I am an avid eclectic reader.
Margaret Macmillan is Canadian historian who is teaching at Oxford University. She is the great-granddaughter of David Lloyd George, Britain’s wartime Prime Minister. I recently read Max Hastings “Catastrophe 1914”. He and Macmillan are coving the same nine months leading up to the war. Hasting covered the role of general staff of rival governments showing a step by step documentation leading up to war. MacMillan on the other hand covers the diplomats and politicians showing step by step how they had avoided war numerous time and why this occasion they failed. Even though Macmillan’s book is scholarly it is very readable. She has the ability to evoke the world at the beginning of the 20th Century, when Europe had gone 85 years without a general war between great powers. In these years there was an explosion of production, wealth and a transformation in society and the way people lived. Food was better and cheaper, dramatic advances in hygiene and medicine, faster communications including cheap public telegraphs. Macmillan asks “why would Europe want to throw it all away?” In the middle of the book Macmillan considers the larger context within which the final approach to war occurred. She is good at painting the intellectual background of “social Darwinism.” The author does a good job dealing with the July crisis and distributes the responsibility widely. It was created by Serbia irresponsibility, Austrian vengefulness, and the “Blank check” the Kaiser issued to Vienna. She recognizes how Britain’s, French and especially Russian actions exacerbated the crisis and rejects the view that this was a German pre-emptive strike, a “flight forward” from domestic strife into war, while arguing that German politics recklessly and knowingly risked war. I think she is right on both counts. Macmillan makes it clear wars are not inevitable there are always choices. Richard Burnip did an excellent job narrating this 32 hour book. This book is a must for anyone interested in WWI history.
I read the first book on Genghis Khan and now on the Mongol Queens. This is a good book all women should read this and find out how much more freedom the women had under the Mongol rule compared to Islam and in Europe. The long term effects of the Mongol was very interesting. The information provided in this book gives a different view of history compared to the standard European view we were taught in school. So much new information has been discovered recently. Great history told in an interesting fashion.
This is the story of Franz Stigler, a German fighter pilot and Charlie Brown a B17 Eighth Air Force pilot. It is the fascinating story of how their lives intersected in December 1943 permanently altering their lives. I found this an emotional book with a similar effect on me as Laura Hildebrand's "Unbroken". It left me feeling good about people. Most of the book is about Franz Stilger's life as a child, young man and pilot commercial then military. He was a German ace and later flew the jet planes over Germany. It also covered the men of the B17 and then their hunt for each other after the war. I noted that long after the war the crew of the B17 "Ye Old Pub" received their metals- Brown, the Air Force flying Cross and the silver star for each of the crew making them the highest decorated B17 crew. Adam Makos is the editor of the military magazine Valor and came across this story during interviews with WWII pilots. He brought to life the story of a man, the air battles, the thrill of flying and the fear of living in Nazi Germany. I am sure glad he wrote the story as a book. Robertson Dean did a great job reading this book. This book is not only for us WWI and WWII history buff but for any teen or adult that is looking for a good story with moral value.
The Company is a must-read book for anyone enmeshed in corporate America (or corporate-anywhere) because it explains how we got here, as organization-man and why we are organized in the way we are. The institution of the stock company stretches back for a thousand years or more, but the recognizable roots are back in the 1600s and 1700s. Micklethwait & Wooldridge bring this otherwise dusty history alive for us, showing the reader that the organizational challenges we face today in a corporatist society are not new, and that solutions to problems we believe are unique to ourselves have been found in other situations and other eras. I felt that this book gave me great perspective on the organization I work in and about the organizations we regulate and serve. It was useful as an intellectual diversion but also as something I can use to help guide my work in my everyday job.
The prospective reader need not be wary of this being some very very long article out of the Harvard Business Review or a more popular business magazine like the Economist (where the two authors are employed). This book uses history intertwined with interesting anecdote to keep this story interesting throughout.
Not everything about this audiobook was perfect. This book may not have been ideally suited to be conveyed in audio form because of its density of detail. To help myself along, I borrowed the hardbound volume from the library, and skimmed it in segments interspersed with listening. I don?t think I would have read the book had I not encountered this volume on Audible, but neither would I have been able to absorb it to my own satisfaction without the crutch of the hardbound book. Others with more familiarity with the subject matter may be able to do without this crutch.
I recommend the book highly to those seriously interested in the institutions we take for granted that are all around us.