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The Year in Audiobooks 2014

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20 20 The Year in Audiobooks 2014 Biography & History David Timson's narration of Edward Gibbon's six-volume Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was truly a labor of love. It required copious research as well as many, many hours in the studio. (The final product is about six full days' worth of lis- tening.) It's a massive and difficult work, but Timson narrates with expressiveness, brisk pacing, and intonation and modulation sensitive to the sense of the text. The remarkable Mandela: An Audio History begins with Nelson Mandela's voice proclaim- ing on a crackly recording his five immortal words: "I am prepared to die." The words were uttered when he gave a four-hour speech testifying at his own trial in 1964. Throughout this compelling history, Desmond Tutu is accompanied by multiple voices and newsreels in support of Mandela's life story. Music such as Miriam Makeba's "Make Us One" and "Beware, Verwored" (one of South Africa's prime ministers) is sprinkled throughout. BEST AUDIOBOOKS THE DEATH OF SANTINI Pat Conroy Read by Dick Hill (Random House Audio/Books on Tape) THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Edward Gibbon Read by David Timson (Naxos AudioBooks) KANSAS CITY LIGHTNING Stanley Crouch Read by Kevin Kenerly (Blackstone Audiobooks) IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE Hampton Sides Read by Arthur Morey (Random House Audio/Books on Tape) LITTLE FAILURE Gary Shteyngart Read by Jonathan Todd Ross (Recorded Books) MANDELA: AN AUDIO HISTORY Radio Diaries [Ed.] Read by Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela (HighBridge Audio) MICHAEL JORDAN: THE LIFE Roland Lazenby Read by Bob Souer (Hachette Audio) THE MOCKINGBIRD NEXT DOOR Marja Mills Read by Amy Lynn Stewart (Penguin Audio) MY PROMISED LAND Ari Shavit Read by Paul Boehmer (Random House Audio/Books on Tape) THE RETURN OF GEORGE WASHINGTON Edward J. Larson Read by Mark Bramhall (Harper Audio) THE SPEECH Gary Younge Read by Peter Marinker (Audible, Inc.) Sound effects like doors closing at Robben Island or prisoners doing hard labor at the quarry personalize the story. President de Klerk's announcement of Mandela's freedom and Mandela's inauguration as president conclude this look at a unique history.

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