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Extended Audio Sample An American Tragedy Audiobook, by Theodore Dreiser Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14,712 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Theodore Dreiser Narrator: Dan John Miller Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9781452671895
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An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream. Extraordinary in scope and power, vivid in its sense of wholesale human waste, unceasing in its rich compassion, An American Tragedy stands as Theodore Dreiser's supreme achievement. First published in 1925 and based on an actual criminal case, An American Tragedy was the inspiration for the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As a portrayal of one of the darker phases of the American character, it demands attention.”

    New York Times

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alwa | 2/10/2014

    " Good stuff in here about struggling with the obvious effects of being born lower class in a society that claims it doesn't have classes. Slows way down when you get to the court scene (Let's rehash the entire book, but in bombastic, biased style! Twice! No thanks) and someone becomes a born-again Christian, which is just stupid. But the first 800 or so pages were pretty interesting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andrew David | 2/6/2014

    " I heartily agree with Irving Howe's comparison in the essay that follows the book--"The action of the novel moves like a series of waves, each surging forward to a peak of tension and then receding into quietness, and each, after the first one, reenacting in a more complex and perilous fashion the material of its predecessor." However, while Howe suggests that the gathering storm of Dresier's prose is to be admired, I'd rather stay ashore. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY pounds the reader with wave after wave of its author's idiocy. Eight hundred fourteen pages of boring breakers. Call an editor! Dresier's relentless description of this selfish age makes me tired. If you insist on reading this, the novel concludes with an interesting collision between faith, responsibility, and conscience. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mindy | 1/22/2014

    " Once again, I am convinced that it is only worthwhile to read great classics that have withstood the test of time. I had never read this book, but found it in a used book store, and always knew it was one of those "should read" books. So glad I did! Tragic, seemingly dated but absolutely relevant to our own era. Family, relationships, capital punishment, income inequality, religion....I'll now have to re-read SISTER CARRIE, which I read years ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Myrna | 1/20/2014

    " theodore Dreiser is one of my very favorite authors. The life story of a young man who puts success above all else . The harsh realities of American life and the dark side of the American Dream Published in 1925, therefore showing American life in the 20's. I love anything Deiser wrote. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/18/2014

    " One of my favorites. Based on a true story. Dreiser's writing style is a little different, old-fashioned...but the extensive character development is something that is hard to come by in most books written today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly Murray | 1/16/2014

    " A poor boy longs for the rich life. How does he get it? Through a rich girl, of course. Dreiser does a great job of showing the human weaknesses that we all have when it comes to trying to get what we want. We sometimes forget where we came from and what's important in life when we become blinded by what we think we need. It's a long one, but well worth the read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hadrian | 1/9/2014

    " Awful writing style, but interesting psychological depictions of characters. Makes one fear canoe rides for a little while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jsipp | 12/27/2013

    " Great book, so well written, you find yourself rooting for the dirtbag who didn't take care of his responsibilities. It's 900 pages long but it moves quickly "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 12/23/2013

    " *sigh*...If this book was condensed to half its length and its themes expressed succinctly, then I'd give it a better rating. As it stands, Dreiser is a dry writer (pun intended) and the beauty that this book could have had was diluted to the point that I had to force myself through all 814 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gitte | 11/29/2013

    " I really liked the first half of this novel and I thought it would be a 4 or 5 star read. I liked reading about Clyde's struggles and moral dilemmas. But the second half was just so repetitious. It just kept going round in circles until I wanted to scream. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allen Sawyer | 10/28/2013

    " I learned there may be better options than drowning your pregnant girlfriend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corinna | 7/18/2013

    " This was a great book, very gripping, but I HATED the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 5/25/2013

    " The greatest novel ever written. We have all made bad choices and Clyde represents what happens when we choose to not take responsibilities for those choices. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/29/2013

    " Read this book at the recommendation of a Russian pen pal. She said that they all read this book as it reflected American life. That and Gone With the Wind. Obviously Russians have a very distorted image of American life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie | 9/11/2012

