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Vancouver, WA, United States | Member Since 2011

  • 6 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 145 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charles C. Mann
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed totally different suites of plants and animals. Columbus’s voyages brought them back together - and marked the beginning of an extraordinary exchange of flora and fauna between Eurasia and the Americas. As Charles Mann shows, this global ecological tumult - the “Columbian Exchange” - underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest generation of research by scientists, Mann shows the creation a worldwide trade network....

    Amazon Customer says: "fasinating new perspective on history"
    "Thoughtful and Transformative"
    Would you consider the audio edition of 1493 to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version. It's good to have the print version around to refer back to the text when I'm recalling part of the book, but print is hard to read in the car. :)

    What did you like best about this story?

    The author did a great job tying together the history with his overlying concept regarding the flow of history once humanity globalized humans, cultures, plants, and animals.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    No particular favorite scene. I enjoyed "cover to cover".

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

    The book made me think. It caused me to change how I think about human history and how cultures clash, merge, change, thrive or die. It helped me understand how we became who we are.

    Any additional comments?

    Great book. I enjoyed it completely and will listen to it again. It might seem hard to get excited about history, but I did get excited listening to various parts of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By John M. Barry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    No disease the world has ever known even remotely resembles the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Presumed to have begun when sick farm animals infected soldiers in Kansas, spreading and mutating into a lethal strain as troops carried it to Europe, it exploded across the world with unequaled ferocity and speed. It killed more people in 20 weeks than AIDS has killed in 20 years; it killed more people in a year than the plagues of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

    Nancy says: "Gripping and Gory"
    "Could not finish the book"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The book's focus was much more a worshipful story about the doctors, than about the influenza epidemic. More than half way through, for me it was a chore to continue listening. I would much rather have listened to the story of the social impacts, the effects of the epidemic on society, on people, on politics, on history, than spending so much time about the history of medicine in general and the doctors at the time of the epidemic in particular. I certainly honor the dedicated researchers and doctors who fight disease, but would not have bought this book had I skimmed it first.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Adam Hochschild
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Howard

    In the late 1890s, Edmund Dene Morel, a young British shipping company agent, noticed something strange about the cargoes of his company's ships as they arrived from and departed for the Congo. Incoming ships were crammed with valuable ivory and rubber. Outbound ships carried little more than soldiers and firearms. Correctly concluding that only slave labor could account for these cargoes, Morel almost singlehandedly made this slave-labor regime the premier human rights story in the world.

    Edith says: "Fascinating"
    "Amazing Story. Why don't we know this?"
    Where does King Leopold's Ghost rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book told the important story of the rape of the Congo. It's as important to understanding man's inhumanity to man, as the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or the Japanese Rape of Nanking. I'm embarrassed that I did not know this story before now.

    The story is well told. The book gives necessary background, and develops the characters interestingly. It tells you not only what the characters did (such as King Leopold, or Sir Henry M. Stanley (Stanley & Livingston) but who they were, how they became who they were, and where they fit into the scheme of events. It also introduces admirable characters who I had not heard of before, such as George Washington Williams, and William Henry Sheppard, both of whom were essential in getting out the story of Leopold's abuses.

    It was also amazing how modern the story was, with Leopold's, and Stanley's, self promotion, manipulation - almost Orwellian - of the English language to serve their needs. The same practices are still alive and well in modern politics, corporate promotions, and special interest promotions.

    This is one of the top-rank audiobooks I have listened to.

    What other book might you compare King Leopold's Ghost to and why?

    In terms of telling a necessary story, The Slave Ship. The difference is, the rape of the Congo occurred later than most other slavery, and the enslaved remained in Africa

    Have you listened to any of Geoffrey Howard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


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

    This book made me think, a lot. Humanity's inhumanity to humanity is hard no matter who is doing what to whom. It was also inspirational to read the stories of those who thought for themselves, and resisted and acted against Leopold's abuses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Slave Ship: A Human History

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Marcus Rediker
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For more than three centuries, slave ships carried millions of people from the coasts of Africa across the Atlantic to the New World. Much is known of the slave trade and the American plantation complex, but little of the ships that made it all possible. In The Slave Ship, award-winning historian Marcus Rediker draws on 30 years of research in maritime archives to create an unprecedented history of these vessels and the human drama acted out on their rolling decks.

    Michael says: "So much misery"
    "A history everyone should know."
    What did you love best about The Slave Ship?

    I learned a great deal about human history, as well as why slavery THEN, means something very important NOW. This was a crime of as great a magnitude as any in history, and yet it is little discussed today. Given the numbers of people hunted down incarcerated, shipped, murdered, and stripped of all humanity, it's amazing that a clear history such as this one was so late, historically, in coming along.

    While this book does say a lot about the slave ship, it says so much more. The title is modest. It's a much more far reaching book.

    What other book might you compare The Slave Ship to and why?

    1493, which describes the globalization of humanity, animals, plants, and diseases, from a different perspective. Both books tell a great deal about how humanity got to where we are today.

    What about David Drummond’s performance did you like?

    The performance was clearly spoken, well done.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Really the whole book was very compelling.

    Any additional comments?

    I will listen to it again. It bears repeating.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jared Diamond
    • Narrated By Christopher Murney

    In his million-copy best seller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?

    Rebecca says: "an fascinating book, but better on paper"
    What would have made Collapse better?

    The book needs to move faster. It seemed like a lot of the information was filler. I could have really done without the long discussion of Montana. The book doesn't tie past events into the present very well.

    If you’ve listened to books by Jared Diamond before, how does this one compare?

    I haven't listened, but I read Guns Germs and Steel. Similar style, but Collapse was more pedantic.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Christopher Murney’s performances?

    No. I enjoy most audiobooks tha I listen to, but this one was narrated like a sports event, or a WWII newsreel. The style was grating and it was impossible to lose myself in the book due to the narration style. It was hard to get through.

    What character would you cut from Collapse?

    The state of Montana.

    Any additional comments?

    I love social histories that tie together the issues of human behavior, society, the environment, and micro / macro trends. I really expected to enjoy this book. That I didn't, I think, was due to the combination of performance and narrative. While Easter Island is a classic in societal collapse, maybe I've read too much about that in the past - it was mostly repetitive. I think the info about moving the big heads was either controversial or out of date - I've read other accounts. With the section on Montana, I kept thinking, "aren't there better examples, or does the author just like to vacation there?" I liked the section on Vikings in Greenland, but it seems like he repeated himself a number of times, stating that the Vikings would have done better to intermarry with Inuit. Plus, I suspect the Vikings and the Inuit were probably equally unhappy about the other being there, but the story seemed more one sided than that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By David Brion Davis
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Inhuman Bondage, David Brion Davis sums up a lifetime of insight. He looks at slavery in the American South; the rise of the Cotton Kingdom; the daily life of slaves; the destructive internal long-distance slave trade; the sexual exploitation of slaves; the emergence of an African-American culture; and much more. A definitive history by a writer deeply immersed in the subject, Inhuman Bondage links together the profits of slavery, the pain of the enslaved, and the legacy of racism.

    Biggar Thomas says: "Very Useful Contribution"
    "A History That I Learned Nowhere Else"
    What did you love best about Inhuman Bondage?

    This book taught me more about the history of slavery than I have learned in a lifetime. It's a fascinating story, with perspective about the story of slavery that I thoroughly enjoyed learning. Slavery has been interwoven in the human experience for thousands of years, but the evolution and development of race slavery was a special case. This book is one of the best and most interesting history books that I read or listened to.

    What about Raymond Todd’s performance did you like?

    Todd has a great reading voice. I enjoyed listening to him.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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