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David

Turramurra, Australia | Member Since 2010

ratings
57
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
9

  • A History of English Food

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Clarissa Dickson Wright
    • Narrated By Clarissa Dickson Wright
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    In this major new history of English food, Clarissa Dickson Wright takes the reader on a journey from the time of the Second Crusade and the feasts of medieval kings to the cuisine - both good and bad - of the present day. She looks at the shifting influences on the national diet as new ideas and ingredients have arrived, and as immigrant communities have made their contribution to the life of the country. She evokes lost worlds of open fires and ice houses, of constant pickling and preserving, and of manchet loaves and curly-coated pigs.

    Carole Withane says: "Fascinating, entertaining and informative"
    "Recipe for a great listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brits and Aussies may remember Clarissa Dickson Wright as one half of the Two Fat Ladies. I did, and as such couldn't resist buying this book. I wasn't disappointed - with her characteristic wit and wisdom, Dickson Wright makes this gastronomic history of England both entertaining and fascinating. I'm still musing over the origin of the phrase "to eat humble pie", which I had often wondered about but never known who to ask.

    Yes, there are a lot of "I suspect"s, a lot of theories which the author really can't substantiate - but at least she acknowledges this, and the unexpected personal musings and personal recollections only add to the flavour of this book, if not to the academic rigour.

    Dickson Wright's narration of her own work is of course fantastic - really no one else's voice would do.

    An absolute must for anyone interested in history and/or food.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hitler's Holy Relics

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Sidney Kirkpatrick
    • Narrated By Charles Stransky
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    Had Hitler succeeded in conquering Europe, he would have crowned himself Holy Roman Emperor. The Nazis had in their possession priceless artifacts that would give Hitler legitimacy in his subjects' eyes: the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire including the Spear of Destiny, alleged to have pierced Christ's side at the Crucifixion. Looted from the royal treasury in Vienna, Austria, the Crown Jewels were hidden in a secret bunker deep beneath Nrnberg castle, known to few.

    Diane says: "Spellbinding!!"
    "Gripping and insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not only an engrossing story, but it gives a unique insight into the Nazi mindset without resorting to simplistic, "good vs. evil" explanations. The book is worthwhile for the German medieval history alone, but the World War II element, the unusual military/art history detective story, elevate this book from interesting to fascinating and gripping.

    I was left thinking about the power, and sometimes danger - of mythology, symbols, of real or illusory connectedness to a "glorious past" and "historic destiny" - long after listening to this. These are perhaps things we still need to be wary of today.

    Charles Stransky's narration is flawless - he hits just the right tone, and it's easy to believe he is the voice of the German-American art historian turned military detective who is this book's real-life protagonist.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Annie Jacobsen
    • Narrated By Annie Jacobsen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1419)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (996)

    Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.

    A User says: "Reality, always more interesting than fiction."
    "Subverts itself with sensationalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you listen to this book, start at about the 1 hour mark, and stop listening with about 2 hours remaining. That way, you will hear an interesting work of clandestine and military history, with an engaging narrative style. The un-sensationalised history of the Nevada nuclear tests, the Area 51 site, the U2 spy plane, and their effects on Cold War US/Soviet relations make the middle section of this work very interesting and worthwhile.

    Unfortunately, it seems the author couldn't resist adding some unbelievably sensationalistic touches which spoil the entire book.

    So - the infamous Roswell craft was a (purposely) crashed Soviet hover-plane created by ex-Nazi rocket scientists and crewed with aviators who had been genetically/surgically altered to resemble extra-terrestrials by Josef Mengele, on the orders of Stalin who believed this would cause mass UFO panic in the United States?

    This is the first theory I've heard that somehow manages to be LESS credible than little green men from outer space.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David P. Clark
    • Narrated By Summer McStravick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (33)

    Again and again, microbes have shaped our health, our genetics, our history, our culture, our politics, even our religion and ethics. This book reveals much that scientists and cultural historians have learned about the pervasive interconnections between infectious microbes and humans. It also considers what our ongoing fundamental relationship with infectious microbes might mean for the future of the human species.

    Tyler says: "Amazing Introduction!"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had hoped for more, but this book is pretty much what you would expect from a biologist playing at being a historian. There is a wealth of information about germs and genes, but only the most simplistic explanations of how they have shaped civilization.

    The narration, while technically very good, is also woefully inappropriate to the topic, with tragic death and human suffering described in an almost cheerful tone of voice.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Monarchy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By David Starkey
    • Narrated By David Starkey
    Overall
    (45)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    The crown of England is the oldest surviving political institution in Europe. Throughout this audiobook Dr David Starkey emphasises the Crown's endless capacity to adapt to circumstances and reshape national policy, whilst he unmasks the personalities and achievements, the defeats and victories, which lie behind the kings and queens of British history. Each of these monarchs has contributed to the religion, geography, laws, language, and government which we live with today.

    Michael says: "A "must read"!"
    "Seminal history of the British monarchy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not so much a history of the lives of individual monarchs, as a history of the institution of monarchy itself. Covering the period from Henry VII to Victoria, this book shows how the British monarchy has been instrumental in shaping the modern world.

    Some of the individual kings and queens receive rather brief biographical sketches, but this is more a story of their most notable successes - and spectacular failures - than of the minutiae of their daily lives. An interesting theme is the way in which even the spectacular failures (eg. much of James II's reign) are extremely important - because they provided the impetus for many of the social and political changes which led to our modern forms of democracy.

    I always enjoy hearing the author read his or her own work, and Starkey's characteristic narration is definitely no exception - he has an obvious passion for his field of study, and the way his tone rises with excitement and descends into an almost reverent hush is very well-suited to the weighty topics he discusses.

    This book was one of my first and still one of my very favourite Audible audiobooks, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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