Extended Audio Sample

Hard Times Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Hard Times, by Charles Dickens Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (20,306 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Dickens Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Originally written for Dickens’ weekly magazine, Household Words, this short novel follows the fate of Sissy Jupe, a warm-hearted circus child, and the family that adopts her. Deserted by her ailing father, Sissy is taken into the cold household of the Gradgrind family, which operates a school. The “eminently practical” Thomas Gradgrind believes only in facts and figures and has raised his children accordingly, thoroughly suppressing the imaginative sides of their nature. They grow up in ignorance of love and affection, of beauty and culture, or of empathy for others, and the consequences are devastating. Only after numerous crises does Thomas realize that his principles have corrupted their lives.

Dickens’ satirical exposé of the Industrial Revolution condemns the utilitarianism that exploited the bodies, minds, and souls of the vulnerable labor class.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive, and must follow him whithersoever he leads.”

    William Makepeace Thackeray

  • “A bitter indictment of industrialization, with its dehumanizing effects on workers and communities in mid-nineteenth-century England.”

    Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

  • “The narrator’s British accent goes well with Dickens’ overly dramatic and lush prose.”


  • “A wonderful introduction to the pleasures of Victorian novels and Dickens’ powerful story.”


Listener Reviews

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Nelly | 2/20/2014

    " I love Dickens, and this may be one of my favorites now. Clever, entertaining, and a great commentary on issues of the time, including children's education, the industrial revolution, and the birth of labor unions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Trishé | 2/18/2014

    " Well the parts of this book I was able to read before my dog mercilessly chewed it up were pretty good. I wouldn't say it's my favorite book by Dickens, but I found the characters views on "Facts" interesting, and I enjoyed the contrast between Jupe who seemed to be able to think deeply about things beyond their facts with Thomas Gradgirnd who has a starkly concrete view of the world. I only was able to make it about halfway through, so maybe if I ever get the chance to finish the book, I'll be able to speak more on it's merits. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Carolyn | 2/14/2014

    " The audio version that I listened to was read by Anton Lesser - he was fantastic! This story of how Thomas Gradgrind's teachings had such a negative effect on his children Louisa and Tom and their emotional well-being stills rings true today! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Simon Curtis | 2/10/2014

    " More studied than read but very enjoyable. Facts, Mr Gradgrind, Facts! "

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About the Author
Author Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors’ prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic characters.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.