Extended Audio Sample

Download Billy Budd, Sailor Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Billy Budd, Sailor (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Herman Melville
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (6,987 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Herman Melville Narrator: William Roberts Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2005 ISBN:
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Written some 40 years after Moby Dick, Melville's Billy Budd is a moving tale of good versus evil. Set aboard a British navy ship at the end of the eighteenth century, a young, innocent sailor's charm and good nature put the men around him at ease. Ship life agreed with Billy. He made friends quickly and was well liked, which infuriated John Claggart, the ship's cold-blooded superior officer.

Mutiny was a continual threat greatly feared by naval officers. Even minor offences were dealt with harshly to keep crews in their place, regardless of whether the accused was guilty or innocent.

The envious Master-at-Arms becomes obsessed with the destruction of the 'Handsome Sailor' and torments the young man until his false accusations lead to an eventual charge of treason against Billy. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Siddhartha | 1/31/2014

    " Very descriptive and very melodramatic. It speaks to me in more ways than one but perhaps a second read is necessary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Donovan | 1/27/2014

    " Homoerotic to a glorious extreme, in 'Billy Budd' the titular character is constantly referred to as "The Handsome Sailor." It's easy to imagine Melville intending it as a device to indicate a role aboard the ship, that every ship has a "handsome sailor," the subject of lust and affection for the sex-starved men at sea. The gay history of maritime life is a long and substantive one, and this is really a very critical text in artistically representing it. I don't quite know how this text has ever NOT been interpreted as a queer work: the main plot follows everyone on the ship in love with Billy, and the ship's master-at-arms John Claggart's inexplicable rage at the boy. Claggart's also described frequently by his role, master-at-arms, one related to discipline and good social conduct, while Billy's suggests passion and indulgence in the finer things in life. It's quite easy to see the point Melville is making. Claggart's rage is a sort of sexual mania, his lust for Billy taken to a place of id-fueled sadism. So goes 'Billy Budd,' I won't spoil the plot but the progression is artful: the ship comes to a point of favoring law and justice over Billy's sensuality, as if we've witnessed an allegory of the gay men of the late nineteenth century. They toy with the sexual excesses and opportunities presented by a new world with a liberalizing moral order, but retreat back to the safety of heterosexual life, where it's safe. And though it's needless to say, Melville's prose is elegant and lovely to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Keeley | 1/24/2014

    " 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress | 1/16/2014

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

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivan | 1/8/2014

    " Bagus sih, tapi kayaknya ada yang kurang pas rasanya...mungkin gaya tulisannya? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gabriela | 1/6/2014

    " I thought this was hard to read but very interesting writing style! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clif Smith | 1/2/2014

    " 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. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hashi | 12/31/2013

    " Tough going at the beginning, but as it's only 88 pages I was determined to persevere. It got easier, but still didn't really do it for me. It's more of a character study than a story. But not a very indepth character study. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Suzanne | 12/14/2013

    " I remember really liking this one in college. I had to read closely for clues to who the mutineer really was...a few images come to mind, but I remember really liking it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emily | 12/6/2013

    " It was really hard and confusing. There is a lot of symbolism, but I wasn't able to pick it up on my own. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ariel | 12/4/2013

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mehrsa | 11/30/2013

    " This book is so beautifully written. It is a Christ allegory that takes a little bit to get, but it's very powerful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tricia | 11/25/2013

    " I am reading this book for my English honors class. Very good, great vocabulary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 9/9/2013

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle Lopez | 10/5/2012

    " Easy read. Only read this because it was required for a class. But I'm not a Melville fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Versel Rush | 9/24/2012

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky Jo Gesteland | 5/28/2012

    " before this Am Lit class, I hadn't read this text. once I assigned--and began hearing complaints from students about how hard it was--I doubted my intentions. but as I read it yesterday, chuckling as I did, I knew it was a good choice. I really do like Melville and this seems quintessential him. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole | 1/22/2012

    " Well, it certainly does SUCK. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ross | 12/31/2011

    " Not the equal of Melville's masterpiece, but worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James MacIntyre | 11/25/2011

    " An enjoyable parable, with Billy-as-Christ easy to see. But the prose if often far more difficult than needed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed Lehman | 6/28/2011

    " I had to rate this just three stars. Melville's language, although clear and distinct, is just so overdone. I used to think this was just an affectation of his times...but, having more recently read other authors of the era...or slightly afterwards...I realize that isn't necessarily so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurele | 4/29/2011

    " This little book has intrigued me for years. There's much to think about here. "

  • 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

William Roberts’ theater appearances include Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird. Among his films are Cold Mountain and Death Wish III, while he has been seen on television in Martin Chuzzlewit and The Old Devils. An accomplished voice artist, he is a frequent narrator of audiobooks.