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World

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Amazon Customer

Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States Member Since 2012

I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

HELPFUL VOTES
325
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REVIEWS
243
167
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  • "The Evolution of a Religion"

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    Anyone who thoroughly enjoys Medieval and Renaissance history as I do can tell you that the history of Christianity is so bound up with it as to be inseparable. The thing is, a great many history books will give you only what's necessary specific to the topic at hand and very little else. Even books on the Crusades, which presumably center around religion, will leave the underlying faith as an accepted and understood issue, touching upon the heretical issues as they come up.

    This book is specifically geared towards pretty much anyone who wants the details as well as the broad strokes. It covers the history of Christianity from the onset of Judaism as an offshoot of earlier traditions, Christianity's beginnings as an offshoot of that, and covers its evolution not just in Western Europe, but also in Greece, Russia, Africa, Korea, and all parts of the globe where the cross is held high. It goes even further as Islam splinters from that, and the history of the Middle Eastern faiths are examined as an intertwined whole. As it goes, the reader is given another portrait to absorb as the beliefs evolve in the various corners of the globe, across time and through politics or scholarly pursuits.

    In short, this is the most complete picture of Christianity that I've certainly ever encountered, and it's helped my understanding of history considerably. Special kudos not only to what it covers and why, but also how, as the outline for this book is nothing short of daunting. To cover this topic so completely is nothing short of a feat.

    As one might expect, a history of this depth and magnitude will likely call into question the faith of a devout individual reading this book as not everything is as tradition holds to be true in our day and age, and as that tradition may vary depending on which sect you follow. I would challenge that the scholarly will find a great deal of wealth here, and the religiously-minded will be confronted with questions fundamental to their faith. How those questions are answered will ultimately be determined by individual willingness to see past the rigid and into the changing waters of history. Some are more readily accepting of this than others, obviously, everyone has to approach the question their own way. Being a hefty monster of a tome, however, this one is most definitely aimed at the serious scholar, regardless of the historical or spiritual approach.

    More

    Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Diarmaid MacCulloch
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (397)
    Performance
    (218)
    Story
    (223)

    Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read or heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.

    Celia says: "Generally quite good"
  • "A Fantastic Overview!"

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    I find that in my studies of history, comprehensive and sweeping overviews are invaluable, both to help keep people and events in perspective, and to give me an idea of where I might want to dig deeper later on. I've gone through a number of such overviews over the years, though not one as ambitious as this one. From the mists of legend through to the fall of Rome as the title suggests, Bauer weaves together all of the broad strokes of human history in this time period. For the earlier accounts, history is extrapolated from mythology and archaeology, translating symbolism into human events. Another high point of praise is that most overviews like this will pick a single nation or perhaps a hemisphere. This covers East and West, putting the rise and fall of various dynasties on a timeline that allows the reader to compare and contrast in an way that I've not seen with such effectiveness. Bauer has similar titles for Medieval and Renaissance history, and I'm looking forward to connecting those stories as one larger tapestry.

    More

    The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Susan Wise Bauer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (85)

    This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Fantastic Overview!"
  • "A Personal History"

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    As much as this is a book of political monarchs in highly turbulent times, this is also the personal story of siblings and how they related to one another. Once again, Alison Weir has knocked another one out of the park, bringing even the most nuanced aspects of this realm and time period to life in such a way that even a foreigner of the modern world can understand it in a deeply meaningful way. As a narrative history, this excels.

    Weir does state that this book is a follow-up to her book The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which I've also given top marks. Indeed, I would agree that in conjunction with that work, Tudor history becomes a very human story, something far beyond a soap opera. Having read her biography of Henry VIII in paperback, I can say that anyone serious in Tudor studies via Weir should start there, proceed to Six Wives, then this. This focuses on the time period between Henry's death and Elizabeth's ascension, spotlighting Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, and Elizabeth. Next in line is her Life of Elizabeth, which will no doubt build on all of these other foundations, and which I'll be adding to my reading list soon. It's all dense storytelling, but it's also expert level history made as friendly as if reading a novel, building the layers as an artist does a painting. It's that good.

    Simon Prebble is as authoritative and as engaging as ever in his role as narrator. He's just got one of those instantly respectable and friendly voices that's perfect for documentary narratives and lends itself so well to works such as this.

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    The Children of Henry VIII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (209)

    New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir is one of the most popular chroniclers of British and European royal history. In this fascinating book she sheds light on the scheming, backstabbing and brutality that plagued England after Henry VIII’s death. Filled with remarkable and sometimes shocking details, The Children of Henry VIII is an arresting narrative that brings the past to life and infuses it with all the flair of a riveting novel.

    Neil Chisholm says: "A very dysfunctional family!"
  1. Christianity: The First T...
  2. The History of the Ancien...
  3. The Children of Henry VIII
  4. .

