I've been going through several books on India's history, and this stands out as a fresh slice of this history. It's great to hear the voices of India's recent past.
I really felt this was overly long and should have been edited down by about half. It was hard to stay engaged, and I was questioning whether it was the quality of the reader, or the writing. This is unfortunate, as this is an influential book, and I think Kuhn's claims are very compelling.
Most of the book is very engaging and Grossman is clear and convincing in his defense of his thesis that human's are naturally averse to killing and need to be conditioned to do so effectively in times of war. The anecdotes, mostly from soldiers, are very moving.
Unfortunately, he relies heavily on S.L.A Marshall's work, and the quality of that work is now seriously questioned. Worse, his final claim that the world is becoming a more violent place seems to contradict a large body of evidence, and goes against recent studies, such as Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature.
I still recommend it, for it is entertaining, although I'd balance it with some critical reviews.
This is a collection of short stories, not a novel with a single story line. Some of the negative reviewers seem unable to get over that point. Despite no plot line, the stories are linked together by place -- all are set in the fictional southwestern Indian town of Kittur. In this sense it's not unlike Dubliners or Winesburg, Ohio.
Aravind Adiga does an excellent job of creating believable and endearing, though not necessarily likeable, characters that represent a cross section of Indian society.
My only complaint is that it is unrelentingly grim, which again reminded me of Winesburg, Ohio. Nevertheless, I recommend it, especially to anyone interested in modern India.
This seems to be merely the audio track from an episode from the History Channel, complete with breaks for commercials and repeated summaries. It doesn't make for a good listen.
As for the content, in order to conform to the series title they needed to transform a complex situation into a simple blunder, as though everything would have turned out all right in Kashmir if only Mountbatten had been more decisive. In place of information they use silly dramatic gimmicks and repetition.
I'd go for Mark Tully's India if you want a short short of Indian history.
This is an entertaining account of one woman's experience living in India, and the reading is excellent. Macdonald doesn't appear to have any pretenses about being an expert on India, and though she is often brutally harsh in her descriptions, I always felt that they were a reflection of herself, her character and expectations.
The first half is better than the second, in which she begins a series of explorations into India's many religions. Overall though, these give her an excuse to move about and she does a pretty good job summarizing the different faiths. Finally, her personal growth and ambivalent love of India come across clearly without being over the top.
The insights into human nature are profound and spot on, and a lot of the dialog had my laughing out loud. The narration on this version is excellent.
I found the book to be both insightful and entertaining. The Mr. Plotz never assumes pretenses of being an authority, instead he gives a very honest reaction of a typical layperson encountering the Bible as it is. There may be some current references that will eventually date the book, but at the moment they help add modern perspective.
He also does a good job reading his own work, adding a bit more emotion or personality to it than would have been the case if it had been read by a professional voice talent.
This is a very engaging, almost novel-like history of the dust belt during the Great Depression. The characters and places come to life, and the tragedy and stress of the times are really brought out.
The reading is very well done.
This is a good introduction to the First Amendment and how it has evolved with the United States. It reveals the fact that the founding fathers were never in complete agreement on major issues and continued to debate them even after inking their historical documents.
There are perhaps a few too many instances where the author expresses his personal viewpoint, but at least it is done transparently.
The reading is flat and dull, and I take one star away for that reason.
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