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bryan

I enjoy non fiction almost exclusively and especially love the history of Rome, the conquest of the Americas, and early American history from the founding of the earliest colonial settlements to the Antebellum rise of the United States.

Indianapolis, INDIANA, United States | Member Since 2012

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 36 ratings
  • 94 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
13

  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (647)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (291)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Kimberly says: "Good book, poor editing ..."
    "UNBELIEVABLE!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is no wonder this received the National Book Award... This is, to put it as simply as possible, a MUST READ! You don't like history? No problem! You are not interested in whaling? No problem! This is a compelling relevant story of human nature, struggle, friendship, loss, pain, death, and whale oil. A true American story of EPIC proportions!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Isabel Wilkerson
    • Narrated By Robin Miles, Ken Burns
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (908)
    Performance
    (728)
    Story
    (729)

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to previously untapped data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

    Lila says: "Superior non-fiction"
    "WOW! Thank you...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Absolutely amazing! Heartfelt, emotional, gripping.... This is a wonderful story that was a pleasure to listen to. The narrator, Robin Miles, does a great job transporting the listener and attaching them to the people and places in this book. I have read in other reviews negative comments on the pacing and repetition of phrases. It is absolutely true that the writer will use and reuse a small description say, of someone. I felt that really helped me place everything and jog my memory as to the situation at hand. It does not come off as lazy or unedited but, more conversational. There are a lot of people in these stories with the same names and those recycled descriptions help keep everything straight and helps gain a sense of the characters.
    This is an emotional ride, be forewarned. At times I openly laughed, giggled, smiled proudly, cheered, and also got so angry, disappointed, saddened, fist clenchingly pissed off! Needless to say, it is a necessary and enjoyable listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Eric Jay Dolin
    • Narrated By James Boles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (28)

    Here is the epic history of the "iron men in wooden boats" who built an industrial empire through the pursuit of whales. This absorbing history demonstrates that few things can capture the sheer danger and desperation of men on the deep sea as dramatically as whaling. This sweeping social and economic history provides rich and often fantastic accounts of the men themselves, who mutinied, murdered, rioted, deserted, drank, scrimshawed, and recorded their experiences in journals and memoirs.

    Jesse says: "NOT JUST BLUBBER"
    "Thare she blows...!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this after Heart of the Sea, which I think is a prerequisite to this story. There is also a decent PBS documentary on the history of American whaling which seems to draw a lot from this book and interviews not only the author of this book, Eric Dolin, but also Nathaniel Philbrick and a few historians.
    This book does have some flaws but they do not detract from this history. This is a broad view and a great starting point for non scholars to get an idea of American whaling. he gets some minute sailing facts incorrect and refers to Philbrick as a 'historian', he is not. He is a writer. However, I think that's being a little pedantic. I enjoyed this book and along with some other supplements, I learned a tremendous amount about American whaling and the history of the United States.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Bruce A. Bruce A. Bradley, Denis J. Stanford
    • Narrated By Christopher Prince
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. The presence of these early New World people was established by distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative.

    Stephen says: "Ice Cold story"
    "Science in progress..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Science is a messy process. That being said, this is not just the story of the populating of the Americas, this is the story of science itself. This is a story of new ideas challenging the old, new evidence, and the search for a better understanding of the facts. Many of the chapters can get bogged down with excessive detail about flintknapping but it definitely adds to the understanding and evidence for much bigger points. The way the Americas were populated is obviously complex with many subtleties. This book does not declare and defend one position only, it shows more complexity and brings more understanding to this most interesting subject.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Sean Parnell, John Bruning
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (515)
    Story
    (517)

    At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.

    Chris says: "Great book...Everyone should listen to this book!!"
    "Heroes?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Outlaw Platoon is a story of love, brotherhood, pain, suffering, tragedy, and loss. There is no 'upside', this is war. Before you vote to turn our American kids into American soldiers to send them to 'fight for our freedom' perhaps we should all read/listen to books like this.
    It is a harrowing story at times, heart wrenchingly disgusting and tragic at others, but completely necessary to hear. I'm sure this is really just a glimpse into the life of a soldier in Afghanistan but one needs to begin somewhere. I would suggest right here. The only uplifting aspect of this story is the love these brothers in arms share and the sense of duty and honor these men and women posess. I walked away from this with a couple of haunting questions, "What the hell are we fighting for?" "What is winning and how do we do it?"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Gerard Helferich
    • Narrated By Ray Childs
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    The thrilling story of the charismatic explorer who Simon Bolivar called "the true discoverer of South America" and the daring expedition that altered the course of science. From 1799 to 1804 German naturalist and adventurer Alexander von Humboldt conducted the first extensive scientific exploration of Latin America.

