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Gary

Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States Member Since 2001

Letting the rest of the world go by

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  • "Easy to remember all the stories in..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author writes in a straightforward manner and explains the science in a highly entertaining manner. If I ever sit next to somebody in a waffle house who starts talking about his life stories, I can easily pivot into one of the five stories splendidly presented in this book. The writer was that good at telling the stories about the blunders, and having listened to it I can probably relate the whole book and it's major points without missing a beat. That tells me the book was well presented.

    The narrator made the book better than the written book. I found some of his voices a real hoot, particularly Darwin and Einstein. I would definitely recommend the audible version versus the written form of this book.

    For me, this book was a template for having worked in the real world surrounded around very smart people who would fall into the blunders that are illustrated by these five stories. I don't think the author realized how relevant the stories could be for most working stiffs and the kind of people we often have to work with.

    Instead of picking Einstein's blunder as the cosmological constant, he should have picked Einstein's failure to accept quantum mechanics after having co-discovered it and wasting his time on the GUT (grand unified theorem) outside of the context of quantum physics. I know why he picked the cosmological constant. It's a funner story to relate and is more relevant today because of the mystery of Dark Energy, and the word blunder is not usually associated with that for Einstein and the cosmological constant is.

    Overall, the stories are well presented, and it was narrated much better than it was written, but the author missed a great opportunity to make a better book about the foibles of life in general.

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    Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mario Livio
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (80)

    We all make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. Not even some of the greatest geniuses in history, as Mario Livio tells us in this marvelous story of scientific error and breakthrough. Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein were all brilliant scientists. Each made groundbreaking contributions to his field - but each also stumbled badly. These five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on Earth, the evolution of the Earth itself, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors. As Mario Livio luminously explains, the scientific process advances through error.

    Gary says: "Easy to remember all the stories in the book"
  • "Exciting, I couldn't wait for the n..."

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    Books like this ruin it for me since they are so much better written (and read) than the average. Each page is exciting and I couldn't wait for the next. How an author can do that about an era which I've avoided because of its dryness is a compliment to the author. What I like best about the book is now I feel like I'm a scholar of the Italian Renaissance and the Epicurean movement! I never knew that something about book binding, Epicurean philosophy, script development and a poem could keep me on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting for the next paragraph.

    You don't have to have the faintest interest in the Italian Renaissance or Latin Poetry to appreciate this book. The author is that good of a writer, and he will make you anxiously await the next page.

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    The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (774)
    Performance
    (658)
    Story
    (655)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
  • "A path towards wisdom by way of his..."

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    One of the great books on Eastern Civilizations. This book is a perfect listen for those who don't like history with all of its dates since he tells the story functionally not chronologically. The book looks at history by each civilization and by function (philosophy, poetry, prose, people's language, government and so on). The author seems to excel when he's talking about a country's philosophy and uses it to describe the country's culture. The section on Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism are the best I have ever read.

    It's hard to condense 2000 or more years into a digestible understandable format, but the author does it and the listener really gets to understand our place in the universe a little bit better because of it. The author magically takes random events, turns it into information, processes it into knowledge by giving it narrative and then gives the listener wisdom he didn't have before. I did smile out loud when we were told about Akbar the "illiterate intellectual". He would have the great works of his time read aloud to him. After having listened to this work, I too feel like the illiterate intellectual (since reading puts me to sleep and listening does not. Thank you Audible for making this book available!).

    I will give a bit of advice to any potential listener that I know I wouldn't follow myself (my favorite kind of free advice). Don't listen to the first eight hours or so of the book on prehistoric man and early prehistory. He's just wrong and full of prejudices of the time. I did listen to it because I have a linear personality and just can't bring myself to not listen to it all, but the only value I got is that how little they knew about that period of man in 1935 and how they would extrapolate falsely and a boatload of the author's Western prejudices sneaked through.

    I would be amiss to not comment on some of the incredibly absurd statements that permeate the book (meat eaters stink, "the average Japanese man today has the sensitivity and shrewdness of the Jew", Hindus are a superstitious people, and so on). I would recommend just ignore such statements and take the book as the masterpiece it is. I have yet to find any other book that covers Eastern Civilizations better and I definitely will read the other volumes in the series.

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    Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (50 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia.

    Michael says: "Wonderful"
  1. Brilliant Blunders: From ...
  2. The Swerve: How the World...
  3. Our Oriental Heritage: Th...
  4. .

Margaret

Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 12-23-12 Member Since 2008
HELPFUL VOTES
708
ratings
REVIEWS
93
72
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
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8
  • "Best download in months!"

    23 of 23 helpful votes

    This is the fourth course by Professor Drout I've listened to and this may be my favorite. He enthusiastically covers the history of the culture, (religion, literature, language) and the politics of the Vikings (which he explains was a word that originally meant "a man who keeps his boat tied up in the creek behind his farm") and also their importance to European history as a whole.

    He touches on a wide variety of subjects. But the lectures fly by and I found myself wishing the course was longer. I was never bored and I will re-listen to it several more times. I highly recommend this course.

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    The Modern Scholar: The Norsemen - Understanding Vikings and Their Culture

    • ORIGINAL (5 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Professor Michael D.C. Drout
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    Professor Michael D.C. Drout of Wheaton College immerses listeners in the extraordinary legacy of Viking civilization, which developed in what is now Scandinavia during the early Middle Ages. During the course of these lectures, Professor Drout explores how these peoples conquered all of Northern Europe, traveled as far as Byzantium in the East and North America in the West, and left a literary legacy that includes numerous works studied and enjoyed to this day.

