Library Ed. Blackstone Audio 1998
CS ISBN $85.95 Thirteen cassettes
Referencing the Old Testament and Palestine’s influence on world civilization, Finnish-American Dimont’s secular history of the Jewish people was a surprise bestseller when originally published, and it has remained in print for more than twenty years. Deservedly so, for, despite quibbles from historians and religious partisans, the author has turned four thousand years in the life of one people into a lively, canny, authoritative, brainy and informative page-turner. To appreciate this audio, one must accept the kind of trade-offs encountered when a work that exists in space is translated into a work that exists in time. These include the inability to refer to indices, improbabilities of translating charts and graphs to sound, troubles going back and forth with footnotes, the need for heavy concentration to absorb the sheer density of data. On the plus side, one enjoys the accurate pronunciation of foreign words and phrases, as well as the narrator’s animation of concepts and events. Anna Fields does a nice job here. Her listener-friendly cadences express not only the sense of the lines, but also the connections among ideas and the author’s underlying intelligence. Be that as it may, to get the most out of the recording, one must still follow along with the text. Y.R. ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: AUG/SEP 98]
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