Excellent study of how and why our view of national heroes changes over time. However, audio is very disappointing. Joan Waugh's reading is rushed (almost to the point of seeming to have been deliberately faster than "normal" for audio books). In addition, often seems to overlook punctuation or otherwise place emphasis in the wrong part of a long sentence, making the narrative harder to follow. Technical side of the recording also seemed deficient, with some clear editing mistakes and sound that, while acceptable, in some ways doesn't seem up to the standard of most Audible books.
Book rating: four to five stars
Recording/reading: two stars
Julie Green offers a well written and engaging profile of the workers that built the Panama Canal and the issues of nationality, race and gender that directed their work and lives. Unfortunately Karen White's otherwise excellent reading was horribly marred by unforgivable errors in the pronunciation of key names. Worst of all are references throughout the book to George Goethals. His name (as anyone who lives in the NYC area knows from traffic reports about the bridge that bears his name) is pronounced "go-th-als" or "go-thulz". Instead -- (probably due to the similarity of the spelling of "Goethals" to the author "Goethe" (pronounced "Gerta") we are introduced to someone named "Ger-tals" (rhymes with "turtles"). This name appears frequently in every part of the book. Similar, but less irritating errors were made with Ferdinand de Lesseps and Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla. Every time key name was mispronounced was like fingernails on a chalk board. I don't understand how Tantor allows a production like this to proceed without even basic research into proper pronunciation. I'd rate the book **** and the audio only **. I'd stick with the print version of this one.
I was looking forward to this audio release after seeing positive reviews of the book. After several hours of listening, I find the book to be interesting but the quality of the narration to be terrible. The reader, Henrietta Tiefenthaler, is by a wide margin the single the weakest reader I've heard (and I've listened to more than a hundred titles). Her voice sounds entirely untrained, words are mispronounced, and it often sounds like the reader can't "get her mouth fully around the words". A big disappointment -- listen to an excerpt before purchasing if you can.
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