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Member Since 2013

  • 3 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 220 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015

  • The Last Days of the Incas

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kim MacQuarrie
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1532, the 54-year-old Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a force of 167 men, including his four brothers, to the shores of Peru. Unbeknownst to the Spaniards, the Inca rulers of Peru had just fought a bloody civil war in which the emperor Atahualpa had defeated his brother, Huascar. Pizarro and his men soon clashed with Atahualpa and a huge force of Inca warriors at the Battle of Cajamarca.

    David says: "Quit while you are ahead"
    "A page turner, if such an audiobook is possible"

    Kim MacQuarrie begins his narrative acknowledging many of the challenges associated with writing a book about the Incas. The Incas had no written language (other than the quipus they used mostly as an accounting tool). The conquering Spaniards on the other hand had very little interest in science, archeology, or history or in understanding or preserving the traditions of a conquered people. What historical sources exist today are essentially collections of letters and greatly exaggerated accounts of their "heroics" among the "savages" of the new world. Yet, in spite of these odds, Kim manages to put together a work that is not only historical, but also a narrative that keeps the reader engaged - wanting to know what happens next. Yes, it is true that Kim uses the word "undoubtedly" more than a few times whenever he wants to color, or insert his own opinion of the facts (how would anyone know whether Manco Inca was affraid, surprised or enraged about the approach of the Spaniards?, for example), but I didn't find his additions specially problematic.
    Instead,I found his work fascinating and it helped me better understand the history of the "conquest" of Peru, as well as the roots of many of the social phenomena that we observe today in Latin America.
    An excellent read! Well done.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Emperor of Ocean Park

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Stephen L. Carter
    • Narrated By Richard Allen

    Set in the era of the Nixon and Reagan presidencies, this novel examines the American conscience while inviting us into the glittering world of the East Coast legal community. Stephen L. Carter's book follows black Ivy League law professor Talcott Garland as he investigates the death of his father, Judge Oliver Garland, the eponymous "Emperor."

    Maria says: "Not a bad book but where was the editor?"
    "Slow. Very slow, and not very interesting."

    Reading The Emperor of Ocean park is an exercise in endurance. It is a very long listen by any standard (26 hours!) which is made even longer by a plot that develops at glacial speed and the flat personality of the main character. The descriptions of places and characters are unnecessarily belabored. There are very few "aha!" moments for the reader. The final scenes (the final hour or so) pick up a little steam, start flowing a little better and holding your attention a little more, but the ending was, in my opinion, disappointing.

    If you are interested in gaining a view into the "glittery lives of Ivy League professors, etc. etc." (paraphrasing from the publisher's description), perhaps this would be an interesting read -- but it may feel more like homework.

    If you are looking for complex characters, a suspenseful plot that leaves you hanging and eagerly waiting for the next chapter, and a shocking finale... look elsewhere.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Jessica L. Harland-Jacobs
    • Narrated By Brett Barry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    They built some of the first communal structures on the empire's frontiers. The empire's most powerful proconsuls sought entrance into their lodges. Their public rituals drew dense crowds from Montreal to Madras. The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons were quintessential builders of empire, argues Jessica Harland-Jacobs.

    Luis says: "Great read if you are a Masonic history enthusiast"
    "Great read if you are a Masonic history enthusiast"

    I downloaded this book thinking that I may get an in depth account of the influence of Masonic thinking in the creation and expansion of the British empire. However, this book focuses most of its narrative on giving a detailed account of the history of the Masons in the British Empire. These are two completely different topics.

    If you are a Mason, are intimately familiar with their beliefs, or have read a lot about Masons and want a substantial amount of additional details of their history in Britain since the early 1700's then this is no doubt the book for you (assuming you don't mind some repetition).

    If instead you are a history enthusiast, wanting perhaps to understand the interaction of the many factors that made the British and later the American Empires what they eventually became, and wonder what role Masons may have played, you may be disappointed.

    It's also extremely long winded.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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