Richard Zack's second book about pirates and piracies, "The Pirate Hunter" being the first, is an excellent read. In command of the most fitting language he sets a standard for historical writing. His recollection of an almost forgotten historic affair is breathtaking. All of his conclusions are backed up by primary sources, which he quotes frequently. Among the surprising facts is not only that America forgot a truly unforgettable hero in William Eaton, but also that the conflict with the Muslim culture of slavery and piracy is not new. Thomas Jefferson's role in the aftermath of the described incident is surprisingly shameful and eerily modern and the author deserves much praise to identify and prove the president's conflict between political interests and moral, short-term and long-term interests. If the Tripoli incident had been backed up by Hamilton and finished by Eaton as planned - maybe we would not have the problems we have today. This book will be a classic and serve for many years as a source that determines the roots and reasons of conflict between Muslims and Americans. The narrator, Raymond Todd, does his job well. Even though the first chapter is read rather amateurishly, where he lowers the voice at the end of each sentence in a boring, unappealing fashion, he becomes much livelier towards the end. It is though not the task of the voice actor, but of the editor or producer to ensure this type of issue. I am looking forward to listen to more books read by Mr. Todd and authored by Mr. Zack.
I don't share the opinions of the listeners, who found that the actor is reading too fast. After reading their comments I decided to listen to the audiobook in double speed (iPhone), so I could go back to regular speed, if necessary, and I never had to do that. I enjoyed the whole audio book, it's concise, lively written, and well read.
This is not a good book. Except for the first part this is NOT about a world without us, but about the world with us. The author lists many ecological sins of humans, but not a lot more about the original subject. He is a pessimist, even quotes organizations with implied approval that promote abortion, sodomy and canibalism (sic!) to wipe humans of the earth. Like many pessimists he views himself as a realist and forgets that history has been full of pessimists that have been proven wrong. Every generation has been thinking it was the last. A more appropriate title would have been "Pessimism - a dark view of the future", but that of course would not have sold. Mr. Weisman, just because you are a pessimist, you should not promote your dim views to the next generation.
This book has been written by a professor of economics who works for a liberal think tank. He must be catholic, why else would he write such a book? It is a good book with interesting facts about the jesuits and other catholic/christian icons. I wonder though, if people with not at least a friendly relationship to catholicism will like it.
This book is long, but not too long. I enjoyed particularly the description of his early life. The writing is interesting, and it's read in a lively voice. But then, how could Churchill's life not be interesting.
The author was a sidekick in Scott's expedition and the worst journey in the world is not the one that results in Scott's frozen body, but is a "field trip" to steal penguin eggs. Nonetheless an interesting book. I like primary sources and this certainly is one. He writes interestingly and even though the scenery is always the cold, chilling antarctic I never got bored. Recommended for all those interested in arctic travel.
Like the other books from Simon Winchester this book is pleasant, not least because the author reads his books himself. Even though this is a narrative rather than a scientific book I wish he would switch to the metric system instead of referring to feet, inches, pounds and ounces. As a science author he should not support the obsolete empirical system. Today only the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar continue to not use the metric system.
When I bought this book I was very sceptical. The story of Dracula has been told and re-told, filmed and re-filmed over and over. What would be left to tell? Well, this book for instance. It tells the old bloodsucker's story in a more modern content and with well developed characters. Even the character of Dracula becomes more complex and interesting than the well-known movie vampire. The alternation of readers/actors between a male and female voice makes it a way better than average listening experience. Even though it is a rather long book it never becomes boring. I will try to read more books from the author.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has been the intellectual head of the catholic church for more than 20 years, but had a strong influence since Vatican II. In this book he elaborates an all difficult questions that face the church, avoiding none. The result is a compelling, honest and quite entertaining book that leaves the listener smart, educated about formal theology and hungry for more. Ratzinger is for theology what Churchill was for history. A shaper of present and future whose eloquence is unmatched. Not only did he become pope by now, he could get the nobel prize of literature for his writings. Unfortunately it is so far the only book by Ratzinger at audible.
The book describes the history of Rome in the 19th century when the independent papal state of Rome was seized during the formation of the new Italian national state. The story is not about "The Popes' Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State" as the publisher (or probably a semi-literate summer intern at the publishing house, who never read the book) thought to summarize this book, but more about the difficulties of the papal state and its souvereign, the pope, after Italian, national forces had seized it. The history is very well researched and explained, and the author holds a healthy distance towards its main characters and uses only original sources. I do recommend this book for people that are interested in catholic, papal, Italian or European history. Very well read.
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