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.
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.
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.
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.
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.....
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