    Margaret says: "Best download in months!"

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    Battle: The Story of the Bulge

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By John Toland
    • Narrated By Dan Butler
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    The Decisive Battles of World History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
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    Throughout history, military engagements have altered the course of historical events. In these 36 dynamic lectures, Professor Aldrete leads you in discovering the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of events and defining our world. Across 4,000 years of history, you'll explore nearly 40 key military engagements, from the milestone battles of Western civilization to their counterparts in the Middle East, India, and Asia.

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    Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies

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    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
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UNABRIDGED) by Elizabeth Kolbert Narrated by Anne Twomey

    The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Kolbert
    • Narrated By Anne Twomey
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    The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
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    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

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    The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
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    Performance
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    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
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UNABRIDGED) by Margaret MacMillan Narrated by Richard Burnip

    The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Margaret MacMillan
    • Narrated By Richard Burnip
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    Performance
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    Story
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UNABRIDGED) by Will Durant Narrated by Robin Field

    Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (50 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Will Durant
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (34)

    The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia.

    Michael says: "Wonderful"
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    The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
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    Performance
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    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
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UNABRIDGED) by Ari Shavit Narrated by Paul Boehmer

    My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Ari Shavit
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
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    Not since Thomas L. Friedman's groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land. Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family's story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts.

    Stuart M. Wilder says: "Great book, but why the accent?"
  • A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (






UNABRIDGED) by Michael Axworthy Narrated by Peter Ganim

    A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Michael Axworthy
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (0)
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    Although frequently vilified, Iran is a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Its political impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbors in the Middle East but also throughout the world. From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient Persian Empires, to the revolution of 1979, the hostage crisis, and the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Michael Axworthy vividly depicts the nation’s rich history.

  • Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State (






UNABRIDGED) by Mark Lawrence Schrad Narrated by Noah Michael Levine

    Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mark Lawrence Schrad
    • Narrated By Noah Michael Levine
    Overall
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    Russia is famous for its vodka, and its culture of extreme intoxication. But just as vodka is central to the lives of many Russians, it is also central to understanding Russian history and politics. In Vodka Politics, Mark Lawrence Schrad argues that debilitating societal alcoholism is not hard-wired into Russians' genetic code, but rather their autocratic political system, which has long wielded vodka as a tool of statecraft. Through a series of historical investigations stretching from Ivan the Terrible through Vladimir Putin, Vodka Politics presents the secret history of the Russian state itself.

  • Supreme Commander: MacArthur's Triumph in Japan (






UNABRIDGED) by Seymour Morris Narrated by Charles Constant

    Supreme Commander: MacArthur's Triumph in Japan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Seymour Morris
    • Narrated By Charles Constant
    Overall
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    He is the most-decorated general in American history - and the only five-star general to receive the Medal of Honor. Yet Douglas MacArthur’s greatest victory was not in war but in peace. As the uniquely titled Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, he was charged with transforming a defeated, militarist empire into a beacon of peace and democracy - "the greatest gamble ever attempted", he called it.

  • The Story of the Sixth Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1915-1918 (






UNABRIDGED) by R. B. Ainsworth Narrated by Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot

    The Story of the Sixth Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1915-1918

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By R. B. Ainsworth
    • Narrated By Felbrigg Napoleon Herriot
    Overall
    (0)
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    FNH Audio presents this unabridged reading of the heroic story of a territorial battalion mobilised and sent overseas into the bloodiest conflict the world has ever known. They fought with distinction at the Somme and Arras through some of the most terrible and wasteful of battles. In one three month period this battalion alone lost 1,200 men and sixty officers. That it survived until the end of the war was nothing short of a miracle.This history was written by the battalions Adjutant in 1919.

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  • Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy (






UNABRIDGED) by Charles Pellegrino Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

    Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Charles Pellegrino
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
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    On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, a prominent Titanic researcher offers a final chance to see the ship before it disappears forever. The Titanic was the biggest, most luxurious passenger ship the world had ever seen; the ads proclaimed it to be unsinkable. When it sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, the world was forever changed and the public has been spellbound ever since. Now, a century later, the Titanic is about to disappear again: its infrastructure is set to collapse in the next few years.

  • Red Dusk and the Morrow: Adventures & Investigations in Soviet Russia (






UNABRIDGED) by Paul Dukes Narrated by Peter Owen

    Red Dusk and the Morrow: Adventures & Investigations in Soviet Russia

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Paul Dukes
    • Narrated By Peter Owen
    Overall
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    Paul Dukes was sent into Russia in 1918, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, by ‘C’ (the mysterious head of the British secret service). His mission: to pull together the British spy networks operating against the new regime. With its spies and diplomats thrown out at the start of the Red Terror, Britain’s espionage efforts were left to a British businessman with no previous experience as a spy. Dukes operated under a variety of covers, the most daring of which was as a member of the Cheka secret police.

  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume V (






UNABRIDGED) by Edward Gibbon Narrated by David Timson

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume V

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always maintained its initial appeal to both the general public and scholars alike. Its sheer scale is daunting, encompassing over a millennium of history, covering not merely the Western Empire from the days of the early emperors to its extinction in AD 476, but also the Eastern Empire, which lasted for another thousand years until the Turks vanquished it in 1453. But Gibbon’s style is enticing, and the sheer honesty of the man endears him to the listener.

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