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Our Island Story Volume 2: From the Magna Carta to Queen Elizabeth 1

Overview

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall is an Edwardian history book for younger listeners (aged six–twelve) which tells the story of England, concluding with the reign of Queen Victoria. Antonia Fraser and many other current historians declare that it was this book that opened the delights of history for them. It fell from fashion in the 1960s, but its recent re-release in hardback has seen it become a publishing surprise in the UK, with sales of some 75,000 copies in a few months.

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Overview

Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall is an Edwardian history book for younger listeners (aged six–twelve) which tells the story of England, concluding with the reign of Queen Victoria. Antonia Fraser and many other current historians declare that it was this book that opened the delights of history for them. It fell from fashion in the 1960s, but its recent re-release in hardback has seen it become a publishing surprise in the UK, with sales of some 75,000 copies in a few months.

Now, Naxos AudioBooks releases it unabridged in three volumes released in March 2006, April 2006 and May 2006, divided into three clear periods of history. Though slightly edited to take account of historical changes and attitudes, it is presented unabridged.

Trying to forget his past and live an honest life, escaped convict Jean Valjean risks his freedom to take care of a motherless young girl during a period of political unrest in Paris.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As part of the "Bullseye Step into Classics" series, this book offers young readers a simplified version of the classic tale of the haunted and hunted man relentlessly pursued by the unforgiving police inspector. The opening scenes of the story, depicting the desperate poverty that drives Jean Valjean to steal a loaf of bread and, after his release from prison, to treat his benefactor dishonestly, are passed over quickly in narrative form and don't engage the reader on an emotional level. However, once Jean Valjean rescues Cosette from a terrible life and takes her as his daughter, the story becomes more and more compelling. This version will hold the interest of young readers and it is to be hoped that, when they are a few years older, they will search out the original masterpiece and become immersed in the drama of Jean Valjean, the hunted and Inspector Javert, the hunter. 1995, Random House, $3.99. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
Library Journal
Hugo's classic tale set against the backdrop of political upheaval in 19th-century France retains its timeless appeal in this notably condensed rendition of the struggles of former convict Jean Valjean. While the abridgment inevitably cuts many of the intricate subplots and minor characters who enrich Hugo's vast tome, this suspenseful central plot tracing Valjean's endeavor to emerge from desperate circumstances while being pursued by the duty-obsessed Inspector Javert remains intact and comprehensible to listeners. The principal characters retain their epic proportions, and the major themes of redemption through good works and the importance of authentic charity are undiminished. Narrator Michael York adds vigor and distinct characterizations to the broad cast of characters in this fittingly dramatic performance. Suitable for collections that do not already contain one of the many audio versions of this work (e.g., Audio Reviews, LJ 5/1/93).--Linda Bredengerd, Hanley Lib., Univ. of Pittsburgh, Bradford
Kirkus Reviews
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (40 pp.; Sept. 1997; 0-531- 30055-2): A storybook retelling of Hugo's classic of the lonely bellringer and his hopeless love for the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmerelda, whom he rescues from hanging and the evil archdeacon Dom Frollo and reunites with her mother. While remaining relatively faithful to the original, this version from Wynne- Jones (The Maestro, 1996, etc.) is always competent, but never compelling. Slavin creates lovely illustrations, but his pale washes leave even the most festive scenes sedate. The volume lacks power or emotion; adults seeking an alternative—any alternative—to the Disney film may find that this one hardly competes for the hearts and minds of the target audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789626344101
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilisation, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age--the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night--are not yet solved; as long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless. Hauteville House, 1862.


1815, M. Charles Franois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D----. He was a man of seventy-five, and had occupied the bishopric of D---- since 1806. Although it in no manner concerns, even in the remotest degree, what we have to relate, it may not be useless, were it only for the sake of exactness in all things, to notice here the reports and gossip which had arisen on his account from the time of his arrival in the diocese.

Be it true or false, what is said about men often has as much influence upon their lives, and especially upon their destinies, as what they do.

M. Myriel was the son of a counsellor of the Parlement of Aix; of the rank given to the legal profession. His father, intending him to inherit his place, had contracted a marriage for him at the early age of eighteen or twenty, according to a widespread custom among parliamentary families. Charles Myriel, notwithstanding this marriage, had, it was said, been an object of much attention. His person was admirably moulded; although of slight figure, he was elegant andgraceful; all the earlier part of his life had been devoted to the world and to its pleasures. The revolution came, events crowded upon each other; the parliamentary families, decimated, hunted, and pursued, were soon dispersed. M. Charles Myriel, on the first outbreak of the revolution, emigrated to Italy. His wife died there of a lung complaint with which she had been long threatened. They had no children. What followed in the fate of M. Myriel? The decay of the old French society, the fall of his own family, the tragic sights of '93, still more fearful, perhaps, to the exiles who beheld them from afar, magnified by fright--did these arouse in him ideas of renunciation and of solitude? Was he, in the midst of one of the reveries or emotions which then consumed his life, suddenly attacked by one of those mysterious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm, by smiting to the heart, the man whom public disasters could not shake, by aiming at life or fortune? No one could have answered; all that was known was that when he returned from Italy he was a priest.

In 1804, M. Myriel was cure of B----(Brignolles). He was then an old man, and lived in the deepest seclusion.

Near the time of the coronation, a trifling matter of business belonging to his curacy--what it was, is not now known precisely--took him to Paris.

Among other personages of authority he went to Cardinal Fesch on behalf of his parishioners.

One day, when the emperor had come to visit his uncle, the worthy cure, who was waiting in the ante-room, happened to be on the way of his Majesty. Napoleon noticing that the old man looked at him with a certain curiousness, turned around and said brusquely:

'Who is this goodman who looks at me?'
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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Part 1 Fantine
I An Upright Man 19
II The Outcast 71
III In the Year 1817 119
IV To Trust is Sometimes to Surrender 144
V Degradation 155
VI Javert 191
VII The Champmathieu Affair 202
VIII Counter-Stroke 260
Part 2 Cosette
I Waterloo 279
II The Ship Orion 325
III Fulfilment of a Promise 338
IV The Gorbeau Tenement 385
V Hunt in Darkness 399
VI Le Petit-Picpus 425
VIII Cemeteries Take What They are Given 451
Part 3 Marius
I Paris in Microcosm 495
II A Grand Bourgeois 512
III Grandfather and Grandson 522
IV The ABC Society 555
V The Virtues of Misfortune 584
VI Conjunction of Two Stars 603
VII Patron-Minette 619
VIII The Noxious Poor 627
Part 4 The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic of the Rue Saint-Denis
I A Few Pages of History 705
II Eponine 739
III The House in the Rue Plumet 756
IV Help from Below May be Help from above 788
V Of Which the End Does Not Resemble the Beginning 797
VI The Boy Gavroche 812
VIII Enchantment and Despair 844
IX Where are They Going? 876
X 5 June 1832 883
XI The Straw in the Wind 904
XII Corinth 915
XIII Marius Enters the Darkness 943
XIV The Greatness of Despair 953
XV In the Rue de L'Homme-Arme 970
Part 5 Jean Valjean
I War within Four Walls 987
II The Entrails of the Monster 1061
III Mire, But the Soul 1076
IV Javert in Disarray 1104
V Grandson and Grandfather 1110
VI The Sleepless Night 1129
VII The Bitter Cup 1145
VIII The Fading Light 1162
IX Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn 1173
Appendix A The Convent as an Abstract Idea (Part Two, Book VII) 1202
Appendix B Argot (Part Four, Book VII) 1214
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