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Extended Audio Sample Billy Budd Audiobook, by Herman Melville Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.15 out of 52.15 out of 52.15 out of 52.15 out of 52.15 out of 5 2.15 (16,490 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: Christopher Timothy Publisher: Copyright Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 ISBN: 9781780002934
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Aboard the warship Bellipotent, the young orphan Billy Budd was called the handsome sailor. Billy was tall, athletic, noble-looking; he was friendly, innocent, helpful, and cheerful. He was a fierce fighter and a loyal friend. All the men and officers liked him.

All but one: Master-at-Arms Claggart. Envious, petty Claggart plotted to make Billy’s life miserable. But when a fear of mutinies swept through the fleet, Claggart realized he could do more than just torment the handsome sailor … he could frame Billy Budd for treason.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Newengland | 2/20/2014

    " In high school, we read this in lieu of Moby Dick because it was shorter. Hang it all, there's apparently more than meets the aye-yi (sir), but it was lost on us! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Evan | 2/18/2014

    " I'm pretty sure I'd fight Melville if he was alive today. Or at least give him a wedgie. Yeah. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 2/16/2014

    " Bartlby, one of the best ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/9/2014

    " I think that I was one of the only students in my high school American Lit. class that liked Billy Budd. It's actually my favorite Melville story. It's just packed full of injustice and bravery in the face of unbeatable odds. Just the kind of thing that can really hit that nerve that teenagers have that makes them acutely aware of injustice and persecution. Reading Melville is no cakewalk, and I would never claim that he's one of my favorite authors. But I did like Billy Budd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen Murley | 2/9/2014

    " A classic read in high school "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew Christ | 2/6/2014

    " I liked this book more than I liked Moby Dick which I started years ago but haven't finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Gager | 2/4/2014

    " Good vs. Evil plain and simple. My prep school drama club did this one. Good job too. No, I was not in that club. Just the audience. Date read is a guess. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 2/4/2014

    " Not an easy read as far as language, but my first Melville story. Quite an activist was he. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Diaz | 2/3/2014

    " I learned more from the movie with Terence Stamp and Robert Ryan. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 L.R. Green | 1/31/2014

    " It's so confusing and hard to understand! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynne | 1/29/2014

    " The one book that I read in high school and never ever liked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie Ash-Evans | 1/28/2014

    " I see there of this book; I liked it but then I love sea tales; I love Moby Dick, so read this short tale and see what YOU think. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kaili | 1/26/2014

    " Honestly, I had to read this book for my freshman year and I honestly did not like it. Excuse my youthful opinion, but I didn't like the ending, the characters.. It's just not my thing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anabel Boyanova | 1/24/2014

    " Short read, took me one day- It was my winter break homework for AP Lit. Not too awful, I mean... I guess Melville`s sometimes long-winded descriptions were a pain, but I didn`t hate the actual plot and meaning of the novella. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Hannah | 1/23/2014

    " Horrible book would not recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 1/20/2014

    " Adventure on the high seas, wonderful audio entertainment. An adaption, not just the book on audio, it sizzles "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ke Huang | 1/14/2014

    " I liked how the novella mixed an essay style with fiction. While it was a bit difficult at times, I found that I learned a lot from reading it. Especially about life on the ship and how a mutiny can be seen as a battle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Demosthenes | 1/8/2014

    " The worst punishment I could imagine my hell to be is reading this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob | 1/6/2014

    " A sad, beautiful story. Some are just too good to live "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 1/2/2014

    " Billy Budd is everything one should expect from a Herman Melville novel: conflict, frustration, and the completely unexpected. I highly recommend it to those with whom there is a love of the sea, historic settings, personal conflict, and Melville's unique writing style. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deborah | 1/2/2014

    " Just did not like this book. It was panful to finish. I'm guessing Melville and I don't have the same style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 12/31/2013

    " I just read this last year- I don't know what I was waiting for. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 12/19/2013

    " Read for a Lit class... Vere didn't have a choice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannan | 12/18/2013

    " It was better than I was expecting. It helped that it was required reading back in high school so I knew all the stuff to look for. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna Tielmann | 12/13/2013