David

David Halethorpe, MD, United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2010

Indiscriminate Reader

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  • "How the U.S. entered the war"

    11 of 11 helpful votes

    I listened to this book because I have kind of an interest in cryptography and its historical impact. The Zimmerman Telegram is ostensibly about the famous telegram that was the final straw that brought America into the first World War, and how the British decoded it and then made use of it. But that turns out to be only a relatively minor part of the story. Really, most of the book is about the geopolitics of the early 20th century and the personalities of leading American, British, and German officials, diplomats, and military leaders, and how these shaped history as we know it.

    The "plot" in a nutshell (and Barbara Tuchman does make this book interesting enough that it reads more like a novel plot moving from one twist to another, rather than the inevitable course of history): in 1917, Britain and the other Allied powers are getting the stuffing beaten out of them by Germany. The European front is hemorrhaging lives. What Britain wants and needs, and what Germany fears, is America entering the war. The only thing keeping Britain alive is her navy, and the German navy thinks they can starve Britain and the rest of the Allies if they commence "unrestricted" submarine warfare: meaning, even neutral ships are fair targets in the war zone. Since this largely means American ships bringing supplies to Britain, letting the U-boats loose means very likely provoking America into declaring war.

    Then falls into the hands of British codebreakers, who unbeknownst to the Germans have broken their diplomatic code, a telegram from German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman to the German ambassador in Mexico. Zimmerman tells the ambassador to offer an alliance between Germany and Mexico should the U.S. enter the war (which they expect will happen since the decision has already been made to begin unrestricted submarine warfare). As part of the deal, Germany offers Mexico a great big slice of the American Southwest (basically everything the U.S. had taken from Mexico in various wars and then some), and also urges them to make an alliance with Japan to get Japan to attack the U.S. West Coast.

    This is obviously political dynamite, and the British figure it's just what they need to push the U.S. into declaring war on Germany. The only problems are (1) how to reveal this in a way that will simultaneously not be dismissed by the Americans as a hoax while not revealing to the Germans that their code has been broken; (2) U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, who has been stubbornly persisting in trying to broker peace and keep the U.S. neutral, even as it becomes increasingly obvious that neither will be possible.

    As I mentioned, the codebreaking stuff turns out to be a very small piece of the story. I found the characterization of President Wilson much more interesting: at times he seems naive, foolish, stubborn, and understandably his opponents even labeled him cowardly. He was adamantly opposed to entering the war, and was pushing his "peace without victory" plan even after the Germans had all but spit on it. But Tuchman's portrayal does suggest a man who was far from cowardly, and not a fool either. He genuinely wanted peace, and genuinely grieved when his orders resulted in the deaths of American servicemembers. (One might wish some of our more recent Presidents had such a personal investment in the consequences of their orders...) But he was also stubborn and prone to not listening to news and opinions he didn't like.

    The other interesting part of the story is just how differently the U.S. was situated then as opposed to now. We Americans tend to think that the U.S. has been a "world power" pretty much since its founding, but really, in 1917, the U.S. was big and had a lot of industrial capacity and manpower, but had yet to really be tested on the world stage. Today we laugh at the idea that Mexico might seriously think they could invade the U.S. and carve off Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, but it was no joke then, especially if Japan, a growing empire itself, landed troops on the West Coast, which was also a real possibility, or at least the U.S. believed it was.

    World War I was when America had to actually prove itself and get bloodied. The other powers wanted America's strength on their side and feared America's strength turned against them, but probably no one had any idea of the global superpower the U.S. would become.

    An interesting history full of diplomatic maneuverings and historical context that reminds us that everything leading up to World War I, like most wars, was built on things that had been happening for decades before it. A hundred years later, we mostly only remember the outcome.

    More

    The Zimmermann Telegram

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Barbara W. Tuchman
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (200)

    In the dark winter of 1917, as World War I was deadlocked, Britain knew that Europe could be saved only if the United States joined the war. But President Wilson remained unshakable in his neutrality. Then, with a single stroke, the tool to propel America into the war came into a quiet British office. One of countless messages intercepted by the crack team of British decoders, the Zimmermann telegram was a top-secret message from Berlin inviting Mexico to join Japan in an invasion of the United States.

    Mike From Mesa says: "US entry to World War I"

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    Unlike most other World War II accounts, this work covers the South Pacific operations in detail. The audiobook includes many now-forgotten operations that deserve to be well remembered. Significantly, the official Australian history of World War II correctly observed that Australia's part in the Pacific war is barely mentioned in American histories. This volume finally brings the major Australian contribution to the fore.