    " My Grandpa recommended this book to me. I didn't think I would enjoy it but I did. It's a long one that's for sure but worth it. IT's nice to go back in time every once in a while. I would recommend this one if you have the time to read it without interuptions. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Biscuits | 8/1/2012

    " This book was kind of excruciating to get through. I had just read "Of Human Bondage," which was very similar. Except the main character strived for money instead of artistic talent. Also, when I watched Match Point, it reminded me of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 6/6/2012

    " a place in the sun was bitchin too "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Missy | 5/13/2012

    " This was a challenge issued by an english teacher in High School. I like Dreisers tale or warning in epic form. I have not read it in years, I may have to see if I still like it as much as a remember I am way more sensitive now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 1/18/2012

    " Has potential, but is INCREDIBLY dense and wordy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle Tooker | 1/16/2012

    " Dreiser tends to write long-winded sentences that become confusing at times, but if you keep trudging through you'll appreciate the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick Hennessey | 10/5/2011

    " The story is good, but this felt about 400 pages too long. I don't regret reading it, but wouldn't recommend it to others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 6/28/2011

    " I read this so many years ago that I can't remember, probably in the 60s. But I have always recalled it as a favorite, a powerful book. I will probably never re-read it, in fear of its losing its luster in my eyes, and because I very seldom reread books--too many on the shelves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 6/15/2011

    " Oh what wicked ways of the twisted hands of fate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chaven | 6/4/2011

    " Could a book be any longer? Yes... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicki | 4/16/2011

    " Really long, but it totally sucked me in. If you have some time on your hands, it's a great stream of consciousness type novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 4/15/2011

    " This was a rather long story, and it literally took me years to complete. However, as this story is a classic one, I decided to continue reading it many years later. I was not disappointed to have continued it, and it is a compelling story, although not a lighthearted one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 4/10/2011

    " The mills of God grind exceedingly slow but they grind exceedingly fine. One of those stories where you know what's going to happen almost from the start, but you still want to read it all the way to the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KT | 3/26/2011

    " Very like Steinbeck in a way "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janell | 3/21/2011

    " I'm not sure I read this, but I can't figure how to take it off. I did love Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt, though, for sure! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 3/4/2011

    " I thought this book would never end! At best I look at this one as a period piece. I was fairly disappointed. It was, for me, a 900 page religious tract. I've read others by Dreisler and they tended much more towards social justice and commentery than this work did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dgoll | 2/4/2011

    " Unquestionable one of the best books I have ever read for so many reasons. Dreiser's ability to make you feel the young man's struggle is amazing and you are left with the imponderables. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/18/2011

    " Dreiser tends to write long-winded sentences that become confusing at times, but if you keep trudging through you'll appreciate the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 lunaticprophet | 1/11/2011

    " ***** Easily one of the best novels I've ever read. Dreiser's insights into his character's motives, character and psyche is nothing less than brilliant! The book is a marvelous read and it's easily understood why this is considered a classic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 1/5/2011

    " Great novel with terrific character development. "

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About the Author
Author Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945), American novelist, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and attended Indiana University. He began his writing career as a newspaperman, working in Chicago, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. His first novel, Sister Carrie (1900), was purchased by a publisher who thought it objectionable and made little effort to promote its sale. With the publication of The Financier in 1912, he was able to give up newspaper work and devote himself to writing. He became known as one of the principal exponents of American naturalism, and in 1944, he was awarded the Merit Medal for Fiction by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

About the Narrator

Dan John Miller is an American actor and musician. In the Oscar-winning Walk the Line, he starred as Johnny Cash’s guitarist and best friend, Luther Perkins, and has also appeared in George Clooney’s Leatherheads and My One and Only, with Renée Zellweger. An award-winning audiobook narrator, he has garnered multiple Audie Award nominations, has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine, and has received eight AudioFile Earphones Awards and a Listen-Up Award from Publishers Weekly.