Regular price: $34.97

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

On his last long walk, septuagenarian war hero, deserter, and professor Alessandro Giuliani shares his past with an illiterate young factory worker, spinning a remarkable tale of heart-stopping escapes, of loves unrequited and won, of madmen, dwarfs, and mafiosi. But overshadowing all is his most miraculous and terrible adventure, the Great War: a surreal parade of horrors that devastated and defined Alessandro, yet enabled him to experience fully the magic and beauty of the absurd human comedy called life.
©1991 Mark Helprin; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary....a vast, ambitious, spiritually lusty, all-guzzling, all-encompassing novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A rousing tale....riotous energy and sustained brilliance....Helprin lights his own way, in his ownsingular direction." (Time)
"A gripping, poignant and universally relevant moral fable." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    243
  • 4 Stars
    114
  • 3 Stars
    63
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    185
  • 4 Stars
    60
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    176
  • 4 Stars
    65
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A must read(listen)

One of my all time favorite books. Mark Helprin is brilliant in his detailed storytelling. Title might suggest it's all about the war but there are several stories going on.
The reader Colacci is a bit overly dramatic at times but I gave the performance a 5 Star nonetheless.
I HIGHLY recommend this work.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing

I really loved this book. Great narrator, fantastic story. It feels like i now have a personal understanding of this time period and life during a time of war

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

WOW, best read/listen in a long time!

What did you love best about A Soldier of the Great War?

The writing was exceptional and wise. I love a work that stretches my edges, challenges my unperceived biases, and instructs in a manner that demands I reach my own conclusions rather than its rigid pedagogy. All that bound in two beautifully interwoven personal stories. The aged, remarkably tested, and wise imparts his mentoring on the young, inexperienced, and uneducated, with the real pressure of realization of accelerating mortality. Listen, read, remember, and absorb. You will exit a better creation!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • John
  • NJ, United States
  • 12-04-15

A bit long, good saga - 3 1/2?

I wanted to like this more than i did - like there were really good parts... if i could - i'd probably go 3 1/2 stars. It just seemed like, given the age of the narrator at the beginning, that the story was going to cover more of his life. But it's really about just before the war, the war, and then it's impact on his life. I quite enjoyed it, just found it a bit long given the scope of time it covered. And this may be totally my own incorrect expectations (after all, it is named for the "Great War"), but there were whole sections i found just seemed to go on too long. Well written, well narrated overall tho. Recommended.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • STAMFORD, CT, United States
  • 05-14-15

Insufferably Noble

I could not finish this book. The hero, Alessandro, was unbearable, intended to be lovable and sensitive but frankly self-centered and condescending. He attracts only the most beautiful, sensitive women, and his every thought is a gem of innocent wisdom.

I gave up just a few hours into the novel, shortly after young Alessandro attends a state dinner in Rome at the suggestion of his beautiful, well-connected neighbor Leah Bellini, with whom he has been flirting. He sits with the Austro-Hungarian and French ambassadors, and without much thinking begins pontificating about Italy's foreign policy, making pronouncements that are more insightful (from today's perspective) than anything the ambassadors have heard before. Gimme a break. This is shortly after he outsmarts and outraces two Italian carabinieri on his sleek steed, Enrico, risking jail or a beating to reach a beach where the lovely Leah has ridden on her own horse.

I could not make it to the sections on the Great War, which are supposed to be beautifully written. Having said that, Mark Helprin is a strong writer, with some excellent imagery. His characters are just cardboard heroes, however, without shading.

The narration by David Colacci was very good.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Read this do not listen.

I read this book before I listened to it a few years later. I read it because I loved a Winters Tale which soon will be a movie. Mark Helprin books are rather long and demand some attention while taking in the story. The narrated version actually detracts from it. So I would highly recommend this book as something you take from your local library, its just to "dense" to listen to with any distractions. It's like trying to listen to Hamlet. While you are at the Library see if you can find a copy of Helprin's book Refiner's Fire. I actually think it was his best work.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ilonka
  • Greenwich, NJ, United States
  • 09-26-12

Great Listen!

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

Excellent main character and wonderful story. I like Mr. Helprin's dry humor and descriptions of people and places. He takes you on quite a journey.

  • Overall

Slow Going

This book was highly recommended and given to me in print by a friend whose opinion I respect and with whom I usually agree on books. I started reading it a few times but just couldn't get "into" it. It nagged at me for several years, so when I found the audio version on Audible, I immediately selected it. I've found in the past that I have much more tenacity in sticking with an audio book than one in print. I've listened to about the first quarter of the book and am giving up. The prose is beautiful, but there's just too much of it and not enough is happening to keep my interest. I keep thinking that it'll get better - and maybe it does - but I've lost interest.

  • Overall
  • Angie
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 09-16-10

Funny and compelling

Excellent narration and very compelling story. I would stay in the car another 10 minutes to continue to listen. I love this author. His characters are very rich and interesting. I cared about them in the first 10 minutes.

  • Overall

Good listen

We enjoyed this book! It is a bit long and wordy but the story and characters are well written and the narrator keeps you interested.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful