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Doug D. Eigsti

Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

Colorado Springs, Colorado United States | Member Since 2011

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 91 reviews
  • 101 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Donald Kladstrup, Petie Kladstrup
    • Narrated By Todd McLaren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown - until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them.

    Sean says: "Good story, terrible performance"
    "In Vino Veritas"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a vino-centric history of WWII. It is told in an anecdotal style that is quite entertaining if at times somewhat disjointed. The broader scope of the war and the global impact it had on the formation of the modern world are beyond the scope of this lighthearted work. This book relates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and does it in an engaging feel-good manner. For me it was a nice departure from the usual WWII histories I delve into. Much of the book revolves around the ways the French wine makers managed to preserve some of their best vintages from the hands of their Nazi occupiers. At times it has a Hogan’s Heroes vibe to it with the French underground seeming to run circles around the oblivious German overlords. And isn’t this the real story of war; that no matter how tough are the times, people will always try to triumph? This is the story of people placed in a bad situation and not only make the best of it but look beyond to a better future time when life might return to normal. I think this is the kind of thing historians are really looking for in by returning time and again to the battlefields of WWII. It is curious to find such a profound truth is such a simple book. Perhaps one must first wade through a panoply of thirty-hour “serious” histories of WWII to be able to discover it here.

    Todd McLaren gives a fine narration. I always enjoy his slightly sarcastic delivery. His accents of French and German voices are decidedly from a native English speaking American intonation, but that’s OK because that is how I sound when I think them in my own head.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By David Epstein
    • Narrated By David Epstein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (285)
    Story
    (286)

    Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training? In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

    Cynthia says: "Epstein writes! He scores!"
    "Play the Hand You Are Dealt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this immediately after finishing INHERITANCE by Sharon Moalem, another fine book concerning genetics and its impact to our lives. This was a great follow-up and interesting in its own right; focusing of athletic ability. I really enjoyed Epstein’s foray into this topic, which provided some plausible explanations for what even we amateurs can plainly see: that different disciplines in sport favor certain body types.

    Towards the end of the book Epstein investigates the effects that breeding for endurance can have on Alaskan sled dogs. One breeder tailored his team by breeding for dogs that had the trait that they pulled for the shear love of running, and not for top speed, as was the conventional wisdom. His team won that thousand-mile race and changed the sport of sled dog racing forever. The results are instructive to understanding the genetically based differences in athletic ability between different people groups: Yes there are some genetic advantages some people groups have over others—but also, yes, these distinctions are essentially the result of breeding to select for genetic characteristics, and potential, that are already present within the genome. What Epstein does not realize is that this is far from support for evolution—it is a problem—because is does not explain how that genetic trait, which when expressed became so beneficial, was present in the genome long before it was needed.

    Another lesson I learned form Epstein’s account of sled-dog breeding was that: dogs are much better athletes than are humans. Sometimes I go to Manitou Springs, Colorado and hike up the Manitou Incline. I am always amazed how the people are always pushing themselves at the very limit of their ability, joking with one another about just trying to survive, but that every dog I have ever seen is just running up and down the railroad ties as if to say to their master, “this is fun, come on go faster so we can have more fun!” Some abilities are genetic.

    David Epstein narrates his own book. This is an advantage, since he is clearly familiar with the material. I always prefer this when the author of a non-fiction book is capable of narrating. Epstein is easy to understand and knows just what words to emphasize to make his point. What is more: Epstein is that rare non-fiction narrator who will even attempt doing different character voices; oftentimes for people he has met. For this he gets kudos. His accents are always distinctive, and at times, provide some unintentional, but welcome, comic relief.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives - and Our Lives Change Our Genes

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    • Narrated By Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    Conventional wisdom dictates that our genetic destiny is fixed at conception. But Dr. Moalem's groundbreaking book shows us that the human genome is far more fluid and fascinating than your ninth grade biology teacher ever imagined. By bringing us to the bedside of his unique and complex patients, he masterfully demonstrates what rare genetic conditions can teach us all about our own health and well-being. In the brave new world we're rapidly rocketing into, genetic knowledge has become absolutely crucial. Inheritance provides an indispensable roadmap for this journey.

