• by Blaise Pascal
  • Narrated by William Sutherland
  • 12 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Compiled after his death in 1662, Pascal's "pensées" (thoughts) are his ideas for a book in defense of faith in a rational world. These fragments give evidence of a profoundly original thinker who had resolved the conflict between his scientific mind and heart-felt faith. This audiobook begins with an analysis of the difference between mathematical and intuitive thinking and goes on to consider the value of skepticism, contradictions, feeling, memory, and imagination. Much of the value of the Pensées results from the clarity with which Pascal was able to present his intuitive thoughts.
Pascal spent much of his life composing this magnum opus, which offers some of the most powerful aphorisms about human experience and behavior ever written.


What the Critics Say

"I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time." (T. S. Eliot)
"The liveliest, most eloquent apology of Christianity ever written." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great work, mediocre audio version

I gave this 4 stars because even if read by the Chipmunks the Pensees deserves 4 stars.

I avoided Pascal for years because I was aware of the argument from his famous Wager and profoundly disagreed with it so I felt he didn't have much to offer. Fortunately, I became convinced of the importance of Pascal so I read the Pensees years ago with low expectations. It shocked me. While I still profoundly disagree with the Wager, as a whole the work is one of the most profound I have ever read and it is one I return to often. In a few words, Pascal understood man. One example... "We are so presumptuous that we should like to be known all over the world, even by people who will only come when we are no more. Such is our vanity that the good opinion of half a dozen of the people around us gives us pleasure and satisfaction."

Now a few words about the audio book itself. First, the choice of narrator is completely wrong. While competent as a narrator, his deep scholarly voice makes the work sound like it is encrusted in cobwebs and of no practical importance. I almost stopped listening because I didn't want to come to associate the voice with the work. This would be my greatest fear for those who have never read the Pensees. The voice reading the Pensees should be one of an earnest friend not a hoary scholar.

Second, I don't like the translation. It too is archaic and sometimes sounds like the King James Bible. I much prefer the organization and translation by A.J. Krailsheimer.

If you can find an UNABRIDGED version with a different narrator and ideally based on the Krailsheimer translation then definitely go with that. However, my criticisms aside, this audio book is still is the Pensees and well worth your time and money if you can't find a better audio version.
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- Thomas Phelan


I've loved Pascal every time I've read his work, but I couldn't finish reading this production. The reading is dull, lifeless, but I've suffered through that before. In this production, the reader and producer collude to crash chapters and thoughts into one another like a slow motion train wreck. A moment's hesitation, or at least a deep breath once in a while, would have been appreciated.
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- Paul Gardner "Conductor of Magical Publishing"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-07-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.