The first half of the book documents the boredom of the war in painful detail and makes it difficult to stay with the book. The second half is much better as more incidents and action occurs. Philip's insightful commentary about the limits of man's endurance and the uselessness of the war is quite unique and while the concepts are far from new, he presented them in a unique & honest perspective of someone who lived the experiences.
I was less than impressed with the narration and, while his delivery was good, the tone of L.J. Ganser's voice was not appealling for me. Others may not share my view and I suggest you sample it first. Finally, the frequent, silly, vocal war noises do not help the book and are distracting.
I had fair understanding of economics before reading this based upon a lot of loose ideas gained through years of general knowledge of the world, but no formal structured understanding. This book does provide a solid foundation for the subject and it structures it in a way that provides rationale for this important the area of study..... but it is quite boring to listen to. Unfortunately that is the nature of the subject and I am not sure how to rate this as the"story". Nonetheless it is the reason for my 2 stars and the second half was better.
The professor obviously has a mastery and a love of the subject matter but you can tell that he is a 'wet talker', where he tends to build up saliva in his mouth and it trips up his word delivery. This is just a natural way that some people talk and is no big deal, but since I had to listen to him for 18 hrs, I am also just stating the fact that it was annoying. I have listened to other Learning Company lectures and understand the charm of having the raw performance of a professor delivering material. It actually has provided a more interesting experience than a polished narrator, but in this case I did not enjoy the professor's performance flaws.
This book is quite dry and unexciting. To be fair, it never pretends to be anything else. It does provide quite intriguing facts on what CIA Techs developed and provides some intriguing stories of exploits that CIA spies had to carry out during the cold war. One main frustrating part is the endless TLA's or three letter acronyms which may work better if you were reading rather than listening. I gave up on most except the main one for the branch that makes the spycraft (can't remember it already). The book also is a combinations of at least 2 but maybe 3 authors and thus is bit disjointed with definitions of some terms not coming until the end. The material at the core is actually quite fascinating - as an example they were using texting devices back in the 70's. One author is too caught up in trying to also provide a chronological history to the dedicated staff in his department, and causes it to read a bit like a retirement speech at times. It is a suitable memorial to the great work the staff did for the country's security, but does not translate well to a book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work. Jim Marrs has assembled an impressive variety of conspiracy theories that span across (and above) science, politics, business and society in general, while managing to connect the dots between them. The amount of references quoted could likely fill another book as he attempts to mesh his findings with that of many other writers. The result is an attempt at an objective analysis of the organized forces manipulating our economies and societies. Whether you believe the stories or not does not really matter as the shear amount of evidence and presentation of how the puzzle pieces work together is, to me, an amazing piece of detective work or creative writing - take your pick - but it sure was entertaining. Jim did manage to make me think twice about buying products with Aspartane last week and we took solace that our town still does not florinate water. I cannot forget the narration which was also very good as the extensive german words and names were pronounced professionally.
The sign of a good book is the amount of fun you get out of it and this one gave me many entertaining discussions with friends. To be sure, I am a skeptic, but I still intrigued enough to want to hear more - please Mr. Marrs give us a sequel!
P.S. He forgot to mention Mengele's role in the UFO thread - ok next book!
I thoroughly enjoyed Shawn's assembly of writers and as an added benefit I hope I was able to assist him in beating his illness. My best buddy is recovering from Leukemia and I know the challenge - GodSpeed!
Glenno's review was very helpful as well. and for efficiency, I will use his as a reference. I am a huge Rothfuss fan, but he is correct - what the??? I will read it again but I don't think it will help. I generally agree with Glenno except for Orullian. I see his point as I am not a band geek either, but the musical references add a unique perspective to the story, are easy to understand and add a fresh creative touch to the struggles(for me). I want to highlight these other writers` outstanding material:
- Tad Williams - Quaint, quirky and fun
- Todd Lockwood - Simple story made into an enticing journey of a young loyal disciple.
- Eldon Thompson - My favorite but he has nothing on audible to follow up with.
- Michael J Sullivan - I love the moral choice dilemna and will be looking for more thoughtful stories.
- Speakman - Amazingly creative story that held me the entire 2 hrs.
Lastly, on a negative note, I could not finish Michael Stein`s inane story of a dead cat - maybe I am a dog person, but this one stretched my patience - others seem to like it though so it is a matter of perspective.
