Babbitt

  • by Sinclair Lewis
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 11 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On the surface, everything is all right with Babbitt’s world of the solid, successful businessman. But in reality, George F. Babbitt is a lonely, middle-aged man. He doesn’t understand his family, has an unsuccessful attempt at an affair, and is almost financially ruined when he dares to voice sympathy for some striking workers. Babbitt finds that his only safety lies deep in the fold of those who play it safe. He is a man who has added a new word to our language: a “Babbitt,” meaning someone who conforms unthinkingly, a sheep.

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What the Critics Say

“[It is] by its hardness, its efficiency, its compactness that Mr. Lewis’ work excels.” (Virginia Woolf)

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Customer Reviews

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From a first time Sinclair Lewis listener

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This book was written and set in the early 1920s but it could have been written yesterday. It is an unflinching and penetrating look at a middle American town and a middle American man, Babbitt. Over the course of the book Babbitt slowly comes to the realization that something is lacking in his life. He doesn't know quite what it is. He is, by the standards of society, successful, mostly honest and upstanding, and yet he feels something is missing. After searching in the common places for meaning and excitement, he realizes that the answers are close at hand, and through his family, particularly his son and daughter, he comes to realize some of what he has been overlooking.

Babbitt could be a poster boy for living an unexamined life, a life lived by the lights cast by society at large as opposed to those emanating from within.

A lovely book well read by Grover Gardner. I was apprehensive about Gardner's narration because the only other book that I have listened to him narrate is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and this novel seemed such a radical departure. I was very pleasantly surprised. His narration was pitch perfect.

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- Geoffrey

Parody of Life?

Sinclair Lewis’s “Babbitt” is categorized as a satire, a parody of life during the roaring twenties, but its story seems no exaggeration of a life in the 20th or 21st century. Published in 1922, it is considered a classic. It is said to have influenced Lewis’s award of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930. (Lewis is the first American to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.) Lewis is highly praised for describing American culture. “Babbitt” is the eighth of thirteen novels Lewis published by 1930. Lewis creates a body of work that intimately exposes strengths and weaknesses of American democracy and capitalism.

Lewis writes in the midst of a burgeoning American industrial revolution. It seems what happened in the 1920s is similar to what is happening today. The industrial revolution is now the technology revolution; women are still undervalued, many Americans want a business President elected, and unions are being busted. Today’s young men and women are still breaking social conventions. The stage seems set. One hopes 2015 is not America’s new roaring twenties; pending another economic crash.

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- CHET YARBROUGH

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.