    " I like this collection of short stories a lot better than "Moby Dick" because there wasn't enough room for chapter-long descriptions of boats, rigging and the various parts of a ship that were horrible to wade through and were completely over my head. The way he writes makes it hard to read at a comfortable pace and I had to re-read paragraphs in order to fully understand what was going on. It's not a light, easy read.. makes you think and has a lot of underlying meaning on each page.. but a very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy Kaylor | 12/12/2013

    " I read Billy Budd when I was on my whaling kick and was reading Melville because he liked to write about it. It's a pretty good story. I don't remember liking any of his other short stories much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fawn | 12/8/2013

    " this makes me want to vapor in the groggeries along the towpath... whatever that means. yay melville! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ariel | 12/7/2013

    " Most homoerotic required reading I've ever been faced with, as well a lovely example of an intrusive narrator who enjoys pleonasm. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenny | 12/4/2013

    " Read this in high school, probably because they wanted us to have a Moby Dick experience without assigning Moby Dick. Big mistake. The symbolism is obnoxiously obvious, and I remember hating it more than any other book I was required to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Keeley | 12/1/2013

    " Hands down the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read! It's only redeaming quality is that it is very short. It was agonizing and horrid. Boring, and difficult. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 11/14/2013

    " I'm pretty sure no writer fills me with quite as much sheer delight as Melville, even in those few sentences of Billy Budd that aren't about how totally H-O-T Billy is. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kylie | 11/8/2013

    " So... It was okay. I didn't enjoy it, but I didn't hate it... I just dreaded reading it. I give this book some sympathy because it was never finished by Mr. Melville. This is just a publication of his drafts which had been partially written by his wife while he spoke because he was in such poor health. I don't recommend it, unless you enjoy being bored. In which case, you probably read this every night and don't need my review anyway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacey | 10/31/2013

    " I just love Herman Melville! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennie | 10/23/2013

    " This was a forced read in HS. *Shudder* "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chelsea | 10/21/2013

    " I read this as part of a Humanities course on Law and Language. I do not remember being particularly blown away; was happier reading Cabeza de Vaca. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 10/18/2013

    " From what I understand, this novella grew out of a footnote Melville provided for a poem, which appears at the end of the story. I'm actually quite partial to the poem more than the book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lacy | 10/17/2013

    " one day I'll be able to get through this book. One day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress | 10/6/2013

    " I like the Christ metaphor, but I found this one dry and hard to read. I had to force myself to get it read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 8/24/2013

    " Read in hs and disliked greatly. Maybe Melville and I were just not meant to be. I remember it being just an affront to my sensibilities. And my dad was in the navy and I loved his stories at sea. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krunal Patel | 8/21/2013

    " Combination of sea life and the law. This book was written for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 André P | 8/7/2013

    " Two stars, because of "Bartleby, the Scrivener". Otherwise, it would get only one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ke Huang | 7/7/2013

    " I liked how the novella mixed an essay style with fiction. While it was a bit difficult at times, I found that I learned a lot from reading it. Especially about life on the ship and how a mutiny can be seen as a battle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Julia | 6/27/2013

    " All I remember about this book is that I was forced to read it for class and didn't like it at all. Met Scott in that class, though. So that was good. :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meri L | 5/21/2013

    " As much as I love reading classics, I kind of hated this one. It was so confusing and hard to understand :( At least I got a 100% on my Literary Analysis Paper! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen Lasher | 5/11/2013

    " I don't remember it all that well, but you gotta give a shout out to Melville, right? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 L.R. Green | 4/10/2013

    " It's so confusing and hard to understand! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emelinemimie | 2/19/2013

    " I think Melville is not for me. It was pure torture. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Maciek | 2/4/2013

    " I enjoyed "Benito Cereno" and really liked "Bartleby The Scrivener", but "Billy Bud" is just too much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam | 1/11/2013

    " At least it was short. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Demosthenes | 12/10/2012

    " The worst punishment I could imagine my hell to be is reading this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Debra | 11/2/2012

    " why does so much 'great' literature suck? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adrian Alvarez | 10/9/2012

    " I would prefer not to say what I thought. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Talkingtowalls | 9/8/2012

    " About halfway through at present, reminds me of Wuthering Heights, the story takes second place to the character studies and the juxtaposition of good and evil. The main difference to me is that Bronte did a field study while Melville preferred the lab. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbi | 8/23/2012

    " MY goodness. Melville spends more time describing the beautiful torsos of young men than he does the sea. Enough already! Couldn't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 8/11/2012

