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Tony

san antonio, TX, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
279
REVIEWS
24
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
70

  • The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Claire Tomalin
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan met in 1857; she was 18, a hard-working actress performing in his production of The Frozen Deep, and he was 45, the most lionized writer in England. Out of their meeting came a love affair that lasted 13 years and destroyed Dickens's marriage while effacing Nelly Ternan from the public record.

    Jean says: "Interesting"
    "Smoke and Mirrors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In fairness, I began this book with the thought of how can a biography be written about a person that is almost lost to history. Claire Tomalin presented probably the best possible account of this mysterious figure. Unless some treasure trove of information about Nelly Ternan is found hidden away in a long forgotten vault, this book explains all we will ever know of her life.

    Tomalin gives great detail of Ternan's family members who were all actors of some note, contemporaries, customs, and English society and views of the time. Also, a healthy amount of information regarding Dickens himself. Unfortunately, most things about Nelly Ternan are reduced to deduction, speculation, and supposition. One cannot fault Tomalin, as very little is known of Nelly Ternan, especially during the time of her involvement with Charles Dickens. So what is left is a "speculation biography".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The New Concise History of the Crusades: Critical Issues in World and International History

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Thomas F. Madden
    • Narrated By Claton Butcher
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    How have the crusades contributed to Islamist rage and terrorism today? Were the crusades the Christian equivalent of modern jihad? In this sweeping yet crisp history, Thomas F. Madden offers a brilliant and compelling narrative of the crusades and their contemporary relevance.

    nicholas says: "Overview of the Crusades and their Place In Histor"
    "Concise. Maybe too Concise?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have long been a fan of Professor Madden's Modern Scholar lectures. This book is somewhat of a disappointment. It reads as if it is a list of facts.Event after event is listed with very little context until the all too brief conclusion that adds historical context. In fairness, Madden does present this volume as concise. It truly is extremely concise.

    A note on the narration. The narrator presents this book in a very lethargic tone that is hard to follow. He also adds emphasis to the last word of each sentence by elongating his pronunciation. The only way to listen is at an increased speed on your device.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bart D. Ehrman
    • Narrated By Noah Michael Levine
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (22)

    "Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament - all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.

    Tony says: "Scholarly Ehrman"
    "Scholarly Ehrman"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bart Ehrman has written many books on early Christianity directed for a general audience. This book is written in a more scholarly, academic format. The historical references abound and many academics are regularly quoted. Counterforgery is not always an easy book to follow but is ultimately a satisfying listen to those interested in the early foundations of the Christian church from a historical viewpoint,

    The narration of this book is quite jarring. Some consideration could be given to the narrator mispronouncing some proper names. For instance, the historian Josephus is pronounced Joseph-us instead of Jo-see-fuss. But better known names such as Galatians and Corinthians are mispronounced. Epistle is given as e-pistol. Even common words as severely, revelatory, and maelstrom are mangled. The list goes on and on.

    Despite the poor narration and the academic format, this book is full of interesting information regarding early Christian polemics that eventually shaped what we now know as the Christian religion.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Double Down: Game Change 2012

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Mark Halperin, John Heilemann
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (447)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (403)

    Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier.

    Tony says: "Game Change 2.0"
    "Game Change 2.0"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As with their book Game Change which chronicled the 2008 presidential election, Halperin and Heilemann burrow deep into the back story of the 2012 presidential election. The book opens rivetingly with President Obama having a crisis within himself after his disastrous first debate performance in Denver.

    The book continues with the surprising infighting of the Obama White House, Mitt Romney's need to court the right wing of his base by picking Paul Ryan as VP candidate, and Romney's disdain for popular New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Trivial matters such as Donald Trump's birther comments, Romney adviser Stuart Stevens vomiting over Clint Eastwood's Republican National Convention performance, and tidbits such as John Huntsman Sr. being the source of Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney paid no income taxes for ten years add to the mix along the way.

    Although an enjoyable and fast paced read, this book lacks some of the urgency felt in Game Change. The latter part of the book dealing with the Republican Primary candidates is full of drama and excitement but strangely seems flat at the same time as most in the know, including the Obama camp, always expected Romney to win the nomination anyway.

    The authors should be commended for their non-partisan approach to the efforts. This is a book about the political process and its characters who are presented with strengths and flaws. The authors manage to tell the tale without taking a side which is an accomplishment in itself.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Malcolm Gladwell
    • Narrated By Malcolm Gladwell
    Overall
    (3762)
    Performance
    (3332)
    Story
    (3341)

    In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago.

    Cynthia says: "The Art of (Unconventional) War"
    "Engaging Ruminations on Underdogs and Perceptions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gladwell has written another provocative, engaging, page turner that takes an insightful look into what is an Underdog and how we perceive advantages and disadvantages. This book reads as a series of loosely interwoven stories that challenge some of our basic preconceived notions on power, acceptability, and what is considered right or correct.

