A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
With this biography, Meacham appears to continue to float in that narrative sphere between popular journalist-historians (Alter,Woolfe) and popular academic-historians (Ellis, Kearns Goodwin, Morris). His writing most closely resembles (in many, many ways) Walter Isaacson and David McCullough. They write similar types of biographies and seem to inhabit a similar clumped intellectual range.
That said, while Meacham's style will never perfectly thrill academic historians, this biography is interesting and paced-well and shouldn't trouble too many presidential history buffs. Meacham has never had a real boat-tipping agenda with his biographies. He certainly wants to make Jefferson's life, times and experiences (told largely through secondary sources, anecdotes and at times brilliant story-telling) relevant to our current political and social setting. He did this wonderfully with FDR and Jackson and has continued his record with this excellent bio of Jefferson.
As far as narration goes, Hermann seems to have a talent for reading big books. He was blessed with one of those voices that don't make you want to drive your car off the road after listening for a couple hours straight. This quality makes him perfect for long narrative histories and biographies. He reads with clarity, but also manages to largely float behind the text. Also, his voice works well for Audible's 1.5 & 2x speed, but 3x speed was just a little much.
A masterful presidential biography of a dynamo of force and energy and an absolute iconoclast of American politics. Morris is one of the rare breed of modern, well-published historians (Caro, Bushman, Donald, etc) who is able to easily combine the narrative grace and vivid details of popluar historians (Foote, Goodwin, Ambrose) with the scholarly analysis and weight of academia; and then does it again and again and again.
Amazing. There are a just a few books (Meditations, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Brothers Karamazov, On the Nature of Things) that I feel every person on the planet should read. This is one of those books. If you are a historian, a diplomat, a civil war buff or a amateur philosopher, this book will strongly resonate.
First, I am not pro-Castro. However, having spend some time in his Cuba I was interested in what this head of state had to say. I wanted to get a glimpse of Castro the man. "Fidel Castro: My Life" has gotten me about as close to the man as I could get.
Ignacio Ramonet has spent over 100 hours interviewing Castro. Those thoughts are contained here. The book follows a Q&A format which is helpful. The prose is polished and well read by two readers. One reads the questions and the second plays the part of Castro.
Whatever your attitude toward the Revolution, this book is very interesting. The stories, even from Castro's perspective, are engaging and informative.
The book has a rather lengthy introduction. If you are pro-Revolution, you will be rewarded. If you are anti-Castro, you might not continue the book. I was a little put off, but greatly rewarded for continuing on and opening my mind to the narrative. The introduction is also helpful and should not be skipped because Ramonet details his interview and writing methodology.
Listen to the book if you believe it is fiction. Listen if you believe in Castro.