This book reveals the Rome that most of us are just not aware of as we rush trying to check off all the famous sights covered in most guidebooks. This is a more intimate look at the city. I found it very involving and charming. I have been to Rome twice and loved it but this book makes me want to epxerience it afresh and take my time doing it.
Just as a mosaic would be hard to understand if we started out by describing the individual pieces rather than describing the big picture, this story jumps around to individual events and personas without sketching out a larger context first. I believe that if the story were better organized, the book would be better.
I found the abundant use of hackneyed phrases and strings of cliches made the book difficult to listen to. I listened to this book right after Gibbon's "Decline and Fall" and the contrast was just too much to take. I had to stop after a few hours.
His clear diction and English accent are pleasant to listen to but his typically English over-emotional and over-emphatic reading became tiresome after a while. I think I'd be willing to give him a try if he read a Victorian novel - his censorious intonations would probably fit well the characters of that era who commonly found a lot to be dissatisfied with. I think he is probably very good with works of high drama.
Sorry to be critical - this could be a good book with some reorganization and revisions, and with a language that rises above the evening news' standards. I have learned some new things from it. But in addition to my remarks above, I have to say I felt the author was talking down to the reader.
We've all been very lucky that a man with a great spirit, passion and honesty has lived and told us his story and views in such a pleasant and intelligent way. It is very different from the imbecilic coverage of just about anything in the media so it requires a serious and sincere mindset to appreciate. The philosophical insights and indeed underpinnings of Cousteau's work are amply explained in the book - thank God for the lack of sound-bites and political correctness. A fascinating, moving and enjoyable story for a discriminating and sophisticated listener, and a life changing for some, I'm sure. A gem. If only Oprah operated on a higher intellectual plane, it would be so great if she recommended this book to her book club. It's a breath of fresh air and a wake up call. The narration is decent and its faults are minor - I think they do not really detract from the book for a serious minded listener. The tone and the intention of the book, and, of course, the man, are very inspiring to me.
The book is a fascinating story based on historical events. I found the first hour or so a bit difficult to get into but then the book took off and I could hardly stop listening to it. As in great literature, you get powerful insights into human condition but here, as a bonus, you also get a story full of adventures. It is quite plausibly woven into the history of not only Egypt but other great nations that have since disappeared but who at that time where world class powers. It gave me a lot of food for thought about how history repeats itself and how the much the rulers of ancient Egypt or Syria had in common with our current rulers in the US and elsewhere. It is very inspiring to realize how brave our ancestors were and how resourceful and tough - it is a great example to us. I have already put Waltari's "The Roman" on my wish list because "The Egyptian" gave me so much pleasure.
This book is close to worthless. A great philosopher receives a high handed, patronizing treatment from an intellectual midget, the author, who reviews important concepts that he does not understand through the lens of politically correct cliches of our times. The inappropriately patronizing tone of the narrator, who is quite lost as to where to apply emphasis or ironical tone (so he does that randomly) is irritating. My advice is save your time and money. I should have taken the trouble to listen to an excerpt.
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