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  • Memoirs of a Cavalier

  • By: Daniel Defoe
  • Narrated by: Sean Criseden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Editor reviews

This little-known historical drama by the author of Robinson Crusoe is set during the English civil war and told in first-person with attention to detail, describing the minutiae of the life of a 17th-century well-to-do British cavalier and soldier. Sean Criseden’s matter-of-fact performance gives this audiobook the feel of an actual cavalier's memoirs and not a work of fiction, which is exactly the stylistic device Defoe was attempting. An interesting mix of a coming-of-age tale and history lesson, this audiobook will be a pleasure for anyone interested in European royalty and its battles.

Summary

This work of historical fiction is set during the Thirty Years' War and the English Civil War. The full title upon original publication was as follows: Memoirs of a Cavalier; or A Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and the Wars in England. From the Years 1632 to 1648. Written threescore years ago, by an English gentleman, who server first in the army of Gustavus Adolphus, the Glorious King of Sweden, till his death, and after that in the Royal Army of King Charles the First, from the beginning of the Rebellion to the end of the War.

Public Domain (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"The pretended author, ‘Col. Andrew Newport’, a young English gentleman born in 1608, travels on the Continent, starting in 1630, goes to Vienna, and accompanies the army of the emperor, being present at the siege and sack of Magdeburg, which is vividly presented. He then joins the army of Gustavus Adolphus. After his return to England he joins the king's army, first against the Scots, then against the forces of Parliament." (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature)

What listeners say about Memoirs of a Cavalier

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A decent reader, but a number of crucial errors.

Throughout the audiobook, the narrator reads the pound sign (£) as 'lira'. A shocking error. Does he really think that was the currency of the UK at the time?
Also, the British place-names (which the book is full of) are mostly pronounced incorrectly and inconsistently.

1 person found this helpful

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Great History of ECW

There are currently very few Audible books as Fiction or Non Fiction covering ECW. This book was a great find.

It is a shame the book is read by an American rather than a more in character Englishman. Although he has a soft easy to listen to American accent, he mispronounces a number of British place names, such as Edinburgh, WaRwick, Derbyshire etc in way so many Americans do.

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Really quite good

The opening and closing music reminds me of the Hobbit.

Seriously though; I thought this was a very good book, I was a bit uncertain with the narrator being American (Not that I have anything against American Narrators, I just felt like an English Cavalier would suit an English narrator) but I quickly got used to him and really enjoyed this story of battles.
I had to continuously remind myself that this story is fiction.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen L.
  • 26-02-16

Factual narration recounts details of battles.

There isn't much human interest here, not much personal drama for our cavalier. He is concerned only with his battles. I was most interested in the Swedish army and King Adolphus, somebody I had never learned about, especially his encampment and battle at Leipzig. I have toured in Leipzig, and I know that Thomanerkirche, where Bach led the boys' choir, was there during the Thirty Years War. So, picturing that city and Nurnberg too with battles raging added to my appreciation of places I have been.

In England and Scotland, place names and those of commanders and battles abound. By the time our soldier fights for King Charles, he is enough of a sophisticated strategian to assess at each movement what the King has done right and wrong--mostly wrong!

I listened to each chapter at least twice to digest as much as possible, because I want to be familiar with European wars, but this book might be disappointing to anyone who is expecting an intriguing narrative like Moll Flanders or Robinson Cruscoe. The narrator recounts each movement of dragoons with clear, but matter-of-fact style, quite appropriate for a memoir or journal. Perhaps the strongest emotion is evident in his great friendship and admiration for King Adolphus.

If you are determined to "finish" Defoe, an easy author to exhaust, then go for it!

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  • Gregala
  • 27-10-21

Episodic, not cohesive

This account of a young man's journeys and adventures has more period and historical detail than general interest. I can see Defoe's touches here and there in the narrative, but for me it lacks the depth of Milk or Crusoe.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-21

Entertaining

This is a Defoe book that I haven't read before. I found it entertaining.

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  • David K. van Hoose
  • 06-06-20

The Thirty Years War To The English Civil War

The book starts before the Thirty Years with an English man joining the Swedish Army. He tells of his life and adventures in the Swedish Army. Then his Life in the Army of King Charles during the English Civil War. I highly recommend.