The Good Soldier

  • by Ford Madox Ford
  • Narrated by Ralph Cosham
  • 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Good Soldier is a story about the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples - one English, one American - and the growing awareness of American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian façade. It is Dowell’s attitude - his puzzlement, uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration - that makes the book so powerful and mysterious. In Ford’s brilliantly woven tale, nothing is quite what it seems.
Despite its catalog of death, insanity, and despair, this novel has many comic moments and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene. Originally published in 1915, The Good Soldier is considered by many to be Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece.
Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) was a novelist, poet, literary critic, editor, and one of the founding fathers of English Modernism. He published over seventy books in his lifetime, perhaps most famously The Good Soldier. His books often centered on the conflict between traditional British values and those of the modern industrial society.


What the Critics Say

“One of the finest novels of our century.” (Graham Greene)
The Good Soldier, often regarded as his best work, reflects Ford’s ambivalent fascination with the phenomenon of the English gentleman. The conclusion is anticipated in the well-known opening line: ‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard.’” (New York Times)
“This is the most intriguing, shocking, and original book I have ever read… The Good Soldier is the only book I have ever read and wanted to read again immediately.” (Times, London)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This Book ain't Ice Cream on the Beach Folks

What? You mean this novel isn't about war? Is it possible to hate a book and love it at the same time? This is one of those books where it immediately becomes obvious that you aren't going to read this novel for the strict pleasure of it. This book ain't ice cream on the beach folks. I don't think I've run across a more amoral, unsympathetic cast of characters since I visited Kehlsteinhaus. But, Ford Madox Ford is absolutely brilliant at portraying the decay, the depravity and the hypocrisy that existed in early 20th century English and American aristocracy. What a bunch of absolute rat bastards they all were. Nobody is happy. Nobody is true. Everybody gets eventually exactly what they deserve.

This novel is probably the most sexless novel containing the subtitle: A Tale of Passion. It is as sexy as a festering cavity and as passionate as an obsessive and unreliable group of narcissists can be. Two of my favorite writers were either heavily influenced by Ford (Graham Greene) or collaborated heavily with Ford (Joseph Conrad). This isn't a novel you can really ever love, but you will carry this novel with you and days and weeks later you still won't be able to escape its funky grasp. And THAT is something.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

the unreliable narrator par excellence

I found this book enormously engaging, because every statement--whether the narrator's or his accounts of what other characters have said--must be weighed for degrees of truth: each person has his or her own self-interests to rationalize and justify. Ralph Cosham's voice perfectly expresses the appropriate nuances of self-doubt, puzzlement, and regret. I liked Cosham's work here so much that I subsequently chose him as my narrator for Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," and noticed that while his voice sounded younger and fuller for HoD, for TGS he seemed more a master of the meaningful pause, making his reading of this devastating story all the more powerful.
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- beatrice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-10-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.