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A Tale of Two Cities [Kindle Edition]

Charles Dickens
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,748 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Novel by Charles Dickens, published both serially and in book form in 1859. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle's history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding. The complex plot involves Sydney Carton's sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his friends Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette. While political events drive the story, Dickens takes a decidedly antipolitical tone, lambasting both aristocratic tyranny and revolutionary excess--the latter memorably caricatured in Madame Defarge, who knits beside the guillotine. The book is perhaps best known for its opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," and for Carton's last speech, in which he says of his replacing Darnay in a prison cell, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Charles Dickens's classic tale of one family's suffering during the French Revolution is brought to life in this audio adaptation. The voice of Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance sets the tone for the characters and creates the Dickensesqe mood of the times when the rich and the poor were far apart and no one was exempt from the ensuing wrath during the Revolution. Vance's stone varies from soothing to animated while creating different voices for the characters and using appropriate accents. A bonus feature on the last CD is an e-book in pdf format that can be printed or used as a read-along while listening to the audio. This easily navigated feature would be particularly helpful for struggling readers.—Jeana Actkinson, Bridgeport High School, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'I shall treasure the richly detailed explanatory notes. It's an edition which will surely sell to the general reader; yet many truer Dickens specialists than I will be excited by the scope and subtlety of the introduction.' Dr P. Merchant, Christ Church College, Canterbury

'The large clear print, very full notes, and inclusion of Dickens's number plans make it the best paperback available for student use.' Professor Norman Page, University of Nottingham

`I read it every other year. It is the best story of the best hero. It does not pale.' You (Mail on Sunday Magazine)

Product Details

  • File Size: 523 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1448625025
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Public Domain Books (December 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EHZXVQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
580 of 620 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eighth Grader reviews A Tale of Two Cities June 29, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is incredible. I read it last year (in eighth grade), and I love it. I love Charles Dickens' language and style. Whoever is reading this may have little or no respect for my opinions, thinking that I am to young to comprehend the greatness of the plot and language, and I admit that I probably do not completely appreciate this classic piece of literature. I do read above a 12th grade level, although that doesn't count for a whole lot. It took me a while to get into this book. In fact, I dreaded reading it for a long time. But nearer to the end, I was drawn in by the poignant figure of a jackal, Sydney Carton. In his story I became enthralled with this book, especially his pitiful life. After I read and cried at Carton's transformation from an ignoble jackal to the noblest of persons, I was able to look back over the parts of the book that I had not appreciated, and realize how truly awesome they are. I learned to appreciate all of the characters, from Lucy Manette to Madame Defarge. I also was affected by all of the symbolism involved with both the French Revolution, and the nature of sinful man, no matter what the time or place. My pitiful review could never do justice to this great book, please don't be discouraged by my inability.
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215 of 232 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Cities July 27, 2001
By mp
Format:Paperback
The more Dickens I read, the more impressed I become at his skill as a writer. No matter the form, be it short, long, or a monolith like some of his best works, Dickens excels at changing his style of characterization and plot to fit whatever mode he writes in. "A Tale of Two Cities" is one of his shorter novels, and he manages to make the most of out of the allotted space. The compression of the narrative sacrifices Dickens's accustomed character development for plot and overall effect, but what we get is still phenomenal.
"A Tale of Two Cities" begins in 1775, with Mr. Lorry, a respectable London banker, meeting Lucie Manette in Paris, where they recover Lucie's father, a doctor, and mentally enfeebled by an unjust and prolonged imprisonment in the Bastille. This assemblage, on their journey back to England, meets Charles Darnay, an immigrant to England from France who makes frequent trips between London and Paris. Upon their return to England, Darnay finds himself on trial for spying for France and in league with American revolutionaries. His attorney, Stryver, and Stryver's obviously intelligent, if morally corrupt and debauched, assistant, Sydney Carton, manage to get Darnay exonerated of the charges against him. Darnay, a self-exiled former French aristocrat, finds himself compelled to return to France in the wake of the French Revolution, drawing all those around him into a dangerous scene.
Dickens portrays the French Revolution simplistically, but powerfully, as a case of downtrodden peasants exacting a harsh revenge against an uncaring aristocratic, even feudal, system. The Defarge's, a wine merchant and his wife, represent the interests of the lower classes, clouded by hatred after generations of misuse.
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129 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turbulent times in London and Paris April 27, 2005
Format:Paperback
The period from 1775 - the outbreak of the American Revolution - to 1789 - the storming of the Bastille - is the turbulent setting of this uncharacteristic Dickens novel. It is his only novel that lacks comic relief, is one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England and is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale, much as the cathedral was the 'hero' of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris. Dickens was writing at a time of great turmoil in his personal life, having just separated from his wife, and no doubt the revolutionary theme was in tune with his mental state.

