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Publisher's Summary

This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
©2003 Melvyn Bragg; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Both entertaining and informative." (Booklist)
"This 'biography' succeeds in its broad, sweeping narrative." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,173
  • 4 Stars
    849
  • 3 Stars
    395
  • 2 Stars
    125
  • 1 Stars
    96

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    800
  • 4 Stars
    356
  • 3 Stars
    142
  • 2 Stars
    49
  • 1 Stars
    29

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
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  • 4 Stars
    433
  • 3 Stars
    191
  • 2 Stars
    57
  • 1 Stars
    38
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  • Performance
  • Story

Can listen over and over again

I have listened to this over and over again. It's the way all history should be taught. Well, at least one refreshing way. I guess some people had problems with English sort of going on an adventure. But, though it was treated somewhat like an individual, it wasn't. It wasn't so personified that it was simplified. I thought it was an engaging way to show all of the origins, cultural changes, struggles and triumphs, and history English came through to what we now know as modern English. Simple things going one way or the other, or not happening could have made all the difference in the survival and/or direction English took to get to what we have today. A really fun romp through history with English.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Shout out, in English

The reader for this fascinating book, Robert Powell, is to be lauded, admired, and praised for his Herculean effort, and success with this challenging text. It cannot have been easy to read a book so heavily imbued with Old English, Norse, French, Latin, Middle English, smatterings of German, and, worst of all, lists. Tis a rare fellow who can make a list of 50 odd words go by so smoothly. (As you may be able to tell, my many hours of delightful listening to this work has elevated my lowly Midwestern American patois beyond its normal ken. Any mistakes are entirely the fault of the author.)

Anyhow, this is a way fun book, and the narration is totally awesome. :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joe
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 03-16-12

Just Gets Better and Better

I will admit that when this book began it was a little rambling, a little disjointed. The story begins with seemingly disperate paragraphs on the groups that invaded England and how they cobbled together a language of sorts. I made it through the first two chapters only moderately interested. Then it really gets good.

First, the narrator is a masterpiece. He does seven or eight accents and even speaks in old and middle english with almost no effort. This book is BETTER in audio format because we can hear how the language has changed so drastically.

The writing also cleans up and becomes a straightforward biography of our language. He takes us through the times when it was in peril, when it spread and when it took over. The book is populated by amazing characters in history to which we owe so much of our daily lives. Without prejudice Mr. Bragg takes us into the branches of American English, Shakespeare, southern dialect, rock and roll songs, Irish and the snobs who tried (without success) to tame our language.

This is a story of the Western World, of the battle of thoughts and ideas, of the struggles between the oppressed and the oppressors and how language keeps us alive and thriving. It's more than a story of English, it's a story of us. And we didn't even know it. This has been a thrilling read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

One I must buy in hardback

There is so much valuable information here that I'm going to buy the book for easier reference. If you love or just curious about the English language in the context of history, you will love this book. Excellent research, excellent story-telling, excellent narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Bring on more such adventures, please!!

What a delightful read. I learned more about world history than I could have imagined. A wonderful journey from start to finish. Take the trip, you will enjoy it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Thoroughly engaging

Aside from having one of the best narrators available, this book is engaging, informative, and frequently enlightening. If you have even the slightest interest in history, get it. You will not be disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sally
  • Orcas, WA, USA
  • 12-03-09

A Must for Those Who Love the Language

For those to whom writing and speaking English are important in their professional or personal lives this is a must. This work provides both entertainment and valuable insight into the most adaptable language in the world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • C. Berg
  • Rock Springs, WY
  • 12-29-08

English revisited

When I purchased this audio I wasn't sure what to expect, but it quickly fascinated me to learn how English became such a widely used language, how it evolved and where the origin of many of our words today came from. Wonderfully read and informative. Just what I was hoping for.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Boise, ID, USA
  • 01-24-06

Worth the listen

This was both a good and not so good book to listen to. The not so good first. There are so many words in the book that I probably forget most of them. Thus having a printed copy would be a great thing. The good. The reader pronounces all these words fantastic, something I could never have down with only the printed words in front of me. There were many items about the english language I never realized. There are many items about english as it is evolving in my liftime that I now have a new appreciation for.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Great Adventure . . . A Great Listen

Tells the story of the English language both from the artistic and the political perspective. Narrated as well as it is written.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful