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Download Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer Audiobook, by Steven Millhauser Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,011 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Millhauser Narrator: George Guidall Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 1996 ISBN: 9781436126410
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The American Dream is a theme so compelling it resonates throughout our culture. In Martin Dressler, Steven Millhauser creates a young man who, in dedicating his life to it, becomes a symbol of that dream. Powerful, lyrical, finely crafted, this best-selling book won the Pulitzer Prize, was a National Book Award finalist, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.


Martin Dressler, son of an immigrant cigar maker, believes he can achieve anything if he works hard enough. At the turn of the century, he rises from the shadows of his father’s shop in New York City to become a powerful entrepreneur and builder of hotels. But, as he contemplates this land of almost limitless opportunity, his plans grow impossibly grand. Through the curve of Martin’s spectacular rise and eventual downfall in the business world, his tale remains a uniquely American one. Martin may not always control an empire, but he will always be able to dream.

Narrator George Guidall voices Martin’s industry and optimism while his performance captures the literary power of Millhauser’s style.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Millhauser possesses a bountiful imagination, and an ability to catch his perceptions in a bright butterfly net of prose.”  New York Times
  • “Beguilingly creepy…Millhauser’s ornate and hypnotic accumulation of period detail are the camouflage for a very modern story.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Enchanting…There is something is something magical in this shadow-tinted tale.” 

    Seattle Times

  • “Taking its place alongside other fine tales of architectural symbology, from Poe to Borges to Ayn Rand, this enticing novel becomes at once the tale of a life, a marriage and a creative imagination in crisis.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • Winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 1996 National Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 2/19/2014

    " My of my what an unusual book. I liked the symbolism and the writing. The story kept me interested and engaged. I see why it received the Pulitzer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 2/19/2014

    " Interesting novel. Not great, but there are visuals and ideas from it that have stuck with me for a long time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 2/8/2014

    " Terrific, surrealistic descriptions of fantastic underground lifestyle structures did not make up for Martin's dissatisfying, dragging race to the always-disappointing future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 1/30/2014

    " A marvelous novel. The sort of thing I always wanted Horatio Alger books to be. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nate | 1/27/2014

    " I enjoyed the writing, especially the great descriptions of life in Victorian NYC. I enjoyed the characters for a while, but about halfway through it kind of got stuck in this rut of dysfunctional personal relationships and colossal building construction. There was some "take away," but I felt like I missed the point of the whole thing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kirsten | 1/17/2014

    " This book started out really interestingly but as the main character descends into maddness so too does the book itself. It becomes a bit hard to follow, with loooong descriptions of crazy visions that were just too much for me. But the first 2/3 was so good that I had to give it 3 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/5/2014

    " In many respects the perfect companion piece to Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York, Millhauser's novel straddles the historical and the fantastical as it examines the contradictions of 1890s Manhattan and the human frailty of an entrepreneurial prodigy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 1/3/2014

    " Written in a very odd style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhiannon Frater | 12/25/2013

    " I just finished this novel and I'm so grateful to my friend for buying this for me. What an amazing tale! A great character study and truly engrossing story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carinna Tarvin | 12/19/2013

    " Great description of how New York became modern at the turn of the century, through the eyes of an entrepreneur. Lots of details, but it moves fast. There is a profound theme that comes out and swallows you, but I don't want to give it away. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Autumn | 12/11/2013

    " This book started out promising, but was a waste. I kept waiting for a plot, but over two hundred pages and no plot and then it just stopped. Don't waste your time. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 6/17/2013

    " Nothing. This book was a waste of time. The fact that it won the Pulitzer nearly made me lose my faith in the prize. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maxine Cottrell Sabrie | 5/25/2013

    " I made the mistake of judging this book by its cover, so picked it up to read. The idea of the book was much better than the actual story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becca | 2/28/2013

    " really captures the mindset and culture of America at the turn of the century as told by the main character, MArtin Dressler. His journey and goals resonate with Tocqueville's description of American individualism in his book Democracy in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobbi | 2/28/2013

    " This was a very strange book and I'm not sure I understood all of the symbolism and nuances. I read a lot of other people's review and each one made sense until I read the next one, which is sort of how the book goes. You'll either love it or hate it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 2/14/2013

    " Love this book, just re-read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 thaddeus | 10/13/2012

    " mashed potatoes with butter. no skins and no lumps. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 10/3/2012

    " Interesting for the first half, but the second half fell flat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 10/26/2011

    " Won the Pulitzer and deserved it (not always true in my opinion). A story of the American Dream realized and discarded. Martin is an immigrant's son in New York. Grows up and moves up to the top, and finds the unexpected. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca Labbe | 10/26/2011

    " I've read this book more than 10 times. It's so beautiful, so perfect. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 4/24/2011

    " Written in a very odd style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 4/3/2011

    " A captivating tale of the prototypical American ascension to fame and fortune in turn of the century New York City. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karim | 3/13/2011

    " A very good look at the American Dream and how it's not all that it cracks up to be "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brownshoebrian | 1/14/2011

    " This is a really good novel about a hotelier in turn of the century New York. I know it doesn't sound to interesting but it really explores the concept of place and the soul of NYC. It's cool. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 1/8/2011

    " OK Wonder why it got the award. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 12/24/2010

    " Rich in period detail and character, boundless imagination. Recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/22/2010

    " I've read this book more than 10 times. It's so beautiful, so perfect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrice | 11/12/2010

    " fascinating quasi-sci-fi indictment of American capitalist greed set in turn of century New York city. very suspenseful, you get swept up in the tale. the history itself is great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 11/6/2010

    " To me, this book seemed like it was trying too hard to be something. The fantasy sections of it didn't work in real life, and the real life sections didn't fit in the fantasy. I lost interest quickly and didn't like the characters, especially Martin. Pass on this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 10/27/2010

    " from bellhop to builder of the biggest hotels in New York city Martin Dressler's story is the American Dream....how about those creepy sisters.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff | 9/28/2010

    " Started out really strong, reminiscent of Gatsby, but extraneous characters started appearing. The plot never really developed and the ending was very weak. Extremely well-written, though; Millhauser's prose flows extremely smoothly. "

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About the Author
Author Steven Millhauser

Steven Millhauser is an American novelist and short story writer. His novel Martin Dressler won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He won The Story Prize in 2011 for We Others: New and Selected Stories.

About the Narrator

George Guidall, winner of eighty AudioFile Erphones Awards, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Excellence in Audiobook Narration. In 2014 the Audio Publishers Association presented him with the Special Achievement Award for an audiobook narrator of exceptional stature and accomplishment. During his thirty-year recording career he has recorded over 1,100 audiobooks, won multiple awards, been a mentor to many narrators, and shown by example the potential of fine storytelling. Among Guidall’s narration achievements are Crime and Punishment, The Iliad, and John Irving’s A Widow for One Year, which earned him an Audie Award for best unabridged narration of a novel, an honor he captured again for his rendition of Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True. Guidall’s forty-year acting career includes starring roles on Broadway, an Obie Award for best performance off Broadway, and frequent television appearances.