An engaging story about the fight against bacterial infection - which only began with any meaningful success in the 1930s. The book provides an in-depth and interesting description of the "colorful" story about how the dye industry gave birth to the chemical industry - and ultimately helped conquer infection. The book provides insight into a lot of back story, related to the first and second world wars, patents, intrigue in the research community, and how Germany's chemical secrets and patents were plundered after the second world war.
A good listen if you enjoy history, industry, and science.
I was supremely impressed with Louis de Bernières' writing in Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings. I was left somewhat flat by A Partisan's Daughter. While the previous two books carried me away, thoroughly engaged my imagination, and taught me quite a bit about history, this book never seemed to go anywhere for me. Maybe I expected too much from earlier experiences. Felt like it was little more than a way to pass some time. Unlike the earlier two, when this book was over, I didn't have too much to think about, or contemplate about the story, or about humankind.
A relationship slowly develops between two unlikely people, emotions slowly evolve clouded by unspoken words and unexpressed feelings. I won't reveal the ending, but I found it somewhat unsatisfying
I found myself pulled into this book from the start. Barbara Rosenblat is a first class actress when it comes to reading. I think she has an amazing facility with nuance and emotion. The story is engaging, and all through the story, I felt that I was watching a play unfold on stage.
The story itself is interesting, giving a somewhat different view of the holocaust period. The story weaves personal tragedy with tragedy on a tremendous scale, and manages to hold its own. There are so many delicate touches and details in the story that it's easy to conjure the scene in the mind's eye, as if watching it on stage in front of you.
Highly recommended book.
There were some pretty far fetched moments in the book, but overall, quite engaging. The book certainly held my attention, and I thought the narration was very well done. It was the kind of book that had me looking forward to being in the car to listen to the next installment. I'm afraid I thought the weakest segment of the book was the ending, but I won't reveal it.
I kept thinking I could tell where the book was going, but it would veer off somewhere else. I like that about a book.
An enjoyable book that weaves together tales of the Periodic Table. Not only does the book describe the order of the table, and it's development, but interesting anecdotes about many of the elements contained, such as tales of discoverers, of controversies, of mistaken identities (of elements), and very interesting historical facts. I really enjoyed reading about how the chemistry of dyes led to the first antibiotic therapies - the sulfa drugs, how radium was discovered, how elements combine, how they're separated. And about the whole competitive area of research that is centered around finding new elements! Who knew!?
The story-telling style makes it easy to understand and stay focused. That's important because some of the chemistry can be a little complex. But it doesn't bog down the book or the reader.
I found myself going to Google several times to find out more about the chemistry and the people described in this book.
I almost ordered a gallium kit off Amazon to make my own disappearing spoon! I still might. Who knew so much fun with chemistry was so within reach!?
I was rather disappointed in this book. The concept seems to be the creation of the universe - though not necessarily ours - by a creator. It is written in what I'd consider a simplistic style, and to my mind was designed to possibly reconcile the controversy between creationism and evolution. It allows for both, but it doesn't work for me.
I found too many internal inconsistencies that wore on me. Maybe I'm just too analytical, but without time, I have to wonder how there ccould be "elders." Without substance, I have to wonder how once matter is created, it can be used by the inhabitants of "the void," where nothing actually exists. Yet those inhabitants are able to see and hear and interact with the other inhabitants of the void (then maybe it's NOT a void, because discrete beings DO inhabit it), as well as solid matter.
I didn't like the folksy interaction of inhabitants of the void, and found the dialog childish and tedious. And the repetitive counting of time got pretty old and very annoying pretty fast for me.
There was only one short segment of the book where relativity - the existence of good only in relationship to bad, for example - made part of the book interesting. Otherwise, unless I missed it, I didn't find anything in the story that had anything to say, or made the listen worthwhile at all.
If you have a hard time accepting evolution vs. creationism, maybe this book will give you a context within which to consider both as peacefully coexisting. But even there, I'm not sure it has a lot to say of any real substance.
Found it childish. Not one of my favored reads, I'm afraid.
