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The first reviewers of this audio-book missed the point entirely. Clearly Carlyle is not a contemporary writer and he is not writing an expository text. They should have known that if they had only bothered to consult the work ahead of time. But that's not the point of my post. The fact of the matter is I've been trying to make sense of the French Revolution, on and off, for the past twenty years and this book takes, as one of the reviewers noted, a poetic approach to the entire episode, if we may call it that. Surprisingly, I started Carlyle's book and couldn't stop reading. That's when I decided to order the audio edition primarily for help with French pronunciation of place names and persons. Once you get into the rhythm of the writing is carries itself, as poetic writing does. Yes, the diction and word order will be a challenge for today's reader, but the underlying unity of the work with it's historical sensibility is outstanding. I certainly recommend the audio edition as well, because it's a complement to the silent reader.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
I gave this entire series (The French Revolution: Bastille, Constitution and Guillotine) a rating of '1', only because I couldn't rate it any lower. Admittedly, I could only sit through the first two hours of the first volume. I honestly couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say.
The problem (for me) is that the entire book seems to be written in a style of stanzas (poetic), rather than a paragraph (narrative) form. Also the language style uses a psuedo-period (1770's) English, even a Shakespearian-like English, all put together in a rather poor attempt of something like Iambic Pentameter style. At least that's the impression I got while listening. Using every allagory, metaphore, simile, and every other literary trick in the book simply confused the verbage into such a tangle, that virtually nothing could be made out of any particular point. I assume a point was trying to be made.
Please don't take my word for all of this - I advise listening very closely to the sample that Audible provides before you buy. If you like this style, and can make out what's being said, by all means go ahead and buy it. If you have a problem, I can only assure you that it won't get any better.
I have been an Audible.com customer for many years, and have purchased many history genre books. Among my selections include such authors as Suetonius, Tacitus, and Horoditus, as well as Shelby Foote, Winston Churchill, Bruce Catton, David McCullough, and many other modern authors. 'The French Revolution' has to be my greatest disappointment in any historical genre book purchased from Audible, and has earned the only '1' rating in my entire collection.
A definite NOT recommended.
24 of 36 people found this review helpful