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It was my own fault, I didn't think through how an encyclopedia might work as an audio book and I should have because sadly it doesn't. Few people would sit down a read an encyclopedia cover to cover. Its a pick and mix, dip in and out kind of information delivery system and therefore perfectly suited to book form where a quick look at the index, a riffle through the pages and there's the good stuff just waiting to fill that Robespierre shaped void in your knowledge. It even works on a CD with chapters you can skip through or a DVD where you can use a search facility to find what you need but as a digital download of 6+ hours with nothing but fast forward and rewind functions with which to navigate it is just not practical without the total recall necessary to know to the nearest second the time at which each of the subjects under discussion begins and ends.
Why not just listen to it start to finish? Mostly because the history of the Revolution is not presented as a linear narrative; and why would it be, this is an encyclopedia not a novel or history book; but also to some extent because the publishers chose to read this book a man who sounds precisely like you would expect an encyclopedia to sound if it could talk, only with an American accent. His voice has echos of Ben Stein's memorable performance as "Economics Teacher" in John Hughes 80's film classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off":
"Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before?"
For me, this made prolonged concentration on even so fantastically interesting a period as the one covered by this book difficult to say the least. The content is of the high standard you would expect from Britannica but when it comes to functionality, digital audio and encyclopedias sadly just don't mix.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This collection of articles was very informative. I got a great sense of the social and political events and people during the 1700's with interesting stories interwoven. Part 2, however seemed to be a repeat of part 1 and there was alot of overlap of the same article in the other EB downloads of the French revolution. My recommendation is to just get this one or if you are interested is specific topics get the shorter topic specific books. It would be nice if the product desription gave a list of the articles for each book in this series.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
As a history junkie it takes a lot to turn me off. This one actually managed to do so...dull as dust.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful