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By Michael on 08-07-13
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Not as an audiobook. I know from research that this is a great book on Gettysburg and the reviews on Audible support that view. However these are really Amazon reviews - not Audible reviews. That is, (I assume) reviews of the written book not of it's spoken counterpart. Having just listened to Allen C. Guelzo's 'Gettysburg' with wonderful narration by Robertson Dean I was very disappointed to move on to this work and find the narration so poor by comparison.
What didn’t you like about Gregg A. Rizzo’s performance?
For a start, it is so rushed! It is like he had been taking speed or that the narration was accidently on 'fast forward'! The slower, deliberate pace of Robertson Dean in Guelzo's work is much more appropriate to both the nature of the subject and the era that it is depicting.
In Rizzo's reading, swathes of facts or observations just keep rushing past you with much annoyance. In fact the very complexity of the unfolding of the battle, the topography, positioning of the elements of the two armies etc. almost demands a slower reading so that it can be better absorbed.
Equally irritating (in tandem with the rapid narration style), was the endless rising and falling pitch to emphasize the drama of certain aspects. This was just unnecessary and distracting. By contrast, Dean's more even pitch (and pace) showed how well the drama of certain points of time and decisions in the battle could be well highlighted without becoming almost shrill.
As Audible listener's know, the narration is as important as the book itself. In future, I will make a point of ensuring I am looking at audiobook reviews and not those of Amazon members who are referring to their experience of the written work (which might be in stark contrast to the listening experience).
Any additional comments?
Some time ago I had listened to Grover Gardner's narration of Shelby Foote's amazing volumes on the Civil War. While Gardner did a great job with narrating William L. Shirer’s 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', his voice and tone, I thought, was less suited to the Civil War era. Robertson Dean narrating Foote's work would have been an amazing blend!
I guess what I am trying to say is that in historical works that are set in an era very different to our own, the choice of narrator takes on a greater importance. While I am sure Gregg Rizzo has narrated other books very well, I felt he was the wrong choice for this work.
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