Utopia

Narrated by: James Adams
Length: 4 hrs and 10 mins
4 out of 5 stars (406 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Utopia is the name given by Sir Thomas More to an imaginary island in this political work written in 1516. Book I of Utopia, a dialogue, presents a perceptive analysis of contemporary social, economic, and moral ills in England. Book II is a narrative describing a country run according to the ideals of the English humanists, where poverty, crime, injustice, and other ills do not exist. Locating his island in the New World, More bestowed it with everything to support a perfectly organized and happy people.

The name of this fictitious place, Utopia, coined by More, passed into general usage and has been applied to all such ideal fictions, fantasies, and blueprints for the future, including works by Rabelais, Francis Bacon, Samuel Butler, and several by H. G. Wells, including his A Modern Utopia.

Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More's unobtainable vision of the ideal society

After reading Hilary Mantel's amazing first two Booker-prizing winning books of her Henry VIII trilogy ('Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies'), I felt I needed to actually bust into Thomas More's 'Utopia'. How could I consider myself educated and not have at least tasted a bit of More's utopian ideal, his veiled criticisms of European culture and values, and his unobtainable vision of the ideal society.

At times 'Utopia' seems overdone/overripe, like even More wasn't buying his own brand of guiding, noble principles. Still, 'Utopia' works because it is playful and ironic. I'm not sure I would view it as great (to me it doesn't measure up to either Plato's 'The Republic' or Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'), but I do believe the interaction between More's brand of political idealism with Cromwell's ruthless pragmatism, ended up creating in England something really GREAT.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good story, average reading

What did you love best about Utopia?

Its is an interesting look into creating a perfect society and some of the ideas sound valid but certainly do require some discussion. I think some fundamental aspects of human nature make Utopia an impossibility - well worth listening and discussing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of James Adams?

Simon Vance would have done this book fabulously - Mr Adams fails to bring any distinction between any of the characters and tends to run them together which makes following the text a little tricky. Buy the book - but from another reader.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Understanding the impact of 'Utopia' on fiction

Would you consider the audio edition of Utopia to be better than the print version?

Not better, the print version is essential to the study of the text; but audible is very good way take in the information contained in the original narrative.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

To understand where modern Utopian concepts originated

What does James Adams bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

Adams has a tone which is clear, easy to listen to and understand.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, I knew what to expect having read the book before. I used this edition to study the topic in more depth and make use of the time I spend driving.

Any additional comments?

Audible books are great to use as a backup to the written text. They are particularly good to help with recollection. They afford you almost total recall of a narrative.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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James Adams speaks in a low monotonous voice

Takes extra effort to remain engaged in the book, which is already very dense material.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating look at the 16th Century

Utopia offers an interesting critical look at live in the 16th century on the one hand as well as proposing an idea for an ideal civilization. Whether Utopia was meant to be a satire or represented More's personal views remains unclear, however, the discourse on Utopia contains several jokes and offers light reading.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

I only listened to this because it was mentioned in the film "Ever After" and for whatever reason, I remember that after all these years. I don't know how feel about that.



I do know how I feel about this, as it is was decidedly "meh." Worth listening to and pondering, but take it as the critique of English society of the time that it was intended to be.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book. Cleverly Portrayed. Read a bit slow.

The work itself was a masterpiece. The most memorable moments for me were the very beginning and the final 3 chapters. The narrator did well but I had to adjust the reading speed to 3x to have the sentences be read at a pace consistent enough to comprehend fully and hear the ideas more fluently. Other than that personal preference, great book and reading.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Ideas

Any additional comments?

Some very interesting ideas presented here, and this book was much easier to read than I had thought it would be. For some reason I thought this would be very obtuse philosophical work, but it read more like Gulliver's Travels.

In fact I found it to be very similar to Gulliver's Travels in many ways, both are told as travel logs about strange societies which represent an idea or show something that needs to be changed in our society.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Bliss It's Not

I listened to this book for a class. Sir Thomas More may have pioneered the literary utopia genre, but I found it a bit dull for my tastes. I thought James Adams's voice rather interminable and was glad that it is a short book--I wanted to sleep rather than listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It lived up to its name I guess

It was a little bland. I wanted there to be some sort of awful thing that the Utopians were hiding but I guess that's the antithesis of utopia.
Not unengaging but not actively engaging either.