    Mark D. Jones says: "Excellent book about someone I knew nothing about"
    "Shoulders of giants..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Science is an ongoing process, a tool, a method and Alexander Von Humboldt used it to understand our world during a time of explosive advance. He was unknown to me previously and my world is more complete now that he is known.
    This is the story of a man who would go on to influence Charles Darwin and John Lyell with his scientific rigor and quest for answers. This quest for scientific knowledge lead him to Cuba, South America, Mexico, and to Washington, D.C. to meet perhaps, the embodiment of the Enlightenment, Thomas Jefferson. This is not only the story of one man but of science and this man and his team are literally the 'boots on the ground'. Adventurously traveling through the dark deep jungle of the Amazon to the peaks of the Andes and following in the footsteps of Hernan Cortes in Mexico, Von Humboldt measures all, classifies many, and turns many previous scientific theories on their heads. Of course, not everything goes as planned but Humboldt's vision is never deterred and he should be recognized for his achievements. This book will move us all a little closer to that recognition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jack Weatherford
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Jack Weatherford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3696)
    Performance
    (2285)
    Story
    (2303)

    The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

    Peter says: "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
    "World's Greatest!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent, well written, and well read history of the Mongols. This a great starting point for an overall view of the great Kahn and of the Mongols in general. I was only familiar with the vague story of the rise and rule of Ghengis Kahn and this was a fantastic exploration! The accounts of some of the battles, the tactics, weapons, and strategies were endlessly fascinating and descriptive; full of emotion and even tension.
    The flexibility of the Mongols to learn and apply knowledge and technology is hardly less than impressive. This fact and the relentless determination and perseverance of the Mongol people nearly guaranteed them success until they strayed too far from their own humble beginnings.
    The Mongols affected nearly the entire world; if you did not realize this, this book is for YOU!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (779)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (214)

    From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a 55-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

    John M says: "Fascinating book about a little-understood time"
    "Great History...!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a great listen! This a a well written account not only of the Puritans that ventured across the Atlantic in 1620 but of their encounter and relationship with the Native Indian people of New England and how these first relationships set the course for future events.
    I've read some reviews chastising Philbrick for a misleading title but I could not disagree more. As he notes in the introduction Philbrick compares two key figures of the ongoing Puritan experiment, William Bradford and Benjamin Church. There is another group that needs to be represented in this history and that is of course, the Native Indians. Philbrick not only gives insights to their prior way of life but to the myriad of upcoming changes for these native people. There is much insight to the world view of these parties involved, their motivations, the courage and loss, and struggle that all people persevere to not only survive but to flourish.
    I would highly recommend this audiobook for anyone interested in early American history or the early encounters of Europeans and the native populations of the Americas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America: Southern Biography Series

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Meredith Mason Brown
    • Narrated By Todd Barsness
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Meredith Mason Brown traces Daniel Boone's life from his Pennsylvania childhood to his experiences in the militia and his rise as an unexcelled woodsman, explorer, and backcountry leader. In the process, we meet the authentic Boone: he didn't wear coonskin caps; he read and wrote better than many frontiersmen; he was not the first to settle Kentucky; he took no pleasure in killing Indians. At once a loner and a leader, a Quaker who became a skilled frontier fighter, Boone is a study in contradictions.

    Matt says: "Ok book...strange writing style"
    "American Spirit..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America in three words, what would they be?

    Action-Packed, Adventure, American


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America?

    The Siege of Fort Boonesborough and the great imagery of the landscape and encounters with the Native Indians


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great account of a near mythical American character. Brown tells a fascinating story weaving together a much greater understanding of the native Indians, the frontier of the newly emerging American nation, and the Boone legacy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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