Alternate History Sci-Fi Science Fiction

The Man In The High Castle Audiobook Review

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick Audiobook Review
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The Man In The High Castle Audiobook

Written by: Philip K. Dick

Narrated by: Jeff Cummings

Length: 9 hours and 58 minutes

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: June 2, 2015

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

While there have been many outstanding alternative history novels based on the events following WWII, none compare to Philip Dick’s The Man in the High Castle and it’s subsequent audiobook version. This novel combines fantasy with historical facts of WWII and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s failure to lead America to victory or recovery after the cessation of the war. In 1963, it won the Hugo Award for Best Novel and this says a lot about Dick’s ability to provide the listener with a compelling alternative version of history.

Jeff Cummings comes through again for the listener with precise pacing and superb voices. Each individual character is developed wonderfully and each voice thought out carefully to comply with the excellent accent work. Cummings has the ability to capture and hold the listeners attention throughout the presentation.

The Narration
Jeff Cummings is a very well known narrator that has shown up to provide the world with a large number of audio works. From Rise of the Robots to The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, Cummings has stepped in to bring these novels to the audio world, in a way that no one else could possibly manage.

Cummings attended the Penn State University from 1985-1988 and earned a degree in Master of Fine Arts. He also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Missouri State University. There is not enough that can be said about his voice acting and voice over skills. In May of 2015, he won the Audie Award for his audiobook narration, The Second Machine Age.

Many listeners have grown to appreciate Cummings’ ability to allow them draw their own conclusion, by combining their imagination with the story line. If you are prepared to enjoy a story of “what if this happened”, then you will definitely enjoy everything that this amazing narrator and novel has to offer.

When sitting down and truly zoning in on The Man in the High Castle, you will be able to enjoy the entirety, without any flaws. The audiobook extends nearly 10 hours, but it never feels too short or too long. The book and the performance from Cummings help to keep the listener intrigued and fascinated throughout. The book is wonderful, but Cummings delivers a little something extra and truly enhances the bleak tale.

The Story

There are many excellent books, which explore alternate histories, but few delve into the genre deeper than The Man in the High Castle. The book, which is set in 1962, was written 15 years, after the destructive World War II ended. The premise of the novel is downright frightening and many will agree that the book could be classified as a horror. The book takes us to the end of WWII and flips the script, with the Axis Power emerging as victorious. Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany take complete control over the United States and grasp the country under a cloak of totalitarian rule.

After a successful attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan would go on to defeat New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. At the same time, The Nazis manage to overthrow the Soviet Union and exterminate the majority of their people. The United States and their allies succumb to the Axis Power in 1947. With the victories, Japan and Germany become superpowers. Soon, Adolf Hitler is removed from power and a far worse Fuhrer takes over. Under the control of German Chancellor Martin Bormann, the Nazis plan a preemptive nuclear strike on Japan.

If the tale sounds frightening, it only gets worse for our intriguing cast of characters. A devout Buddhist, Nobusuke Tagomi, is drug into the conflict and forced to go against his traditions. Will he be able to make a difference, while standing up to Nazi authority? We also have Frank Frink. This closeted Jew works alongside his colleague, Ed McCarthy, to make and sell original jewelry, while dreaming about the country’s past. Will he be able to keep his Jewish roots concealed?

And then, we have the author, Hawthorne Abendsen. He is frequently proclaimed to be The Man in the High Castle and his work, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, tells of a history in which the Axis powers were defeated. Although the Germans ban his book, many of the key characters manage to read it. It gives them hope and delivers yet another interesting alternative history. All in all, the book is absolutely fascinating. Each of the characters, despite some of their hideous actions, is somewhat easy to sympathize with. This allows the reader or listener to connect with each and genuinely care about their fates.

With the narration by Jeff Cummings, the listener is thrown into the 1962 totalitarian America. The thoroughly enthralling book combined with the excellent performance by Jeff Cummings really make The Man in the High Castle audiobook one of the best ways to experience the tale.


With the current state of the Middle East, one in today’s society could very easily familiarize with the conflicts in The Man in the High Castle. Although the tale is a work of fiction, it feels possible and realistic, at times. The listener will immerse him or herself into a new America and will feel genuine fear for the key characters. Of course, the main driving point is the mystery of what could possibly happen next. Once the nearly 10 hour audiobook has concluded, the listener will be left gasping for air and thankful that The Man in the High Castle doesn’t symbolize historical accuracy.

All in all, everyone, who loves alternate history tales, needs to check out The Man in the High Castle. Although reading the book will prove to be a fascinating thrill ride, the audiobook enhances the experience enormously. Thanks to Jeff Cummings and his immaculate performance, the audiobook is quite possibly the best way to experience the thriller. Don’t let this one fade into the past, without experiencing it for yourself.