Herman's thesis, that the intellectual history of the West is fundamentally the competition between the worldviews of Plato and Aristotle, is convincing. The writing is beautiful and Herman's erudition is astounding. I liked the entire book, but his analysis of Rousseau is compelling: Rousseau's reliance on Plato to become the father of modern totalitarian thought is laid out with intellectual force. The last third of the book is simply phenomenal.
Jacque Barzun's From Dawn to Decadence.
Hecht brings a sense of gravitas to his narration. I like it when a narrator is able to correctly pronounce foreign names and phrases. He has a great voice and a compelling style.
Every college student should be assigned this book.
I would recommend nearly anything by Stephenson, but not this one. The first third was quite interesting, but the last two-thirds was mostly opaque, boring, and forced. The action scenes are quite good, but are interrupted by long philosophical or technological disquisitions. Stephenson worked hard on this book, but it just doesn't work at the level of either character or plot.
Most interesting: futuristic look at monastic life in a secular context. Least interesting: faux philosophical conversations that go on and on and on . . . .
Dufris doesn't do emotion well. Hams it up instead of subtly portraying sadness, sorrow, or excitement. Other than the main voice, his other voices sound like caricatures. He nearly ruined Scalzi's Old Man's War series. There are far better narrators out there.
No. Please spare us.
Read and listen to Stephenson, but not this one.
Absolutely. This isn't serious linguistics, but more a picaresque trip through some great linguistic stories (which teach some linguistics).
Professor McWhorter is a compelling lecturer and natural storyteller. And he knows linguistics.
Yes. Barone relates a period of English history that profoundly influenced the American founders. I don't understand those who criticize either the book or the narrator. Yes, it's a complicated story. But the careful reader will be rewarded, and the American reader will understand our founding much better. Highly recommended.
Great writing and story. Faulkner has created a modern myth in Yoknapatawpha County.
The narration evokes the rough beauty of rural life.
Top ten percent
Professor Allitt knows his subject, which is highly compelling. Conservatism has a strong philosophical core, which is well-presented here.
Beautiful English accent combined with deep understanding of America.
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