As far as the the narration, they were all amazing, but again Bronson Pinchot blew my socks off. His variety of voices was impressive as usual!
Great Job Shawn - I will look for your next book!
This is my first read of a book by Niall. He certainty has a wide knowledge of history and other social sciences as evidenced by the countless anecdotes and references to historical events from all over the world. His research and analysis is truly insightful and most of it could be seen as supporting his thesis of why the West has dominated the world, although he strays quite a bit from his 6 principles of the west's success and flow of arguments could be better assembled.
I am far from knowledgeable on the history of the world, but find the subject fascinating. Hence my reservations about the thesis is the viewpoint from Niall's apparent British background. Niall portrays an overt dedication, infatuation and awe for the success of the British society (i.e civlization) and liberal criticism of others. He seems almost like a cheerleader for the Empire and raises my doubts on his objectiveness of his presentation (British slavery was bad but others did it too). It would interesting to read a counter point to his interpretation how the western world evolved to its predominance.
As noted by others, he erred in bringing in the annoying the 'other' voices who try to speak english with various accents. This occurs frequently and actually detracts from the narrative rather than helping it.
Being a native of a country with a British tradition, I find myself lucky to have benefited from the British influence of the country and I did enjoy reading Niall's arguments and trip through history. Despite my criticism, it is a well researched book.
This is an intriguing book on human decision making. I recommend it as a read rather than a listen. It was a difficult listen because there are many examples that require careful comparisons between items that are close in meaning. For me, rewinding was often needed to ensure I understood the concept being explained through the example. The narrator was ok, but neither great nor poor.
As a Canadian I thought we would be taught about the history of our colonial masters, but somehow I slipped well into middle age without learning any of this fascinating info. The professor delivers it in a passionate and compelling manner that makes the 48 hrs fly by.
It is hard to critique the factual nature of the subject, but the analysis of the competing social forces made me wish I read this type of insight in our common social fabric years ago. It does shed light on how the political system works even today. I just wish he was able to explain more about Canada during that time. This is my 2nd learning company lecture and I hope to buy more.
I never had an interest in the history of England until, per my headline, I was introduced to Game of Thrones, Pillars of the Earth and other medieval books. The (his)story in itself is fascinating and Dr. Paxton filters a 1000 years of history in a very informative and succinct way. Given that she is delivering a lecture series, I guess this what she is trained to do. Regardless, as a non-fiction work, it is highly entertaining and it moves very well. My only caution is to be ready for endless royal family tree connections that become confusing, but that is the essence of the subject and it is necessary. Also, Dr. Paxton does not make any pretensions about being a great narrator but her enthusiasm for the subject make up for the delivery.
Move it along much faster. Make the names easier to remember.
Disappointing. Since it is series,I had guessed there would be loose ends, but there were far too many and I wondered what was the purpose of reading this - just go straight to book 2. I will not be reading book 2.
Many people gave him a great review which led me to hold him to a higher expectation and I was disappointed. To answer the question, he did some characters well and some sounded like others - he was average.
I am an old fart, so I don't know the young actors very well. Here's my guess
Getter - Philip Seymour Hoffman
Dawson - Al Pacino
Marcus - Russell Crowe
Sythrin - Renee Zellwegger
Master Kitt - Anthony Hopkins
Very slow moving and confusing at the start. One reviewer stated that he gave up after 2 hrs so I tried to be patient. It did pick up and about the half way mark I was more interested in the stories. The comparison to Game of Thrones is ridiculous - not even close.
This book started with immense potential as a unique sci-fi story, but a some point it turned into a love story and philosophical treatise. I would have enjoyed it more if he finished any one of these genres but it just ended with a thud and many loose ends. I agree with many others that although written 50 years ago, Mr. Lem was ahead of his time and despite some outdated technical items, the book shows excellent technical creativity. I was also impressed with extensive descriptions of this fantasy world. Although in the end, his complex ideas and descriptions of the alien life forms built expectations of some unique world which would leave me dumbfounded - then nothing... As for the narration, Allesandro was great and I now I want to watch BSG again to see his other work. I thought about returning it but then again maybe I have to read it again to see what I missed, since others went gaga over it - maybe not! Come on Rothfuss and GRRM - we can't wait forever!
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