I didn't like the sound quality at all. It's muffled, which, combined with the somewhat flat reading, makes the story just drone on and on. The story goes into significant depth about the characters, but I simply gave up on starting the second of five stories. While the stories might be interesting, I don't recommend this audiobook on the simple lack of audio quality. You can get a good idea of it in the audio sample.
The concept of the story seems interesting, but ultimately, I was finding the details, coupled with the difficulty in hearing it just not worth the effort.
Certainly a clearer recording - that didn't sound like it was made on a cassette recorder 35 years ago. It must be a rather old recording, transferred from tape.
And as much as I've always liked Sam Waterson as an actor, I found his reading flat to the point of becoming a drone.
Only to try to return the book.
The recording quality is probably a disservice to the writing. Sorry to write such a negative review. I think this might be a book better read off the printed page than this recording.
Not for me. While there were some interesting facts, I didn't learn too much that was new. And while it's nice to hear references for some of the facts, I think many seem somewhat self evident. In terms of evolutionary benefits or biological underpinnings for behaviors and reactions, there were no real "ah-HAs," as much as thinking "well, yeah, that makes sense."
If you think about these kinds of things much, you've probably already thought about most of them, and your thoughts might be validated. Or maybe it will be a real eye-opener for you...?
It wasn't for me.
And I felt that for all the slow, deliberate reading, and exaggerated inflection, the voice seemed to drag on. After a while, I was starting to find the reader to be a bit of a distraction.
I can't put my finger on it, but I had a sense of listening to "girl talk" as the book went on. Like I was eavesdropping on a woman at the next table giving advice to other women on how to land a mate.
There were interesting facts and figures. There was some engaging discussion about biological drive and evolutionary advantage behind human decision making and inter-gender activities. But ultimately, I found it disappointing. Undoubtedly, for someone who has not given these aspects of human biology much thought, this could be a highly informative and thought provoking book.
The book might be interesting and entertaining for you. And it might be just what you're looking for, but it wasn't for me.
I found the inflection pressed too hard. A combination of too careful with a bit of "let me tell you this secret." After a while, that started to wear on me. And I started to feel like I was listening to an advice column for women. And I felt as though the inflection kept the reading at "climax" pitch too often. As if each sentence was the big emphasis, rather than reading at a basic line and reaching a climax thought when one was appropriate.
I don't know exactly what I expected out of this book. I guess I didn't think it would be a guide for women to find mates. While it certainly had a scientific bent - discussing the role of chemistry, through hormones, pheromones, and other chemical influences on human (and animal) behavior - and giving biological and evolutionary rationales for how we behave and choose sex partners and/or mates.
But it kept falling into the realm of an advice column, or as someone else noted, seemed like it could have been written for Cosmopolitan Magazine. While it didn't seem to profess being written for women, there seemed to be a lot of places where it came down to... "Girls, if you're looking for a mate, try this." And it is addressed to women, not an inclusive audience of women and men. The audience is addressed specifically by gender. I felt a little like I was a sneaky interloper in a "how to" book for women.
Some interesting commentary on how women and men differ on the biological and behavior levels. Different signals that might attract, repel, or otherwise communicate between the sexes, and examples of how those compare with similar modes of communication among other members of the animal kingdom.
But after a while, I started to feel like it was dragging on. The references to Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to see what part of the brain reacted to these images, or those concepts, or this aroma all started to run together. So did the repetitive role of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) or plasma levels of testosterone and estrogen in so many descriptions of how and why we do what we do when interacting with another person.
Much of the human behavioral pattern description was interesting. I guess for me, it just got bogged down. And then evolved into advice on how to use these biological cues and tricks to choose, attract, and hook a man. And woe to the woman who takes the advice too much to heart, treating prospective mates as biological machines, and trying to manipulate them through their, and her own chemistry.
Though, I must say, I liked how these descriptions sometimes provided possible biological, evolutionary and behavioral rationale behind some very common (conscious and/or unconscious) behaviors at a party or at a bar.
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