(2012) #50 review: The Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex:

The True Story of Obsession, Faith,
and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible

by

Matti FRIEDMAN

Narrated by Simon VANCE

Published by HighBridge Audio in 2012

7.5  hours

Received from HighBridge Audio through Audiobook Jukebox

THIS BOOK COUNTS FOR THE FOLLOWING READING CHALLENGES

         

        

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

Do you like a good mystery? Do you like “serious” books about things that actually happened? Do you have lots of commuting time? Well, these are three reasons you have to listen to this book!

I decided to teach myself Biblical Hebrew a few decades ago, with the desire to see what the text did actually say, cleansed from all adaptations to Western tastes. This, plus my fascination for anything bookish, made this book really intriguing to me. I had no idea I was actually plunging into a real mystery, still not completely resolved, and going for a really fascinating ride.

The author was just as unsuspecting when he started researching on the topic. He translates very well how things evolved, how one thing led him to another, deeper at each step into nothing less than an international nest of vipers.

If you read about the Aleppo Codex (commonly known as The Crown of Aleppo, or simply The Crown) a few decades ago, you probably learned it had been mostly burnt and lost. Well, the reality is quite different.

The end of the book is a bit sad, as the author reflects on the human condition and what its ugly characteristics made a people do to its own sacred book. But this good be a good invitation to reflect on our own behavior, at the social and personal level.

As I write this review, we know about terrible things happening in Aleppo. It is very sad to know that some famous very old neighborhoods of this ancient pearl of the Middle East have just burnt down. Another sad example of what we humans can do to our history and people.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE AUDIO PRODUCTION

What can I add to the magical name of Simon Vance? This narrator can do about anything, he is brilliant here for this non-fiction mystery. His tone is both very engaged, rendering the aspects of mystery of this incredible odyssey of a manuscript, and detached, as is more fitting for non-fiction. Only fabulous and very experienced narrators can attain this balance.  Besides, Vance embraces this narration with so much passion that I often had to remind myself that it was not Friedman’s voice I was listening to, but Vance’s.
I’m sure reading the book on paper is a very pleasant experience, but Vance’s narration adds spice to it, and makes it harder to stop listening until you reach the end of the book, though it is not the end of the story!

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

A true-life thriller about the journey of one of the world’s most precious manuscripts—the 10th century annotated Hebrew Bible known as the Aleppo Codex—from its hiding place in an ancient Syrian synagogue to the newly-founded Israel. Using his research, including documents which have been secret for 50 years and interviews with key players, AP correspondent Friedman tells a story of political upheaval, international intrigue, charged courtroom battles, obsession, and subterfuge. [HighBridge Audio]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matti Friedman

MATTI FRIEDMAN is an Associated Press writer. He lives in Israel. Here are many articles by him.

REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS
DWD’s reviews
S. Krishna’s Books

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
ANY OTHER NON-FICTION NARRATED BY SIMON VANCE
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10 thoughts on “(2012) #50 review: The Aleppo Codex

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  6. This sounds pretty interesting. I agree with you about Simon Vance – he has one of the best voices for narrating! I listened to him in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and then as I continued to read the other two books, I had his voice in my head the whole time!

    ~Kristin @ Always With a Book

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    • yes, great (true) story.
      oh you mean the 2 other books were not read by him? I hate this when the sequel is not read by the same narrator. same thing for Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. plus in this case, the narrator of the first book was so good, I don’t know why on earth they switched to another one, not always as good actually

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