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Publisher's Summary

Ford Madox Ford’s tetralogy, set in England during World War I, is widely considered one of the best novels of the 20th century.

First published as four separate novels (Some Do Not…, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, and The Last Post) between 1924 and 1928, Parade’s End explores the world of the English ruling class as it descends into the chaos of war.

Christopher Tietjens is an officer from a wealthy family who finds himself torn between his unfaithful socialite wife, Sylvia, and his suffragette mistress, Valentine. A profound portrait of one man’s internal struggles during a time of brutal world conflict, Parade’s End bears out Graham Greene’s prediction that "there is no novelist of this century more likely to live than Ford Madox Ford."

©1950 Alfred A. Knopf (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Parade's End

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A brilliant, challenging, and valuable work

Would you listen to Parade's End again? Why?

Yes. The prose is dense, moves back and forth in time, and is often written in stream of consciousness. I miss things if my attention drifts for a moment. I plan to listen again because this is such a beautiful book. And so nicely read.

What did you like best about this story?

The insights into history through the minds and hearts of people who lived and loved during those turbulent times is incredibly interesting to me. It's not simply a love story or a war story or the tale of a way of life imploding. It's a deep analization of what makes people tick--what motivates and inspires them. The way Ford captures thought--the way people really think--is amazing. (I'm reminded of Joyce.) I admired the various perspectives which allow me to approve/disapprove, admire/disrespect, curse/bless, and rush/savor all at the same time.

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I think he allows me to be more patient--to not miss things I would miss if my eyes were rushing to see how a scene unfolded. Listening to his pleasant voice allows me to savor images and moments more fully.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The way during the most trying moments so many things race through the minds of the characters was immensely moving. And Christopher's goodness actually hurt. He tried always to do the right thing and I wanted to scream at him, to shake him. It is his intensity and his honor at home, at work, and in the trenches that made me so sad. Such a brilliant mind....So little joy.

Any additional comments?

This is the type of book that is art. It is perfect, wonderful, and horrible all at the same time. And it's not the gore of war that haunts, it's the mundanity and stupidity--and the waste. Add that to the 'rules of the game' that the British mid- to upper-crust had to play by, and you get an impressive, poignant, and frustrating novel. The characters are so memorable, especially Christopher Teitjens. (I could understand why Sylvia was spoiled for all other men--and why Valentine was spoiled too.). Note: Parade's End is not for those who need traditional structure. No tidy package here; the book reads like war plays out: in bits and pieces, with fragments of memories, dreams,boredom and drama. A bomb blows up every once in a while--and then life (and the word and world) goes on....

40 people found this helpful

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A brilliant Ford Madox Ford

Would you listen to Parade's End again? Why?

Definitely. Parade's End is my favorite book, one I have read 6 or 7 times (all 800+ pages of it!). I figured I would give it a shot on Audible, and it's as though I am reading it for the first time. Hearing it has enhanced and clarified this book in ways that astonished me, including the characters' motivations and even the plot.

What did you like best about this story?

All the main characters are both sympathetic and wrong in interesting ways-- real people, in other words. Believable women characters. And his writing is beautiful.

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is particularly good at reading the internal monologues - I felt I was inside people's heads more than when I read the book on the page.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - it's dense and complicated, it's necessary to take breaks. Plus it's long.

Any additional comments?

I'm thrilled to meet this very familiar book in such a new way. It's as though the windows have been washed and I can see more clearly than I had any idea existed.

25 people found this helpful

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  • J.
  • 06-30-14

See the TV Series then read the book

Wonderful, but wordy and sometimes slow. I first saw the TV series staring Benedict Comberbatch in all his brilliance. The series happens to be one of those rare instances where the screen adaptation faithfully follows the book capturing the important parts and sparing us much of the repetitious mental ruminations of 'Ford's characters. This doesn't take away from the merits of Ford's investigation into Edwardian society or the study of a virtuous man tormented by having to live in a world unworthy of him. Tiejans is an ultra-conservative, but one with a heart embodying all that is good in the Tory philosophy; honesty, fairness, obligation to care for those in his service. He's a rather good example for how the American Republican party might reinvent itself and still remain true to its core values. Seeing the Series gave me images of the characters and places that made the story even more vivid. The series also largely overlooks the last volume which is the weakest of the four books and more of an after thought involving the protagonist's brother. Crossley's narration is spot on doing justice to both male and female characters.

