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Extended Audio Sample The Magnificent Ambersons Audiobook, by Booth Tarkington Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,386 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Booth Tarkington Narrator: Geoffrey Blaisdell Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455188079
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Winner of the 1919 Pulitzer Prize when it was first published, The Magnificent Ambersons chronicles the changing fortunes of three generations of an American dynasty. The family serves as a metaphor for the old society that crumbled after the Industrial Revolution while a middle-western town spread and darkened into a city.

George Amberson Minafer is the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the founder of the family’s magnificence. Eclipsed by a new breed of industrial tycoons and land developers whose power comes not through family connections but through financial dealings and modern manufacturing, George descends from the Midwestern aristocracy to the working class. But George refuses to accept his diminishing status, clinging to all the superficiality he has always known. As the wheels of industry transform the social landscape, the definitions of ambition, success, and loyalty also change.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It all seems absolutely real...The Magnificent Ambersons is a small-town story and who among American writers can reproduce the small-town atmosphere better than Booth Tarkington?...It is scarcely necessary to say that the book is well written.”

    New Yok Times

  • The Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps Tarkington’s best novel...a typical story of an American family and town—the great family that locally ruled the roost and vanished virtually in a day as the town spread and darkened into a city. This novel no doubt was a permanent page in the social history of the United States, so admirably conceived and written was the tale of the Ambersons, their house, their fate and the growth of the community in which they were submerged in the end.”

    Van Wyck Brooks, literary critic, biographer, and, historian

  • “Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons is a delightful novel. In addition, it is a view of Indianapolis’ evolution from a major marketing center to a great industrial city. It adds a new dimension to one’s understanding of the coming of the Industrial Age to the State of Indiana.”

    Herman B Wells, Indiana University

  • “All fiction collections should own a copy.”

    Library Journal

  • “Tarkington’s story…still resonates and has many parallels in today’s world. Geoffrey Blaisdell gives proper blue-blood intonation to the Amberson clan and their contemporaries. He also gives appropriate tones to the servants and the townspeople.”

    AudioFile

  • Pulitzer Prize • Fiction1919

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 2/19/2014

    " A classic and one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It's a story that has stuck with me for years. I'd highly recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Britt | 2/11/2014

    " Interesting and thoughtful protrayal of aristocrats coming to terms with mediocrity. "

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

    " I enjoyed this story. Parts about urban sprawl made me think of my own Some of the insults used in the book certainly wouldn't have been known to be insults since they are certainly period related. A worthwhile read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cayley | 2/8/2014

    " Reminiscent of Great Gatsby; fall from prosperity of a heartbreaking-ly spoiled child and subsequent rise into decency. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Munroe-Sherwood | 2/7/2014

    " More than a view into the lives that create a family, and friends that come into view. It is a story about 'progress', in terms of time and change. Also, a cautionary tale of pride and the consequences of a refusal to 'adapt' one's perceptions or behavior even after bearing witness to changes around them. The lesson for me....recognize perceptions, and allow for changes in perspective. Dug it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 2/6/2014

    " The writing kept me engaged more than the story, at first, because the main character is so arrogant. The story takes an unexpected turn, though, and the main character becomes more interesting. The use of a medium as a plot device, though, made the ending less satisfying to me --her role was unnecessary and contrived, not to mention creepy. Still better than most modern novels! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianna | 2/4/2014

    " I really think it was a good book thought nothing really happened in the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dawn | 1/30/2014

    " The book was written in the early '20s but the themes are not dated. Experience is a great teacher, over indulgence of children is not good for their character, forgiveness is soul satisfying. Forgiveness is such an easy concept until we are called upon to use it. The value of an individual based on stratification of who has money in society is a worthless measure of judgment. "

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

    " An excellent picture of a midwestern city growing and yet declining at the same time with the comimng of the industrialization of the United States is somewhat spoiled by a rather lame ending. The author forces a saccherine redemption onto the main character, who had been a prize ass for three-quarters of the story. Other major characters are unbelievable in their goodness. However, the mother and many of the minor characters are completely believable. A mixed bag here. You may like it, or it may be a wall-banger for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie Bonner | 1/22/2014

    " Story of a family going into decline as the town outgrows them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Derek Dittner | 1/19/2014

    " very good - not a very sympathetic "hero" but engaging account of wealthy and powerful dynasty in decline "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynda J | 1/12/2014

    " This is the 2nd PPW for 1919. Captures the times very well, filled with great color. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 12/13/2013

    " (Quick review, will update later) Won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1919. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 12/6/2013

    " This book won Pulitzer Prize for Novel in 1919. It truly is a masterpiece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn Elizabeth Schwarting | 11/20/2013

    " Interesting to learn about how time and change affect a town and a prominent family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan K | 11/3/2013

    " Uncle George has a great talk with Georgie about gossip. One of the best passages I have ever read. Man Georgie really got his in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbi | 10/28/2013

