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Extended Audio Sample The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories, by Rudyard Kipling Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (488 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rudyard Kipling Narrator: Fred Williams Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455172436
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This collection brings together seventeen of Kipling’s early stories, written between 1885 and 1888, when he was working as a journalist in India. Wry comedies of British officialdom alternate with glimpses into the harsh lives of the common soldiers and the Indian poor, revealing Kipling’s legendary powers of observation. The title story, “The Man Who Would Be King,” tells of two British vagabonds who set off to establish a small kingdom among primitive tribesmen in Afghanistan.

From Hauksbee’s Simla drawing room to Mulvaney’s barracks cot and the wild hills of Kafiristan, Kipling re-creates the India he knew in stories by turns ironic and sentimental, compassionate and bitter, displaying the brilliance that has captivated readers for over a century.

Stories included here are “The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes,” “The Phantom Rickshaw,” “Gemini,” “A Wayside Comedy,” “At Twenty-Two,” “The Education of Otis Yeere,” “The Hill of Illusion,” “Dray Wara Yow Dee,” “The Judgment of Dungara,” “With the Main Guard,” “In Flood Time,” “Only a Subaltern,” “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” “At the Pit’s Mouth,” “Black Jack,” “On the City Wall,” and “The Man Who Would Be King.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Man Who Would Be King, the best of the stories Kipling wrote in India, must conclude any study of his apprenticeship, not only because of its brillance, but beacuse in a sense it embodies and sums up Kipling’s attitude to India and the role of the British in the land they conquered.”

    Louis L. Cornell, editor

  • “The most audacious thing in fiction.”

    J. M. Barrie

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 2/16/2014

    " Meh. Interesting for the views into British Imperial sentiments. But since the arrogance and superiority of it are so opposed to what I believe and feel, it turned me off. Though I did like Miss Postgate's character. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William Sekerak | 2/16/2014

    " Kipling , what more needs to be said. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 2/15/2014

    " The Man Who Would be King is probably one of the greatest short stories ever written, and the movie with Michael Caine and Sean Connery is an excellent reproduction (and I rarely say that) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 2/13/2014

    " Four stars for the title story; three stars for the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick Hadley | 2/12/2014

    " I thought the movie with Sean Connery was way better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin King | 2/7/2014

    " Great as an audiobook and educational book for older students (12+). Stories set in Afghanistan, India, England during British conflicts held my sons' interest and kept them asking for it to be turned on whenever we got in the car. Some of it was very explicit in terms of violence. My boys were enthralled by the horrific title story and hung on every word of the two other stories that featured boy adventures. Working through the vocabulary alone made this an epic adventure for our homeschool. "

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

    " Another book I'm reading for class. This made me want to read Kim again (and perhaps I shall). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 1/31/2014

    " The Man Who Would be King is probably one of the greatest short stories ever written, and the movie with Michael Caine and Sean Connery is an excellent reproduction (and I rarely say that) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evan Dilauro | 1/31/2014

    " Standard India reading. Got to have a little bit of Kipling to add the flavor of the Raj. "

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

    " Wee Willy Winkie is here "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anand Viswanath | 1/26/2014

    " Kipling's words take one to a world when time was still free and ambition a ticket to become kings; a journey into the colonial era of the British Raj. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Fromkin | 1/23/2014

    " A brief, punchy story that John Huston made into a wonderful film with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Huston and Gladys Hill kept to the outline of Kipling's story (the story is actually an outline itself), and fleshed out the characters unforgettably. This is really Peachy Carnahan's story, and his telling of his and Daniel Dravot's adventures in Kafiristan (northeast Afghanistan)is heartbreaking, despite the con artists' hubris and stupidity. I suppose this is a microcosm of the British experience in Afghanistan - as well as the Russians'. Whether colonialism writ large, or colonialism writ small, it all seemed doomed from the start. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivan | 1/22/2014

    " Ada perasaan yang sama sewaktu membaca Herman Melville "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tommy | 1/18/2014

    " I liked it. I didn't really like "the phantom rickshaw" but the rest of the stories were excellent and contained some beautifully written passages. Interesting to see Kipling's British imperialist view of India. I'd recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anand Viswanath | 1/17/2014

    " Kipling's words take one to a world when time was still free and ambition a ticket to become kings; a journey into the colonial era of the British Raj. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivan | 1/14/2014

    " Ada perasaan yang sama sewaktu membaca Herman Melville "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geetanjali | 1/13/2014

