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Hank Morgan is a normal guy from Hartford, Connecticut. One day in 1889, Hank wakes up in early medieval England, in the domain of King Arthur. Discovered by a knight, he is brought to Arthur’s court, ridiculed, and promptly sentenced to burn at the stake. Does Hank have any opportunity here? Of course he does, because his author is that opportunistic master, Mark Twain.
As performed with perfect Twainian irony by Norman Dietz, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court shows how a normal American man at the end of the 19th century can be the smartest man in the world if only he carries his knowledge to a bygone time. Filled with satire, dark philosophy, and antic comedy, this is Twain at his best.
I wish I could convey the delight I felt listening to this presentation of Twain's astute critique of society -- past and present. While written over 100 years ago, its insights and wisdom are as timely, perhaps even more so, than they were then. The reading of this book is also a joy -- the reader is sharp, witty, and brings the first-person of this narrative not only to life, but to a engaging seat next you. By the time I was hour into it, he was my friend, charmingly relating his unbelievable tale to me. Do yourself a favor -- listen to this book.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
If all you know of this book is the silly Danny Kaye movie, you have denied yourself a true treat. His humor and wit are as sharp here as anything he ever wrote. You will both laugh and be astounded. Listen, it's a gem.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I've enjoyed Norman Dietz's version of Connecticut Yankee and Life on the Mississippi, and it's hard to imagine that anyone could read these works better. He may read slower, but I never noticed it. Unless you are intent on blitzing through these texts as fast as you can, Dietz's readings are a real treat. It really is possible to imagine yourself sitting on a steamboat listening to Clemens himself.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Norman Dietz usually does a good job with Mark Twain, and he does so here; but the pace could be faster. (Compared with one of the other unabridged recordings available here, it's a full hour longer.) I hadn't remembered that the story is chock full of the Yankee's thoughts about politics and economy, and at times this gets tedious. But stay with the story through the scenes involving slavery: the context is totally different, but Twain's anger still burns white hot. And the conclusion, for all the satire that comes before it, is shockingly brutal.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
God created Mark Twain to puncture the pomposity of the human race. This audiobook gives us a whole new perspective on the "gallantry" of the Middle Ages. With typical tongue in cheek, Twain guides us through the mythology of King Arthur and his Round Table. This audiobook would be worth the price if you only got the passages where Merlin is discredited by having his tower is blown up using modern day explosives. Sandy's tale in Chapter 15 is nothing short of perfect. I laughed till I cried.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
over and over, I can listen to this over and over... it's fantastic.
wit and wisdom, tremendous and commonplace, as it is to be expected with Twain, is no surprise and hence not outstanding. yes, as is usual with his mature novels, Yankee is a pleasure for the humors, an expose of the natures.
what is truly exceptional here is the performance.
I have dozens of Twain audiobooks, lots of experience. I believe no one delivers him as well as Norman Dietz. his timing and timbre capture the soul of the story perfectly. and that is a necessity for Twain's works because his writing has a soul, a personality that delivers the meaning as much as the prose.
here Dietz delivers, more than on any other, with Sandy's monologues. she yammers train wreck worthy sentences, and Dietz nails them. everytime is a riot.
this book is a brilliantly delivered comic gem written with wisdom and stirred with emotion.
NOTE: not the best recording, sadly. for me all that is wonderful and entertaining in this novel outshine the sound quality. I hope that will be your experience as well.
A time travel book, the first? Clemens' view of the 6th century from the 19th is amazing. And, I was in awe that the words he used in the 19th century are good in the 21st...slang for example. This is really a story of about the biggest problems Mark Twain observed in his time period, including slavery, abuses of political power, unchecked factory growth, child labor, and frightening new war technology. And,the final battle scene aptly predicts the great war (WWI). All of it applied with wit!
Norman Dietz's reading is absolutely spot-on. His dry sense of humor and sarcastic drawl makes me feel like I'm sitting on Mark Twain's front porch listening to the author himself read. If your only introduction to this story is the Bing Crosby musical (shudder) or if you've only ever read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, PLEASE do yourself a huge favor and listen to this book. Heck! Even listening to the free preview is worth the time!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
a 19th century american writing about 6th century england. how much more dated can you get?
yet, time and again, passage after passage, i wished that mr. clemens were here to point out the buffoonery of our own high-minded 'leaders' of all persuasions.
"Men are all fools. Born so, I guess."
oppression and justice, intolerance, the power of training, and the fallibility of humans. it's all there, in the 6th, the 19th, or the 21st century.
the narrator, Norman Dietz, is very good but perhaps not outstanding. he certainly did not take anything away from the story. the quality, format 2, was fine (i was listening at night before sleep with headphones).
so, four stars. a good listen.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is very centered on the anachronistic features but the characters are not very interesting or well-developed. The reader sounds like he's from MD or VA not Connecticut.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in three words, what would they be?
Surprising, entertaining, funny
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?
There is lots of memorable moments in this book, though I like the piece where he went on a knights quest with a fair maiden to save her mistress from a wicked witch
What about Norman Dietz’s performance did you like?
Normans voice and pace gives life to the story, and he makes it easy for the listener to create immages of the action
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes - but I did'nt have the time.
Any additional comments?
It is a light hearted story with loads of wondering, ingenuity, warmth, ignorance, love and intollerance. Read it or listen to it. :-)