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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
As other reviewers have noted, Kindle editions of these books have been emerging from the woodwork since Cumberbatch brought it to the small screen. I personally think that this is the best edition for Kindle. There are no textual errors or typographical/layout problems. There is a full index. The first three books are included in accordance with the author's own preference to exclude the final one (this also ties in with where the TV series ended). This is a good, reasonably priced edition.

The story itself is an epic meditation on one of the most changeable eras in British history, beginning around the turn of the 20th century and charting changing social attitudes through the first world war to the era of women's liberation. For me it isn't just a story about Christopher Tiejens and his life, which is interesting enough given his character, his wife, his best friend and his colleagues; it's also and more importantly a reflection on attitudes and outlooks of the time. It raises questions about why people behaved the way that they did and the purpose of it all. The meaning of ethics and morality are big themes, and what it means to be respectable and successful amidst the collapse of certain 'old-fashioned' Victorian values. I think the third book ends on a high and in the perfect way.

The TV series stayed very close to the original text(s), so if you enjoyed it then you will probably enjoy the books as well. The only difference is additional details they left out when making the TV series, some for the sake of summarising and others that seem to have been more political choices (leaving out the more hard-to-swallow contemporary attitudes about racism from the first book, for example).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2012
Having seen the series on BBC I understand why it was adapted for TV. A good story and quite an insight into the upper middle classes in the early 1900s. A lot of names to remember and situations that are described out of context in a form of flash back. Stopards adaption would make an easier read. That said well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2012
This book is fantastic but this edition contains so many mistakes. Lots of punctuation is replaced by numbers - at least that is what I think has happened. There are a lot of spelling mistakes and since FMF uses a fair few unfamiliar words (many not in the supplied kindle dictionaries), you really have to think hard to decide whether what you are reading is a mistake or not.
I don't know why the book is described as 'annotated.' If there are any annotations at all then I haven't found them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
Like many others I watched Parade's End on TV and loved it. However, TV adaptations, even those by the excellent Tom Stoppard, are bound to miss out elements of the novels on which they are based. So I downloaded this Kindle edition and have found myself completely gripped by the novels. Once I got used to the style, the writing, which follows the inner worlds of the main characters, is utterly immersive. The reader is taken inside the heads of Christopher Tietjens and Sylvia Tietjens and some of the other characters. One sees the world through their eyes. Unlike Dickens (for example), the author does not intrude, does not offer commentary on what's going on.

The effect can be rather disorienting, as can be the sudden time shifts in the narrative. But that's part of what Ford Madox Ford was trying to show - the disorientation of a world that had been disrupted by the First World War.

My big disappointment is not with the novels themselves, but with the transfer to Kindle. It looks to me as if the printed pages have been scanned, subjected to optical character recognition (OCR) so as to be editable, but not properly proof-read. There are typos, there are words that don't make sense unless you know that the OCR process is not completely accurate. For example, Miss Wannop's suffragette comrade-in-arms is called Gertie; for a page or two, however, she becomes "Genie" - clearly an OCR error that has not been corrected. I have tried not to let this annoy me, but it does!

If you value great fiction, these novels are must-reads - they some of the great works of 20th century literature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2013
This is an interesting book but not an easy read. The numerous typograhical mistakes make it more difficult and almost spoil any pleasure the reader might have enjoyed. It irritates me when e book publishers do not bother to proof read. This does in fact make e books inferior to paper books.
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on 11 August 2013
This is an outstanding novel - a devastatingly realistic account of a world that 'Downton Abbey' et al have attempted to convince us was chivalric, exciting and glamorous (also apparently fatal to key characters). Ford, alongside contemporaries such as Waugh and Graves, shows us an England that was swollen with pomposity and moral corruption - our hero, Christopher Tietjens, frequently remarks that nothing decent has occurred here since the Eighteenth Century. Despite this sombre message, 'Parade's End' is characterised by humour, satire and a sharp analysis of character to rival masters of the craft - Jane Austen herself would be proud of the duplicitous Mrs Duchemin. A tortured "Anglican Saint" of a protagonist is well-matched by Suffragette and games mistress Valentine Wannop, with whom Tietjens is deeply in love but will not allow himself to touch. The reason for this forbearance is Christopher's marvellously Machiavellian wife Sylvia, certainly among the best literary creations of the 20th Century, whose delight in "pulling the strings of shower-baths" (i.e. causing havoc) results in the deep unhappiness of her husband.

Not only does Ford write with lyricism, wit and a haunting Waugh-esque despair at society, but shows a unique talent for describing the horrors of war. Tietjens' experiences at the Front are harrowing - and even here Sylvia's long fingers seek to thwart him. The tale darkens, twisting and turning as Ford's dramatic stream of consciousness style begins to disintegrate, madness hovering on the edge of the characters' thoughts.

Since Graham Greene's insistence that the final part of the novel was worthless, it has often been marketed as a trilogy - I would advise you not to pay any attention to this eminent critic, and refer you to Julian Barnes' excellent review (also the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition), as he can argue for it better than I can. 'Parade's End' is a tetralogy, the final section ('The Last Post') adding volumes to the novel - without it Ford's masterpiece is reduced to a much lesser creation. Personally, this is the Volume that pushes 'Parade's End' towards its position as a Modernist masterpiece, although his style is far ahead of its time in any case. To conclude, this is a novel that should never be overlooked again, to be ranked alongside the best of our time.

Recommended - the Penguin Modern Classics edition (introduction by Julian Barnes)
Also see the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall. Not for purists but an exquisite piece of television with script by Tom Stoppard.
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on 12 November 2012
Firstly, the transcription to ebook has a few more than the usual number of errors which can confuse the reader (well, it did me). If I hadn't first seen the TV series based on these books I don't think I would have had a clue what was going on. FMF's treatment of the chronology of events is, at times, more complex than the typical 'flashback' approach so that it can be difficult to know whether you are in the past or the present at times. Also, the dialogue between characters sometimes seems so obtuse that I have had to re-read a passage several times to try and distill the essence of what has been said. Perhaps I'm dumber than I like to think I am. However, despite all these negatives, as a portrayal of the conflicting morals, manners and attitudes towards women and class in particular at the beginning of the 20th century it has a compelling attraction. It is not a relaxing, easy read in my opinion but worth the effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2013
Bought this after watching TV series - mistake. Was unable to get past first 3 or 4 pages - found the style difficult to cope wih and its not because I don't reads- I like Dickens and Rutherford so long books aren't a problem.
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on 5 February 2013
Brilliant book, which I bought because I watched the TV version. BUT, it might be worth spending a few extra pennies to buy a copy that had not been so obviously transcribed by a machine with no-one looking at the mistakes thus generated. I got used to the distractions but it has to be a major consideration against this cheapo version.

So buy a different edition of the book, read and enjoy. For those interested in the development of the novel, it is a wonderful missing link showing just how the heavy Victorian tomes sharpened up and gave rise to the very best of 20th century fiction. Rich in every way. I am nearing the end of the third book and I will miss it.
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on 8 November 2012
Having been bowled over by the wonderful BBC (and Tom Stoppard) adaptation of Ford Maddox Ford's trilogy, I thought I'd try the original.
It really was quite hard going and, had not the tv characters' faces been fresh in my mind, I would have found it almost impossible to follow what the opening chapters were all about. Even so, I have to admit that I "gave up" after about 90 pages.
I feel the need to add that I'm not a total illiterate, and have easily enjoyed Dickens and Jane Austen over the past few months, so maybe this says something about why "Parade's End" became a FORGOTTEN masterpiece. Maybe I'll try again next year ........
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