    " Some of his earliest work and a little uneven but there are a couple really good ones in here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 1/11/2014

    " Good selection of Kipling's prose. It includes "The Phantom Rickshaw" and "The Man Who Would Be King" among other stories of India. "

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

    " I had forgotten how much I enjoy Kipling. The "other stories" were decent as well. I had to read this one because my dad, not the biggest reader, was talking about how much he enjoyed reading this story in high school. "

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

    " Wee Willy Winkie is here "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 1/2/2014

    " uneven collection some are good and some less so. "

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

    " I liked it. I didn't really like "the phantom rickshaw" but the rest of the stories were excellent and contained some beautifully written passages. Interesting to see Kipling's British imperialist view of India. I'd recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Cooper | 12/31/2013

    " [Audio] Interesting group of Kipling stories that show some of the folly of empire building. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frightful_elk | 12/26/2013

    " Mostly early stories, not up to his latter standards, but there are a couple of jems! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaeleigh Forsyth | 12/24/2013

    " if you are racist you will rate this higher "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin King | 12/19/2013

    " Great as an audiobook and educational book for older students (12+). Stories set in Afghanistan, India, England during British conflicts held my sons' interest and kept them asking for it to be turned on whenever we got in the car. Some of it was very explicit in terms of violence. My boys were enthralled by the horrific title story and hung on every word of the two other stories that featured boy adventures. Working through the vocabulary alone made this an epic adventure for our homeschool. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tommy | 12/19/2013

    " I liked it. I didn't really like "the phantom rickshaw" but the rest of the stories were excellent and contained some beautifully written passages. Interesting to see Kipling's British imperialist view of India. I'd recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 12/6/2013

    " Four stars for the title story; three stars for the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mya Zwicky | 12/6/2013

    " Firstly, I don't usually like short stories. Secondly, the writing is old fashioned and takes some getting used to. That said, I really enjoyed some of the stories. Some others I struggled to understand. I'm glad I read it. Keen to see the movie of the title story too! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris Bumpas | 11/22/2013

    " After Captains Courageous and now this, I've decided Kipling is just not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 11/21/2013

    " Good selection of Kipling's prose. It includes "The Phantom Rickshaw" and "The Man Who Would Be King" among other stories of India. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 11/9/2013

    " Five short stories. Title story is the best. OK reads, didn't get much out of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marts (Thinker) | 11/8/2013

    " A British journalist meets two adventurers of many faces with a plan to become kings in another land... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 10/26/2013

    " Interesting and quite enjoyable, but not as good as his other works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 10/13/2013

    " The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes is hands down the most bizarre story I have ever read. Ever. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeff Risenmay | 10/9/2013

    " Title story was okay, the others were not. He takes a long time to develop the background. I almost quit before he got to the point of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Flourish | 9/14/2013

    " Another book I'm reading for class. This made me want to read Kim again (and perhaps I shall). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alistair | 9/11/2013

    " Rather diasappointing . I just did not get into the exotica of India an did not understand what was going on most of the time in the various stories . there seemed too much local colour and not enough story . "Kim " is a favourite of mine but none of these stories struck a chord with me . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 8/25/2013

    " The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes is hands down the most bizarre story I have ever read. Ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Philip | 6/4/2013

    " Four stars for the title story alone; the rest are so-so Kipling also-rans. But what a title story -- and an even better film! Sean Connery, Michael Caine AND Christopher Plummer!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 5/24/2013

    " Interesting and quite enjoyable, but not as good as his other works. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alistair | 5/17/2013

    " Rather diasappointing . I just did not get into the exotica of India an did not understand what was going on most of the time in the various stories . there seemed too much local colour and not enough story . "Kim " is a favourite of mine but none of these stories struck a chord with me . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 3/19/2013

    " The sublime: "Baa Baa, Black Sheep," "The Man who would be King," "Only a Subaltern," "In Flood Time" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 3/10/2013

    " The sublime: "Baa Baa, Black Sheep," "The Man who would be King," "Only a Subaltern," "In Flood Time" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mya Zwicky | 1/25/2013

    " Firstly, I don't usually like short stories. Secondly, the writing is old fashioned and takes some getting used to. That said, I really enjoyed some of the stories. Some others I struggled to understand. I'm glad I read it. Keen to see the movie of the title story too! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 1/6/2013

    " Five short stories. Title story is the best. OK reads, didn't get much out of them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaeleigh Forsyth | 12/20/2012

    " if you are racist you will rate this higher "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 12/18/2012

