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Topic: Guns, Germs & Steel - Abridged or Unabridged?

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Subject: Guns, Germs & Steel - Abridged or Unabridged?
Date Posted: 3/9/2009 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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I have the written book of this on my TBR, but would like to listen to the audio version.   Here's my dilema:

My library has two audio versions of this book - one is abridged (which is not surprisingly available now) and one is unabridged (for which there is a long waitlist).   I would like to read this book for a history reading challenge this month, and have no hope of getting the unabridged audio version before the month is over.

Normally I turn my nose up at abridged audiobooks, figuring that I want to read the WHOLE book and not just the parts that an editor thought were important.   However, in this case I'm considering listening to the abridged audio because I've read some reviews that say that this book could have used a good editor and trimmed quite a bit anyway!

Has anybody read this?  What are your thoughts?

Date Posted: 3/9/2009 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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I don't know- this book is one my TBR pile too.  I find that I just can't bring myself to read an abridged version, I feel like I'm being left out of a secret that everyone else knows.  But I'll be interested to hear which you choose and what you think of it.

Date Posted: 3/9/2009 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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That's a tough call Lynne. I liked Guns, Germs, and Steel but I also thought it was overly long and Diamond made a few "connections" on very scanty evidence. I also lean toward the unabridged versions of audiobooks. The one book I read the abridged version of, and much preferred it over the unabridged, was Les Miserables. If you find the abridged version compelling, you can always go back and read the full book.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Thanks for the thoughts!

I think I am going to try the abridged version. I've been listening to some pretty long audiobooks recently and a shorter one will be a nice change. (The last NF book I listened to was Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright.    Very long at 20 CD's - but worth every word!)

Like Sheila said, I can always read the book later if I need to.   And I do have the paper book so can easily look something up if it doesn't make sense.

I'll let you know what I think after I'm done.

Date Posted: 3/27/2009 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Well, unfortunately I had to give up on Guns, Germs and Steel.  I'm sure that there is a lot of insight in this book, but one of the reviews of the book on PBS said that it reads like a doctoral dissertation - and I agree.  I do NOT give up on books easily, but it's that hard to read - and listening to the audio version even in abridged form was putting me to sleep.

I know that they have made a TV series out of this book for PBS, so hopefully I'll be able to catch that sometime.

Date Posted: 4/5/2009 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/4/2009
Posts: 1
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Yeah, the TV series was pretty decent.  Available on Netflix, too.