  • A First Visit to the Trenches (






UNABRIDGED) by Wilfrid Ewart Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    A First Visit to the Trenches

    • UNABRIDGED (11 mins)
    • By Wilfrid Ewart
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
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    English novelist and journalist Wilfrid Ewart (1892-1922) survived the battlefields of the First World War only to die a few years later in Mexico City where near midnight, he stepped out onto his hotel balcony to observe the New Year's festivities and was killed by a stray bullet fired by a reveler below. This is Ewart's firsthand account of his first visit to the trenches in February 1915.

  • First World War: 1914: Voices from the BBC Archive  by Mark Jones Narrated by Jonathan Keeble

    First World War: 1914: Voices from the BBC Archive

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mark Jones
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
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    At midnight on 4 August, Britain had declared war on Germany. The pacifist Bertrand Russell was shocked by the pro-war euphoria on the streets, yet young men enlisted willingly because "it would all be over by Christmas". It was not. Instead the opposing armies had become entrenched. It was the beginning of a long and bitter stalemate.

  • Thunder in the Sky (






UNABRIDGED) by Molly Lefebure Narrated by Annie Aldington

    Thunder in the Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Molly Lefebure
    • Narrated By Annie Aldington
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    Their country needed themIn the summer of 1942, Lorna Washbourne must say goodbye to her beloved home in the peaceful East Anglian countryside, which is about to be demolished to make way for the US Eighth Army Air Force and its new airfield.War brings with it great change and Lorna and her friends find themselves called up to serve. Violetta is in the army while Megan and Bunty are sent to London: Megan, in the American Red Cross; Bunty, a clippie on the London buses.

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  • The Cruel Victory: The French Resistance, D-Day and the Battle for the Vercors 1944 (






UNABRIDGED) by Paddy Ashdown Narrated by Paddy Ashdown

    The Cruel Victory: The French Resistance, D-Day and the Battle for the Vercors 1944

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Paddy Ashdown
    • Narrated By Paddy Ashdown
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    From best-selling and award-winning author of A Brilliant Little Operation comes the long neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif - the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War. In early 1941, three separate groups of plotters - one military, one political, one intellectual - began to organise and plan on and around the forbidding mountainous plateau near Grenoble - the Vercors.

  • Breve historia del Socialismo y del Comunismo (






UNABRIDGED) by Javier Paniagua Narrated by Juan Magraner

    Breve historia del Socialismo y del Comunismo

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Javier Paniagua
    • Narrated By Juan Magraner
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    El mundo actual, y su eterna pugna entre personas y mercados, es incomprensible si no se entiende la historia de estas teorías político-económicas. La historia del S. XX puede narrarse a través de las distintas teorías sociales, históricas, económicas o filosóficas que convulsionaron a los distintos países y a las personas.

  • Casualidades, coincidencias y serendipias de la historia (






UNABRIDGED) by Gregorio Doval Narrated by Albert Cortés

    Casualidades, coincidencias y serendipias de la historia

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Gregorio Doval
    • Narrated By Albert Cortés
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    Cuentan que Napoleón Bonaparte, el día de la batalla de Waterloo, se despertó con unas hemorroides gigantes, no pudo montar a caballo por ello y, como consecuencia, perdió perspectiva del campo de batalla y acabó perdiendo la batalla. La historia a veces discurre por cauces imprevistos e inexplicables como muestra bien a las claras Casualidades coincidencias y serendipias de la historia, un audio libro plagado de estas pequeñas anécdotas con grandes consecuencias pero en el que también abundan las grandes casualidades de hombres muy pequeños.

  • Breve historia de la medicina (






UNABRIDGED) by Pedro Gargantilla Narrated by Tony Chiroldes

    Breve historia de la medicina

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Pedro Gargantilla
    • Narrated By Tony Chiroldes
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    La medicina acompaña al hombre desde el inicio de los tiempos, siempre hemos conocido la enfermedad y la muerte y siempre hemos luchado, con todos nuestros medios, contra ellas. Desde la Prehistoria, en la que la curación estaba ligada a la magia, hasta la actualidad, en la que existen máquinas nanotecnológicas o píldoras capaces de regular casi todos nuestros procesos, la historia de la medicina es una aventura apasionante llena de hombres que sacrificaron todo por acabar con las enfermedades principales de sus comunidades.

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  • Breve historia de la astronomía (






UNABRIDGED) by Ángel Cardona Narrated by Cristina Serra Moles

    Breve historia de la astronomía

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ángel Cardona
    • Narrated By Cristina Serra Moles
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    El relato del conocimiento del universo inabarcable, desde la mirada al cielo con el ojo desnudo hasta las sondas enviadas a años luz de la Tierra: una historia que tiene más de 3.600 años de antigüedad.La tarea de resumir más de tres milenios de investigaciones sobre el cielo parece imposible, más difícil aún parece presentarla de modo que pueda ser conocido por cualquier tipo de oyente, independientemente del conocimiento del mismo.

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