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Utopia

Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Summary

Sir Thomas More's Utopia has spurred debate, reflection, and critical thinking since its original publication in the 16th century. More's fictional island of Utopia provides an exploration of issues that shook him and his contemporaries and that continue to be problematic in the modern day.

The details of More's utopian society, such as the permissibility of euthanasia and comments on chastity in the priesthood combine with proposals for the coexistence of varied religions to put forth a work that incorporates the totality of More's religious, sociological, and philosophical talents. This version of Utopia is the translation by Bishop Gilbert Burnet.

Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor

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Great Book.

This book? I highly recommend this book. I hope you like it as much as me.

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  • oscar
  • 17-01-12

Good re-enacment of a Classic!

This Classic is vividly communicated by Prebble. The work is a philosophico-political treatise and so weighted with ideas, terminologies, and interpretations of its given context. Prebble, nonetheless, makes it bearable.

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  • Troy
  • 28-01-15

An Historical Curiosity

This is an incredibly difficult book to review.

On it's own merits, it's not great, but it does make you think, given the comparison and contrast between the ills of society as presented in book 1 and the society of the Utopians as presented in book 2. It's a classic discourse of Humanist argument, contrasting the points of view that would have been prominent at the time. As a comparison with our modern society, it's interesting in and of itself, made somewhat ironic in that the Utopians live in the "New World" that had only recently been discovered.

Taking into account the historical time and place, the new and potentially bright reign of Henry VIII (years before Anne Boleyn entered the picture), and the fact that England was just entering the Renaissance after the rest of the Europe had developed it for 100 years (give or take a decade or two), this book becomes an historical curiosity. This is compounded by the personality, service, and devotion of Thomas More, both to his king and to the Church. History does not record why More wrote the book, and many of the ideas in it are not only alien to Medieval/Renaissance Europe and England, they are in complete contrast with everything we know of More himself. In my eyes, this kicks the book's interest level up a notch. The more you know of the history and the personalities of the age, the more of an anomaly this book becomes, made even more ironic by the infamous events leading to More's execution and the Reformation that swept Europe. The level of how much seriousness vs. how much satire is involved is a topic of debate that continues to this day amongst scholars, and it's easy to see why. The more of an enthusiast or scholar you are for this sort of thing will certainly determine how much you get out of it.

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  • Amazon04
  • 09-09-19

Wow..500 years ago...

This is brilliant and very readable! It sounds like wonderful values and it is VERY TIMELY:

“Why do you suppose they made you king in the first place?' I ask him. 'Not for your benefit, but for theirs. They meant you to devote your energies to making their lives more comfortable, and protecting them from injustice. So your job is to see that they're all right, not that you are - just as a shepherd's job, strictly speaking, is to feed his sheep, not himself.”

“Anyone who campaigns for public office becomes disqualified for holding any office at all.”

The whole book is full of such ideas!

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  • Jessica
  • 02-06-13

Clearly written by a man.

I'm no women's liberationist but the some of the ideas in this book are so ridiculous I cannot understand how it has survived the centuries and remains popular enough to be cited in popular media (like movies).