    " I though the main story was a little hard to follow because occasionally the characters would speak about themselves instead of in the first person. It was kind of weird. Wee Willie Winke was interesting as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 12/16/2012

    " Loved this one. Also loved the movie. Two of my favoriet actors: Connery and Caine. Classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 12/13/2012

    " It is amazing how a 20 page short story can be turned into a two hour movie and still convey the same message! Although, as much as I like The Man Who Would be King I think I enjoyed Wee Willy Winky better. Now I just have to read the rest of Kiplings work... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tyas | 12/10/2012

    " *rubs neck and feels glad that it's still there* "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frightful_elk | 11/29/2012

    " Mostly early stories, not up to his latter standards, but there are a couple of jems! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 11/3/2012

    " I had forgotten how much I enjoy Kipling. The "other stories" were decent as well. I had to read this one because my dad, not the biggest reader, was talking about how much he enjoyed reading this story in high school. "

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

    " Four stars for the title story; three stars for the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 8/23/2012

    " uneven collection some are good and some less so. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mya Zwicky | 7/8/2012

    " Firstly, I don't usually like short stories. Secondly, the writing is old fashioned and takes some getting used to. That said, I really enjoyed some of the stories. Some others I struggled to understand. I'm glad I read it. Keen to see the movie of the title story too! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evan Dilauro | 6/3/2012

    " Standard India reading. Got to have a little bit of Kipling to add the flavor of the Raj. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashishg | 5/18/2012

    " It's a difficult book for me. I did't - couldn't - read all the short stories here. They are too subtle and written in too complex a language. But what I did read, I did experience an unique writing style worth savouring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick Hadley | 3/24/2012

    " I thought the movie with Sean Connery was way better. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeff Risenmay | 2/15/2012

    " Title story was okay, the others were not. He takes a long time to develop the background. I almost quit before he got to the point of the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 2/11/2012

    " I though the main story was a little hard to follow because occasionally the characters would speak about themselves instead of in the first person. It was kind of weird. Wee Willie Winke was interesting as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frightful_elk | 1/11/2012

    " Mostly early stories, not up to his latter standards, but there are a couple of jems! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marts (Thinker) | 11/23/2011

    " A British journalist meets two adventurers of many faces with a plan to become kings in another land... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark Cooper | 11/19/2011

    " [Audio] Interesting group of Kipling stories that show some of the folly of empire building. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 11/7/2011

    " The Man Who Would be King is probably one of the greatest short stories ever written, and the movie with Michael Caine and Sean Connery is an excellent reproduction (and I rarely say that) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 8/18/2011

    " The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes is hands down the most bizarre story I have ever read. Ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 8/2/2011

    " uneven collection some are good and some less so. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris Bumpas | 7/2/2011

    " After Captains Courageous and now this, I've decided Kipling is just not for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 6/29/2011

    " The sublime: "Baa Baa, Black Sheep," "The Man who would be King," "Only a Subaltern," "In Flood Time" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 6/24/2011

    " Loved this one. Also loved the movie. Two of my favoriet actors: Connery and Caine. Classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marts (Thinker) | 6/11/2011

    " A British journalist meets two adventurers of many faces with a plan to become kings in another land... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Katie | 5/23/2011

    " The metaphor is good, but I was confused for the first 25% of this one... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Gray | 5/7/2011

    " A classic tale of good v. evil...yin v. yang....karma. A nice little nod and wink to masonic lodge members, like me. Sorry, no satanic secrets were revealed tho.......mgc "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caren | 4/27/2011

    " It was just ok. Didn't grab me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tres | 4/8/2011

    " Classic book, quick read, funny how familiar the place names due to the current war in Afghanistan. Always been a fan of the movie, now I finally read the book and enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 4/4/2011

    " "Liked it"

    If I hadn't seen the movie, I don't know if I would have liked it as much. I'm not certain that I could have followed it as well without having seen the movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Johnnie | 12/15/2010

    " What a story! One of my favorite! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 La Chipie | 12/1/2010

    " Un livre qui fait vraiment réfléchir. Superbe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 10/20/2010

    " I love to read British literature...and see that they have already traveled the paths that we are now trodding! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simon | 10/1/2010

    " Two cheeky Victorian cockneys - Peachy Carnahan and Dan Dravot - head off into the mountains of Afghanistan in the late nineteenth century to carve out a kingdom for themselves. Had me gripped. Unforgettable adventure story - with a great twist. "

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