    From the opening reinterpretation of the David and Goliath story, Gladwell charts a path that leads through the March on Selma, the "troubles" of Northern Ireland, the London Blitz, to an uncompromising leukemia doctor, the man behind California's Three Strikes Law, and to an overachieving group of 12 year old girl basketball players to name a few. While arguably not heavy on scientific research and rigor, Gladwell does what he does best: provoke thought and present topics in an entertaining be it different light than one might expect.

    Gladwell is a gifted narrator. His understated delivery is reminiscent of having a pleasant discussion with an old friend over a cup of coffee.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Reza Aslan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1222)
    Performance
    (1096)
    Story
    (1089)

    From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.

    Charles says: "Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
    "Historical Jesus 101"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book presents a straight forward view of the modern thinking of the historical Jesus. Reza Aslan presents a compelling case that Jesus in fact was a practicing Jew and how the Jesus movement developed into modern Christianity, mainly through the later universal acceptance of the works of Paul. Fascinating insights and research into the political dynamics of the early Church, the leadership of Jesus' brother James in Jerusalem (now largely minimized), Peter in Rome, his successor Clemente, and of course Paul.

    Fans of Bart Ehrman will be in familiar territory. Reza Aslan is an exceptional narrator who enhances his work with an engaging performance.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (44)

    Conventional wisdom suggests English is going to the dogs, that bad grammar, slang, and illogical constructions signal a decline in standards of usage - to say nothing of the corruption wrought by email and text messages. But English is a complicated, marvelous language. Far from being a language in decline, English is the product of surprisingly varied linguistic forces, some of which have only recently come to light. And these forces continue to push English in exciting new directions.

    Tony says: "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    "Easy Introduction to Linguistics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How many times have you heard someone complain about the death of the English Language? Or that text message is creating a generation of uneducated idiots that will never be able to use the language in any meaningful way? McWhorter addresses these ideas and many more. He shows how all of this new usage continues the path the language has been on for hundreds of years. How about all of those stilted rules about split infinitives or no prepositions at the end of sentences? These are examples of misguided 19th century ideas to make English more like Latin that became fashionable in our grammar.

    With his breezy style and sometimes quirky asides, Professor McWhorter brings life into these lectures and creates an enjoyable listening experience.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Erica Grieder
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Texas may well be America’s most controversial state. Evangelicals dominate the halls of power, millions of its people live in poverty, and its death row is the busiest in the country. Skeptical outsiders have found much to be offended by in the state’s politics and attitude, and yet, according to journalist and Texan Erica Grieder, the United States has a great deal to learn from Texas. In Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right, Grieder traces the political history of a state that was always larger than life. From its rowdy beginnings, Texas has combined a long-standing suspicion of government intrusion with a passion for business.

    christy carpenter says: "Loved this book!"
    "Clear- Eyed View of Texas Politics and History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book offers a serious overview of the historical, political and social forces that have shaped the attitudes of Texans and their views of government. The author has referred to this book as "Texas for Dummies" for people who are not dummies. This book does not so much engage the conservative vs progressive debate found in most books of this type, but rather explains the context of political thought in Texas.

    Being both informative and humorous, this book addresses negative stereotypes and prejudices leveled unfairly against Texas by some uniformed critics while also detailing the strengths and weaknesses of Texas government. The author relies heavily on history, data, and social custom to present the pro-business pragmatism that actually supports the basis of Texas political thought, despite the ridiculous comments uttered at times by some publicity-seeking politicians.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9386)
    Performance
    (8519)
    Story
    (8584)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    linda says: "Well, I don't know what I was expecting"
    "Amnesia!! Really, Dan Brown?? Amnesia??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert Langdon has amnesia. Langdon does not remember the last few days of his life. Bits and pieces come back to him. More bits and pieces come back to him that are then connected to previous bits and pieces. All is not what it seems.........more bits and pieces.......

    Dan Brown has never been a great author but he usually can spin a page-turning tale that keeps the interest of the reader. The lazy plot device of main character amnesia detracts mightily from this story.

    I have a request for Audible. Please have a category that includes all novels with the wearying, over-used, lazy story-telling plot device of amnesia.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Invisible Man

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Herbert George Wells
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Griffin is a scientist who theorizes that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.

    Tony says: "Solid Presentation of a Classic"
    "Solid Presentation of a Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everyone knows the basic story of The Invisible Man. This is a solid telling of the H. G. Wells classic. The pathos, motivations, and constantly escalating violence is what makes this early science fiction story so powerful, even today. Wells masterfully tells the story, allowing us to slowly learn about the title character, first from the point of view of a small group of everyday people and later from the character who serves as the narrator of the tale and the Invisible Man himself.

    Set in the prim, proper, and orderly world of late 1890's Victorian England, the events of this book explode against the structured life of the era. This book eerily foreshadows the coming ravages that the early 20th Century will inflict upon English society (and the World at large), exposing the darker side of human nature.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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