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Extended Audio Sample A Soldier of the Great War, by Mark Helprin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.99894810659187 out of 53.99894810659187 out of 53.99894810659187 out of 53.99894810659187 out of 53.99894810659187 out of 5 4.00 (2,852 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Helprin Narrator: David Colacci Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin comes a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war.

Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro’s experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it’s a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and, above all, a love song for his family.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Extraordinary…A vast, ambitious, spiritually lusty, all-guzzling, all-encompassing novel.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A rousing tale…riotous energy and sustained brilliance…Helprin lights his own way, in his own singular direction.”


  • “Intense, memorable…magnificent…A massive, soaring novel of ideas and ordeals.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Energetic prose, poetic images of great intensity, and an antic imagination combine in this gripping moral fable narrated by a septuagenarian irrevocably altered by World War I.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The language is rich without cloying, complex yet luminous in Helprin’s best style. In a number of thoughtful philosophical passages as engaging as any adventure story, Alesandro struggles to reconcile his appreciation of beauty and his religious faith with the horror around him. That he finally persuades us to believe in a ‘God without any hope, in a God of splendor and terror’ is testimony to the indomitable human spirit. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “[An] ebullient, elegiac novel of destruction and survival…Tender, optimistic, and sumptuously presented: a feast of a novel, right down to Alessandro’s tender lingering over the final course.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Rhust | 9/28/2016

    " It took me days to find a review outlet for the audio version of a wonderful, well written gem of a book. The audio version hurts my head! Not because the narrator isn't good, clear, smooth and gifted. Nope! Ive read this book numerous times and I can only hope someone, one day will record this book with the Italian accents it was written in. All the charactors-especially Giuliani would, does have at least!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Martin | 2/20/2014

    " The book expired on my iPad library checkout before I could finish, but it seemed interesting, but not interesting enough to check out again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rachael | 2/13/2014

    " i read this because edward norton told me to. i'm shameless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by William | 2/11/2014

    " Unsurpassed mastery of the language and of self examination. At almost any other time of my life I would have rated it five stars as I did Winter's Tale, but I am not now as interested in smelling the flowers along the path as I once was. Never has consciousness been so closely examined with such an amazing set of metaphors. To be somewhat playful, Julian Jaynes would rank Helprin right up there with William Shakespeare for the size of his metaphor collection. "

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