    Joseph G. Weigel says: "Not science writing"
    "Intriguing Account of Epigenetics & Dismorphology"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this to be a fascinating look into the world of Epigenetics. This is the idea that one’s DNA is not completely fixed at birth but can be altered. More correctly, it is the expression of one’s DNA that can be altered during the course of one’s lifetime based on various environmental factors. This confirms what many have believed for years that proper nutrition, regular exercise and adhering to an all-around healthy lifestyle can, indeed, contribute to better quality of life; and not just for yourself, but for your children, your unborn children, as well.

    Dismorphology is the study of external body features that can lead to a diagnosis of one’s genetic make-up. You will never again be able to look and your friend’s toes without playing the diagnostician.

    Sharon Moalen narrate his own book. And unlike some others I have listened to recently, he is a very good narrator. He avoids the common pitfall of reading in a monotone, as if they were not familiar with their own material, but has the delivery of an expert giving a lecture. An exercise in which I am sure he has a fair amount of experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume III, Red River to Appomattox

    • UNABRIDGED (48 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Shelby Foote
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Ken Burns
    Overall
    (831)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (379)

    In the third and last volume of this vivid history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife which altered American life forever. Here, told in rich narrative and as seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, which finally decided the fate of this nation.

    Tad Davis says: "Incredible"
    ".....Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy Dispassionately Told

    This is a review of all three volumes, consisting as they do, one massive narrative history. Having read several listener reviews and having watched Ken Burns’ PBS series on the Civil War in which Shelby Foote is a frequent contributor, I was anticipating a masterful immersion into Civil War history. I was, however, disappointed at the disjointed and disoriented feeling these books gave me. Hearing brief segments of Shelby Foote on video explaining the stories of the Civil War is rich and fantastic. His Southern drawl is warm and interesting. But hearing Grover Gardner read Shelby Foote’s words is a quite different experience.

    Perhaps it is the massive scope that this work attempt to encompass. There are a very great number of military campaigns to relate and a cast of thousands to profile. The political currents are covered and are the best parts of this work. The battles scenes seem to blur together—this could very well be an accurate sensation of the confusion and fog of was—but as a listening experience, confusion is not one of my goals.

    Foote is obsessed with the descriptions of the men involved in the great struggle. His description of the facial hair of the various military commanders borders on obsessive and would be sufficient for a police sketch-artist to provide an accurate drawing of the perpetrators General—would that he spent as much of his talents on providing equally perspicacious accounts of the details of the various military campaigns.

    In all, the trilogy covers a lot of ground, relating the Civil War in a series of smaller anecdotal accounts of various other elements, political campaigns, military campaigns, and soldiers camping out in the field waiting for the order to suffer the pains of battle. I can say that I learned a lot from this work but I found myself trying to place the various tidbits of knowledge within the framework of the Civil War that I already had in my head. This work did nothing to modify or improve the framework of Civil War understanding that watching Ken Burn’s PBS documentary had placed there years ago, and so I consider it a failure in being a definitive history of the War Between the States. I just finished listening to 132 hours of material on the Civil War and I feel as if I need to again watch the Ken Burns documentary to put thins back in historical perspective.

    For examples of successful narrative histories in three volumes you may want to listen to Richard J. Evans’ insightful Nazi history in three volumes: THE COMING OF THE THRID REICH, THE THIRD REICH IN POWER, and THE THIRD REICH AT WAR. If biography is what you are seeking look no further than William Manchester’s account of the life of Winston Churchill: THE LAST LION: VISIONS OF GLORY, THE LAST LION: ALONE, and THE LAST LION: DEFENDER OF THE REALM—the last co-written with Paul Reid.