    " This book shows Melville's rather dim view of man's predestined course and ignores God. The short stories are good, but I find the dated style not as fluid as our more modern authors. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jake | 8/10/2012

    " I was bored out of my mind reading this book. I haven't read Moby Dick yet and after reading this, I have my doubts about even starting it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 8/6/2012

    " Poor Baby Budd. Everyone on the ship was sort of lusting after him. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Aria Smith | 7/7/2012

    " I have a serious issue with any book that has a chapter called: "A Digression." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Kittleman | 2/21/2012

    " This book opened my eyes in high school. It made methaphor tangible. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Audrey | 1/24/2012

    " Poor Baby Budd. Everyone on the ship was sort of lusting after him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bethany | 12/23/2011

    " Why Mr. Melville? First Bartleby and now Billy? Why must you be so cruel?.... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jim | 12/8/2011

    " This book was left uncompleted at the time of Melville's death. It is not in the same league as Moby Dick. Melville was not particularly successful as a writer, and this book tends to show that. Perhaps he only had one truly great book in him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mia | 11/27/2011

    " Read in college. . .a long time ago. . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 11/11/2011

    " I enjoyed most of the stories in here. "The Encantadas" was pretty cool. "Bartleby the Scrivener" is obviously way cool for its passive resistance. I could say more, but "I'd prefer not." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clif Smith | 11/10/2011

    " There is so much to this short work that I could go on for days talking about it. Great story, characters, symbolism, theme, etc. One of the best I have ever used in the classroom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Versel Rush | 11/8/2011

    " Read in my "Jurisprudence and the Law" class with Professor Powers at UT Law. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 psm | 10/17/2011

    " melville's solemn, cumbrous prose is perfectly weighted for the metaphysical examination of good and evil in "billy budd" (which is his true masterpiece). "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Britt☮ | 10/12/2011

    " If only negative stars were an option... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Motorcycle | 8/23/2011

    " I liked the justice and mercy interplay, but it didn't go far enough for my liking. I would have liked a little more exploration of the themes. In any case the language was just fantastic. One of these days I'll finally give Moby Dick a go. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Seth Courrégé | 7/13/2011

    " Never understood why this book is considered a 'classic'. Forget Billy Budd, pick up Melville's Moby Dick. However, there is one good short story in this collection, Bartleby the Scrivener, that deserves to be read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 zack | 7/2/2011

    " I WOULD PREFER NOT TO. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Khaliah Williams | 4/27/2011

    " I actually only read Billy Budd. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole | 4/20/2011

    " Well, it certainly does SUCK. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chelsea | 4/4/2011

    " Emily was right. Booooo Billy Budd booooo "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kerri | 3/24/2011

    " WTF did I just read. No clue what happened. Thank god the last chapter had a quick sum up of events. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luke1992 | 3/21/2011

    " Wish I could've given it a 3.5 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jack | 3/7/2011

    " Interesting Insites into navel history.
    library book sale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/19/2011

    " Reading Project Gutenberg, and too lazy to create a new book to prove it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jim | 2/14/2011

    " This book was left uncompleted at the time of Melville's death. It is not in the same league as Moby Dick. Melville was not particularly successful as a writer, and this book tends to show that. Perhaps he only had one truly great book in him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 2/3/2011

    " I laughed when there was a heated discussion in one episode of The Sopranos about this book. Not one of my favorites, but not terrible, either. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gen50 | 1/31/2011

    " a wonderful classic, i cried
    then i cried again in the movi3 version "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Demosthenes | 1/1/2011

    " The worst punishment I could imagine my hell to be is reading this book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katharine K | 1/1/2011

    " if i could give it a lower score i would "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl | 12/24/2010

    " Much more digestible than Moby Dick. "

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About the Author
Author Herman Melville

Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City. Family hardships forced him to leave school for various occupations, including shipping as a cabin boy to Liverpool in 1839—a voyage that sparked his love for the sea. A shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction, he is considered an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumously published novella Billy Budd.

About the Narrator

Christopher Timothy starred as James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small, the internationally renowned BBC television series based on Herriot’s work. A veteran of stage, screen, and television, Timothy is a winner of the prestigious Sir John Gielgud Scholarship and the Sir Laurence Olivier Award. He also coproduced and starred in a critically acclaimed film version of James Herriot’s Yorkshire.