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Publisher's Summary

A unique witty, sardonic, ironic, and insightful dictionary of terms. American humor, stem to stern. Best heard rather than read due to the sharp incisive wit. A must read in American Literature and Cultural History. Widely anthologized and used as a basis for stories such as one of the most popular Twilight zone episodes.

Public Domain (P)2012 Deaver Brown

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False advertisement: excerpts only

I love Ambrose Bierce and his works. Having my own physical copy of The Devil's Dictionary, I've enjoyed the book in the past and looked forward to listening to it.

Then I heard this: "From the editor: the words not appropriate to today's world have been eliminated to keep this work short, crisp, and concise. We are sure that if Ambrose Bierce reappeared, he would have recommended the same."

What is this bullshit? The book is advertised as being unabridged. Then, right in front of God and a microphone, Simply admits that the book is an abridged version, sections being eliminated 'for relevance'. This is, Simply, false advertisement. Moreover, I disagree with your belief that Bierce would have recommended anything of the sort.

456 of the 995 words have been left out. The remaining definitions were shortened, and many explanations were dropped. Often, these changes not only affect the intended definition, but the feel of the text itself. For example, the definition of 'beggar' is included, but the definition of 'beg' is not. This fundamentally changes the meaning of 'beggar' as Bierce wrote it. At one point, the definition of one word (lunarian) is given for another (luminary).

Deaver Brown's reading was poor. He occasionally mispronounces words(unless they were deliberately changed for the reading), and sometimes stutters through other words. The reading itself was unedited, leaving background noises such as birdsong and keystrokes obvious in the background. This shows a lack of professionalism.

The defacement ends with an afterword including: "We did edit the work slightly to take out some of the longer poems and explanations he had. And we think if he were to write it again today, with emphasis on brevity in today's media, he would have done similar things to his own work." They then point out that Bierce "hated fraudulent presentation", condemning themselves.

One definition they did leave in applies very well to their presentation: un-american. Which, in this dictionary, is defined as "Wicked, intolerable, heathenish".

I will never purchase another book published by Simply.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Not narrated well by reader

What didn’t you like about Deaver Brown’s performance?

He mispronounced some words, and in general read too fast. Needed more of a pause between words to let the joke sink in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A great classic of American literature, screwed.

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

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose ("Old Gringo") Bierce is a classic of American literary humor, that has few if any equals. As far as I know, it is the only hilarious book in English written in the form of a lexicon, and is as laugh-out-loud funny as, for example, Catch 22. Unfortunately, the narration is more flawed than any other audio-book I have ever heard. It is so bad that the experience of listening to it is not unlike reading a manuscript that has been badly mangled, to the point that a good deal of the material is simply unintelligible. Only the literary genius of the author, which manages to shine through the dimness of the narration, keeps this audiobook from being worthless.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Devil's Dictionary?

The form of the presentation of such a book makes this question inapplicable.

What didn’t you like about Deaver Brown’s performance?

There was nothing to like about it, except the content.

Was Devil's Dictionary worth the listening time?

Yes, but the experience is quite disappointing, particularly, I think, to those who have read the actual book.

Any additional comments?

One can only wish that an audio edition of this classic and hysterical (in the best sense) book would be recorded by someone who is capable of enunciation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful