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David

Ithaca, NY, USA | Member Since 2005

24
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 424 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 20 purchased in 2014
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  • The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain's Fourth Expedition

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Martin Dugard
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    The epic, never-before-told story of Columbus's final, and perhaps greatest, journey to the New World. The final voyage of Christopher Columbus was by far his most dangerous, unexpected, exhilarating, and consequential. It was, as Pulitzer Prize-winner Samuel Eliot Morison put it, "a story of adventure which imagination could hardly invent; a struggle between man and the elements, in which the most splendid manifestations of devotion, loyalty and courage are mingled with the vilest human passions."

    David says: "Brilliant!"
    "Brilliant!"
    Overall

    One of my favorite audiobooks of the year. Well read, and both a great history and a marvelous story. Dugard has brought Columbus to life with a fast paced, suspenseful account of his last voyage. You will likely come away with a new respect for the man that took such great risks, despite his many errors in judgement and geography.
    This will make a great movie someday.....

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Distress

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Greg Egan
    • Narrated By Adam Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Investigative reporter Andrew Worth turns down a documentary on a mysterious new mental illness - "Distress," or acute clinical anxiety syndrome, for another assignment. He's on his way to the artificial island of Stateless, where the world's top physicists are gathering to decide on a new TOE, or Theory of Everything, to replace Einstein's outmoded legacy.

    David says: "A good book ruined by a poor (and strange) reading"
    "A good book ruined by a poor (and strange) reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was all a sad and irritating experience. When I saw that Egan's books were coming to Audible, I pre-ordered this one and expected I would be ordering the rest of the set. Unfortunately, after this rather bizarre reading, I don't think I can handle any more of Adam Epstein. Of the 200 or so audiobooks I've 'read', there have been only a couple that I thought were ruined by the reading. This is one. There are some very interesting ideas and some good science in Egan's science fiction, but Epstein reads this as though it is some goofy teenage comedy. Most of the characters are given cartoon style accents. Even the more serious scientists in the story are given the accents of buffoons. The main character is not so silly, but Epstein uses an odd rhythm (raising the pitch at the end of most sentences) and this also distracts from the reading. A good reader should be transparent and allow the story to flow through. But here, you are constantly wondering why the reader is reading like that. The story itself might be better than four stars, but it is hard to tell. I was too distracted.
    Sadly, Epstein was hired to read the other Egan books, so I will reading those the old fashioned way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Edward Ball
    • Narrated By John H. Mayer
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    One hundred and thirty years ago Eadweard Muybridge invented stop-motion photography, anticipating and making possible motion pictures. He was the first to capture time and play it back for an audience, giving birth to visual media and screen entertainments of all kinds. Yet the artist and inventor Muybridge was also a murderer who killed coolly and meticulously, and his trial is one of the early instances of a media sensation.

    Andy says: "a challenge to listen to"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Inventor and the Tycoon in three words, what would they be?

    This is one of my favorite history books I have 'read' in the last few years. It has a similar style to "The Professor and the Madman" which I also loved. Definitely great insights into the beginning of movies, the founding of Stanford University, and life in California in the late 1800s. Muybridge was certainly an odd character but so were many from the period (e.g., Edison, Leland Stanford, and the railroad men of the time.
    It does jump around in time from chapter to chapter, but I got used to that. Definitely, a worthwhile bit of history.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By D.T. Max
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (271)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (90)

    For 200 years, a noble Venetian family has suffered from an inherited disease that strikes their members in middle age, stealing their sleep, eating holes in their brains, and ending their lives in a matter of months. In Papua New Guinea, a primitive tribe is nearly obliterated by a sickness whose chief symptom is uncontrollable laughter. Across Europe, millions of sheep rub their fleeces raw before collapsing. What these strange conditions share is their cause: prions.

    David says: "A great scientific mystery"
    "A great scientific mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has become one of my favorite non-fiction books on audible. If you enjoyed "Splendid Solution", "The Great Influenza" or "Germs" you will love this one. It may not have the humor or entertainment value of "The Omnivore's Delimma" but the author does a fine job of weaving personal stories with science to create a fascinating story. This is a great introduction to Mad Cow and other prion diseases, and also provides a distrubing account of how governments bumble their way through such outbreaks.

    Grover Gardner also performs another excellent reading. In my opinion, Gardner is by far the top narrator for any material that has any scientific or technical content. His voice moves gracefully over the text - always with the right nuance and pronunciation - allowing the listener to become quite captivated by the story.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • American Theocracy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Kevin Phillips
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (402)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (63)

    From Ancient Rome to the British Empire, Phillips demonstrates that every world-dominating power has been brought down by a related set of causes: a lethal combination of global over-reach, militant religion, resource problems, and ballooning debt. It is this same axis of ills that has come to define America's political and economic identity in the past decade.

    Miles C. says: "Excellent Work!"
    "An important book ..."
    Overall

    The audiobook has a slow beginning and a number of dry parts, but it unquestionably gets my highest rating. The author provides a clear view of where this country has been and where we are today. It provides one of the best perspectives on why religion and oil have taken center stage in our political landscape, and uses the lens of world history to let the reader understand where our current path is likely to take us.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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