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A Tale of Two Cities (A Penguin Classics Hardcover) Hardcover – April 26, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"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. Read morePublished 1 day ago by bella79954
I found this book a little difficult to get through, probably because it is old and I didn't understand some of the references. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Jessica Daniels
It's Dickens! It's a classic! It's a great story, beautifully written - a no brainier!Published 6 days ago by Judith Garry
The revolutionary "citizens" remind me of the fanatics supporting Trump. They both demonstrate the madness of crowds. God save us from them.Published 11 days ago by Michal T Makar
On page 25 there's a typo that changed "arms" to "anus."
A child whom he had held in his anus.
Otherwise, this is a totally acceptable copy of the book. Read more
Hard to put this classic into the boxes supplied by Amazon. It's not a book you can breeze through. It has some of Dickens' trademark sentimentality. But I enjoyed it tremendously. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Poppy
I never ordered this book or audio tape. I don't know how it got in my orders. Really.Published 19 days ago by Nzoli Kahindo