House of War

James Carroll, Author, James Carroll, Read by , read by the author. Random House Audio $39.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-3306-8

Carroll would make a perfect NPR morning-show host, his sensitive, low, smooth voice the perfect background noise for sleepy yuppies getting ready for work. Reading his own book, a study of the Pentagon's outsize influence on postwar American life, Carroll is soothing and inoffensive. His reading is so uninflected that it veers on indistinctness or narcolepsy. Early-morning drivers should probably avoid listening to Carroll, for fear of being lulled into sleep. And yet, careful attention reveals a fine, subtle reading. Carroll lets his words speak for themselves, avoiding underlining or emphasizing specific words or phrases in his text. For some readers, that might be a recipe for being driven crazy; for others, it will allow for an uninfluenced reading of the text, whereby readers can listen as they might read—picking out their own points of emphasis. A little more emotion, though, probably wouldn't have hurt. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 10). (May)

Reviewed on: 08/07/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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