14 people found this helpful

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Probably easier to listen to than to read

This is a long and difficult work. Having an audio version probably makes it easier to follow since much of it is stream of consciousness, and the narrator does an excellent job of distinguising the different characters. The effect of the novel is cumulative--and well worth the effort.

14 people found this helpful

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Parade's End - The Tetralogy

This tetralogy of odd people. Very amusing, in the dry, British humor style. It was interesting presentation method. You are given the end and then a series of flash backs through various characters to bring you forward. There is a lot motion, or rather thought, and very little action. The wife in the story is amazing ... in her attitudes and actions. However, the same can be said about the husband. Since it is four books, it is long but I still wanted to finish it.

4 people found this helpful

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Masterpiece e

One of the great English novels, brilliantly narrated. Superb insightful characterizations that illuminate an empire at war and in decline.

3 people found this helpful

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Boring, boring, boring

I'm 15 hours into this and have no idea why it is so highly rated by so many readers. I nearly always finish the books I listen to, but this one is a struggle to get through. I absolutely don't care what happens to any of the characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JB
  • 11-24-17

Some Difficult Stumbles Down the Fox Hole

I remembered reading Parade's End many years ago and thought it would be a good listen for a long trip. But what I'd forgotten was how easy it was to simply flip forward a few pages when Ford would go on one of his belly-button lint examinations of people's motivations and the absurd social constraints of the time. The thing about waxing poetic is that it should be, well, poetic. FMF just rants incoherently until the characters start eating their own intellectual tail and he has nowhere left to go. I found myself in the mire so many times, I'm sure my impatience caused me to lop 6-7 hours off of the not-insubstantial 38-hr run time. And I didn't feel as if I'd missed anything crucial.

Mr. Crossley did a fine job, especially with Sylvia and her mother. Some of his characterizations of the second string personnel started to merge a bit, but he made up for it with some glorious walk-ons.

Overall, this thing makes a great case for abridged versions.

2 people found this helpful

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A Superb Novel; An Excellent Reader

Where does Parade's End rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is one of those at the top of the list--combining a wonderful, but complex, story, with a reader whose understanding, style, and delivery make all of the complexities seem clear.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Two favorite characters obviously: Christopher Tietjens and Valentine Wannop. Why? Because they are the sympathetic heart of the story. and their growth apart and together is wonderful to see.

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I do not know whether or not I have, but his performance in this work is outstanding.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Just great enjoyment.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this to anyone who loves literature and the spoken word.

2 people found this helpful

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The passing of an empire told in four volumes

While the series was critically praised, the first book, "Some Do Not" is rather tedious focusing on Christopher Tietjens, a landed squire as he prepares to return back to war after suffering an injury. In his life, he balances a promiscuous wife and a burgeoning affair with a pacifist suffragette.

In "No More Parades", the second volume, Royal Army Officer Captain Christopher Tietjens, the landed heir to a noble family in a terrible marriage with the beautiful, bored, destructive and "excruciatingly unfaithful" wife, Sylvia, returns to the war to escape his terrible marriage and the chaos and pain Sylvia seems to intentionally inflict on her husband.


The third volume, "A Man Could Stand Up" begins and ends on Armistice Day with the war year of 1918 in the trenches of France as an interlude.The characters save but a few are generally unlikeable and the Victorian reticence annoying but, overall, a well written volume.

In "The Last Post" , the fourth book of the Parade's End Tetralogy, the last post focuses on the year after the end of the Great War. Though victorious over the Imperial designs of Germany, England was witnessing its own decline with the rising of the American hegemony.

Having returned to the Yorkshire countryside with his long suffering mistress as his long philandering wife takes up residence in his family estate with his former commanding general, Christopher Tietjens reconciles his relationship with his dying elder brother, the estate scion, who himself is in a long term illicit relationship with a women that decorum and tradition dictates her inaccessibility as a wife. As Marc lay dying, Christopher eeks out as an antique furniture selling ancient estate furniture from the homes of cash poor English nobility to wealthy Americans.

Because all of the characters and the self important sphere where they reside in is so unpalatable, their decline isn't heartbreaking, though I am sure that Ford felt a pang as the life from which he emerged was quickly declining, he was many from his.generation.that This is the nature of societal evolution.
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1 person found this helpful