There are very few audiobooks that can hold my attention the way this presentation did. I listen to each four hour section at one go; with a small break in the middle. The history flows and the story moves at such a furious pace that is hard to break away.
Adrienne Mayor delivers a history that dashes along like a best selling novel. The story is absolutely riveting. The biography has an arc that is cinematic, and in a good way. In the right hands I can see this history becoming a Hollywood blockbuster.
Granted some of the biography is speculative, a what if scenario. But Mayor always warns you when hard history ends and where speculation begins. Mayor is ever the helpful tour guide, and Counter-factual History does add depth to a history lacking in primary sources.
Mayor does an excellent job of dealing with the issues of Ancient History in general and how they deal with the subject of the book, Mithradates. The primary sources are lacking and what few have survived suffer from the biases of the Roman authors. Recasting these ancient histories for a modern audience is real minefield for any serious author. Mayor deftly navigates this mine field, and delivers a gem of a narrative for the lucky listener.
A word or two on the actual narration. Overall it is solid. It is a well delivered journeyman performance. The performer never gets carried away. He never laps into monotony either. He lets the story tell itself, getting out of the way of narrative as much as possible. Pacing is spot on. The actual presentation is buttoned down and pitched properly.
This audiobook is a triple threat, if you are lover of ancient history, this is your audiobook. If you are lover of biography, this is your audiobook. Finally if you are a lover of finely crafted literature, of the Novel, this is your audiobook. The audiobook has love, betrayal, murder most foul, slaughter, dark experiments, glittering riches and a central character many times lager than life. And its all true; it is story of real man who lived in a real time, and did real (sometimes awful) things. It is a worthy addition to any listeners collection.
A sidesplitting romp of various and sundry forbidden subjects by Russell Brand. Russell is a very guilty pleasure who is best shared with the right sort of friends. The whole performance is very much not safe for work, not safe for those easily offended, and may cause grave harm to barn-yard animals. You should not operate heavy machinery while under the influence of this man.
Brand ruminates on the beautiful mess he has made of his life, and this kind of self revelation is not for everyone. It is a raw and unvarnished exposition where the humor lies in the brutal honesty of the performer. If this kind of humor appeals to you, then Russell Brand is your man; if not, perhaps Bill Cosby is more to your liking?
The audiobook is less history than a polemic. When introduced to the two Israeli authors in preface I had a sinking feeling, wondering if these two men could deliver an unbiased account of Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini. I tried to keep an open mind and let the authors present their case.
Unfortunately for the authors, they tipped their hand early and often. Rather than let the history and facts speak for themselves, the authors go out of their way to smear, defame and besmirch el-Husseini.
The total lack of objective reportage becomes quite embarrassing as they attempt to conflate such phenomena as Arab Nationalism, Baathist ideology, the rise of Shia Iran, and other disparate movements together. Far too many times the Audiobook becomes totally a-historical. The portions dealing with Iran, and the gyrations of Ahmadinejad are quite painful to listen to as they sound like a satire of boiler plate Likud calumnies.
But this is part of theme unfortunately. Every time these historians wonder into current events, or anywhere near current events for that matter, any pretense of objectivity is tossed over the side to deliver a Greater Israel Apologia. We have left history far behind and have joined the twilight world of far-right Israeli politics.
Not only is this a dark and fearful realm, it is quite absurd. Saddam Hussein and Khomeini despised each other; their world views could not have been different. To draw a link between the Arab,secular, socialist, and nationalist Baath party of Iraq, dominated as it was by Sunnis and the Islamic, Iranian, theocratic government of Iran is to trade in non sequiturs.
The overarching notion of "radical Islam" presented by the two authors is a phantasmagoria. It does not nor did it ever link such distinct polities as the PLO, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It certainly did not link the elite players in the brutal game of power politics as played in the Near East.
Maybe one day a team of historians will provide a balanced biography of Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini; the man does deserve such an investigation. This audiobook is nothing of the sort, it is a badly maimed thing; never given the chance to breath. Here and there some items that are both interesting and perhaps useful; but in the main they are buried under far too much toxic invective to be accepted at face value You cannot trust these authors to play fair with the sources, you cannot trust their interpretation. They have shredded any benefit of doubt far too early and far too often.
I can only recommend this Audiobook as a way to understand the point of view of the Greater Israel crowd. Understand this book as a distortion of history, as a biased accounting warped by an iron ideology that has abandoned nuance and you have a starting point. It is not history, it is not biography, it is not scholarship. It is political document, a polemic; it is, in short, propaganda.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.