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Spencer

CHICAGO, IL, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
20
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
27

  • Terrorism and Communism (Revolutions Series): Slavoj Zizek presents Trotsky

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Leon Trotsky, Slavoj Zizek
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (17)

    Soon after the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky led the Red Army against the counter-revolutionary White armies. Written in the white heat of the Civil War, "Terrorism and Communism" is one of the most potent defences of revolutionary dictatorship of the twentieth century. In his provocative commentary in this new edition, the coruscating critic Slavoj Zizek argues that Trotsky's attack on the illusions of democracy has a vital relevance to today.

    Spencer says: "From the Cauldron of the Russian Revolution"
    "From the Cauldron of the Russian Revolution"
    Overall

    It is a pleasant surprise to find audible producing an audio edition of a work by Trotsky, especially a work such as this. This is Trotsky fresh from the front of the Civil War, writing just a few eventful years since the October Revolution (which is called the November revolution here for the usual reasons). While many will, no doubt, purchase the book for Slavoj Zizek's lengthy introduction, it is Trotsky's text that is the major work here. Sean Barrett does a fine job of reading the text and thus conjuring back to life the indomitable spirit of the Russian Revolution in its most ruthless and thus its most resolutely utopian moment. I can only say I hope for more works such as this from audible in the future.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • India: A Portrait

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Patrick French
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Second only to China in the magnitude of its economic miracle and second to none in its potential to shape the new century, India is fast undergoing one of the most momentous transformations the world has ever seen. In this dazzlingly panoramic book, Patrick French chronicles that epic change, telling human stories to explain a larger national narrative. Melding on-the-ground reports with a deep knowledge of history, French exposes the cultural foundations of India’s political, economic and social complexities.

    morton says: "An Epic Book by Award-Winning Author"
    "This book is excellent for what it is."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One only wishes that audible had included the bigger, more important book by Mr. French to come out in recent years, namely his biography of V. S. Naipaul The World is What it is. It was a major publishing event and readily adaptable to audiobook. In general, audible seems uninterested in either the biography or the novels of Mr. Naipaul, who is by almost any critical account one of the most important writers in English in the last half century. Anyway, French's India book is enjoyable even for one, such as myself, who has traveled there many times and has read an immense amount on the subject of the country, its people, and its history.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By William Doyle
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    William Doyle, the author of the classic text on the French Revolution, guides the reader through a historical event of such import and consequence that we are still living with its developments today. Beginning with a discussion of the familiar images of the French Revolution, Doyle continues on to a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed.

    David says: "Thoughtful Yet Concise"
    "The Question is, How Can There be So Few?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fine book by an accomplished historian. But the French Revolution is perhaps the most controversial subject in history. It is in some sense the quintessential historical event, the one that necessitated the emergence of modern history writing itself. So, how is it possible that audible has only a handful of titles on the subject, and none of the classics on the subject except for Thomas Carlyle's highly idiosyncratic work? Where is Michelet? Tocqueville? Blanc? Taine? Sorel? Jaures? Cobban? Rude? Soboul? Lefebvre? Or what about some of the many recent popular histories of the Revolution and the revolutionaries, such as Scurr's Robespierre or Lawday's Danton? With 100 times as many works on the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers one wonders if there isn't conspiracy afoot directed against the French people!
    One might as well as note as well that the English Civil Wars & the Glorious Revolution are even more poorly served. Finally and unbelievably, the revolution of 1848, 1905, and 1917 are subjects about which one can at present learn nothing from the audible catalog. Surely, audible's only audience isn't americans and, more importantly, surely americans interested in history are interested in the subject as such. And it's impossible to understand the American Revolution outside the wider European revolutionary arc that culminates in the Great French Revolution and its aftermath. Get it together audible! But thanks for this one.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Love Among the Chickens

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 1 min)
    • By P. G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cecil
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge has hit upon a foolproof plan to get rich quick: he's starting a chicken farm. Dragging his adoring wife Millie and his long-suffering friend and novelist Jeremy Garnet with him to Dorset, he begins his enterprise. Complications ensue, involving the taciturn Hired Man and his bumptious dog, supercilious chickens, irascible professors, angry creditors, and divided lovers.

