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The Magnificent Ambersons Paperback – Jul 1 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Classic Books Library (July 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600968023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600968020
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Library Journal

Though not out of print, this latest offering from Bantam is the least expensive edition currently available. The 1919 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel portrays the decline of the superrich Amberson family, who act as a metaphor for the old society that crumbled after the Industrial Revolution. All fiction collections should own a copy, and all video collections should include Orson Welles's 1942 film version.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


"The Magnificent Ambersons is perhaps Tarkington's best novel." ---Van Wyck Brooks --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 16 2010
Format: Audio CD
"A proud and haughty man--'Scoffer' is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride." -- Proverbs 21:24 (NKJV)

I am reviewing the unabridged Blackstone audio recording read by Geoffrey Blaisdell. The Magnificent Ambersons can be a little difficult to appreciate because the book writes about a period far different from our own, with horseless carriages replacing those drawn by magnificent matched pairs of horses and social position counting for a great deal more than money. A modern novelist treating this period as a historical subject would write the book much differently. As a result, I recommend that you listen to the audio version in which Mr. Blaisdell does a wonderful job of capturing the mentality and emotion of the age.

On the surface, the book is all about the downfall that always comes from too much pride, especially pride in one's position. Soon, however, you'll begin to appreciate that Booth Tarkington is also writing a social history in fictional terms that captures the changing of the guard from the "old money" of the day to the newer classes of wealth based on industrialism and merchandising. You also get more than a whiff of the problems that industrialization and the automobile brought to American cities. I was reminded of the Sinclair Lewis novels that so aptly capture similar changes that occurred slightly later.

One of the best ways to portray the desirability of something positive, such as faithful unconditional love, is by portraying the consequences of its opposite, such as selfishness. In that sense, The Magnificent Ambersons is a marvelous portrait of how much pain selfishness can bring.
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Format: Paperback

Booth Tarkingtons's Pulitzer Prize winning novel of a Midwestern town and family in the emergent new era of the automobile and modern manufacturing is surprising on a number of accounts, for modern readers.

Books written before the modern era of Television, are very wordy and descriptive. In the Amberson's, Tarkington dedicates most of the first twenty pages or so to descriptions of the architecture, the dress, the music and the morals of the era the early 20th Century. His work was published in 1918, and a reader can sometimes skip entire passages to get one with the plot, scanning here and there, only to ponder eventually, the complexity of the author's mind and intent. Nonetheless, the Amberson's can be scanned.

The Amberson's are the wealthy, landed gentry of the Era, a family whose every action is the talk of the town. Nonetheless, the influx of immigrants from all parts of Europe, and their demand for housing, proves to be an encroachment upon the family land, fortunes and status.

The book contains a subdued and very Victorian romance, but the book is largely romantic in the broader context of its meanings. The Amberson's do not work, except for such members as are engagaged in politics, and the management of properties. Young "Georgie Amberson Minafer" grows up in privilge. He is fawned upon by his mother Isabel, and although he may be dressed as a Little Lord Fauntleroy, the lad's pride and aggressiveness lead him to impose his will upon the town, such that there is hardly a citizen that does not wait in expectation for "Georgie" to recieve his "come-uppance".

The tale Tarkington weaves is one of intimate personal family relationships, as well as the bonds of old friendships.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: Paperback
Few books look at the decline of old ways of life the way "The Magnificent Ambersons" does. Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer-winning novel is a sharp, brilliant, sometimes mocking look at the way that old money crumbled away when the industrial revolution hit, and the way those Gilded Age millionaires ended up. It's undeniably Tarkington's best novel.

Georgie Minafer is the only heir and scion of the wealthy Amberson family, and unsurprisingly he's an insufferable brat. He doesn't improve as he grows up, believing that "there's a few people whose birth and position... puts them at the top" -- and his snottiness doesn't improve when he encounters and falls in love with an inventor's daughter, whose father was once smitten with his mother.

But soon the Amberson fortunes start to change -- family deaths, loss of money, and the encroaching city that is swallowing up their estate. George continues to believe that he is superior to others, but this belief is increasingly strained as "the magnificent Ambersons" lose the last of their property. And George's only salvation may be the man he once called "riffraff."

"The Magnificent Ambersons" seems at first to be a tombstone to the Gilded Age's beauty and glamour. Then you realize that George is a pain in the butt, not a noble figure, and that Tarkington had little affection for that bygone age -- the entire thing is an ironic look at how the "old money" refused to change their ways, and got swamped for it. Tarkington takes aim at rrogance, complacency, idleness and other flaws.

And Tarkington had a rare gift for irony. His writing seems a bit stuffy at first, with pages of details on clothes and parties; but as the Amberson fortunes fall, his prose becomes faster and more incisive.
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