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Milton In America Audio Cassette – Jan 28 1999


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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc. (Jan. 28 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736643907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736643900
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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By MR G. Rodgers on June 1 2003
Format: Paperback
"Milton in America" is another piece of historical fiction by Peter Ackroyd, in which John Milton, accompanied by the boy Goosequill, flees England in 1660 for the sanctuary of America.
Milton swiftly becomes the leading light of the Puritan settlement he (somewhat fortuitously) arrives at. The Brethren rename the settlement "New Milton" in his honour. However, tensions arise, not only between the native Americans and the Puritans, but also between the Puritans and a neighbouring group of Catholic settlers.
"Milton in America" is at times funny, ironic and tragic. The main part of the plot revolves around the irony that Milton's flight from religious persecution does nothing to stop him resurrecting religious intolerance (that is, his own) in the New World. As such, the novel is a critique both of religious intolerance and of the oppressive nature of organised religions. It's much less of an historical mystery than Ackroyd's other novels, much more of a morality tale. Very well written, entertaining and thought-provoking.
G Rodgers
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Format: Hardcover
I'll leave it to other reviewers to summarize the plot of this excellent novel, instead calling your attention to the significant episode when Milton disappears from his Puritan village for 6 weeks, regains his lost sight, and is welcomed as an equal when adopted by an native tribe--whose mysterious animism he, in turn, adopts. We see a great 17th-century intellect overwhelmed by a 21st-century spirituality, and we contemplate the structure of faith, intellect, history and truth. Structure is a theme, too, as again Ackroyd's modus operandi is a strand of narratives and narrators whose knot of stories are worth the reader's untying. Of course, Ackroyd's protagonist is a Milton, not the Milton; and this Milton is a doer, not a writer. As another English revolutionary, GBS's John Tanner, said, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." So the novel never mentions "Paradise Lost" because Ackroyd's Milton has come to America to regain the paradise--to 'do' paradise--rather than stagnate in Restoration London to teach about a paradise in an epic poem. To take off from Stanley Fish's title on "Paradise Lost," we are surprised by Milton's virtue when he becomes our post-Christian co-religionist. By far, this is Ackroyd's best book from the 14 novels, biographies and critical studies of his that I've read. And the best Milton I've read in a many a year.
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Format: Hardcover
Peter Ackroyd has a frustrating habit of taking absolutely wonderful premises, such as this one, and turning them into quite dull books. Occasionally he writes wonderfully, but he appears to have no idea of human emotion, and as normal his characters here are like stilted wooden puppets.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book: Ackroyd at his intriguing and often ambivalent best. It is interesting from an English point of view because, after exciting and unpredictable opening chapters which deal with Milton's (fictional) flight from England to the "New World", it finally resolves into a conflict between a narrow-minded Puritan community led by a hideously bigotted Milton and a Catholic community nearby. Milton's bitter single-mindedness and ruthless determination to wipe out the "Roman Whoremaster" (Ralph Kempis) and his Catholic community is masterfully drawn by Ackroyd. The contrast he draws between a tolerant, easy-going Catholic settlement and the fanatically bigotted Puritans leave one in little doubt as to where Ackroyd's sympathies lay.
From an English point of view, particularly, it is fascinating to recall that at the period in which the book is set England had just replaced a Protestant (Puritan) Commonwealth with a Protestant Monarchy ! (Charles 2nd). Obviously, any Protestant community, even one which not many years previously had lopped off the king's head, would be preferable to the hated Catholics. Thus the New England militia were called out to support the 'bigotted' Puritans rather than the 'enlightened' Catholics. What if they'd backed the Catholics?
Altogether an excellent, intriguing, funny, moving and ultimately poignant book. Wonderfully written. Read it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Typical Ackroyd; brilliant premise, unremarkable book Aug. 15 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Peter Ackroyd has a frustrating habit of taking absolutely wonderful premises, such as this one, and turning them into quite dull books. Occasionally he writes wonderfully, but he appears to have no idea of human emotion, and as normal his characters here are like stilted wooden puppets.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Intriguing, compelling, brilliant writing and construction. July 21 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book: Ackroyd at his intriguing and often ambivalent best. It is interesting from an English point of view because, after exciting and unpredictable opening chapters which deal with Milton's (fictional) flight from England to the "New World", it finally resolves into a conflict between a narrow-minded Puritan community led by a hideously bigotted Milton and a Catholic community nearby. Milton's bitter single-mindedness and ruthless determination to wipe out the "Roman Whoremaster" (Ralph Kempis) and his Catholic community is masterfully drawn by Ackroyd. The contrast he draws between a tolerant, easy-going Catholic settlement and the fanatically bigotted Puritans leave one in little doubt as to where Ackroyd's sympathies lay.
From an English point of view, particularly, it is fascinating to recall that at the period in which the book is set England had just replaced a Protestant (Puritan) Commonwealth with a Protestant Monarchy ! (Charles 2nd). Obviously, any Protestant community, even one which not many years previously had lopped off the king's head, would be preferable to the hated Catholics. Thus the New England militia were called out to support the 'bigotted' Puritans rather than the 'enlightened' Catholics. What if they'd backed the Catholics?
Altogether an excellent, intriguing, funny, moving and ultimately poignant book. Wonderfully written. Read it.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Best Milton is Ackroyd's March 14 2000
By Richard Tracey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'll leave it to other reviewers to summarize the plot of this excellent novel, instead calling your attention to the significant episode when Milton disappears from his Puritan village for 6 weeks, regains his lost sight, and is welcomed as an equal when adopted by an native tribe--whose mysterious animism he, in turn, adopts. We see a great 17th-century intellect overwhelmed by a 21st-century spirituality, and we contemplate the structure of faith, intellect, history and truth. Structure is a theme, too, as again Ackroyd's modus operandi is a strand of narratives and narrators whose knot of stories are worth the reader's untying. Of course, Ackroyd's protagonist is a Milton, not the Milton; and this Milton is a doer, not a writer. As another English revolutionary, GBS's John Tanner, said, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." So the novel never mentions "Paradise Lost" because Ackroyd's Milton has come to America to regain the paradise--to `do' paradise--rather than stagnate in Restoration London to teach about a paradise in an epic poem. To take off from Stanley Fish's title on "Paradise Lost," we are surprised by Milton's virtue when he becomes our post-Christian co-religionist. By far, this is Ackroyd's best book from the 14 novels, biographies and critical studies of his that I've read. And the best Milton I've read in a many a year.

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