    The production values displayed in Shelby Foote’s Civil War audiobook are not up to the average book available here on Audible, or even the average Blackstone audiobook. There are many shifts in voice tone and timber that are characteristic of the breaks where edits are made between recording sessions. In places the edits occur several times within a paragraph. It seems that the editing choice was made to re-record a little as possible, choosing instead to insert the corrected words and phrases in place of having the narrator re-read a corrected section entire. Sadly, this is not the most discouraging word I have on the subject.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. I know he is very popular, the past winner of several Audie awards. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. Sorry. find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I unconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The timbre of his voice carries well, making it a good choice for listening in a noisy environment. In fact, having loud ambient noise helps take the focus off of the voice quality making it easier to tolerate. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. He is too intrusive, an alien infringement on the solace of my mind. And, what is more, he does not do character voices. I prefer a more dramatic performance, one that does not try to read to me but that tries to paint visual images with different voices and characterizations on the canvas of my mind—a performance. I prize many fiction narrators for their dramatic talent. Some may say that such melodrama may be fine for fiction but not for non-fiction. They seek someone to just read the words on the page. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks.

    Yesterday when I knew that my time with Mr. Gardner was coming to a much anticipated end, I took the opportunity to play sections of several audiobooks that I had loaded on my phone, to my daughters at the dinner table to elicit their reactions. (I am trying to cultivate the next generation of Audible customers.) First I played a brief section of Christopher Aruffo reading POE, then I played Tavia Gilbert in HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, both of whom they thought were excellent. I followed that with Jonathan Davis’ inspired rendering of SNOWCRASH, Wil Wheaton in READY PLAYER ONE , Charles Stransky reading RED MOON RISING, Jack Vance delivering SHERLOCK HOLMES, and then Rob Inglis doing Tolkein. These garnered less enthusiastic reactions but all were deemed worthy. After these we excerpted Bronson Pinchot reciting ON STRANGER TIDES and Todd Mclaren doing ALTERED CARBON, two of my absolute favorites: my daughters concurred. Then, without fanfare, or warning, I played a bit of THE CIVIL WAR, narrated by the award winning Grover Gardner… All three of them burst out laughing. One daughter described the experience as, and I quote, “like a man with a frog in his throat talking while pinching his nose.” Aptly put.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume I, Fort Sumter to Perryville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Shelby Foote, Ken Burns (introduction)
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1601)
    Performance
    (710)
    Story
    (716)

    Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days, Second Manassas to Antietam, and Perryville in the fall of 1862, but so are the smaller and often equally important engagements on both land and sea: Ball's Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, Monitor versus Merimac, and Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, to mention only a few.

    Jeanne says: "The best"
    ".....Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy.."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compendium of Facial Hair and Human Tragedy Dispassionately Told

    This is a review of all three volumes, consisting as they do, one massive narrative history. Having read several listener reviews and having watched Ken Burns’ PBS series on the Civil War in which Shelby Foote is a frequent contributor, I was anticipating a masterful immersion into Civil War history. I was, however, disappointed at the disjointed and disoriented feeling these books gave me. Hearing brief segments of Shelby Foote on video explaining the stories of the Civil War is rich and fantastic. His Southern drawl is warm and interesting. But hearing Grover Gardner read Shelby Foote’s words is a quite different experience.

    Perhaps it is the massive scope that this work attempt to encompass. There are a very great number of military campaigns to relate and a cast of thousands to profile. The political currents are covered and are the best parts of this work. The battles scenes seem to blur together—this could very well be an accurate sensation of the confusion and fog of was—but as a listening experience, confusion is not one of my goals.

    Foote is obsessed with the descriptions of the men involved in the great struggle. His description of the facial hair of the various military commanders borders on obsessive and would be sufficient for a police sketch-artist to provide an accurate drawing of the perpetrators General—would that he spent as much of his talents on providing equally perspicacious accounts of the details of the various military campaigns.

    In all, the trilogy covers a lot of ground, relating the Civil War in a series of smaller anecdotal accounts of various other elements, political campaigns, military campaigns, and soldiers camping out in the field waiting for the order to suffer the pains of battle. I can say that I learned a lot from this work but I found myself trying to place the various tidbits of knowledge within the framework of the Civil War that I already had in my head. This work did nothing to modify or improve the framework of Civil War understanding that watching Ken Burn’s PBS documentary had placed there years ago, and so I consider it a failure in being a definitive history of the War Between the States. I just finished listening to 132 hours of material on the Civil War and I feel as if I need to again watch the Ken Burns documentary to put thins back in historical perspective.

