A great "read" overall. It starts slow thanks to TONS of background on the characters -- far too much, I thought -- but once Jack gets into the meat of the plot it is thrilling. I'd also reiterate what's been said earlier: The sample clip is largely of Michael Crichton himself narrating the foreward to the book - very dry. The actual narrator, George Wilson, picks it up at Chapter 1 and is SUPERB in his reading. He expertly acts all the parts in the book, convincingly giving you men, women, and children characters. His performance really elevated this audiobook a notch.
I can't say enough good things about this audiobook. It is easily the best one I have encountered, both in content and in "listenability". The author makes amazingly well thought-out points using words and examples that anyone can understand. Simple but not simplistic. And the narrator really pulls it off. With a light British accent, he sounds just like you would think C.S. Lewis would sound. Easy to understand and pleasant to the ear.
I've already listened to this book twice, and I'm sure I will listen many more times in the years to come.
I am a devout Catholic, but even I used to grimace a little when I would hear complaints about how the Church stifled science, condemned Galileo, held down uneducated people hundreds of years ago, etc. These are topics that are widely accepted as fact in this day and age, and rarely refuted in public, even by Catholic apologists.
In this book, however, all these topics and many, many more are discussed in great depth, and we learn about all the monumental contributions the Church made to virtually every pillar of western civilization. Science; astronomy; international law; economics; charity; etc. The list of Catholic inventions and research is truly amazing. "Who would have thought that modern economic theory began with a Franciscan friar in the 13th century?"
From an apologetics standpoint, I'd consider this book less as a Protestant vs. Catholic work. There is very little discussion of this since most of the discussions do not involve theology. Instead, I'd consider it an excellent primer for an atheist or agnostic who is of the opinion that the Catholic church has largely been a force for corruption and regression in the world.
I really look forward to hearing my latest Cato subscription, and the topics and speakers are always top-notch. My only complaint is that the speech clips are too short, at about 10 minutes each. Just when you start getting really into a speech, they cut it off and move on to the next topic. While this is certainly efficient, it is also frustrating. Many of these speeches could easily be consumed in full. For instance, Judge Andrew Napolitano's lecture on the history of the Patriot Act and where it's heading (and why it must be stopped) was riveting, and actually should be of interest to both conservatives and liberals. This was a keynote and was cut after about 20 minutes. Give me an hour of it!
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