The Man Who Invented Christmas

How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
4 out of 5 stars (180 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As uplifting as the tale of Scrooge itself, this is the story of how Charles Dickens revived the signal holiday of the Western world.

Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.

The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

With warmth, wit, and an infusion of Christmas cheer, Les Standiford whisks us back to Victorian England, its most beloved storyteller, and the birth of the Christmas we know best. The Man Who Invented Christmas is a rich and satisfying listen for Scrooges and sentimentalists alike.

©2008 Les Standiford (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Man Who Invented Christmas

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully Told!

I learned so much from this enjoyable tale of a master storyteller. The narrator's voice, pleasantly expressive, effectively brought characters to life and kept interest alive throughout the book. I was fascinated the entire time, and I was delighted to discover connections between Dickens and his Carol that I never knew before. Excellent book and narration!

16 people found this helpful

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A History of Charles Dickens & "A Christmas Carol"

Narrator has personality in imparting information. Book reads like an academic history book - (spotted with interesting trivia). Too dry to be left feeling in a "holiday mood" after reading/hearing, but rather leaves you with thorough knowledge about the history of Dickens, his writing of "A Christmas Carol" and the story's contribution to how Christmas is currently perceived.

8 people found this helpful

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If you love A Christmas Carol, get this book

Anyone who loves Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (and who doesn't?) should read this book; The Man Who Invented Christmas will help its reader understand Dickens’ condition at the time he wrote the story, and the challenges he faced in getting it written at all, let alone in the few weeks he had to finish the project before the Christmas season passed him by.

But The Man Who Invented Christmas is much more than a book about a book. Instead, it is best understood as an excellent short biography of Dickens and an explanation of his times and the impact of his work, with a special focus on A Christmas Carol. There is also a good deal of information about the history of Christmas, which Mr. Standiford provides to show how Dickens' book revived the season's celebration.

As I wrote my own Christmas story, Back to Christmas, I read and listened to A Christmas Carol more than a dozen times. But after listening to Mr. Standiford’s excellent book, I feel like I understand Dickens' story better than ever before.

10 people found this helpful

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Boring. Like reading a long encyclopedia entry.

Pedantic, plodding telling about Charles Dickens' life and writing of not just A Christmas Carol but other stories as well. So boring. Listening to it was like work. Like forcing myself to do a distasteful assignment. Read the wikipedia entry about A Christmas Carol and you've got the picture. No need to drone on about it for 4+ hours.

4 people found this helpful

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Fascinating account of the classic tale

A fascinating account of the life of Charles Dickens, how he came to write his most famous and loved work, and why the work became timeless. Well written and well read.

1 person found this helpful

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Too much about publishing

Expected it to be more about the evolution of the modern Christmas and Dickens' role in that. Instead it was a biography of Dickens with emphasis on his writing career and his publishing trials. There was a main focus in the publishing industry, how and in what manner Dickens published his works and what money he got for writing what. There's only really one chapter about A Christmas Carol and one chapter about its part in the evolution modern Christmas culture. Other reviews have said as much but I hoped it was an excess of needless information with kernels of relevance. But cut away the publishing info and there isn't much in the book. I'm disappointed and didn't learn much. Looking to read The Battle for Christmas next for the type of book I expected to find here.

1 person found this helpful

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This is not the new movie version!

I was delighted to find what I thought was an audio version of the new movie "The Man who Invented Christmas. Boy was I wrong! What I got was a boring lecture on the life of Charles Dickson. The movie screen play is better than this book. Who ever turned this mess of facts into an enjoyable movie is a genius. I would love to see an Audible version of the new movie

6 people found this helpful

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Great book!!

Except that the reader couldn’t decide if the book was about Dickens ot Dickinson..the story was well written and well read.

2 people found this helpful

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A Great read for lovers of books.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning not only about Dickens, but some interesting background on the publishing industry.

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Fascinating "Behind the Scenes" Look

This book illuminates Dickens' real life circumstances as he wrote his classic, which played a large part in reviving his sagging literary career and shined a spotlight on the actual celebration of the holiday. With the vestiges of the Cromwell/Puritanical suppression of the celebration of Christmas (even though the Restoration was nearly 200 years past) still an echo, this book brought new life to Christmas, both religious and secular. I highly recommend it for the detail it brings to the book, it's roots and the importance of Christmas itself.