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.
The title is self explanatory. The Author was providing a detailed explanation on development of geometry and logical thought until took a strange turn. He decided to deliberately criticize and document the mistakes of Christianity in its infancy and through the middle ages. These are all well known and many books are dedicated to them. I was hoping to read an unbiased account of the history of geometry, but was treated to a diversionary treatise about the evils of my religion. The book could have made reference to the factual accounts of the church misdeeds without gloating or noting repeatedly how destructive it was. After all, hindsight is 20-20.
I believe that this book could have been written more objectively and still tell a great story, but unfortunately it seemed to be conveying two themes - one of which was not advertised and for me was a wasted credit.
While reading this, my bullshit meter started to go off quite quickly. A simple google of Lawrence Spencer quickly points to a couple of websites claiming this to be a hoax. Mr. Lawrence is a self proclaimed Scientologist and this story makes references to words that were not in our vocabulary in 1947.
Now with that out of the way, this is a great story, albeit short, and likely could have been successful, even if marketed as fiction.
Read it, if you like a fair sci-fi read, but the writing is poor due to the nature of the interview situation.
I read many science books but somehow missed the field of genetics. This book definitely filled that desire to learn the basics of the subject, although visual aids would have helped me understand it faster. I also found that I repeated certain chapters to ensure I understood the concept better. The Prof was engaging and enthusiastic, but he had a tendency to repeat useless info while not explaining some basic science concepts thoroughly enough. I tended to lose focus due to his repetitive obsession to give an acronym and then have to explain what it means while saying he won't do it again - but then does. Despite that, he presented a broad base and logical development to the subject by explaining the history of genetic discoveries and then biotechnology applications in cancer and agriculture. Overall, the subject was so fascinating that I must admit that I enjoyed it, but the Prof lost me many times. This may be my ignorance of the subject, but if I am evaluating the experience I have to give it an average rating -since the subject is the subject. I have listened to 4 or 5 Great Courses and this Prof was the most difficult to follow.
Over all this was a good experience and I would like to see more such compilations. Here are my thoughts and ratings out of 10. Pardon my spelling - not familiar with some words/names - as it's audible:
1 Tough Times all over - Joe Abercrombie (6) Good narrator. About a stolen package that everyone wants. A bit convaluted.
2 What do you do?- Gillian Flynn (8) A unique female rougue and good female narr ator- twists in the story kept me interested.
3 Inn of the 7 Blessings- Matthew Hughes (8) Roy Dotrice is great and was good story about outsmarting wizards.
4 Bent Twig - Joe R Landsdale (7) Different modern day intrigue with fun texas accents about a PI searching for lost stepdaughter
5 Tawny Petticoats - Michael Swanwick (5) Dogman & zombies - strange tale in futuristic New Orleans. Its about a simple con game but if you like weird - this is it.
6 Providence - David W Ball (7) Long story about how painting was lost in WW2
7 Roaring Twenties - Carrie Vaughn (3) Boring and narrator is janis ian who is dull and has weird accent
8 A year and a day in old Therradain - Scott Lynch (7) Weird female characters/monsters and very wizardy. Good female narrator same as #1
9 Bad Brass - Bradley Dendon (8) Well read and fun story about down and out teacher.
10 Heavy metal - Sherie Priest (7) Odd hero story about a big imposing PI protecting us from nasty things.
11 The meaning of love - Daniel Abraham (7) Interesting and unique topic - a bit predictable - but well done.
12 A better way to die - Paul Cornell (5) Roy could not save this one. Odd story about 18th century man meeting his younger self through time travel.
13 Ill scene in Tyre - Steven Salor (6) Historical mystery genre set in Ancient times. fun story
14 A Cargo of Ivories - Garth Nicks (8) Master and puppet -strangely appealing if you accept that his sidekick is a puppet.
15 Diamonds from Tequila - Walter John Williams (9) Innovative ideas mixed into a good murder mystery. Good listen.
16 Caravan to No Where - Phyllis Eisentein (9) Gripping and good character development - I want to read more of her stuff.
17 The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives - Lisa Tuttle (8) Slow start but gets better
18 How the Marquis Got his Coat Back - Neil Gamon (9) Marquis de Carabas - Very compelling story
19 Now Showing - Connie Willis (7) Weird Movie saga
20 The Lightning Tree Patrick Rothfuss - (10) Awesome - Bast is profiled and he is wickedly lovable.
21 The Rogue Prince or a Kings Brother - George RR Martin (7) Too much geneology - Not Game of Thrones quality and Roy does not read it.
Now that I have your attention, if you like conspiracy theories, this will be perfect for you. This is the 3rd Jim Marrs book I have read and while each brings some new material, he tends to repeat himself in each book as they all point towards his thesis on human history. Jim's presentation also tends to be a bit scattered as he jumps from one topic to another via a tenuous thread of logic. Also, the title is misleading as the Occulted History only covers about half the book as he reverts back to his commentary on US government and the one world order. I am impressed by the sheer number of anecdotes and facts(?) that he brings to the reader, but he seems to try too hard to connect things. The book can only touch the surface of many topics that Jim raises and more in depth research on each would likely be theses in themselves.
In conclusion, although skeptical, I was thoroughly entertained, and appreciate the many mysteries that Jim presents for us, but I am not yet convinced in Jim's underworld. And regarding my title, he carefully analyses and debunks many biblical figures in his review, and leads the breadcrumbs to the doorstep of Jesus, but he chickens out there which was surprising given his disregard of boundaries. Maybe that is planned for his next book. Finally, I can echo other reviewers' comments regarding the poor narration and accents.
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.
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