    " This was written in 1916 and is the second in a Trilogy. It follows three generations of a well-to-do family through their demise. The theme is one of obsession with class and possessions and is predictable. I'm sure this was revolutionary in it's time but is tiresome today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dy-an | 10/13/2013

    " I can always appreciate a book where I hate the main character. Georgie, you suck! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 10/12/2013

    " An excellent picture of a midwestern city growing and yet declining at the same time with the comimng of the industrialization of the United States is somewhat spoiled by a rather lame ending. The author forces a saccherine redemption onto the main character, who had been a prize ass for three-quarters of the story. Other major characters are unbelievable in their goodness. However, the mother and many of the minor characters are completely believable. A mixed bag here. You may like it, or it may be a wall-banger for you. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin Rettke | 10/11/2013

    " Seriously...this book just about killed me! Between the rambling and unlikable characters I seriously wanted to cry. Not a favorite, clearly! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sally | 9/19/2013

    " Another Pulitzer read. Didn't really find any redeeming qualities in this book. The main character was a jerk, the mother enabled his selfish behavior, the "romance" had no chemistry and the girl realized he was a jerk but dated him anyway. Then at the end he unbelievably completely turns his life around and becomes a good person? Some of the same themes as Alice Adams, but at least she was a more sympathetic character. Again, I just feel like the themes are too strong and the characters are so over done that they are almost caricatures. It would have been great if we had read this in high school - don't think I would have had any trouble writing an essay about it, but not my idea of a good novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cayley | 9/17/2013

    " Reminiscent of Great Gatsby; fall from prosperity of a heartbreaking-ly spoiled child and subsequent rise into decency. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandi | 9/6/2013

    " I didn't realize what a great book this is until the last word. This book was not at all about the Ambersons, but a much greater family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Coletta | 8/30/2013

    " This was surprisingly a very good book. It reminded me of Emma a lot, but all in all, a quick and easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 8/24/2013

    " the aspect that had to do with the automobile's effects on the city were the best part. it kept me entertained, despite being a bit corny at times. the ending could have been better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 8/9/2013

    " Fantastic and at times cynical look at the growth of the Midwestern city at the turn of the 19th century. One of three stories in Growth collection (along with The Turmoil and National Avenue). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathan | 7/16/2013

    " The Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps The "American" Novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evalyn | 2/23/2013

    " A real microcosmic view of New York City close to the turn of the century and the people who inhabited it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara L. | 2/16/2013

    " The ending frustrated me..so oft is the case in life:) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 1/29/2013

    " He got his come-uppance, in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Inky | 10/29/2012

    " Good story of family wealth, reputation, and the recklessness that takes all that away from the Ambersons. Don't think I need to read part 1 and 3 of this trilogy though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie Bonner | 10/29/2012

    " Story of a family going into decline as the town outgrows them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 10/17/2012

    " Story of brash, spoiled rich kid meanders a little, but the plot is original. Mystical ending makes a poignant statement about love. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claudia | 9/5/2012

    " How did I miss this Pulitzer Prize winner all these years? In addition to the excellent characters and plot lines, the thought provoking themes made this a worthwhile and enjoyable read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Reema | 8/4/2012

    " Read this because it was on a list from Powell's. Interesting look at what happens when people choose not to change with the times ( even if those times were 100 years ago) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 6/19/2012

    " So good, but so sad. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven Felicelli | 6/10/2012

    " Tarkington once voted the greatest living novelist - while Joyce and Proust were in their heyday "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth Hinkson | 5/15/2012

    " This was an excellantly written story of how the old world got left behind by the new industrial age. It is about how who you are became less important than what you do. a fun read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynda J | 4/29/2012

    " This is the 2nd PPW for 1919. Captures the times very well, filled with great color. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tina | 12/31/2011

    " Glad I finally read something from this fellow Hoosier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Underhill | 10/13/2011

    " Totally stupid ending to a wonderful story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandi | 7/2/2011

    " I didn't realize what a great book this is until the last word. This book was not at all about the Ambersons, but a much greater family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew Coleman | 4/30/2011

    " Pulitzer Prize #3. Having things and doing things seem to be mutually exclusive at the turn of the last century. Also, don't love your children for the sake of their existence, but for their actions. Otherwise, they will be horrible and selfish. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 3/6/2011

    " He got his come-uppance, in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mackenzie | 3/1/2011

    " Interestingly, both this book (second Pulitzer awarded) and the first Pulitzer winner contained, as a major plot point, a character being run over by an automobile. I feel like that's a sign of the times. It must have been a relatively common occurrence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terry | 2/26/2011

    " This novel is the story of a family and a town, tracing the fall from magnificence of the Amberson family, which coincides with the growth and industrialization of the town. "

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About the Author
Author Booth Tarkington

Booth Tarkington (1869–1946), who achieved overnight success with his first novel, The Gentleman from Indiana (1899), is perhaps best remembered as the author of the popular Penrod adventures and Seventeen. He was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for Literature and in 1933 received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

About the Narrator

Geoffrey Blaisdell is a professional actor who has appeared on and off Broadway, in Broadway national tours, and in regional theater.