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. :)
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.
No particular favorite scene. I enjoyed "cover to cover".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The performance was clearly spoken, well done.
Really the whole book was very compelling.
I will listen to it again. It bears repeating.
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.
I haven't listened, but I read Guns Germs and Steel. Similar style, but Collapse was more pedantic.
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.
The state of Montana.
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.
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.
Todd has a great reading voice. I enjoyed listening to him.
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