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By Jesse on 09-06-07
How often does one hear of someone admitting to have tried and failed to get through Gibbon's "Decline and Fall"? I have heard it several times and I include myself in the statistic. This abridged audio version is exquisitely done and makes Gibbon accessible enough to enjoy and be inspired by this timeless masterpiece. Philip Madoc reads Gibbon beautifully and earnestly, while Neville Jason provides background and context. Both are first rate. I happened to listen to a sample of the other Decline and Fall version offered by Audible. I respectfully prefer this one (However, I'm intrigued by the other because it looks much less abridged than this one). I would also recommend Cyril Robinson's "A History of Rome" as a companion. Charlton Griffin is an excellent narrator.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Theresa on 05-05-04
Beautifully written and narrated
This is one of those classics that, sooner or later, all educated people manage to get around to. I had attempted reading it in my youth, but never finished it. I was pleased to find an abridged version that would not strain my attention span. This is a very well narrated version by two British readers who are skillful in the craft. It is elegantly done, and the voices match the baroque style of Gibbons' flowery style. If ancient Rome is a subject that interests you, you must hear this. However, this history does NOT include the origins and history of republican Rome. In fact, the vast bulk of the subject matter is the corruption and fall of the Roman Empire, starting approximately with the events of the first half of the 2nd century A.D. and proceeding from there. I recommend this work without hesitation to lovers of ancient history.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Andrew on 11-05-06
Well read, but lacks the wit of the original, or rather the suggestion of it in the voice. The abridgement leaves out some of the more famous and amusing comments of Gibbon. The passages on the younger Gordian are omitted, and only summarised by the edtitorial voice, and some passages on the early Christians also. The music is not of the period as one might expect. But generally worth while.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Louisa on 11-24-06
An excellent way to read Decline and Fall
This is an extraordinary book! And although I listened to both parts, it is really during the second part, and especially with the account of the fall of Constantinople, that I was gripped ? and astonished. To be honest, it?s a bit of a challenge to listen to and I?m certainly not enough of an expert to review the book as such ? but I think this abridgement is OK. I suspect that reviewer Andrew from Dublin has read the whole work and is better placed to judge. I was quite irritated by Philip Madoc?s voice. When you start listening you think ?oh yes this is the voice of Gibbon? but after a while his sonorous tones get on your nerves ? and he sounds too old. Neville Jason who reads the intervening passages comes as a relief. Nevertheless, it is something of a tour de force to read the long, and to our modern ears, difficult to follow sentences and Madoc makes sense of what we are hearing. The book itself tends to be ?one damn thing after another? and unless you keep up and concentrate, you quickly loose the thread. But the advantage of modern technology is you can go back again, and again, and again?Depending on how good your concentration is, you may or may not be able to follow the book successfully. Having said all that, if this is one of the books you always meant to read ? the audiobook is certainly a good way of absorbing the Decline and Fall ? which is, when all is said and done, an achievement of monumental proportions.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful