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Chad

Ann Arbor, MI, USA

ratings
111
REVIEWS
3
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • Coal: A Human History

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Barbara Freese
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (104)

    The fascinating, often surprising story of how a simple black rock altered the course of history. Yet the mundane mineral that built our global economy, and even today powers our electrical plants, has also caused death, disease, and environmental destruction. In this remarkable book, Barbara Freese takes us on a rich historical journey that begins three hundred million years ago and spans the globe.

    Chad says: "About 1/2 good, 1/2 not so good"
    "About 1/2 good, 1/2 not so good"
    Overall

    There are some great parts, such as the history of coal in the UK, US, and China and its role in social history. However, I found it lacking in other areas of coal history I've read about in other books. Notably, Daniel Yergin's _The Prize_ discusses how WW1 was shaped by oil and coal use and how Nazi Germany used coal-to-liquids fuels produced in slave factories attached to concentration camps to compensate for oil shortages. These facts and South Africa's history of subsidizing coal fuels seem critical to understanding modern coal economics and lobbying. However, the book instead presents a litany of air pollution and climate problems with coal, which applies to pretty much all fossil fuels -- I've heard similar material before in now-countless newspapers and books. As a result, this large part of the book seems to me more like polemic than erudition. Overall, I'd say I learned something new from about 45-50% of the book, with not much new in the rest of it. Really, the book's more a persuasion piece, and I was looking for a lot more new information when I invested the listening time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tigana

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Guy Gavriel Kay
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (900)
    Performance
    (560)
    Story
    (570)

    Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel, despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.

    But after years of devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.

    Robert says: "Says a lot about who we are."
    "The Best Fantasy Novel I've Heard Yet!"
    Overall

    As the author describes in the afterword, Tigana is a novel that employs the fantasy genre to explore some of the key and critical features of our recent history. The characters -- and cultures -- are realistic in how they respond to large-scale oppression. The novel deeply explores how oppressive regimes can dominate a conquered people, how some of the conquered resist, and how others are seduced into collaboration. Like real life, "clean" endings with no unanswered questions are avoided.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Princess Casamassima

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Flo Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (2)

    Hyacinth Robinson, drawn into the London underworld of revolutionary politics, vows to assassinate an enemy of the people. His exposure to the Princess Casamassima's world of art, nobility, and beauty leads him to lose faith in his cause.

    Chad says: "Empathy Armed?"
    "Empathy Armed?"
    Overall

    This book is a perfect example of how empathy can change a person. From a militant revolutionary socialist and member of the working class to a person who sees the need to live based on true emotion, the main character, Hyacinth Robinson, demonstrates perfectly how politics and regard for others play in the battle for minds.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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