    For examples of successful narrative histories in three volumes you may want to listen to Richard J. Evans’ insightful Nazi history in three volumes: THE COMING OF THE THRID REICH, THE THIRD REICH IN POWER, and THE THIRD REICH AT WAR. If biography is what you are seeking look no further than William Manchester’s account of the life of Winston Churchill: THE LAST LION: VISIONS OF GLORY, THE LAST LION: ALONE, and THE LAST LION: DEFENDER OF THE REALM—the last co-written with Paul Reid.

    The production values displayed in Shelby Foote’s Civil War audiobook are not up to the average book available here on Audible, or even the average Blackstone audiobook. There are many shifts in voice tone and timber that are characteristic of the breaks where edits are made between recording sessions. In places the edits occur several times within a paragraph. It seems that the editing choice was made to re-record a little as possible, choosing instead to insert the corrected words and phrases in place of having the narrator re-read a corrected section entire. Sadly, this is not the most discouraging word I have on the subject.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. I know he is very popular, the past winner of several Audie awards. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. Sorry. find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I unconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The timbre of his voice carries well, making it a good choice for listening in a noisy environment. In fact, having loud ambient noise helps take the focus off of the voice quality making it easier to tolerate. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. He is too intrusive, an alien infringement on the solace of my mind. And, what is more, he does not do character voices. I prefer a more dramatic performance, one that does not try to read to me but that tries to paint visual images with different voices and characterizations on the canvas of my mind—a performance. I prize many fiction narrators for their dramatic talent. Some may say that such melodrama may be fine for fiction but not for non-fiction. They seek someone to just read the words on the page. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks.

    Yesterday when I knew that my time with Mr. Gardner was coming to a much anticipated end, I took the opportunity to play sections of several audiobooks that I had loaded on my phone, to my daughters at the dinner table to elicit their reactions. (I am trying to cultivate the next generation of Audible customers.) First I played a brief section of Christopher Aruffo reading POE, then I played Tavia Gilbert in HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, both of whom they thought were excellent. I followed that with Jonathan Davis’ inspired rendering of SNOWCRASH, Wil Wheaton in READY PLAYER ONE , Charles Stransky reading RED MOON RISING, Jack Vance delivering SHERLOCK HOLMES, and then Rob Inglis doing Tolkein. These garnered less enthusiastic reactions but all were deemed worthy. After these we excerpted Bronson Pinchot reciting ON STRANGER TIDES and Todd Mclaren doing ALTERED CARBON, two of my absolute favorites: my daughters concurred. Then, without fanfare, or warning, I played a bit of THE CIVIL WAR, narrated by the award winning Grover Gardner… All three of them burst out laughing. One daughter described the experience as, and I quote, “like a man with a frog in his throat talking while pinching his nose.” Aptly put.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James D. Watson
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner, Roger Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (277)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (240)

    By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.

    A. Lai says: "Fabulous book!"
    "..Candid Account of the Men in the White Lab Coats"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An insider’s look into the cloistered realm of peer reviewed scientific establishment from one of the icons of the 20th century. Every schoolboy knows of Watson and Crick; what I didn’t know is that there was a scientist out there willing to expose his shortcomings in the very field for which his prestige is derived. Watson reveals his weakness in organic chemistry, X-ray crystallography, and an inability to think is three dimensions, all disciplines critical to the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule, the discovery for which he is most famous. Watson is also not shy of depicting his fellows in all their personality quirks and professional blind spots, and, to be fair, even their times of intuitive brilliance. This account should completely dispel the idea that scientists are infallible.

    Roger Clark narrates his own Afterward with a rich deep sonorous voice.

    Grover Gardner delivers his usual perfect diction and impassive monotone delivery. If you love him this will be fantastic for you. He, for me, is always an obstacle to be overcome. I find that hearing his nasally voice in my head for several hours causes my soft palate to elevate as I subconsciously attempt to sub-vocalize his high-pitch intonations along with his voice in my ear. To be fair, he is always easy to understand and reads with great pacing. The problem is that Mr. Gardner never becomes “the voice in my head” that some listeners find so desirable. I prefer a more dramatic performance. Many fiction narrators are prized for their dramatic talent. Some may say that drama may be good for fiction but not for non-fiction. I disagree, seeking over-the-top performances in all my audiobooks. A recent non-fiction example comes to mind: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhirter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By John McWhorter
    • Narrated By John McWhorter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (947)
    Performance
    (703)
    Story
    (702)

    A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar. Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history.

