With sweeping grandeur, Gibbon's masterpiece is enhanced by Naxos' production, which includes dramatic, classical music and two British narrators whose voices ooze with intellectual authority. The music—often somber—soars into majestic crescendos as the fate of the great Empire is sealed. Between straight readings of the text, one of the narrators announces a summary of the next chapter or two, an abridging technique particularly effective here. Little, if any, of the effect of Gibbon's accessible and profound prose is lost, even when detail must perforce vanish. A gripping history, this is superbly presented by Naxos. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
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