator to keep me going. And I'm lucky if I absorbed 10% of the material.

The book isn't just a history of the Persian War, it's everything in the world up-to-and-including it. It really is a collection of stories - but great stories. For those of you who are looking for the story of the 300, you'll have to wait until almost the end.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Could have been much better produced.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

A great deal of detail about the lay of the land and battles, but very hard to follow the time line without referencing other source material.

Would you ever listen to anything by Herodotus again?

No.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He spoke in a Classic Old English accent and used a lot of "Thees" and "Thous" when the Greeks thought of those people from Europe as "Barbarians". The narrator should have spoken English with a slight Greek accent to make it more from the time.

Do you think The Histories needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

What the producer of the audio tape should have done is provide Editor's Notes along the way and give a timeline reference we can understand and also define various terms of measurement like cubit, furlong, talon and the many other ancient terms so I could understand the reference of distances and weights. Also give a reference to the current name or location of a City mentioned in the History. There are many rivers and land formations/mountains mentioned. Giving the current name of the river or mountain range would have been very helpful.

Any additional comments?

The History was too tedious and had very few interesting periods. It is not interesting to hear about the family lineage of someone back twenty generations.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • J.
  • Moorhead, MN, United States
  • 06-30-14

Maps would help

It's hard to call yourself an historian and not to have read Herodotus, the Father of History. Every time I'd pick up the written version, I found the beginning so slow (and so steeped in fable as to be of questionable historical value) that I would set it aside as a chore to be tackled when I really needed to do penance. Listening to the audio version has strengths and weaknesses of its own. One gets through the fables and the travel book accounts of the first book more easily, though I found times where my attention lapsed. There are so many odd names of persons and places, that it's difficult to keep them straight without seeing their spelling or location on a map. This might be one of those books that are best listened too and read simultaneously. Keep an ancient atlas with you as well. The story picks up with the recounting of Persia's invasion of Greece and the resistance made by Sparta and Athens. It's then one realizes just how much of our understanding of the Persian Wars trace back to Herodotus. Many later texts on the period draw on him almost exclusively. Parts of the work are worth many re-reads, but as I say, keep some maps at hand. As for Bernard Mayes's narration, yes he comes off as a Greek oral traditionalists, but his dry voice make dry sections seem particularly desiccated.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Clear translation by soporific narrator.

Where does The Histories rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Roughly in the middle of the pack.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Histories?

Lots of amazing, colorful moments. Men being cleaved in half over insults, thieves stealing body parts, women commanding ships!

What three words best describe Bernard Mayes’s performance?

Clearly-read. Inaccurately-pronounced. Sleep-inducing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Hahaha.

Any additional comments?

This is inestimably better than the free version available on another site.

  • Overall

A good purchase

I enjoy this audio book. The quality of the story as accurate history is debatable, but it is terribly interesting as much for the perspective of Herodotus as anything else. The quality of the sounds varies at times, but it is generally pretty good.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lauren
  • northampton, MA, USA
  • 02-25-10

clear and well read

very enjoyable to listen to.