    Cookie says: "Oh the joy!"
    ".....Liking This Book I Am Presently Doing....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a delightful foray into linguistics that made the subject interesting even for a non-linguist like me. This made me consider things I was completely aware of. Knowing that languages construct sentences differently is not news; but knowing precisely what those difference are is revelatory. McWhorter attempts to trace many of the linguistic discrepancies between languages by examining the clues left behind. These clues are found in several places. Predictably, one source of evidence for tracing language usage is the written word, or as it is called in the field, “scripture.” Another is the spoken languages of various people groups whose word usage and grammatical sentence structure can be contrasted and compared to the record of historical migrations and conquests. Any military conquest in the ancient world apparently left behind not only a a trail of blood but also a trail of linguistic mingling that can be traced.. One unexpected source of information is that linguists try to reconstruct various “proto” languages from circumstantial evidence alone. Many dead languages have no written record, no scripture, but can be reconstructed, partially at least, by examining the cultures they were able to influence. I learned a lot from this book. It is an enjoyable introduction to the history of the English language.

    His relaxed understanding of the manner in which grammar morphs over time gives me license to write in a style that seems right to me. Rules are made to be broken.

    John McWhorter reads his own book. Surprisingly, he is able add inflection to his voice that makes the text seem to be coming out of his memory rather than from the page. His delivery is very enjoyable and often graduates from the merely precise and understandable to the engaging and even entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (215)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
    ".....The Sleeping Giant Awakes and it is Restless."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Richard Baum delivers a series of 48 lectures on China. He captures the decline of the former dynasties and the rise of the social communist revolution. I suspect that his personal politics lean toward the left in American style politics. Although in these lectures you will learn that the terms “left” and “right,” in political terms, are very dependant on the context in which they are used. In a China where the entire political spectrum is socialist, the conservative right is hard-line communist: exactly the reverse of the American system. At first I found Professor Baum to be sympathetic to everything Chinese, but later realized that this is just because of this style of delivery. He is a self-styled Sinologist, a professional China Watcher. As a Political Scientist he is enthusiastic for everything that happens in China, both good and bad. To him it is a fascinating academic study of China as a phenomenon. Don’t let his perceived enthusiasm in the early lectures concerning the rise of communism lead you to believe that he is siding with Chairman Mao. Later he will be equally enthusiastic recounting Mao’s shortcomings. After listening to Professor Baum lecture on the subject of China for over 24 hours, I now consider his approach to be professionally unbiased in a Political Science framework.

    This regional history recounts the fall of the old empire, the revolutionary rise of communism, the fall of communism, and the rise of the socialist market economy that has made China the world power it is today. The recent history China is in no way a simple study; it is less a bungee-cord fall and rise than it is the repeated dips and loops of a roller-coaster.

    Against unsustainable economic growth, necessitated by appeasement of the masses now made aware of the potentials of freedom brought on by the infusion of Western technologies and ideas, China may well implode as it tries to gain world dominance by abusing the human rights of its people. As Professor Baum concludes his lessons, it is clear that China is still in a state of flux, barely juggling precarious economic stability, tense foreign policy, and the increasing unrest of its people. Ironically, the very thing that makes China a world economic player threatens to undermine the totalitarian power and influence the Chinese Communist Party has over its subjects.

    If you want more: try another lecture series: Peter Navarro in THE COMING CHINA WARS. Navarro goes into the serious implosion problems China faces based on the economies of scale.

