I embarked on listening to this epic and well-researched book on the history of civilisation with some trepidation. There are after all, a total of 92 Chapters (26.5 hours) to work through and this is a formidable listening marathon by any stretch of the imagination. However, I found them all totally worth the effort. I am pleased Andrew Marr opened the narration by lending his voice to the introduction. This is a very expansive work as Mr. Marr draws references to a research base of some 2,000 or so books. In addittion, David Timson's highly expressive narration that followed is clear, assertive and a joy to listen to as it is consistenly intonated throughout without ever being condescending. You don't have to be a professional historian to appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into producing this book and the (at times) rather violent TV series to which this is a perfect accompaniment. The passion for the subject, dedication and commitment shine through at all times and for me, this is a notable quality of the book. Overall, a highly recommended purchase indeed which takes pride of place on my Audible bookshelf!
On the whole, I really enjoyed the content of this audio book - it was both educational and captivating. Michael Wood presents a rich, well-researched and colourful epic history of this vast country and clearly knows his subject matter.
However, I felt at times that the audio book did not make the best use of the sound medium and could have been improved in the following ways:
1. Maybe Michael could have introduced the audio book. This would have added a lot more weight and credibility to the recording.
2. In my opinion, the narrator Sam Dastor's expressive performance would have benefited from an additional Indian voice actor reading those parts of the text that required a native Indian accent.
3. With the introduction of some music clips and sound effects - maybe sourced from the excellent and celebrated BBC TV series? This would have greatly enhanced the otherwise excellent narration.
This book should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand better how Governements can sometimes make a terrible mess of their business. It tries to draw lessons from one semi-fictional (the Fall of Troy) and three real life episodes from history-the last two - the loss of the Amreican colonies and Vietnam - are worth the price of the book on their own.
Although the author sets out the events, this is not narrative history as she intersperses her judgments, analysis and opinions as she goes through. This is OK if you have some familiarity with the history, but can be confusing - as it was for me when she dealt with the creation of Protestantism - if you are not.
I think this must be quite an old recording as the editing was not what you expect - but the narrator is excellent, with great judgement of pace and tone, always important, I think, for narrated history books.
Barbara Tuchman is a very fine historian, and I intend to get another of her books with next month's credit. In the meantime, I can recommended this book wholeheartedly.