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Publisher's Summary

Utopia is the name given by Sir Thomas More to an imaginary island in this political work written in 1516. Book I of Utopia, a dialogue, presents a perceptive analysis of contemporary social, economic, and moral ills in England. Book II is a narrative describing a country run according to the ideals of the English humanists, where poverty, crime, injustice, and other ills do not exist. Locating his island in the New World, More bestowed it with everything to support a perfectly organized and happy people.

The name of this fictitious place, Utopia, coined by More, passed into general usage and has been applied to all such ideal fictions, fantasies, and blueprints for the future, including works by Rabelais, Francis Bacon, Samuel Butler, and several by H. G. Wells, including his A Modern Utopia.

Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Utopia

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More's unobtainable vision of the ideal society

After reading Hilary Mantel's amazing first two Booker-prizing winning books of her Henry VIII trilogy ('Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies'), I felt I needed to actually bust into Thomas More's 'Utopia'. How could I consider myself educated and not have at least tasted a bit of More's utopian ideal, his veiled criticisms of European culture and values, and his unobtainable vision of the ideal society.

At times 'Utopia' seems overdone/overripe, like even More wasn't buying his own brand of guiding, noble principles. Still, 'Utopia' works because it is playful and ironic. I'm not sure I would view it as great (to me it doesn't measure up to either Plato's 'The Republic' or Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'), but I do believe the interaction between More's brand of political idealism with Cromwell's ruthless pragmatism, ended up creating in England something really GREAT.

26 people found this helpful

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Good story, average reading

What did you love best about Utopia?

Its is an interesting look into creating a perfect society and some of the ideas sound valid but certainly do require some discussion. I think some fundamental aspects of human nature make Utopia an impossibility - well worth listening and discussing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of James Adams?

Simon Vance would have done this book fabulously - Mr Adams fails to bring any distinction between any of the characters and tends to run them together which makes following the text a little tricky. Buy the book - but from another reader.

7 people found this helpful

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James Adams speaks in a low monotonous voice

Takes extra effort to remain engaged in the book, which is already very dense material.

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Understanding the impact of 'Utopia' on fiction

Would you consider the audio edition of Utopia to be better than the print version?

Not better, the print version is essential to the study of the text; but audible is very good way take in the information contained in the original narrative.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

To understand where modern Utopian concepts originated

What does James Adams bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

Adams has a tone which is clear, easy to listen to and understand.

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

No, I knew what to expect having read the book before. I used this edition to study the topic in more depth and make use of the time I spend driving.

Any additional comments?

Audible books are great to use as a backup to the written text. They are particularly good to help with recollection. They afford you almost total recall of a narrative.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating look at the 16th Century

Utopia offers an interesting critical look at live in the 16th century on the one hand as well as proposing an idea for an ideal civilization. Whether Utopia was meant to be a satire or represented More's personal views remains unclear, however, the discourse on Utopia contains several jokes and offers light reading.

4 people found this helpful

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Comedically Fallacious

It is difficult to put briefly how poorly thought out this society seems to be. It amazes me that any took it seriously beyond the abstract premise that a near-perfect society is even possible. As a single glaring example, discounting the differences in morals across cultures and periods, Utopia is entirely dependent on slaves. The slaves are made up entirely of convicted criminals, yet More expresses that society is so great as to almost wholly eliminate crime. Furthermore, they only make slaves of their own people, not of those from other nations, so one has to wonder, how can every family be said to have its own slaves? The book is full of holes from beginning to end, ironically depicting a dystopia more accurately. It is no wonder that every would-be Utopia in history has only failed miserably after the deaths of millions.

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Reads different then most modern publications

Difficult to understand . To many words to explain simple points. It say I need 15 words which is ironic lol

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Meh

I only listened to this because it was mentioned in the film "Ever After" and for whatever reason, I remember that after all these years. I don't know how feel about that.



I do know how I feel about this, as it is was decidedly "meh." Worth listening to and pondering, but take it as the critique of English society of the time that it was intended to be.

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Patriarchy much?

Wow! Not even Utopia is able to shake off patriarchy! Surprise, surprise! I shall look upon the coined term with different eyes.

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Great Book. Cleverly Portrayed. Read a bit slow.

The work itself was a masterpiece. The most memorable moments for me were the very beginning and the final 3 chapters. The narrator did well but I had to adjust the reading speed to 3x to have the sentences be read at a pace consistent enough to comprehend fully and hear the ideas more fluently. Other than that personal preference, great book and reading.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-22

Very interesting

Offers up some criticisms of 16th Century Britain that are still relevant today in our Capitalist society - wealth inequality, private ownership, capital punishment, the role of government etc. - while offering up a Utopia that is both peaceful, yet borderline Orwellian. It’s interesting viewing the assumed truths in the world in regards to the role of women and the assumption of slavery and how they have shifted over time. Still, a really important text that offers up the question of what would we would call a Utopia today…

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  • Stacey
  • 12-07-21

Well read; More kidding himself

While More might have been joking, if taken at face value, this piece is unrealistic in the extreme, because one could not expect that large numbers of people would remain so virtuous for so long. So, it's like saying that society would be perfect if it were filled with perfect people, but that's obviously never going to happen. So what's the point in daydreaming? More does nuance his argument here and there, but the overall impression is the same.