    Lecture Titles

    1. The Splendor That Was China 600 to 1700
    2. Malthus and Manchu Hubris 1730 to 1800
    3. Barbarians at the Gate 1800 to 1860
    4. Rural Misery and Rebellion 1840 to 1860
    5. The Self-Strengthening Movement 1860 to 1890
    6. Hundred Days of Reform and the Boxer Uprising
    7. The End of Empire 1900 to 1911
    8. The Failed Republic 1912 to 1919
    9. The Birth of Chinese Communism 1917 to 1925
    10. Jung, Mao and Civil War 1926 to 1934
    11. The Republican Experiment 1927 to 1937
    12. Resist Japan 1937 to 1945
    13. Jung’s Last Stand 1945 to 1949
    14. The Chinese People Have Stood Up
    15. Korea, Taiwan and the Cold War 1950 to 1954
    16. Socialist Transformation 1953 to 1957
    17. Cracks in the Monolith 1957 to 1958
    18. The Great Leap Forward 1958 to 1960
    19. Demise of the Great Leap Forward 1959 to 1962
    20. Never Forget Class Struggle 1962 to 1965
    21. Long Live Chairman Mao 1964 to 1965
    22. Mao’s Last Revolution Begins 1965 to 1966
    23. The Children’s Crusade 1966 to 1967
    24. The storm Subsides 1968 to 1969
    25. The Sino-Soviet War of Words 1964 to 1969
    26. Nixon, Kissinger and China 1969 to 1972
    27. Mao’s Deterioration and Death 1971 to 1976
    28. The Legacy of Mao Tse-tung, an Appraisal
    29. The Post-Mao Interregnum 1976 to 1977
    30. Hua Guofeng and the Four Modernizations
    31. Deng Takes Command 1978 to 1979
    32. The Historic Third Plenum 1978
    33. The Normalization of US-China Relations
    34. Deng Consolidates His Power 1979 to 1980
    35. Socialist Democracy and the Rule of Law
    36. Burying Mao 1981 to 1983
    37. To Get Rich is Glorious 1982 to 1986
    38. The Fault-Lines of Reform 1984 to 1987
    39. The Road to Tiananmen 1987 to 1989
    40. The Empire Strikes Back 1989
    41. After the Deluge 1989 to 1992
    42. The Roaring 90s 1992 to 1999
    43. The Rise of Chinese Nationalism 1993 to 2001
    44. China’s Lost Territories: Taiwan, Hong-Kong
    45. China in the New Millennium 2000 to 2008
    46. China’s Information Revolution
    47. One World, One Dream. The 2008 Olympics
    48. China’s Rise. The Sleeping Giant Stirs

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold Commands: A Land Fit for Heroes, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (201)

    Only a select few have earned the right to call Gil friend. One is Egar, the Dragonbane, a fierce Majak fighter who comes to respect a heart as savage and loyal as his own. Another is Archeth, the last remaining daughter of an otherworldly race called the Kiriath, who once used their advanced technology to save the world from the dark magic of the Aldrain - only to depart for reasons as mysterious as their arrival.

    Adnan says: "Graphic / Edgy / Entertaining"
    ".....Sublimation to Plot Development....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story is now hitting its stride. The three main characters from book one are back. Ringil is on a vendetta that he has made personal to take vengeance for his cousin who was taken in slavery in the first book, and Egar the Dragonbane is fending off internal power struggles. It has the feel of a middle novel in that the story is allowed to stretch out its legs. It seems that in this second installment of The Land Fit for Heroes trilogy that the exigencies of plot preclude explicit diversions. They are, at least fewer in number and shorter in length than such scenes were in book one. It is my guess that one of two circumstances conspired to bring this situation about: Either Morgan had finished making his point concerning diversity or the buzz caused by the first book was becoming negative to an uncomfortable degree and concern for the bottom line persuaded both author and publisher to tone down the in-your-face nature of the first volume. We may never know. I, for one, am glad that Morgan seems to have spent more of his efforts on developing the story. It is a better book than the first.

    Jack Vance is a fine reader for this book. I appreciate the way his British accent makes the dark underbelly of this story a little easier to hear. As I mentioned in my review for the first book, sometimes, particularly when portraying female voices, I think he is channeling the characters of Monty Python in the Medieval worlds of The Holy Grail or Jabberwocky. He brings some much needed, if unintentional, comic relief to the brutal grimy mercenary world in which the story takes place.

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  • The Steel Remains

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Richard K. Morgan
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (449)
    Performance
    (225)
    Story
    (230)

    In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers.

    Forest says: "This isn't your father's gay hero!"
    ".....From the Ridiculous to the Sublime....."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Richard Morgan has a way with words and a great sense of pacing. His depiction of action sequences, especially hand-to-hand combat, is unsurpassed. His characters are well fleshed out; you will get to know them as the story unfolds—get to know them perhaps a little too intimately for your comfort level. You may cringe every time they have a scene, but they will not bore you.