    Spencer says: "Do Not Drive or Operate Heavy Machinery!"
    "Do Not Drive or Operate Heavy Machinery!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Love Among the Chickens?

    This is a another great book by the funnest to read and funniest writer in English. On another day, I could go into the relative merits of this book to others, but there comes a point at which one is simply grateful for Wodehouse. This book strongly reinforces that sentiment in me. Perhaps there are sub-par Wodehouse books, and certainly I've enjoyed some more than others (this one is definitely towards the top of the list), but I can't be sure if isn't my own circumstances when I'm listening to the book that make the difference. Certainly, I will say this, there are no Wodehouse series that deserve to be given a miss. Blandings, Jeeves, Mulliner, Ukridge are all fantastic, each shedding light on the others. Wodehouse is a total phenomenon and must be approached as such.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Love Among the Chickens?

    Ukridge muttering under his breath and breaking plates just after they break into his country house, his mind motoring along at 150 km/h.


    What does Jonathan Cecil bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Cecil is a master teacher in how to read Wodehouse. Above all, he demonstrates the extent to which you have to let yourself really go to read Wodehouse, and especially with Ukridge, who is a loud boisterous obstreperous sort of fellow, doncha know.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    There were points in this book, perhaps even more than in others, where I found myself running to sit down before I fell over laughing. This audiobook is DANGEROUSLY funny.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow Lines

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Amitav Ghosh
    • Narrated By Raj Varma
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Opening in Calcutta in the 1960s, Ghosh’s radiant second novel follows two families - one English, one Bengali - as their lives intertwine in tragic and comic ways. The narrator, Indian-born and English educated, traces events back and forth in time, through years of Bengali partition and violence, observing the ways in which political events invade private lives.

    K. Parks says: "Excellent narrator. Master story teller."
    "Narrator Doesn't Know How to Pronounce"
    Overall

    Though an Indian narrator has been selected for this book, it is remarkable how little he knows how to pronounce Indian words. For instance, the final vowel sound in "Ballygunj" is rendered "oo" rather than the schwa sound it ought to be. Similarly, the vowel in Sena (as in the medieval eastern Indian Sena dynasty), is pronounced as "ee" rather than "ay" (as in "say" or "bay"). And there are innumerable other more or less egregious instances of a similar lack of linguistic familiarity with the world described (and the Bengali that lies behind the author's English). This could have been remedied, of course, by a bit of research. Or, better, a native Calcuttan Bengali might have been found, which would have been easy enough.
    The listening experience is not wholly compromised, but it is remarkable how little thought seems to go into the choice of narrators of Indian English novels. The rating is for the audiobook as a book.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Wilken
    • Narrated By Walter Dixon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Written by a preeminent religious historian, this book provides an introduction to early Christian thought. Focusing on major figures such as St. Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa, as well as s host of less well known thinkers, Robert Wilken chronicles the emergence of a specifically Christian intellectual tradition.

    Spencer says: "Caught Between Theology and History"
    "Caught Between Theology and History"
    Overall

    If what you are looking for is a serious intellectual history of early christian thought, this may not be the book for you, as Wilken regularly brings in the whole of Christian thinking, from whatever source, to make his arguments.Thus, at places he refers to Cardinal Newman, Jonathan Edwards, John Donne, Thomas Aquinas, and others who properly well beyond the historical scope of the book. This is because the work is no less a work of a devout Christian than a practicing historian. In consequence the task, method, and scope of the latter is not infrequently allowed to give way before the predilections and concerns of the former. The result is not so much a historical investigation of early Christian thought, as its vindication. In consequence, much of this history is discretely passed over as failing to rise to Wilken's own conception of what is best or most appealing in the writings and controversies of early christian thinkers. Those who have read The Christians as the Romans Saw Them may well be disappointed. I know I was.

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful

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