The result is a complex, involving plot with some of the best narrative writing to be found anywhere, and the recreation of revolutionary Paris is very convincing. The device of having two characters that look identical may seem hackneyed to modern readers, but it is here employed with greater plausibility than in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson or Collins's The Woman in White.

Dickens was inspired to write this story by reading Carlyle's newly published history of the French Revolution. Those events and their aftermath stood in relation to their time much as World Wars I and II do to ours, that is, fading from living memory into history, yet their legacy still very much with us. In many nineteenth-century novels, especially Russian and British works, you get a sense of unease among the aristocracy that the revolution will spread to their own back yard. In the case of Russia, of course, it eventually did.

I have often recommended A Tale of Two Cities as a good introduction to Dickens for younger readers.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i would NOT recommend this product because it is abridged and doesn't say so on the cover. It was a big disappointment!
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122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I was first introduced to this book when I was 14 years old in my 8th grade English class. I found it utterly overwhelming; in its cast, its plotlines, its settings, its themes and most of all, in the intricate web the various relationships create. I only understood three things about this book. First, the two cities are London and Paris. Second, France was convulsing itself with the French Revolution while England was undergoing changes that would prepare it to enter the Industrial Revolution. Third, English in Dickens' time did not resemble English at the end of the 20th century, but somehow seemed similar to the English used in Hollywood epic movies from the 1950s and 1960s like Spartacus, Ben-hur, the Ten Commandments, Cleopatra, etc...

Years later, I picked up this book and reread it. I considered this a labor, not of love, but of duty. This book is so famous and used so often in English literature classes that I felt I had to read it again for a deeper understanding. What I got from this book a 2nd time around is a profoundly subtle yet accurate sociological and psychological study of what happens to a society and a community that is built on shaky foundations. Specifically, France was an aristocracy where a tiny minority owned all the land. The rest of society was organized into tiers that varied in their opportunities of becoming landowners. Because of this pyramid structure, most of the people hewed to the social order knowing that yes they get crapped on by those above them, but there's always somebody below them to take advantage of.

Eventually this social Ponzi scheme comes to a screeching halt with the French Revolution. Enough people have had enough that they decide to start over.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Terrific
Published 18 hours ago by Merryle Hoffman
5.0 out of 5 stars ... since english is my second language but I really enjoyed it.
It was a little hard for me to read since english is my second language but I really enjoyed it.
Published 1 day ago by Maritza Ogden
5.0 out of 5 stars Of days gone by.
Beautifully written. Slow and somewhat disjointed a the beginning but all comes together. A good read.
Published 1 day ago by Douglas Lord
4.0 out of 5 stars Dickens at his best
Dickens has always impressed me with his vivid descriptions of scenes and feelings in his novels. This was a masterpiece . The reader was an active participant in the story. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Gerald D. Matzke
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant classic
I've seen the movies, read the book, but I think I have enjoyed it more on my iPad. I recommend this book to all my friends.
Published 2 days ago by Glenn
4.0 out of 5 stars editor author's review
I didn't think it was so great, but I suppose since it has lasted for generations, so it must be popular with the people...so I give it 4 stars.
Published 2 days ago by sherL
5.0 out of 5 stars lessons to remember
It's hard to add to what the others have said of this work already. It's loved by many, yawned at a few. Without reservations, I would say that I belong to the former category. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Harsha.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for high school students
It's a great book and I got it for my sister's English class. No complaints.
Published 3 days ago by Versatile
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described. Thank you.
Published 3 days ago by Robin Silverest
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
I loved listening to this book. The narrator is clear and understandable even while gardening and doing chores. And Dickens is certainly at his best. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Patricia Anne Cousino
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