    As I alluded to above, this book fits nicely into the category of Modern Fantasy. Gone are the world-saving quests of Middle Earth. There is no Elven magic ™ here; no grand struggle between good and evil. What you will find here is a story set in an un-kinder un-gentler world; a world where the heroes are unlikely and oft times unlikable, but, for that reason, all the more believable. Richard Morgan has a real sense of the inherent depravity of man which he employs in character creation that makes everything he writes essential listening—this is proved by his mastery of first Science Fiction, in his earlier books, and now Fantasy.

    And now for something completely different: a bit of awkward philosophical introspection. I first read this novel in print after reading the amazing Takeshi Kovacs series. Fantasy is not my usual thing but Morgan is so good that I thought it was necessary to read. On that first pass, I was revolted by the explicit depiction of the deviant sexuality of the main character, Ringil. I examined my outrage and discovered that it was founded on my sense of morality, a sense that should have elicited the same level of disgust when reading depictions of fornication and adultery, which is prominent in much modern fiction. Take for example two very popular fictional characters: Ian Fleming’s womanizing spy, James Bond or Donald Westlake’s murdering thief, Parker. If morality is the basis for outrage then these need to be considered offensive as well. So my self-righteous outrage was misplaced. It was based on my personal proclivities on such matters. Now that I have dabbled in other modern fantasy novels I find this level of sex to be a common feature in the genre. Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series comes to mind as another example. The thing is, these novels are not about sex, the author uses it as a device to provoke a gut response in the reader — once you realize that, you can see it for what it is and try to enjoy the story. Morgan has chosen to populate this book with characters that are rude and crude and worldly. If they did not engage in despicable acts they would lose their credibility as ruffians and blackguards. Without crossing the line of decorum let me try to give another observation. A tabulation of the hetero acts that are explicitly depicted in this novel will reveal only those “positions” that can be performed by homo practitioners as well. This indicates to me that Morgan is tweaking the audience. Yes he has an agenda of promoting tolerance based on his anti-Christian worldview. No it not done gratuitously. Morgan is systematic in his agenda, deliberately forcing us to examine our own hypocrisy in having selective outrage. I am still not comfortable with the scenes in question, but my second pass through this novel has made me realize that they are effective in evoking an emotional response from the listener; no mean feat for a seemingly simple Sword and Sorcery tale. .

    Simon Vance has the air of a proper English gentleman. His vocalizations help smooth out the rough patches and make them less irritating. When a particularly harrowing, or particularly explicit, scene is being read by Mr. Vance (or is it Sir Vance?) I cannot help but think of Monty Python who could make the ridiculous seem sublime.

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  • Wormhole: The Rho Agenda, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Richard Phillips
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (581)
    Performance
    (530)
    Story
    (531)

    When the Rho Project’s lead scientist, Dr. Donald Stephenson, is imprisoned for his crimes against humanity, the world dares to think the threat posed by the Rho Project’s alien technologies is finally over. The world is wrong. In Switzerland, scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider have discovered a new threat, a scientific anomaly capable of destroying the earth - and only Rho Project technology can stop it.

    Brian says: "SPECTACULAR SERIES!"
    ".....Young Adult Enters Adolescence....."
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    The third novel in this trilogy continues its move towards a more aggressive story. This seems like more of a Spy Thriller than the Young Adult Science Fiction that the first novel so obviously stereotyped. Here Phillips even throws in a few F bombs just to avoid that PG-13 rating. This book works best on the story level. Phillips clearly had a good idea of the entire story arc, because the ending works so well with the previous two books. Richard Phillips is an author with promise. It is unclear if he will become a Robert Heinlein or a Michael Crichton — The latter, I think. His strengths in plotting will be better served in the Techno-Thriller genre. If you like this series you may like the DAEMON set by Daniel Suarez.

    After listening to MacLeod Andrews through these three books I can say that he is a good fit for this series. He is so earnest and sincere that even when some of his female characters come off as a little too butch he does not detract from the enjoyment.

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